Meera Nanda

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Meera Nanda
Born 1954
Occupation Writer, academic
Nationality Indian

Meera Nanda (born 1954) is an Indian writer, historian and philosopher of science based in the United States.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Nanda was educated in science and philosophy with a PhD in biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and a PhD in science studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.[2][3]

She was a John Templeton Foundation Fellow in Religion and Science (2005–2007).[1][4] In January 2009, she was a Fellow at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute for Advanced Study, in the Jawaharlal Nehru University for research in Science, Post-Modernism and Culture.[5] Currently, she is a visiting faculty of history and philosophy of science at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali.

She has authored several works on religion, most notably Prophets Facing Backward: Postmodern Critiques of Science and Hindu Nationalism in India (2004),[6] and her 2009 book The God Market which examines how India is experiencing a rising tide of popular Hinduism, including Government of India financing of Hinduism despite the nation's secular characteristic. The book was also reviewed by William Dalrymple in Outlook Magazine.[7][8]


  • Ayurveda Today : A Critical Look, with C. Viswanathan. Penguin. ISBN 9780143065128.
  • Postmodernism And Religious Fundamentalism: A Scientific Rebuttal To Hindu Science. Pub: Navayana. 2000. ISBN 81-89059-02-5.
  • Breaking the Spell of Dharma and Other Essays. New Delhi: Three Essays Collective. 2002. ISBN 81-88394-09-2.
  • Prophets Facing Backward: Postmodern Critiques of Science and the Hindu Nationalism in India. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2004. ISBN 81-7824-090-4. Excerpts
  • Wrongs of the Religious Right: Reflections on secularism, science and Hindutva. New Delhi: Three Essays Collective, 2005. ISBN 81-88789-30-5
  • The God Market. Random House, 2010. ISBN 81-8400-095-2.


Nanda's view that yoga had no link to Hinduism has attracted criticism from Hindu groups. Swaminathan Venkataraman of the Hindu American Foundation alleged that Nanda harboured "hatred" for Swami Vivekanada, and that she feared the emergence of an articulate Hindu voice bringing Hindu perspectives into the public sphere.[9] Rajiv Malhotra criticised her for denouncing Indian culture and painting Hinduism as anti-scientific while allegedly praising Protestantism as scientific.[10]

However, Nanda has pointed out that her criticism was equally applicable to all "resurgent religious-political movements" not only among Hindus, but also Christians and Muslims. The Bush White House's recruitment of Christian evangelicals and corporate scientists to shape policies on issues such as open support for Biblical Flood geology and stem cell research was very similar to the state support for Vedic astrology by the Hindu nationalists.[11]


  1. ^ a b Meera Nanda Profile Three Essays.
  2. ^ Reception of Darwinism in India (A talk by Professor Meera Nanda), Indian Institute of Science
  3. ^ Meera Nanda Posts and Profile
  4. ^ Ranjit Hoskote (21 November 2006). "In defence of secularism". The Hindu. 
  5. ^ List of scholars invited to JNIAS JNIAS Jawaharlal Nehru University website.
  6. ^ Ranjit Hoskote (3 May 2005). "Book Review: Paradigm shift". The Hindu. 
  7. ^ William Dalrymple (18 January 2010). "Review: The Glitter in The Godliness". Outlook (magazine). Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "Books: A market for holy men: How globalization has had an impact on Hinduism and our public sphere". Mint. 21 August 2009. 
  9. ^ Swaminathan Venkataraman (7 March 2011). "Disguised Hinduphobia". OPEN Magazine. Retrieved 7 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Malhotra, Rajiv; Neelakandan, Aravindan (2011). "India: A left-wing frontier". Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines. Amaryllis. ISBN 8191067374. 
  11. ^ Nanda, Meera (2005). "Response to my critics". Social Epistemology: A Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Policy 19 (1): 147–191. doi:10.1080/02691720500084358. 

Further reading[edit]