The same sort of mistake, oddly enough, also happens in India Studies, but it may be a bit more involved to state why. The reason is incentives. Professors have no incentive to point out mistakes in the work of others. Tenure decisions are not made based on how much you help other academics correct their analysis. It is much better to execute a policy of 'live and let live' wherein nobody finds fault with anybody else. This strategy is a Nash equilibrium. And not surprisingly, that is exactly what professors do.
Unfortunately for these professors, they are many of us who know that not all opinions are indeed created equal. An academic paper is much more likely to convince if it has the backing of sound mathematical statistics and solid numbers. The non-mathematical approach to academe continues to be popular, but it is unfortunately a recipe for disaster. What we have in place of actual intellectual analysis is a perfect storm of confusion. In the case of Hinduism, billions of people with billions of ideas about their faith, all of them somehow treated as correct. In the case of India Studies, hundreds of academics with conflicting ideas about India, all of them somehow consistent. I suppose anything else would be considered 'privileging' according to the so-called Theories of Power fancied by the Marxists.
The fact of the matter is that secularism is secularism, no matter what else they will make it out to be. Over to Paul Brass.
The bulk of writing on the question of secularism in contemporary India has focused on an issue that has its origin in Western civilization, history and religion, namely, the relationship between the state and religion, and specifically concerning the establishment or not of a state religion or the official recognition of a multiplicity of religions. Most of these writings also reach the hardly surprising conclusion, given the focus, that the beliefs and practices of Western civilization, history, religion and state policy towards religion are either not relevant to the religions, religious practices, and religious beliefs of the peoples of the subcontinent, or else require considerable modifications to make them so. The battle is often joined between those who argue for their relevance and deny that their non- indigenous origins pose insurmountable obstacles and those who take the opposite position.In this essay, I will take a different view of the matter, arguing that the political issues and political practices that involve the question of secularism in India have a different focus and meaning altogether from the issues and practices that dominate Western societies and polities.
That even intellectuals as distinguished as Amartya Sen have fallen prey to this canard is a testament to the power of bad ideas in societies. These annoying ideas seem to cling on no matter what you do. Oh, these blistering barnacles.
Update (March 10, March 11, March 14): This is a post on both Hindu Studies and India Studies. My aim is not to say that this is not an article worth reading. But the utility of reading this article for me was zero. Virtually every line of it is already very well known to anyone who has at all been seriously studying India. In fact, I believe I knew most of this stuff when I was about 14. This is not to toot my own horn. It is just that we used to subscribe to a bunch of magazines at home (Time, Newsweek, The Week, et cetera) and I used to read them all from cover to cover because, well, I was that kind of a kid growing up. The issue ultimately is this : you don't read these types of articles in the context of the political economy of the United States (Sample question - "Why are Americans more Religious than Europeans?"). Why should India and Hinduism be treated differently when they are the subject matter?