Swami Vigyanand, an IIT grad, who had called on Hindutva’s foot-soldiers to carry a trishul and defend Hinduism is organising the Chicago event.
The 2018 World Hindu Congress takes place in Chicago this week from 7-9 September. Many Americans might consider this to be an event of religious pluralism and civic engagement. They would be wrong.
The chief organiser of the event, Swami Vigyanand—an IIT Kharagpur graduate—calls on Hindutva’s foot-soldiers to carry the trishul (a three-pronged spear) as a way to send a message about the need to weaponise and defend Hinduism. This three-day convention proposes to serve as a “platform to address critical issues impacting Hindus worldwide, including human rights, discrimination, and cultural assaults”.
The irony is staggering.
We live in a United States where White supremacists—embodying a growing far-Right movement—are attempting to uproot the very foundations of democracy, citizenship, and the Constitution. Similar forces are at play in India today, where Hindu supremacists have resuscitated a powerful Hindu far-Right over the past three decades.
The US Right-wing draws its energy from resentment against the most marginalised populations of race, class, and religion—African Americans in inner cities, Latinx migrants who work in the fields and households, and Muslim communities from anywhere. And Hindu supremacists are fueled by a contempt for those oppressed through caste, religion and ethnicity, and target Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, Christians who are at the core of the resistance against Hindu supremacy.
Also read: Dear Rahul, soft Hinduism can be a winner, but not with soft nationalism
By recasting India’s origin story as that of an exclusively Hindu nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal have stoked and promoted religious conflict.
Their American satellites—the Vishwa Hindu Parishad America, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), the Dharma Civilization Foundation (DCF) and the Hindu American Foundation (HAF)— organise, participate, and support the World Hindu Congress.
The event in the US is taking place while Dalits and Muslims have been lynched, raped, and burnt alive for entering temples, practicing their faith, or buying beef in India—and have been publicly lauded for it by members of these groups.
Speakers at the World Hindu Congress include RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and ideologue Rajiv Malhotra. Mohan Rao Bhagwat had issued an eerie warning earlier that he could raise a militia in three days, had assured gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) that they need not heed the Indian Supreme Court, telling women they should stay home and be housewives, and claiming that rape happens only in cities, not in rural India, because of Western culture’s corrupting influence.
Rajiv Malhotra is a US-resident Hindutva ideologue who continuously disparages American congressional institutions like the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, claiming that it exists to protect “the freedom of Christian evangelists to convert internationally”. More recently, he urged his followers to direct disaster relief only to Hindus in the flood-devastated state of Kerala.
In this context, the World Hindu Congress is not an innocuous gathering of the faithful. Its organisers, speakers, and participants are part of a larger constellation of groups and individuals who wish to build a Hindu nation, by any means necessary. Though cloaking themselves in anticolonial rhetoric, their inglorious history includes absenting themselves from the South Asian freedom struggle against British colonialism, and the assassination of Gandhi. They fear that scriptural Hinduism is under threat from modernity, and are rattled by the demand for justice from Dalits, Muslims and women.
Most Indians argue that Hindus, often at the receiving end of bigotry and ignorance in the diaspora, would do better if they embrace diversity and avoid re-creating hierarchies of race and religion.
Revulsion at White supremacy has been widespread around the world. But Hindu supremacy is less well-known and harder to understand for the non-expert. It is particularly alarming to find gatherings like the World Hindu Congress being promoted as a cultural space. From a well-meaning multicultural perspective, it appears as a faith-based meeting, rather than as a deeply strategic, partisan political effort to enable Right-wing resurgence and entrenchment.
Also read: From marriage to urination, here’s the Sanatan Sanstha complete guide to being a good Hindu
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, initially honoured to be invited, withdrew from the World Hindu Congress “when it became apparent that the event was going to be a partisan political event”. South Asian American groups have hailed this as a victory for progressives, and called for other US politicians to follow suit and condemn the violence being done in the name of religion.
We urgently need fearless conversations and translations across these two contexts of White and Hindu supremacy that are led by progressive and plural voices. Cornel West recently emphasised “the parallels between the struggles of Black Americans and those of South Asians on the lowest rungs of the caste system”. Angela Davis traces the “inter-connection between the lives of African Americans in the US and the Dalits in India”.
If India reinstates the most oppressive, reactionary, misogynistic, and elitist parts of its complex history, it will be a loss for the world. The subcontinent’s complex histories include emancipatory, egalitarian, rational and progressive elements worth retrieving and nurturing. Hindutva forces would like to homogenise, masculinise, and militarise this complicated, diverse nation.
Progressive communities across the United States and India share similar hopes for the future. An India transformed by the voices of Dalits and the poor can be a nation that values its people in all their varied identities. A progressive Indian vision, variously articulated by social activists, is worth supporting. Their vision is a multi-ethnic nation that has always drawn from the best in the world, not one that retreats into an insular notion of authenticity. Their vision is an anti-hierarchical society, not one ordered by caste and race prejudice. Their vision is a secular, diverse society which respects atheism as well as cultural and religious expression, science and experimentation, labour rights, and the needs of the underprivileged.
Elected representatives in the US who distance themselves from White supremacists must not support the World Hindu Congress either.
Rohit Chopra is Associate Professor of Communication at Santa Clara University, and author of the forthcoming book titled Hindu Nationalism and New Media. He is the founder of @IndiaExplained Twitter account and co-founder of the IndiaExplained podcast.
Maia Ramnath is the author of the book titled Decolonizing Anarchism: An Antiauthoritarian History of India’s Liberation Struggle (2012). She is an organiser with the South Asia Solidarity Initiative and adjunct professor of history at Fordham University.
In 1956, celebrated Bombay columnist and critic of Nehru D.F. Karaka said that the RSS
“thinks in terms of Hindu India and only Hindu India”.
Karaka went on to write:
“It is necessary for all of us whatever our differences are with Mr. Nehru to stand firm with him on this point, namely, that ours is a secular state and that whether we are Hindus, Muslims, Parsis or Christians, freedom of religion, which is guaranteed to us under our Constitution should not be allowed to be crucified at the altar of the RSS – the organisation from which came the man who murdered Mahatma Gandhi”
Karaka’s advice from more than 6 decades ago must be heeded if India is to survive as a nation. And not go the way of a Pakistan or a Yugoslavia.
“Hinduism has never been oppressive,elitist or misogynist”
Heard of Nirbhaya ? And the many women who dare not use public spaces in India for fear of being groped, ogled at, stalked, raped etc.? Not a single multi-national firm or IT outsourcer sends its women employees alone home by public transport.
And the trouble starts even before birth with selective abortions of the female foetus.
Sorry, India is a dangerous place to be a woman.
We need to work much much harder to make this country safer for women – all women. Our mothers, wives, sisters & daughters deserve better.
What does Nirbhaya case have to do with Hinduism – did the perpetrators’ faith/doctrine have some direct or indirect connection with their actions or were there horrendous social attitudes towards women which caused them? The victim was also a Hindu who wasn’t shut behind closed doors and draped in a bed-sheet. She wanted to live her life to the fullest like every woman should – she wasn’t afraid [Nirbhaya] to be free & independent.
It’s like saying Islam is the religion of Terrorism, did you know that in the rape case lf Hyderabad there was Muslim guy
This article is just a rubbish intended to tarnish the image of not only Hinduism but of India too. Hinduism has never been oppressive,elitist or misogynist. Equating with the racism in US is totally misplaced.
India and Hinduism are and have been tolerant to all religions and world cultures and that’s the reason why other religions flourish here.
The authors seem to have no idea of the ground realities here . This is article only exposes there communist inclines and ignorance about both Hinduism and India.
Hi Sharad, Agreed that this is a rubbish article meant to paint Hindus negatively. But then saying that Hinduism has never been oppressive or elitist or misogynist is also a stretch. We have an incredibly long history [4000-5000 years old or more?] and there were periods of darkness and periods of enviable progressiveness – such is life – we have grown when presented with new ideas from within and outside – that’s our greatest strength. This can’t be said about western religions [whose archetypes for god & justice was typified by their contemporary expectations] which are fairly rigid and stuck in time as they went meant to be [their scriptures say they 100% true and any changes or challenges to them is deviant & blasphemous-of course the penalty in these cases usually was death].
Equating to racism is absolutely unjustified – I’ve ranted quite a bit on this earlier.
This article is meant to satiate the leftists & Hindu-haters.
Looks like the “comrades” are getting jittery.The Print’s only agenda is Hindu bashing.Request the readers to just google about these authors once.You guys are nervous just for a single event.Do not talk about free speech then.Shitty print
You bet. They really don’t care about free speech – most just want to shutdown genuine debate and stifle truth with labels and generalizations. Let’s see how many of these guys come out to protest OIC & Mega-churches.
A nervous leftist crying foul. You have no problem if Islamic and a Christan people organize such events as they do every year. But the Hindus don’t have the right to defend?
This is the selective bias that has been used against Hindus by biased media till today. We have silently dealt with this prejudice long enough. Not anymore !!
Print is a leftist publication with a strong affinity to Sonia Gandhi and the Congress. Best to ignore it.
Stopped just long enough to leave this comment. Every street in every civilized country in the world has a yoga joint where people chant OM and say NAMASTE with folded hands in a celebration of the oldest living civilization on earth. That same civilization is being celebrated in Chicago by people from most countries on earth. The only thing regressive Indians see is this complete street garbage of an article. You have the right to present it in India and I believe you are actually doing India a favour by earning for yourselves even more irrelevance and disdain than you have already achieved. Keep it up. And those of you fanboys of this dump, you don’t matter. Get used to it.
There is Finnish proverb you should know:
First off, that proverb is likely German not Finnish – “Eigenlob stinkt”
Secondly, you’re again conflating the middle & the extreme – “gathering to discuss religious topics” is now “self-praise” as if that is the entire point of the event.
Does your car also not have gears 1-4 but only reverse & 5th gear?
Extremely biased and prejudiced.
The Print may soon need to rename itself The Pits. What a lot of baloney dished out by the day!! Getting unreadable. Hollow opinions not mounted on facts are called unfounded allegations. What’s the point in giving space to such baseless, unresearched articles? The reader’s intelligence is being disrespected here. Serves no point to even comment but had to for my precious time which got wasted reading this immature article.
its the time to start the newspaper “truth to be told “
This is the classic example of the deception of media choosing to distort events and quoting chosen events out of context. Even the idea of race entered Indian soil only with the crafty britishers. Fabricate ideas and make it sound like truth by quoting and requoting! Women were and are emancipated in India like no where else. Point out one culture where woman is worshipped as Shakti. Kindly don’t equate Hindus and Hinduism to any other religion that was and ever would be. People like the author can never understand or begin to comprehend the lofty ideas of hinduism. We are people who mind our own business. We never carried crusades or jihad in any one else’s soil. If people like you stop demonizing Hinduism, we will peacefully carry on with our beliefs and practices. All said, why do you fear Hinduism so much that you have to spread lies about it? Is it because we had universities and we’re highly evolved when you and your ilk we’re still nude and lived in caves, haven’t learned the art of reading and writing? Grab others glory when you have none?
I have followed Rohit Chopra since he was a graduate student in an American college. He is Leftist trash and a rabid Hindu hater. His PhD was pinted as a useless book not worth the paper on which it was printed. His article weaves together unconnected issues to spread hatred against us. I am at the conference and am glad I came. Leftovers and Leftouts like Chopra someone are pitiable.
Thanks for sharing this info. It contextualizes the article quite a bit. Would love to debate this guy on facts – the audience should know their agenda, intent and shaky foundation. Not sure when academia was infiltrated by leftist activists & their hidden agendas, instead of being places of learning, reason & debate. I’m certain there is a silent majority who don’t believe such leftist nonsense and focus on genuine pursuit of truth & knowledge -but it is about time that some of them come out & speak up, else it will result in major damage to academic output if these guys continue unabated.
Mr Vishal Agarwal: You claim that the PhD thesis of Mr Rohit Chopra was:
“..a useless book not worth the paper on which it was printed. ..”
That begs the question, were you his thesis supervisor to know so much about his thesis?
And then, one notices that apart from trash-talking Mr Chopra as “Leftist trash”, “rabid Hindu hater” and so on, you produce zero arguments countering the article published here.
Clearly, loudmouths like you appear to be weal in logic.
Idli, you have not once used facts or logic to make sweeping statements & judgements in your earlier comments. Why do you need them now da?
Anyone can read Chopra’s thesis and ‘book’ based on it to confirm what I am saying. In his student days when I debated with him on various egroups, he became violently angry when plain historical facts were placed in front of him, disputing his negationism of Islamic rule in India (just like KKK whitewashes the Jewish holocaust). The present article too is a cut and past of the usual ultra left Hinduhating coterie and this is self evident. What is there to refute? It was just a cut and paste from internet sites and eGroups and then created a pre-existing thesis that ‘Internet Hindus’ spread hate. There was no rigorous research, and no original thesis. Suffice it to say that Rohit Chopra and company is in the same company as the Khalistani protesters who showed up at the venue – these same people killed 25000 Indians through terrorism, bombed an Air India aircraft, and assassinated an Indian Prime Minister. Idli Mind and Rohit Chopra share their ideology with these terrorists for sure.
Hi Vishal, Know it is an uphill task to explain to people like Idli – but I’m an optimist – I’m hoping to appeal to his/her sense of reason. 🙂
They are usually trapped in echo-chambers where hindu-hating without rhyme or reason is the norm and also their basic inclusion criteria.
Western conquest of the world was built upon the genocide of billions of native people and the same continues to this very day.
The historical irony at play should be obvious yet sadly it is at best ignored.
As externally imposed cultural and physical genocide engulfed the worlds indigenous peoples, only one group survived. Thus today it is the Hindus alone that maintain their functionality.
All other indigenous societies were obliterated. How? primarily with the help of natives that facilitated and accommodated the hostility of external forces.
The above article is a prime example of those Internal forces in the service of native genocide.
As Tecumseh, Sitting Bull and other American Indian traditionalists struggled to protect their people and culture, so called modernist natives betrayed them from within.
They conspired with outsiders to destroy their own people and communties abusing the media to spread the same lurid tales of murder, mayhem and masaacres.
Any and all efforts to unite or protect indigenous sustainability were thus targetted and undermined as racist, backwards and regressive. Thus barely a whisper of protest was given when the natives were slaughtered and imprisoned in Hitler-inspiring Indian reservations.
Then in the end all American Indian people, be they traditionalists or sellouts, lost everything.
Today we see the same despicable playbook being used against the Hindu community.
Shilling for corporate and commercial interests they guise themselves as sociial justice activists.
They employ textbook extremist ideological agitprop techniques designed to sterilize India of its root cultures.
Rather than uplifting the individual this is done in order to make way for a soulless fascist corporatism, where the individual is identified and gauged according to their potential for profit.
Look to history and do not fall for the conspiracies designed to disinherit your people.
Well put. If we look at cultures from Native America, South Africa, Canada & Australia and even SE Asian nations like Indonesia, Malaysia & Philippines – we see cultural re-writes all over. Native cultures & history completely wiped out, replaced with Islam & Christianity. A conquering hegemonic force typically seeks to exhibit the “darkness to light” effect onto its conquered population – this is usually done by berating existing cultures for their beliefs, shaming them, exaggerate or concoct tales of horror & conflate them with their culture. Once completely done stripping them of self-respect & dignity, they reveal their “true path to light”. Any shred of evidence, culture & history which would defeat this line of thinking – was typically destroyed or uprooted. This is a playbook that is lapped up by some unfortunate Indians, who regardless of their current religious affiliations, fail to realize their beautiful culture & history. Every culture has some good & bad elements – an honest person would highlight the good and reform the bad elements. On the contrary, a brainwashed person goes on an emotional tirade against “the perceived darkness” that is the legacy of his people & ancestors.
You talk of brainwashed persons.
Care to clarify whether Babu Bajrangi and Dr Maya Kodnani brainwashed you ?
This is a major problem with you – you don’t talk about facts or points. Only personal attacks – you can do better than that.
At least, try and present something,… anything of relevance to counter what I have said.
I’m a fairly open-minded person – I will change my opinion if you present facts & evidence.
Yeah, I thought so too, about Comrade “Fred”.
The authors, in typical Marxist/Islamist style, have also thrown their stink bomb and scooted. They have no answer to the detailed and pointed debunking of their claims, and no wonder: as I pointed out, the article is plagiarized from one in the Milli Gazette published by and for the milli-brains at Santa Clara U and Fordham U. Must be waiting for instructions from their sponsors at the Politburo in Beijing and ISI HQ in Rawalpindi.
But I have a related question: There was going to be (a) a Major Rally at New York U. to Protest the World Hindu Congress. (b) a Gherao (hostage-taking incident) to be conducted by the Khalistan terrorists (translation: Land of The Empty-Headed) terrorist gang (remember Air India 182, the “Emperor Kanishka”, bombed off Ireland killing 331 innocents?). Both seem to have fizzled. What happened, hain? The only attendees were the People in Dark Glasses with recorders and warrants? Too many people went to the Post Office and saw the pictures of the Protest Leaders posted there? Nah! I am being too optimistic I know. The gang is probably still trying to find its way to New York. Just keep heading on West I-10, Comrades! When you see something large and blue up ahead, that’s the People’s Republic of NYU. An Ocean of Commies. Accelerate and close ur eyes.
This is the general problem with Marxists/Islamists – most just can’t deal with facts which doesn’t fit into or challenges their world view. So they run towards labels and try to shutdown debate. The other commonly employed strategy is “Whataboutisms” – what about x or what about y – instead of using reason or facts to contend an argument.
No doubt the article is absolute bias with superficial study but at same time giving too much of negative importance to a cultural event only strengthens miniscule population who support hate!! There r so many people in our country who work towards communal harmony which is not reported. The writer is completely dishonest with his profession n writing articles to suffice a predetermined agenda of hate done for years before.
The writer was reporting about an event that is taking place in the US. It is preposterous to expect him to write about something else that you want him to write about.
For sure, there are people working to promote communal harmony in India. But clearly, they are not from the RSS, the BJP, the Bajrang Dal, the Hindu Mahasabha or similar Hindu outfits that are nothing but the Hindu versions of radical Islamic organisations.
It is preposterous to mislead people by writing slanderous nonsense as well – which is what the writer has done.
Hindu outfits equivalence to radical Islamic orgs is a facetious argument – all current Hindu outfits are counter movements against unbridled Islamic extremism/fundamentalism and Christian conversions.
idli – You should read the Quran and probably look into what is being systematically ingrained into the minds of Muslim youth. Should give a good starting ground for building communal harmony.
You can also refer to the Apostate prophet’s Youtube channel for a quick crashcourse around the juicy parts.
It is the Liberal Nazi class in India aka Comrades, who need to be marginalized and proscribed. 100s of Hindu activists have been killed by them and not the other way round, in Liberal Nazi hunting grounds of Kerala, TN, Karnataka and WB.
“100s of Hindu activists have been killed by them”
Your sources please… preferably not from the RSS rag Organiser or Arnab Goswami’s hot air factory ..
Would Print.in even dare to use the word “Regressive” with any other religion other than Hinduism. Before you defend the others, let me remind you that 5 times a day, followers of a certain religion taunt all others through lakhs of stereophonic loudspeakers that there is no other God but their God. Thousands of missionaries are trapping poor people for conversions by deriding Hinduism and using all sorts of fraud miracles.
“You know who has most power in a society when you know who you can least criticize” – Koenraad Elst
Were you referring to Amit Shah and PM Modi?
I meant Islam and Christian Missionaries.
Every abuse has been used for Amit Shah & PM Modi – everyone of those guys who abuses them is still alive & thriving at theprint, NDTV & thewire.
Look at what happened to the 5 Atheist bloggers in Bangladesh for criticizing Islam – butchered in broad daylight.
I agree with you that loudspeakers from mosques indulge in noise pollution. But why the bloody hell don’t the 2 Gujarati strongmen who run the country shut them down?
Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you should always spread lies and hatred.this is pure misuse of freedom of speech
Shame on you presstitute
Where are the lies in that article?
Too many to count and they have already been pointed out in previous comments. It is a mix of outright lies, exaggerations and conflations.
The RSS rescue events would have been known to every Indian via Main Stream Media, had they been truly involved on a large scale during the national disasters and calamities. Since the Indian media did not show or write about RSS helping anywhere, it can be deduced that what you are saying is all hoax for gaining artificial sympathy.
From my accounts of RSS’s origin and past actions, it is prominently evident that RSS is an extra-militaristic organization, catering to India’s elite RW political class in its goals of capturing and perverting India’s democratic institutions.
India’s democracy and the political system, which is much advanced than the American one, stands at risk from anonymous unaccounted donations to political parties for organization building. Transparency in political funding is the only sure shot way out for India to uproot all corruption from its political parties.
Can you please tell the world how much RSS activists have been murdered in India by moaist also give data how much RSS activists have arrested in anti national activities compare to left wing naxals and moaist.
Dr. Watson I presume?
One way to see what is in the “mainstream media” is to LOOK for it, or have it explained to you r e a l s l o w l y. Here is a site that has recently collected the info apparently found in about 2 minutes of honest search. Sorry, the term “honest” may not be familiar to the supporters of the authors here, but please have someone look it up for you. On the slim chance that your arrogant ignorance is just congenital and not deliberate, here are some links:
Economic Times https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/joint-operation-by-rss-and-muslim-run-ngo-gives-hope-to-flood-hit-people/articleshow/65539782.cms
Hindustan Times: (that is run by Muslims, BTW, Real Hindus call India “Bharat” not “Hindustan”): About Bihar floods.
The title of that was “With 11,000 volunteers, RSS quietly makes its mark on Bihar flood relief “. The term “Quietly” in the context of doing something positive, would also be unknown at Santa Clara “University” and Fordham “College”, I know, I know.
From “The Hindu” (see above: this is as anti-Hindu as the MSM gets. The Hindu is funded by the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China, and is owned by “Naxal Ram” and his family who are in turn owned by the CP-PRC. But this article, nevertheless:
So IF you are an honest person, please correct your ignorance and accept your folly. Holding my breath here…
Indian democracy is a more advanced one than America – nice one Fred. In the last MSM article you read, did anyone mention to you how the state took over control from many major Hindu temples in India – a rather direct & shameless way for the British to subjugate the Hindu population subverted by the new Indian state to continue to suppress the Hindu population while at the same time allowing non-dharmic institutions to flourish without intervention. Why don’t you try this same little interpretation of Freedom of Religion in the US and come back to explain your experience? I’m not an American but there are some extremely strong cultural protectionist forces at hand in the US – who defend fundamental rights from the Freedom of expression to gun ownership [despite the controversy it courts]. RSS is that first and foremost – a defender of native culture since even our religious institutions were robbed from us. How about this for cause & effect – Hindu religious endowment act was first passed in 1923, RSS was formed in 1925 – Shows you the prevailing sentiments at that time which have led to the formation of RSS.
“RSS is that first and foremost – a defender of native culture since even our religious institutions were robbed from us”.
I am a beefeating Hindu from Kerala and I do not regard your khaki clad stormtroopers as the defenders of India’s native culture – whatever the hell that happens to be. But then Golwalkarists and Savarkarists like you cannot be persuaded by facts to understand that Hinduism in Adityanathistan is different from Hinduism in Kerala. Of course, you do gloss over the fact that Savarkar and Godse, both RSS luminaries were guilty of killing Mahatma Gandhi don’t you?
I hear that temples are being constructed to Godse and they would need priests. Considered applying for the job of head pujaari at a Godse temple? After all, Savarkar’s portrait hangs proudly in the Parliament, courtesy of the Nagpur mob and enough homage is being done to him in the altar of Indian democracy. Time to rewrite history and bring in Godse too from the cold.
Again, just to explain to you -the Hindu right wing is a diverse group. Many Hindus don’t consider that dietary choices make someone a better or a lesser Hindu – heck it is written in the Bhagvata Purana. Hindusim has pushed for practicality and not just dogma – though that fact is lost among many Hindus today.
People building the Godse temple are complete idiots – never going to defend that. Dislike Gandhi’s many actions but celebrating a violent murderer is out of the question. There are statements made by the founding people in the RSS that I would never support in my life – I would be on the opposite side. I’m not even going to remotely defend that.
However, in the current ecosystem, the only major organization that is supporting the causes that I think, matter the most to preserving & protecting Hindu culture i.e. conversions, spread of global mis-information/propaganda against Hindus/Hinduism, is the RSS. I am an issues-based person and not agenda-driven – I support them conditionally.
If you know some other organization other than the RSS which is at scale, effective, supports the causes I mentioned above & yes, has no baggage of history, pls do let me know – happy to support them instead.
Till then, RSS is a practical choice for my support as “a defender of native culture”.
Are Sikhs a part of this “native culture” ? Just being curious.
Clearly, many of the Sikh demonstrators protesting at this rabid. Hindutva right wing hate conference were not particularly overjoyed at being lumped with Hindus. Evidently, they do not agree with the RSS idea that although they are not Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists are to be treated better than Christians and Muslims. Naturally, Sikhs don’t derive much comfort at being given a somewhat better status than Christians and Muslims though they are not perceived as being as good as Hindus.
As the guru of hate Golwalkar and one of the leading führers of the RSS put it:
“In this land Hindus have been the owners, Parsis and Jews the guests, and Muslims and Christians the dacoits. Then do all these have the same right over the country? ”
While Golwalkar may have omitted Sikhs and Jains from his blacklist, the RSS führers who succeeded him found an appropriate formulation to specifically include Sikhs and Jains in their whitelist and under the Hindu umbrella. Alas, many Sikhs shun the tactical embrace of the Nagpur whiteshirts with the conflicts of the 80s and 90s from the Punjab fresh in their minds. And no, I am not defending the violence heaped on innocent Hindus by Khalistanis or the violence unleashed by the state on innocent Sikhs.
The notion of what constitutes “native culture” in a heterogeneous country like India is impossible to define. Indeed, it is impossible to define who is a Hindu and who is not a Hindu – given the vast differences in how the religion is practised across the length and breadth of the country. The RSS/BJP attempt to define it will only alienate Indians, not unite them. For, one forgets that unlike countries like UK, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium etc. where many different regions have willing come together, India is different. India is made up regions or groups that are “held together” as opposed to having “come together”. Neglecting that design feature – or flaw of India – can be self-destructive.
So called defenders of “native culture” don’t seem to get that.
Article is blatantly plagiarized from one in The Milli Gazette, but what do you expect from an ” Associate Professor of Communication at Santa Clara University” (which is almost up to the level of Assistant Lecturer at Appu’s Business College and Chai Shop in Usa, near Mumbai? Or from “adjunct professor of hysteria at Fordham University”, another of those tuition-scam dumps for “high” school dropouts?) I LOVE the part about “author of forthcoming book” like I am “recipient of forthcoming Nobel Prize in Literature”.
The authors’ main peeve appears to be that the organizers of the World Hindu Congress are people who have actually accomplished something, like “IIT Kharagpur grad” – no doubt proof of criminality in the Little Red Book of Mao Say Dung, or Teesta Is Dung. And at Santa Clara “University” or Fordham “University”.
Well. What do you expect? Agenda driven narrative from a left-leaning publication. Basically the left believes that nearly all Hindus are the enemy – perpetrators of all evil who espouse vile hatred for minorities, whose life starts & ends with subjugation of women and caste oppression and there is no need bother oneself with nuances or complexities regarding a vast and complex people/history.
It is not all Hindus who “espouse vile hatred for minorities” but those “Hindus” who park their brains and allow themselves to be led by the half-baked fascism of the Golwalkars, Savarkars, Mohan Bhagwaths and their fellow travellers in the BJP. I am a Hindu – albeit a very lapsed one – but I do not subscribe to the Hindutva that you and your ilk seems to be enamoured of.
I need no lessons in Hinduism from fascists and their apologists in these columns.
Again, didn’t think beyond a second before going right for the keyboard. Buddy, I wasn’t teaching you about Hinduism, but speaking up for the rights of those who identify as Hindus. If you really are a Hindu, far from being a proud one who respects his or her heritage, you hate it – you are a self-loathing Hindu, who works actively towards destroying any semblance of self-respect among Hindus. The gap between being right wing and fascism is fairly wide one but yes, why bother with nuances when you can just use labels.
Let me re-iterate – I am a Hindu. But my Hinduism is not defined by hatred for Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis and so on. And if you believe that I am a self-loathing Hindu, well that is your funeral.
But to describe me as a “.. self-loathing Hindu, who works actively towards destroying any semblance of self-respect among Hindus ..” is to stretch things a tad too far. For, you make the preposterous assumption that criticism of the violent Hindu right wing of which the RSS is arguably the lynchpin, amounts to destroying Hindu self-respect !!
We can surely devote another chapter to the equally loathsome Christian evangelists or Islamists, Talibanists and so on. I have no truck with them. But this article is about the Hindu alt right and its apologists such as yourself. The hijacking of Hinduism by your Nagpur based buddies, their Gujarati sidekicks, the Swami Chakrapanis, Mohandas Pais and their ilk is what is a greater threat to Hinduism than perhaps even Pakistan. Simply because the Golwakarian notion of an India where non-Hindus will be relegated to second class status will simply widen the already many deep linguistic, caste and other fissures that are entrenched in the country.
Religion cannot unite countries like India. Just ask the Pakistanis who tried that with Islam in 1947. East Pakistan split off and what remains of Pakistan is torn by ethnic strife.
But I guess they don’t teach that in your shakha do they ?
“Associate Professor of Communication at Santa Clara University”- THAT SAYS IT ALL! I would suggest Professor Rohit to try selling hot dogs instead. That’s better suited for him than pretending to be a journalist. For a start- Mr. Rohit, here is a question for you to ponder over: can you please tell me why Hindus have been attacked relentlessly by muslim rulers for 1400 years and how a mightly non-violent civilization was enslaved by Muslims for 1400 years. I have the answer- because of ‘Hindus’ like you.
Mr Suresh Ram: Apart from dishing out career advice to Prof. Rohit Chopra and posing an utterly irrelevant question based on a false premise, you advance no arguments here that meet the substantive aspects of the article.
If you believe that Muslims have enslaved Hindus, well here is news. Hinduism has done very well despite marauding Muslim invaders and cunning Christian missionaries. For all their proselytisation and coerced conversions, Islam and Christianity have pretty little to show for their efforts in India. And mind you, the Indian Constitution, Article 25 allows:
25. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.
Despite all these freedoms, Christianity and Islam have been roundly defeated in India, without any help from the Golwalkars, Savarkars, Mohan Bhagwaths, Babu Bajrangis and Suresh Rams of this world. Indeed, even Islam and Christianity have absorbed the caste system of Hinduism such that those who go mosques or churches are culturally Hindus. Indeed, the caste system is practised with a vehemence and violence in Christianity and Islam that often finds no counterpart in Hinduism, see the BBC article at: bbc.in/2wYpAfu
Hinduism thrives precisely because unlike Islam and Christianity, dogmas are questioned and new ideas are absorbed. Sati, widow remarriage, raising the age of marriage etc. have all been adopted by large swathes of Hindus whilst Islam and Christianity, especially Indian Christianity and Islam is still ossified, rigid and retrograde.
Sorry Mr Suresh Ram, for Hinduism to become stronger, it must not follow the path of Islam and Christianity – it must embrace change and questioning. As a Hindu, I don’t Hinduism to walk become a clone of Islam and Christianity.
This is the kind of complacence that has lead to countries like Indonesia, Malaysia & Philippines to become Islamic & Christian. These were Hindu-Buddhist (or Buddhist-Hindu – either way it was a beautiful syncretism) cultures – Sriwijaya, Majapahit [heck there was a Chola prince who ended up building the Rajahnate of Cebu in the Philippines]. These are places explicitly mentioned in the Ramayana & Puranas – a benefit that wasn’t accorded to many mainland territories.
Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Southern Vietnam – had Hindu kingdoms which were arguably more Hindu than the contemporary mainland ones – Funan, Champas, Chenlas, Khmers. Today, there is not a trace left.
The greatest strength of Hindus is their adaptability & we do have to fight the regressive elements amongst us to support equal rights for women, destroy caste hierarchy [esp. protect & promote Dalits], end mindless violence, stop associating dietary habits with Hinduness and promote LGBTQIA rights [including gay marriage & adoption]. I can see this reform happening from within Hinduism/Buddhism/Jainism/Sikhism or can be triggered from within than from any other culture or religion which are still stuck in time.
If you believe that there has been no ongoing impact from Christianity, I invite you to eastern Andhra and Tamil Nadu. The large-scale orchestrated effort for conversion has had a deep impact on the demographics. There are American pastors who regularly visit and fund street-to-street conversion drives with predatory tactics. In Andhra, the previous CM (a devout Protestant) and his administration had opened the gateway for evangelists to convert people in droves. Between 2004-14, they had converted entire villages & towns, setup churches where weekly attendance is mandatory and local and religious administrations. These are permanent setups and now maybe as high as 25-30% of Coastal Andhras are Christian [yes – it is recent & it is that high]. Noone talks about it because they have been told to keep a low profile. This and the general unspoken silence/taboo on speaking about religion has ensured that these facts don’t surface [If you are a South Indian, you’d know how tough it is to speak about religion in common circles]. This is happening right now in Punjab in full force.
You are dealing with well-oiled, time-tested evangelist/Catholic strategies which have been perfected over 100s of years and applied on populations from the Amazon to Africa to the Philippines to South Korea. Do not underestimate their smarts – they may believe that the Earth is 6000 years old or that Noah’s ark is real or that evolution is a lie but they know how to convert large populations.
You are right that one cannot be dismissive about the well organized conversion activities of both Catholic and Islamic faiths. These are goals explicitly set forth in their religious texts, in fact a duty of every follower, therefore it legitimizes them. Even if one is not an practicing follower, many support such activities indirectly by not denouncing such meddling. On the other hand, being an ancient belief system, Hindus are obvious targets.
Therefore in any “secular” discussion, one must explicitly recognize that all religions are not equal.
If its true , than it is shame for the paper publishing it , not the writer , any way , he has to save his bread and butter .
Ohk – this seems like an obvious attempt to draw parallels between the political scenario in the US and India. Let’s break this down one by one.
“Hindu supremacy” is something that never been touted by Hindus. The movement was always about establishing native rights & protecting native cultures against foreign cultural imperialism which is largely a fight against a loose coalition global forces with a goal towards supplanting their faiths In India – “Hindu Nationalism”. Also, the bigger change in the US is a not an increase in “White Supremacy” but rather “white nationalism” which is actually a reaction to intellectually dishonest targeting of white people in general by divisive narratives propounded by BlackLivesMatter, self-righteous & smug SJWs. – This clearly shows your biases and also a lack of understand of the underlying issues within both, your country of origin and your adopted homeland.
In the US, minorities like Blacks, Latinos etc. are being targeted – In India, of course, the parallel is – Dalits, Adivasis, Christians & Muslims are being targeted. A nice unsupported myth here – Dalits & Adivasis aren’t Hindus but somehow something entirely different and are being targeted by Hindus [if you concedes that most are actually Hindu then the next step would be that they are being targeted by upper-caste Hindus – then a caste narrative is a logical next step]. Dalit oppression is a social phenomenon and not a religious one [any reference to mentions in the scriptures is not unique – refer to new testament statements by St. Paul – and they are numerous instances in mythology & scriptures against casteism] – but the conflation of both and that caste oppression is unique to India, works well for Maoists [removal of the olds /cultural revolution anyone?!] and Christian Missionaries [paint Hindus as poorly as possible – pls view how various public voices in the US describe Hinduism]. The earliest reformation movements happened within the form of Buddhism & within Hinduism [there are Hindu patron saints within the Dalit communities for having braved ostracisation to defend dalit rights to enter temples – defence of various dietary practices] – where adherence to principles [8-fold path] or divinity were touted as a far superior and trump a person’s origin. While at the same time, never talk about something far far worse in Abrahamic faiths – slavery, which was quite openly sanctioned but somehow gets lost or deliberately not contextualized in narratives decrying the caste system among Hindus. Dalits and Adivasis are not a race – even the most recent studies have pointed out only marginal genetic and non-uniform differences between the upper & lower castes [FYI – ASI & ANI mixes vary greatly within the Indian population & ASI markers are present in nearly all Indians – just goes to show Indian’s natives of this land] – the kind of difference you will find even in sub-populations of various white people in the US [Nordics in Utah, Dakotas and Texas – as they were newer migrants & had to move westward vis. Eastern US, which has a large population of people from Mediterranean vis. New Orleans with the French]. Dalits & Adivasis were an integral part of the Hindu fold despite undergoing social suppression but again conflating their issues with that of Blacks & slavery is just plain wrong. You are really minimizing the seriousness & brutality of the Atlantic slave trade when you tout statements of comparisons like that. If you are looking for a desi case of brutal treatment of a weaker population by a more powerful supremacist group – pls check the Goan Inquisition – a fascinating read.
“Recasting India’s story as an exclusive Hindu Nation” – India’s complex migration patterns until the turn of Islamic invasions had one thing in common – assimilation. India had waves of foreign tribes arriving – Sakas, Kushans/Yuezhi, Hepthalites [Svetahuna], Greeks – however, one thing that separated them from later Islamic invaders was that the ones who came before integrated into the Hindu-Buddhist-Jain cultural ecosystem. India’s culture is its unique identifier – something that is intertwined with its history and is the very definition of its people. We have to make seriously convoluted mental gymnastics to say otherwise. If we don’t acknowledge some basic truths and protect our native cultures, we would be left for dead like Africa – robbed of their history [beautiful civilizations before advent of European colonizers] & lands [RSA, Namibia, Zimbabwe – 1-8% of white population holding 50-80% of arable land], their local traditions & civilizations supplanted through concerted cultural conquest – left with no history/culture, made subservient and ultimately poverty-ridden. Hindu-nationalism is a movement for “Self – respect” not pride yet [I’ll concede that there are many Hindus who fantasy tales about aeroplanes & internet in Vedic times make good bedtime stories but are unfortunately a shall0w counter to a lack of achievements & progress made by the Hindu/Dharmic cultures during the last 1000 years – its just sad – but that doesn’t stop you from using some of these guys for showing Hindus as anti-intellectual and anti-science in general].
If your genuine motive was to help India’s socio-cultural issues, you would have talked about the Hindu reform movements and the attempts being made against blind beliefs & superstitions and even been a part of it. But that isn’t the objective – there is a political/philosophical agenda which is driving your narrative.
You stated that “If India reinstates the most oppressive, reactionary, misogynistic, and elitist parts of its complex history, it will be a loss for the world. The subcontinent’s complex histories include emancipatory, egalitarian, rational and progressive elements worth retrieving and nurturing..” — I agree with most of what has been said here. The Hindu Nationalist movement however can’t be generalized with that last statement “Hindutva forces would like to homogenise, masculinise, and militarise this complicated, diverse nation” – Hindus support LGBTQIA rights in proportions far higher than any other sub-group [Vice News recently did a great job digging one Hindu bigot for its LGBT story who was against homosexuality and avoided the huge & near unanimous opposition towards the repeal of 377 from Islamic & Christian groups]. You mentioned homogenise – the unfortunate truth is that they have brought huge masses people from lower castes into their fold [not to mention made a dalit Hindu the president of the country – we’re proud of this incredible achievement], Modi himself is a lower-caste Hindu – I see a day not too far when the head of the BJP or the prime minister of the country would be a dalit Hindu – far before any other political party. The global homogenization attempt is being made by “Cultural Imperialist” forces as it is in their scriptures and doctrines – this is the selective memory and omission in narratives that really show agendas.
A lot of Hindutvas are fighting to ensure that the scourge of casteism/clanism [which is the actual cause of major strife in India – but again varna, caste, clan everything is made into one goopy soup in the intellectual world] is gone – the only way to ensure this is for Hindus to unite and ensure that every Hindu regardless of origin is the same as another – anyone can be a priest or a warrior or a merchant of be involved in labor or sanitation. This is achieved by reforming it from within by changing hearts & minds, highlighting the good & progressive value within Hinduism and at the same time being honest about issues are reforming – but definitely not by boycotting or protesting.
– A Proud Hindu Atheist, echoing the voice of Lakhs of Hindu Atheists.
Unvarnished verbiage and yet another feeble attempt to absolve the BJP and the destructive Hindutva poison it spreads through the likes of the bigot who for reasons unknown was given a visa to the US to spread his poison.
The original post of the authors had 950 words and conveyed a message. You use 1249 words to convey nothing more than a weak apology for a latter day Golwalkar and his khaki clad stormtroopers.
Sorry old chap, your application to become an unpaid Göbbels is hereby rejected !
Pls close your thesaurus and your “Nazi history for Dummies” book for references and speak to the point. If you want to trade generic barbs to talk down to the right like Hindutva poison, bigot, Gobbels – here are some for you – Commie bloodsuckers, violent anarchists, Maoist scum, SJW. Does this really move a conversation forward? No – all you want to do is shutdown honest debate & ignore inconvenient truths because of the left’s shaky moral & intellectual ground. Passing lazy uninformed judgements have become the hallmark of the corrupt who hide behind platitudes & moral grandstanding to hide their desire to grab power & wipe-off India’s identity & history to re-write it as per a narrative more suitable to their agenda. Weak apology – au contraire my simple-minded friend – your attention span betrays you – pls read more and open your horizons. Knowledge is liberating – I beg you to read more – that’s when you will understand nuances, cause & effect etc. – the world is more complicated and requires complex solutions – not grandstanding.
Also, ‘Visa to America’ – I’ll be honest, this one made me laugh – I’m based in South India and I just read a lot.
” I’m based in South India and I just read a lot”
But you sound more like an Adityanath sidekick than a South Indian who has read a lot !
That sound you’re hearing is that of you getting mentally drubbed Bee-yatch !
Nice going steroetyping that a fraternal unifying sentiment around being a Hindu cannot come from South India. South India has and will be a bastion of Hindu/Chola culture – a incredible history that we won’t let you hatemongers take away. So in short – Po da panni..
Your post reminds me of a quote from Socrates:
“The world is full of questions. Idiots are full of answers”
That statement applies more to you than me. You just make sweeping statements and use ad-hominens but never think or question. Are you afraid of inconvenient truths that could change your mind?
This is an absolute biased account from a person who has no clue of whats happening on the ground in India. This is a dilutional monologue without taking in account of the good work done by the current government and the so called RSS organization. RSS has gone and done relief work in every calamity faced by India in recent past, without any bias against the caste and creed on the beneficiaries. For example, Kerala floods.
The Modi government has taken steps to pass the state benefits to the marginalised rather than stealing the money midway like in past. Doesnt it help the Dalits, Muslims, Christians ?????
Please dont jump on the biased propoganda machanism used by the opposition ( who were bidding for each others blood just a few years ago ) and now coming together as they see Modi government finishing all their opportunities to steal the rightful benefits and growth opportunities from the people of India. Congress and their stooges have kept the people poor and uneducated all their lifes so that they keep stealing from them.
Really? if it so hunky dory as you claim why are so many up in arms? You seem to be another brainwashed ‘bakth’ if you can’t see a simple truth that India has never been more divided and in mistrust of one and another! This party thrives on polarisation and is only here because of that notion! nothing good will ever come out of it! You can try and sat what you want, but this is utter BS. Religion plays no part in politics! they have no other concrete agenda besides that! they will be routed truly next year as they should be!
India is more divided – and your reason is basically – BJP. We have ourselves an 8-year who believes the world was absolutely perfect, a proverbial garden of eden before the evil BJP came and stole the magical pixie dust which kept the world in order with the help of their minions “the Bhakts” and “the Hindus”. The polarization & divisiveness narrative is fueled by people like yourself – probably because you hate the BJP/Hindu right or Hindus in general. You can’t stand that the natives of this land are demanding their native cultural rights & are fighting for self-preservation against global cultural imperialists. If India is divided today, it is because there is a lot of money from the Middle-east to Islamists & Christian churches spent on fueling this hate narrative, selective highlights & outright lies everywhere from TV to whatsapp groups – simply because they hate a resurgent & proud Hindu/Dharmic population – we are challenging their conversion & domination attempts.
If Mr P.L. Sanjay Nirmal criticises the tendency of the BJP to infuse its brand of Hindutva into the political discourse, that does not make him someone who “.. hate the BJP/Hindu right or Hindus in general ..”
Criticism, self-questioning, seeking enlightenment and the questioning of dogmas is what has kept Hinduism alive and thriving. And Mr Nirmal’s questioning of the more thuggish, Hindu Taliban clones does not make him a “Hindu-hater” . I would posit that Mr Nirmal is indeed a true Hindu who questions the half-truths dished out by a bunch of Nagpur based goons and their Gujarathi enforcers.
India’s divisions today are more along the lines of language and regions although the “Brownshirts” inspired “Whiteshirts” refuse to acknowledge that. These Nagpur intellectuals forget that even more than Kashmir, Punjab came to seceding from the Indian Union during the Khalistan struggles – which incidentally are not completely extinguished either. And will very likely get revived should the Nagpur based puppet masters and their Gujarathi puppets tom-tom the “Hindus über alles” ideology excessively.
Yes, Mr Nirmal is correct – the nation is restive and religious polarisation is rife. And I haven’t even come to the topic of your gaurakshak friends.
And please stop bad-mouthing Hindus like Mr Nirmal or myself who refuse to see an equivalence between Hindutva and Hinduism.
Mr. Niraml most probably is Christian!
Well said Sir !
You hit the nail on the head when you say “.. India has never been more divided and in mistrust of one and another ..”
I shudder to think what this divisive agenda of the BJP and its puppet masters the RSS will lead India to.
Your “Idly Mind” has “sambar” in it.
Well, I prefer coconut chutney !
But jokes apart, what – if any – is the point you wish to drive home ?
Rich asking for points from others when you yourself have made none..
Beg to differ on that … I have several posts where I do raise issues …
Mr Basant: Well, the Kerala floods is arguably the best example of inept, jingoistic BJP leadership – something the state will remember during the 2019 polls. The Sangh Parivar and many of your Hindutva brethren actually called for a boycott of aid to the beefeaters of Kerala. You might want to listen what the head of the Hindu Mahasabha Swamy Chakrapani said about helping beefeaters. Other intellectuals from your fraternity suggested directing help solely to Hindus and not to Christians and Muslims in Kerala.
Turns out that Hindus, Muslims and Christians co-operated in helping each other. We get along well in God’s Own country, thank you very much Sir ! Indeed, the state is still smarting from the BJP government’s refusal to let in aid from the UAE. Of course the fact that the BJP and the RSS themselves have no qualms about getting party funding from NRIs and external sources has not been lost on us beefeating Mallus you see.
The Modi government is going to get a solid thrashing in Kerala for its handling of the flood crisis. Nobody tells us Mallus what to do – and certainly not Gujaratis who didn’t mind taking help from Pakistan when there was a quake there.
Basically extrapolating the views of a diverse set of Hindutvas is as good as saying “All muslims are terrorists”. But yes – what is nuance when it comes to Hindus or the BJP? The sheer fact that the entire flood situation was poorly handled by state govt [or even started off due to poor management of dams] has been shamelessly omitted by you goes to show how low you can go just to target BJP and Hindus. The money from UAE has been funding an incredible number of anti-national & anti-Hindu activities globally is a well-established fact. Subversion of such funds in the guise of charity for radicalization and conversions is also quite well-established. Charity funding from Middle-east is almost always agenda-tinged blood money. Opposing it, is absolutely fine.
Hindu-Muslim fraternity has come largely at the cost of Hindus being forced to convert through Islamic terrorism – a history of which in Kerala goes back at least 200 years. But then again, seculars are ay-okay with this and have been happily spinning stories to accommodate their narratives esp. the one that you are spewing. Mappila riots is classic example of how an information war is fought – an attempt to establish a caliphate in Kerala [ISIS before ISIS] being spun into a “fight for independence” – all the Hindu maharajas/ranis & Dr. Ambedkar had begged for British intervention to save Hindus. Instead of confronting & learning from past mistakes, seculars have brushed it under the carpet.
Another paid bakth talking logic. It’s not always BJP vs Congress. It’s a fight between what is right and what is wrong. What qualifies these bakths to be leaders. RSS might have helped kerala flood victims but that doesn’t mean that it is a lion club filled with people who have human values. Are you blind to not see their leaders? These unemployed youth follow their leaders and act as desh bakths but we all know what happens in the name of desh bakthi
Excellent post Mr Sasikant !
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