India's top Hindu Nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has gone global with shakhas (branches) in 39 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and several Islamic middle eastern nations, according to Indian media reports.
In the United States alone, the RSS has 146 active chapters spread over all 50 states, according to Satish Modh who has been associated with RSS work abroad for over 25 years.
While shakhas in India take place in open public spaces, most shakhas meet on university campuses on hired parking lots in the US, says Modh. Most overseas shakhas are held once a week. In London, they are held twice a week. The UK has 84 shakhas.
RSS in US:
A US report entitled "Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Non-Profit Groups" disclosed the following findings regarding the strength and nature of the Hindu nationalist movement in the United States:
a. Over the last three decades, a movement toward Hinduizing India--advancing the status of Hindus toward political and social primacy in India-- has continued to gain ground in South Asia and diasporic communities. The Sangh Parivar (the Sangh "family"), the network of groups at the forefront of this Hindu nationalist movement, has an estimated membership numbering in the millions, making the Sangh one of the largest voluntary associations in India. The major organizations in the Sangh include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
b. Hindu nationalism has intensified and multiplied forms of discrimination, exclusion, and gendered and sexualized violence against Muslims, Christians, other minorities, and those who oppose Sangh violations, as documented by Indian citizens and international tribunals, fact-finding groups, international human rights organizations, and U.S. governmental bodies.
c. India-based Sangh affiliates receive social and financial support from its U.S.-based wings, the latter of which exist largely as tax-exempt non-profit organizations in the United States: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sewa International USA, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation-USA. The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party - USA (OFBJP) is active as well, though it is not a tax-exempt group.
Influencing Thought and Policies:
The RSS is actively working to influence thought and policies in the West. Examples include the contents of the manifesto of the Norway mass murderer Breivik and attempts to influence California textbooks.
Breivik's Hindutva Rhetoric:
The Norwegian white supremacist terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto against the "Islamization of Western Europe" was heavily influenced by the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric which is typical of the Nazi-loving Hindu Nationalists like late Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), and his present-day Sangh Parivar followers and sympathizers in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who currently rule several Indian states. This Hindutva rhetoric which infected Breivik has been spreading like a virus on the Internet, particularly on many of the well-known Islamophobic hate sites that have sprouted up in Europe and America in recent years. In fact, much of the Breivik manifesto is cut-and-pastes of anti-Muslim blog posts and columns that validated his worldview.
"It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible. Our goals are more or less identical," Breivick wrote in his manifesto. The Christian Science Monitor has reported that "in the case of India, there is significant overlap between Breivik’s rhetoric and strains of Hindu nationalism – or Hindutva – on the question of coexistence with Muslims. Human rights monitors have long decried such rhetoric in India for creating a milieu for communal violence, and the Norway incidents are prompting calls here to confront the issue."
Hindu nationalists in India have a long history of admiration for Adolf Hitler, and his "Final Solution". In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."
Not only have the BJP led governments in India fundamentally altered India's history textbooks, the BJP allies around the world are attempting to the same in textbooks as far as California.
Here are some excerpt from "HISTORY TEXTBOOKS IN INDIA: NARRATIVES OF RELIGIOUS NATIONALISM" by K.N.PANIKKAR:
"The introduction of new textbooks by the NCERT (under BJP) was inspired by the political purpose of seeking rationale from history for constructing India as a Hindu nation. The textbooks were, therefore, recast as narratives of Hindu religious nationalism. Claimed as an effort to retrieve the true nationalist history from the motivated distortions of colonial historiography they attribute to Indian nation an exclusively Hindu character."
"During this period the political climate in the country turned in favour of the Hindu fundamentalist forces, which enabled them in 1998 to lead a coalition government in which the Ministry of Human Resource Development which dealt with education was headed by a long standing cadre of the Hindu fundamentalist organization, Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh( RSS). Under his stewardship the government spared no effort to change the content and character of education, of which the introduction of new textbooks, was perhaps the most prominent and indeed controversial."
"The idea of India being a Hindu civilisational state runs through all the texts, either directly expressed or indirectly suggested. The question of the indigenous origin of Aryans and the identity of Harappan civilization with the Vedic society has some bearing on this issue. The former is quite central to the fundamentalist agenda of claiming the nation as Hindu, as the migration theory would deprive the Hindus of indigenous lineage. Therefore, against the widely held scholarly opinion Aryans are credited with indigenous origins, subscribing in the bargain to the colonial view of Aryan race. In the former case the textbooks put forward the view that the Aryans were indigenous to India and that the opinion widely held by scholars about their migration dismissed as inconsequential. In defense of indigenous origin no substantial evidence is adduced, except negative reasoning. It is asserted that the ‘the oldest surviving records of the Aryans, the Rig Veda, does not give even an inkling of any migration. It does not have any knowledge even of the geography beyond the known boundaries of Ancient India.’ It further says: ‘Many scholars think that the Aryans were originally inhabitants of India and did not come from outside. It has been argued by such scholars that there is no archeological or biological evidence, which could establish the arrival of any new people from outside between 5000 B.C and 800 B.C. This means that if at all there was any migration of Aryans or for that matter of any other people in India, it may have taken place at least eight or nine thousand years ago or after 800 B.C. to both of which there is no evidence. Further, the skeletal remains found from various Harappan sites resemble the skeletons of the modern population of the same geographical area.'"
The fanatic Hindu nationalists tried to do in California what their Indian counterparts have already done in India. They attempted to pollute California history textbooks in 2006, when they argued unsuccessfully to include lies like the indigenous origins of Aryans and tried to deny the terrible impact on hundreds of millions of Indians of the caste system and misogyny prevalent in Hindu texts and Aryan culture.
Hundreds of history scholars from US and South Asia helped defeat this reprehensible attempt by Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and its allies in the United States.
While the biggest victims of Hindu fundamentalists are the women and the Dalits of India, non-Hindu minorities and the neighboring states have not been spared either.
They are cowards and they prey upon unarmed Muslim, Christian and Sikh minorities in organized pogroms in what American scholar Paul Brass calls "production of violence" in India with many Indian intellectuals and some in the Indian press justifying the actions of the murderers.
The big brothers of these fanatic Hindutva terrorists occupy high positions in the Indian security establishment, according to former Maharashtra police chief SM Mushrif. These Hindutva allies in Indian government conduct covert warfare via terrorist actions in neighboring states including Pakistan through RAW.
The Indian Hindu Nationalists are rapidly increasing their global reach. The hate-filled ideology they preach is a growing potential threat to peace and stability of many nations where they operate. Breivik's actions represent only the tip of a much larger and growing iceberg of death and destruction that lies just beneath the surface.
Hinduization of India
Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric
India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan
The only final solution South Asia saw was in 1971.
Riaz, do you think anyone in the west is concerned about Hindu extremism (if at all it exists). They are concerned about this
RK: "Riaz, do you think anyone in the west is concerned about Hindu extremism (if at all it exists)."
The West was friends with the "Islamic extremists" during the cold war....Reagan even compared them with America's founding fathers in 1980s. Things can and do change with time.
"Things can and do change with time."
Sure. When Hindus indulge in 9/11, 7/7, Paris, Mumbai, Madrid, Bethlam, Bali and many others, then yes things will change.
RK: "Sure. When Hindus indulge in 9/11, 7/7, Paris, Mumbai, Madrid, Bethlam, Bali and many others, then yes things will change."
Your allies among the white supremacist like Norwegian Anders Breivik are your proxies inspired by hateful Hindutva rhetoric to do it for you.
Except from Hindu Nationalism and Hi-Tech in Silicon Valley by David Palumbo-Liu
It is not at all uncommon that political debates and antagonisms take root and even flourish outside their native soil. What merits our close attention is the intensity and amplitude of this particular issue, which merges international hi-tech and finance with longstanding and bitter disputes in South Asia, and reaches into, and threatens, academic freedom and freedom of speech in the American academy.
I understand your frustration that while Hindus in the west have earned excellent reputation as hardworking, well educated and well placed citizens, muslims have *ONLY* earned a bad reputation. Hollywood, TV shows confirm that. May be one day Islam may reform and move to 21st century.
RK : "I understand your frustration that while Hindus in the west have earned excellent reputation as hardworking, well educated and well placed citizens, muslims have *ONLY* earned a bad reputation"
This comment just shows your ignorance and bigotry that you share with right-wing Republicans in the US.
You need to learn the history to understand my response. Before Muslims, there have been succession of hated groups in the US that included Germans, Japanese, Jews and Communists who were all far more accomplished than the NRIs of today.
RSS India's number 1 terror group: Former Mumbai police officer
"RSS activists have been chargesheeted in at least 13 cases of terror acts in which RDX has been used. If organisations like Bajrang Dal are taken into the account, then the number of such cases goes up to 17," Mushrif said at an event in Kolkata.
"The RSS is India's number one terrorist organisation, there is no doubt on this," said Mushrif, referring to the 2007 Mecca Masjid bombing in Hyderabad, the 2006 and 2008 Malegaon blasts in Maharashtra and the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings among others.
Here are excerpts of a NY Times piece by Pankaj Mishra on Hindu Nationalism:
Since Mr. Naipaul defined it, the apocalyptic Indian imagination has been enriched by the exploits of Hindu nationalists, such as the destruction in 1992 of the 16th-century Babri Masjid mosque, and the nuclear tests of 1998. Celebrating the tests in speeches in the late 1990s, including one entitled “Ek Aur Mahabharata” (One More Mahabharata), the then head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the National Volunteers Association, or R.S.S), the parent outfit of Hindu nationalists, claimed that Hindus, a “heroic, intelligent race,” had so far lacked proper weapons but were sure to prevail in the forthcoming showdown with demonic anti-Hindus, a broad category that includes Americans (who apparently best exemplify the worldwide “rise of inhumanity”).
A Harvard-trained economist called Subramanian Swamy recently demanded a public bonfire of canonical books by Indian historians — liberal and secular intellectuals who belong to what the R.S.S. chief in 2000 identified as that “class of bastards which tries to implant an alien culture in their land.” Denounced by the numerous Hindu supremacists in social media as “sickular libtards” and sepoys (the common name for Indian soldiers in British armies), these intellectuals apparently are Trojan horses of the West. They must be purged to realize Mr. Modi’s vision in which India, once known as the “golden bird,” will “rise again.”
Mr. Modi doesn’t seem to know that India’s reputation as a “golden bird” flourished during the long centuries when it was allegedly enslaved by Muslims. A range of esteemed scholars — from Sheldon Pollock to Jonardon Ganeri — have demonstrated beyond doubt that this period before British rule witnessed some of the greatest achievements in Indian philosophy, literature, music, painting and architecture. The psychic wounds Mr. Naipaul noticed among semi-Westernized upper-caste Hindus actually date to the Indian elite’s humiliating encounter with the geopolitical and cultural dominance first of Europe and then of America.
These wounds were caused, and are deepened, by failed attempts to match Western power through both mimicry and collaboration (though zealously anti-Western, Chinese nationalism has developed much more autonomously in comparison). Largely subterranean until it erupts, this ressentiment of the West among thwarted elites can assume a more treacherous form than the simple hatred and rejectionism of outfits such as Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Taliban. The intellectual history of right-wing Russian and Japanese nationalism reveals an ominously similar pattern as the vengeful nativism of Hindu nationalists: a recoil from craving Western approval into promoting religious-racial supremacy.
The fantasies of racial-religious revenge and redemption that breed in Western suburbs as well as posh Indian enclaves today speak of a vast spiritual desolation as well as a deepening intellectual crisis. Even Mr. Naipaul briefly succumbed to the pathology of mimic machismo he had despised (and, later, also identified among chauvinists in Muslim countries). He hailed the vandalizing by a Hindu mob of the Babri Masjid mosque in 1992, which triggered nationwide massacres of Muslims, as the sign of an overdue national “awakening.”
There are many more such nonresident Indians in the West today, vicariously living history’s violent drama in their restless exile: In Madison Square Garden, in New York, last month, more than 19,000 people cheered Mr. Modi’s speech about ending India’s millennium-long slavery. ...
Does RSS have a chapter in Pakiland? Have they tried to change textbooks there?
Why is there so much of an insecurity complex about RSS. Just to clarify that Hinduism bars religious conversion. There is no way any monotheistic/abrahamic religions being part of hinduism. The hysteria about RSS and Gowalkar is a currency that has been overencashed. Scaremongering minorities to milk for votes may be a political tool that serves pseudo secular politcal parties. But why should americans and especially american muslims be worried. I would like to know apart from the scaremongering, what is the real risk of Hinduism or RSS having followers worldwide. Let me add to say terrorists have to punished not because they belong to a certain religion but because the harm a fellow human being.
The funny thing is that once you get to see RSS closely, you will realise that they neither have the discipline not the dedication of Nazis. They are just a bunch of overhyped individuals. The problem being not with the individuals but with the people who overhype the world into thinking that they are some invincible "army of angels"
I would like to know if Iskon and art of living is also viewed with the same amount of suspicion. Is america retracting from its pledge to safeguard freedom to practice any religion?
Extremism of any form is detrimental to society, regardless of the religious beliefs held by its proponents. The RSS is an organization that has time and again preached intolerance and in some cases, violence against minorities (particularly muslims, christians and LGBT individuals). While they are not a terrorist organization,they are by no means inclusive. Indians need to understand that India is not a Hindu republic. It is a secular nation with strong protections enshrined in its constitution to ensure that minorities are not treated like second-class citizens. However, the RSS does not respect these protections and actively conspires to undermine them. This is the reason minorities despise and fear the RSS.
Globalization and militant Hindu nationalism: The new context for theology in India
This dissertation is an attempt to propose new directions for Christian theology in India in the present context of globalization and militant Hindu nationalism. In recent years, Christians have been the target of violent attacks by militant Hindu nationalists. Critically analyzing the history of Christianity and militant Hindu nationalism in India, this dissertation claims that militant Hindu nationalism originated in the context of Western colonialism, which brought about a crisis of religious, cultural, and national identity among Hindus. It also left India poverty-stricken. The above claim is not made without taking into account contesting rationale for militant Hindu nationalism, especially, caste status quo. It is further claimed that globalization is perceived as recreating "colonization-like" situations, only now at a staggering speed and on a global level, thus representing economic, political, cultural, and social issues formerly associated with colonialism. The contemporary attacks on Christians by militant Hindu nationalists must be understood within the dynamics of globalization.
The Church in India needs to respond to the crisis emerging from globalization and militant Hindu nationalism. It is proposed that a renewed theological initiative can provide the basis of such as a response. The theological initiatives proposed here build upon the method of contextual theology proposed by Robert Schreiter. Building also on the already existing theology in India this dissertation proposes that the three traditional areas of focus of Indian theology--inculturation, interreligious dialogue, and social justice--would be addressed within newer frameworks of interpretation, implementing advances in the field of intercultural communications. The main conclusion of the dissertation is that it is through renewed theological initiatives that the Church in India can become genuinely Indian in a way that re-appropriates the relative cultural and religious integration the Church had achieved in the pre-colonial era.
BBC News - #India PM Modi makes surprise visit to #Lahore #Pakistan. Meets PM #NawazSharif http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35178594 …
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif during a surprise visit to the Pakistani city of Lahore.
Mr Modi was returning to India from Afghanistan when he stopped off. The visit coincided with the Pakistani prime minister's birthday.
Mr Modi is the first Indian PM to visit Pakistan since 2004.
Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours have been high in recent years but relations have begun to warm.
The pair met briefly in Paris last month on the sidelines of the COP21 climate change conference.
The two men hugged after Mr Modi arrived at Allama Iqbal International Airport on Friday, before making their way to Mr Sharif's nearby estate.
Neither side has released a statement on the substance of the talks, which lasted two hours.
After the meeting, Mr Modi left to return to India.
Mr Modi, a Hindu nationalist, came to power in 2014 and has tried to help raise India's international profile.
The two countries have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.
Kashmir, claimed by both countries in its entirety, has been a flashpoint for more than 60 years.
A ceasefire agreed in 2003 remains in place, but the neighbours often accuse each other of violating it.
Why do you attack Hindu religion?
Kiran: "Why do you attack Hindu religion? "
You are a really confused person.
Hindu Nationalism is an anti-minorities political and social movement, not Hindu religion. Not all Hindus are in Sangh Parivar. Modi's BJP got only 30% of votes to win two-thirds of all seats in Lok Sabha.
Actually the dilemma is that we have a right wing racist party voted to power in India. Which believes on the formation of "Akhand Bharat" and destabilizing its neighbors Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka though proxy wars. BJP & the likes of RSS have further sidelined already marginalized minorities which reside in India
"Believing #Modi’s Christmas visit to #Pakistan will produce results is like believing in Santa Claus" #India #BJP http://bv.ms/1OoR50Q
In recent months, the president of the BJP declared that a victory for Modi’s political opposition is a victory for Pakistan, and Modi’s allies have routinely urged the critics of rising bigotry in India to move to Pakistan. For most of this year, Modi’s government rudely spurned substantive talks with Pakistan.
Suddenly, however, Modi is assuming the mantle of a statesman, reaching out to the enemy. Like Richard Nixon, who defied his own long record of hard-line anti-Communism by meeting Mao Zedong, Modi seems to want to open the door that he helped shut.
Certainly, Modi, with his jaunt to Lahore, has at last achieved more uniformly upbeat headlines for himself in the international media. Many people are eager to believe that an old and destructive antagonism is about to be defused. But believing that Modi’s Christmas mission will produce a great and enduring bonanza, including his own change of heart, may be a bit like believing in Santa Claus.
Modi’s histrionic visit to Nepal last year was likewise hailed by international relations experts as inaugurating a new chapter in India’s relations with its neighbors. However, in recent months, an unofficial Indian embargo — an attempt to force Nepal to change its constitution — has brought the Nepalese economy to its knees, sparking widespread hatred of Modi and India in Nepal.
The key to Modi's chameleon-like behavior lies in the realization that he is, as his own senior colleague, L.K. Advani, pointed out, a “'brilliant and efficient events manager.” Modi rose fast in the staid world of Indian politics partly because he was the first to recognize the imperative of inserting himself into 24-hour news cycles, of manipulating social media and hosting massive spectacles to the impress the rich, the powerful and the influential.
His year-and-a-half in India’s highest office has been chiefly distinguished by a series of photo-ops with world leaders and stirring oratory in stadiums packed with tens of thousands of ecstatic non-resident Indians in the U.K, the U.S. and Australia. Grand proclamations and promises — from International Day for Yoga to Digital India — reveal little of substance on close examination.
If Modi is now extending his permanent public relations campaign to Pakistan, it is because he is now a politician with rapidly diminishing capital. He is very far from fulfilling his most potent electoral promise, of creating jobs for the millions of young Indians entering the work force every year. He suffered humiliating defeats in state elections in Delhi and Bihar. His apparent indifference to hate speech by his party colleagues, and his silence over the lynching of Muslims, has provoked unprecedented protests from the Indian intelligentsia has invited international scrutiny.
As so often in his career, Modi is trying to change adverse headlines and announce a rousing new narrative. But even if you believe that he is sincerely determined this time to improve relations between India and Pakistan, it is prudent to understand how they could remain hostage to hardliners on both sides.
#Hindu nationalists gather for massive rally in #India. #BJP #Modi #RSS http://str.sg/Zr6E
Tens of thousands of Hindu hardliners, dressed in khaki shorts, white shirts and black hats, gathered for an elaborate rally in western India on Sunday (Jan 3) in a massive show of strength.
It was set to be one of the largest ever gatherings of the controversial Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a group seen as the ideological parent of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
More than 150,000 activists, almost all men, had registered for the rally at which RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was due to deliver a speech from a stage designed to resemble a fort.
A marching band composed of 2,000 RSS volunteers was also scheduled to play. A giant saffron flag, the colour most associated with Hinduism, was to be hoisted on a post over 20 metres high at the 182-hectare rally site in Pune, Maharashtra state.
Analysts say the RSS's influence has never been greater following the election in May 2014 of Modi, a former RSS foot-soldier. Attendees, who arrived in their hordes throughout the morning, were in bullish mood.
"People in the RSS look up to Modi as an example of what we can become. He gives our organisation a great image," Vinayak Deshpande, 32, told AFP.
Another volunteer, who asked not to be named, said the RSS had witnessed a 20 per cent increase in activists since Modi became prime minister.
"With Modi as prime minister the RSS is on the right track," he said.
The RSS, formed in 1925, is India's biggest grassroots religious organisation and is believed to have around five million activists, known as "Swayamsevaks".
It styles itself as a cultural organisation devoted to protecting India's Hindu culture but critics accuse it of being an anti-Muslim pseudo-fascist organisation with a history of fuelling religious tensions.
The RSS is notoriously secretive - volunteers do not formally register as members and communications are often done verbally. Sunday's event was rare for its size and for its open invitation to the media.
Pravin Dabadghav, a senior RSS official in Maharashtra who helped organise the gathering, said it was set to be the largest ever meeting of RSS volunteers in western and southern India.
The previous high was in 2010 when 90,000 attended a gathering in Kerala.
The RSS has been banned three times in post-independence India, including after a former member assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 and following the 1992 demolition of a mosque in Ayodhya which led to deadly nationwide riots.
It favours a uniform civil code for India rather than personal laws for different religions, the protection of cows - which are sacred to Hindus - and the construction of a temple on the disputed Ayodhya site.
Modi helped the group out as a boy and became a full-time volunteer as a young adult, taking the requisite vow of celibacy, for more than 15 years before joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.
It's time #India stops blaming #Pakistan for every terror attack on its soil. #PathankotAttack http://qz.com/587292 via @qzindia
Since 2009, 31 (Pakistani) military installations, including airbases and intelligence headquarters, have been attacked by the militants affiliated with the Al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, and its affiliate and the sectarian killer group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). The attacks on Pakistan’s naval and air bases have led to the destruction of expensive equipment and loss of military personnel. If terrorism is sponsored singularly by Pakistan’s intelligence networks, then it would be irrational to believe that the military attacks its own installations.
The reality is that the militias since the Afghan jihad have fragmented, made further worse by the Al Qaeda’s operations for more than a decade. Pakistan is fighting this menace—mostly a result of continued regional conflict and its past security policies—and trying to eliminate these networks. Official statements from Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the military leadership, led by Army chief General Raheel Sharif, have indicated that the erstwhile distinction between good and bad Taliban no longer stands. Skepticism has been aired about these pronouncements since much more needs to be done to undo the militant infrastructure. But Pakistan is moving in that direction. In recent months, the state has eliminated the LeJ leadership, and several groups that comprise the Pakistani Taliban.
On top of that, Sharif would not have fixed an informal meeting with Modi without taking the military into confidence. He has avoided direct confrontation with the military in his third tenure. Reuters, citing security sources, had reported in December that the military paved the way for reviving stalled India-Pakistan dialogue process. The appointment of a retired general as national security advisor (NSA) provides the military a direct stake in the dialogue with India.
The rogue elements within the security apparatus that aided terror groups in the past have not gone unnoticed. Attacks on Pakistan’s military, and even the former president Musharraf, have happened with collusion at lower levels. But it is too early to conclude in that direction. Also, things have changed since 2008 Mumbai attacks. The incentive to escalate conflict with India is perhaps at its lowest—not because there has been a fundamental shift in the way Pakistani state works or imagines its nationalism. The regional dynamics necessitate this change. Pakistan of 2015 is aspiring for economic integration with China’s “One Belt, One Road” programme; and aiming to become a transit hub of energy trade.
#Hindu Right-Wing Attack on #India’s Universities, Academic Freedom. #BJP #Modi http://nyti.ms/1OP6QS8
I met Sandeep Pandey days after he was sacked from his position as a visiting professor at a prestigious technical institute at Banaras Hindu University. We sat in a dreary guesthouse on the university campus. Mr. Pandey had just finished a long train ride. With his wrinkled kurta pajama and rubber slippers, he was every bit the picture of an old-fashioned Indian leftist.
That was why he’d been fired. “Ideologically, I am at the opposite extreme to the people who are at present in power,” he said. “These people not only cannot tolerate any dissent; they don’t even tolerate disagreement. They want everybody who disagrees with them out of this campus.” Mr. Pandey was referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and — more to the point — the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the B.J.P.’s cultural fountainhead.
The R.S.S., a Hindu nationalist organization, was founded in 1925 as a muscular alternative to Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom movement. Its founder admired Adolf Hitler, and in 1948 the organization was blamed for indirectly inspiring Gandhi’s assassination. The B.J.P. has not always had an easy relationship with the R.S.S. With its fanciful ideas of Hindu purity and its sweeping range of prejudices, the organization is dangerously out of step with the realities of India’s political landscape. When the B.J.P. wants to win an election, it usually distances itself from the R.S.S.’s cultural agenda.
Mr. Modi’s 2014 election had very little to do with the R.S.S. and everything to do with his personality and promises of development. But the R.S.S. doesn’t see it that way. Like a fairy-tale dwarf, the group has sought to extract its due from the man it helped into power. As payment for the debt, the R.S.S. wants control of education. Specifically, it wants to install its men at the helm of universities where they will wreak vengeance on the traditionally left-wing intellectual establishment that has always held them in contempt.
At a prestigious film institute, students are protesting the appointment of a president whose only qualification, they feel, is a willingness to advance the R.S.S.’s agenda. The group’s members have met with the education minister in the hope of shaping education policy; in states that the B.J.P. controls, the R.S.S. has been putting forward the names of underqualified ideologues for advisory positions on the content of textbooks and curriculums. It has also sought to put those who share its ideology at the head of important cultural institutions, such as the Indian Council of Historical Research.
This is the background to Mr. Pandey’s dismissal. His new boss, Girish Chandra Tripathi, the vice chancellor, is an R.S.S. man. The Ministry of Education helped push through his appointment after Mr. Modi’s election. One B.H.U. professor, who wished not to be named, described Mr. Tripathi as “an academic thug with no qualifications.” (He was previously a professor of economics.)
The new vice chancellor soon turned on Mr. Pandey. “It was all engineered,” Mr. Pandey said to me. First, the professor said, he was denounced by a student. Then a local news website printed a bogus story accusing him of being part of an armed guerrilla movement. (Mr. Pandey, a Gandhian, opposes all violence.) Soon after, the university’s board of governors decided, on Mr. Tripathi’s recommendation, that he be fired. He is an alumnus of the university and a mechanical engineer with a degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He has won awards for his social work. None of this made a difference. He was given a month to clear out.
The problem with the vice chancellor is not just that he is right-wing. It is that he is unqualified for his position. This was never more apparent than in his total inability to grasp the value of dissent at an institution of learning.
Pankaj Mishra on Arundhati Roy: #Hindu nationalists have many ways to silence writers. #Modi #BJP http://gu.com/p/4gbmg/stw
the suppression of intellectual and creative freedoms is assuming much cannier forms in India, a country with formal and apparently free democratic institutions.
Controlled by upper-caste Hindu nationalists, Indian universities have been purging “anti-nationals” from both syllabuses and campuses for some months now. In a shocking turn of events last month, Rohith Vemula, a PhD student in Hyderabad, killed himself. Accused of “anti-national” political opinions, the impoverished research scholar, who belonged to one of India’s traditionally and cruelly disadvantaged castes, was suspended, and, after his fellowship was cancelled, expelled from student housing. Letters from Modi’s government in Delhi to university authorities revealed that the latter were under relentless pressure to move against “extremist and anti-national politics” on campus. Vemula’s heartbreaking suicide note attests to the near-total isolation and despair of a gifted writer and thinker.
The extended family of upper-caste nationalists plainly aim at total domination of the public sphere. But they don’t only use the bullying power of the leviathan state – one quickly identified by local and foreign critics – to grind down their apparent enemies. They pursue them through police cases and legal petitions by private individuals – a number of criminal complaints have been filed against writers and artists in India. They create a climate of impunity, in which emboldened mobs ransack newspapers offices, art galleries and cinemas.
And they turn the medium into their message in a variety of ways. Big business cronies of prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) are close to achieving Berlusconi-style domination of Indian television. The Hindu nationalists have also learned how to manipulate the new media, and shape instant opinion: they hire, to use Erdoğan’s words, a “robot lobby” on social media to drown their audiences in disinformation – until two plus two looks five.
It is possible to identify institutions and individuals across the realms of business, education and the media who serve as attack-dogs and sentinels for the party in power. All these networks of political, social and cultural power – from suave editors to rancid trolls – work synergistically to build dispositions, and dictate perceptions. Together, they can exert pressure at multiple points on individuals much less vulnerable than Rohith Vemula.
Last week, as the novelist Arundhati Roy abruptly faced criminal trial for “contempt of court” that could result in imprisonment, a circulating text message claimed that the writer was part of a conspiracy by Christian missionaries to murder Vemula and break up India. It wasn’t easy to dismiss this farrago of paranoid nonsense. And then the indifferent, if not hostile, reports in India’s mainstream media could have made anyone think that Roy had a case to answer.
It involves not only censorship by a ruthless regime and self-censorship by its powerless individual victims. It depends on a steady deterioration in public and private morality, a rise in lynch-mob hysteria, and a general coarsening of tone in civil society, to which judge and jester contribute equally.
Narendra Modi: the divisive manipulator who charmed the world
On the day Roy faced criminal charges in Nagpur, the Jaipur literary festival, unironically sponsored by Zee, hosted a debate on freedom of speech. The rowdiest arguments against the motion “Should Freedom of Speech be Absolute?” were presented by Anupam Kher, a Bollywood actor popular for his buffoonish turns. In November, Kher organised a demonstration against Indian authors who had returned their literary awards in protest against the assassination of three writers and the lynching of Muslims and Dalits. He repaired from shouting such slogans as “beat the literati with shoes” to pose for photos with Modi at the prime minister’s official residence in Delhi.
#Indian prime minister #Modi claims genetic science existed in ancient #India. #BJP http://gu.com/p/42zjb/stw
Hindu nationalists have long propagated their belief that many discoveries of modern science and technology were known to the people of ancient India. But now for the first time an Indian prime minister has endorsed these claims, maintaining that cosmetic surgery and reproductive genetics were practiced thousands of years ago.
As proof, Narendra Modi gave the examples of the warrior Karna from the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata and of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha.
“We can feel proud of what our country achieved in medical science at one point of time,” the prime minister told a gathering of doctors and other professionals at a hospital in Mumbai on Saturday. “We all read about Karna in the Mahabharata. If we think a little more, we realise that the Mahabharata says Karna was not born from his mother’s womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time. That is why Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb.”
Modi went on: “We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery.”
While much of Modi’s speech was devoted to how to improve healthcare facilities in modern India, he also dwelt on ancient India’s “capabilities” in several fields.
“There must be many areas in which our ancestors made big contributions,” he said. “Some of these are well recognised. If we talk about space science, our ancestors had, at some point, displayed great strengths in space science. What people like Aryabhata had said centuries ago is being recognised by science today. What I mean to say is that we are a country which had these capabilities. We need to regain these.”
This is not the first time that Modi has publicly articulated such ideas. But he did so earlier as chief minister of Gujarat state, and not as prime minister. He also wrote the foreword to a book for school students in Gujarat which maintains, among other things, that the Hindu God Rama flew the first aeroplane and that stem cell technology was known in ancient India.
Modi’s claims at the Mumbai hospital initially went unreported in the Indian media, except on the website rediff.com.
But on Monday night Headlines Today TV talk show host Karan Thapar focused on it in his primetime programme, with opposition politicians criticising Modi. The speech has also been posted on the prime minister’s official website. No Indian scientist has come forward as yet to challenge him.
Muslims believe Profart Mohd traveled in a Concord Horse (JIbral) to meet so called Allah and was back same night to Arabia.
Anon: "Muslims believe Profart Mohd traveled in a Concord Horse (JIbral) to meet so called Allah and was back same night to Arabia. "
How many Muslim countries' prime ministers have you heard claiming it was built by Muslim scientists using Islamic technology?
#Modi's siege on #JNU: #Hindutva's battle for #India's classrooms is out in the open http://qz.com/619185 via @qzindia
The clusterfuck that is the current row over Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is not really about Kanhaiya Kumar’s alleged sedition. It is merely one episode in a colossal tussle between the Left and Right over a prize catch: education, the shaping of the future citizen.
And there is apparently no place too low to go in pursuit of that quest.
The Indian state has criminally neglected education for decades. Despite plenty of primary schools, a Right to Education Act, and all the right policy noises, our education system is abysmal. Schools are often just empty rooms; teachers are absent or barely more literate than their students; a lack of infrastructure—from toilets to educational materials—hinders both enrolment and learning outcomes. Kids suffer the same social discrimination inside classrooms as they do outside.
Higher education has gotten more attention, and islands of excellence such as the Indian Institutes of Technology and JNU regularly produce people who do India proud. But in general, the absolutely crucial role of education in nation-building has suffered from an inexplicable lack of political backing.
Today’s central government, for all its dull-witted devotion to Vedic flying machines and cow urine, is sharply cognizant of the power of the classroom. And it will do all it can to capture it and cast it in its image. The Sangh Parivar is very clear about what kind of Indians it wants in India, and much more driven and organised in the pursuit of that aim.
Want a Hindutva nation that purges itself of “westernised”, “socialist” thinking? Catch ’em young and mould them.
Campuses are rich sources of leadership. You just have to take the campus as a place where people are exposed to new ideas and learn to think for themselves, and recast it as a boot camp. And if you can’t corral them into your way of thinking, intimidate them with the threat of violence.
The patriotism bogey
That project of re-educating India along Hindutva lines has been underway for much longer than two years. The RSS shakha is a potent classroom, and there are Hindu groups that enthusiastically train armies of children in the use of weapons and rhetoric to “fight ISIS” (read Muslims). This project has only picked up momentum since May 2014.
Narendra Modi’s right-leaning Hindutva government is deeply anti-intellectual, obscurantist, and regressive. Its ministers are comically incompetent, its public relations tone-deaf, and its instincts stone age.
Smriti Irani, India’s human resources development minister, wasn’t chosen for her progressive educational views. From the cultural chaperoning of Indian cinema-goers by the censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani to the ruckus at the Film and Television Institute of India over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan to the mess at JNU, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is going for the jugular of Indian education.
When, crying sedition, the home ministry waded into what should have been an internal university matter at JNU, it did so with naked strategy, wearing only a bikini of incompetence.
But however stupid and embarrassing this government may be, it is very good at replicating its thinking by stoking rage and hatred.
#Hindu Nationalist "Scholars" in #India demand that #Harvard U Press drop its well-respected editor. #Modi #BJP #JNU http://ihenow.com/1QkRAgs
The Murty Classical Library of India has been praised as an ambitious scholarly effort to make the classics of India available in the highest-quality English translations -- and to promote more study of those classics around the world. In the series, works are presented in their original languages (which include Bangla, Hindi, Panjabi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tamil and Urdu) with English translations on opposite pages. Hundreds of titles may eventually be published. An article in The Hindu in October said that "few intellectual and literary ventures have more transformative potential" for scholarship and understanding of India.
In what some fear is an escalation of demands from Hindu nationalists to control study of their country's history and culture, more than 11,000 scholars in India have in only a few days signed a petition demanding the ouster of the lead editor of the series, Sheldon Pollock, who is the Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies at Columbia University and generally considered a leading expert on the classic works of Indian civilizations.
Academics in the West are concerned not only about the petition but the reasons it gives. Pollock is criticized because he disagrees with some views of Hindu nationalists, because he is leading the project (which involves an international team of scholars) from the United States and because he recently signed a statement of scholars that defended students and faculty members at Jawaharlal Nehru University who are protesting the arrest of the president of the student union on sedition charges.
Effectively, say Western academics, their counterparts in India who are affiliated with the governing Bharatiya Janata Party are sending a message to the United States and elsewhere that professors who criticize the nationalist moves by the government will find themselves facing hostility or other obstacles to working on India. The petition is attracting widespread attention -- much of it positive -- in the Indian press.
Several scholars said they were deeply concerned but also afraid to speak out right now. Harvard University Press declined to comment. So did Pollock.
The debate over the Harvard University Press series comes at a time when some scholars in India whose views clash with nationalists report losing their jobs or their influence. Further, some American universities have been debating grants from Indian nationalist groups that some say go too far in letting those groups influence those who would be hired as scholars and teachers. The University of California at Irvine in February rejected grants for endowed chairs for this reason.
University presses, which both publish about and in India, have been the focus of debate previously.
In 2011, Oxford University Press ended publication in India of some essays that angered nationalists. After many scholars worldwide protested the move, Oxford reversed itself and said that it would publish the works in India. Among the organizers of a letter by scholars that was influential in getting Oxford to resume publication was Pollock, who is now editing the Harvard series.
Controversial student activists of #Hindu #RSS #ABVP turn #India's universities into ideological battlegrounds. #BJP http://fw.to/YKln0HJ
They have disrupted movie screenings, scuffled with fellow students and briefly held a liberal journalist hostage.
And in recent weeks, the political activism of the student organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has become even more controversial in India.
Activists with the ABVP – which springs from the same Hindu nationalist organization as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party – complained about a campus event at the University of New Delhi where students condemned the hanging of a convicted terrorist.
Top government officials launched an investigation. Students who organized the Feb. 9 event were charged with sedition and the president of the student union was jailed.
That followed an episode at a university in the southern city of Hyderabad, where ABVP members complained to federal education officials about a student protest against the execution of a man convicted for his role in serial bombings in 1993. One student targeted in the complaint committed suicide.
The agitations have turned India’s university campuses into a battleground between liberal, secular voices and supporters of Modi’s conservative government – of which ABVP has become among the most prominent. The group’s leaders say they are fighting an ideological battle against professors and others they accuse of downplaying the traditions of India’s Hindu majority to appease minorities.
“There is a myth called secularism, which believes in denying Indian culture and tradition,” said Sunil Ambekar, national organizing secretary for the ABVP. “And these so-called intellectuals propagated this myth for all these years…. Instead of teaching patriotism, they encourage anti-national activities.”
Secularism is enshrined in India’s constitution, and professors who have clashed with ABVP say that India’s right-wing establishment sees an opportunity to promote a pro-Hindu agenda at universities. Professors worry that the group’s rising influence is shrinking the space for free debate.
“The government is using ABVP as its foot soldiers because to bring about ideological change in society, it is better to start with students,” said Milind Awad, assistant professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, where the February incident occurred.
ABVP maintains it is independent of the BJP, although many party leaders, including government ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad, were members.
The group claims to be India’s largest student organization, with 9,800 chapters nationwide. Its membership doubled from 1.1 million in 2003 to 2.2 million a decade later. In 2014, the year Modi took office, the group said it added more than 900,000 members.
The group traces its roots to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a hard-line Hindu nationalist organization that was temporarily banned after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination in 1948 for spreading hatred against the independence leader. The organization, which also spawned the BJP, formed the student group to attract young followers.
Yadunath Deshpande, secretary of the ABVP in Mumbai, organized symposiums across universities last year with the aim of getting students to think “pro-nation.” One topic focused on “Indianizing” the subjects that students are taught.
“There are many aspects of our rich history ignored in India’s education curriculum,” Deshpande said.
Deshpande vigorously denied that the BJP had any say in its functioning.
“Students are gravitating towards ABVP because we take up student issues,” he said. “We will not hesitate in standing up to this government either if the situation arises.”
Tensions between the right and left wings have long roiled Indian university campuses. The difference now, many observers say, is that ABVP’s links to the governing party are prompting top officials to become involved in the disputes.
In #India One Case Of Anti #Christian #Violence Every Day | Pray | Open Doors USA. #Modi #BJP #Hindu #Bigotry http://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/pray/tag-prayer-updates-post/in-india-one-case-of-anti-christian-violence-every-day/?utm_source=newsletter …
Attacks on Christians in India were reported on an almost daily basis in 2015, according to a Christian advocacy group.
“The country saw 355 incidents of violence, including 200 major incidents, during the last year,” Joseph Dias, convener of Mumbai-based Catholic Secular Forum, told World Watch Monitor. The forum’s report, released on Jan. 18, concluded that it is “not safe” to be a Christian in India.
The group reports that seven pastors were killed, several nuns were raped and hundreds of Christians were arrested under India’s anti-conversions laws. The report was released as 12 people, including a blind couple and their three-year-old son, were arrested in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, under the state’s anti-conversion law, which forbids conversions through “allurement” or “force.” Seven of those arrested, including the blind couple, were released from custody on January 17, according to local pastor Suresh Mandlo.
Dias blamed the increase in incidents against Christians on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.
“The rise of the BJP has emboldened the [Hindu nationalist] fringe groups,” he said. “They feel that they can treat the Christians as soft targets under BJP's patronage and protection.”
“Even the government is acting in a partisan manner,” added Dias, relating two recent high-profile cases involving foreign clerics.
In the first case, Sister Bertilla Capra, an Italian Catholic nun who had been working with leprosy victims for four decades, was denied the renewal of her visa. Then, authorities at the Chennai International Airport detained and subsequently deported Hegumen Seraphim, a Russian Orthodox priest.
The Russian embassy said the treatment of the priest, who was detained at the airport for seven hours and denied food, was “unacceptable.” The embassy’s statement added that, “Such disrespect, shown to a priest from a friendly country, goes against the spirit of mutual affinity and cooperation characteristic of Russian-Indian relationships.”
According to Dias, “all these incidents point to an organized targeting of Christians at different levels.” He added that “The hate speech is turning worse and the conversion rhetoric of the saffron family [Hindu fundamentalists] is vitiating the atmosphere and paving the way for atrocities,” he added.
Just days before the Catholic Secular Forum issued its report, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or World Hindu Council, claimed it had recently undertaken mass re-conversions of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism. Praveen Togadia, the VHP’s international working president, reported on Jan. 8 that the VHP had reconverted more than 500,000 Christians and 250,000 Muslims in the last decade with its Ghar Wapsi, or homecoming, initiative. Two days later, VHP national general secretary Y. Raghavulu claimed that 800,000 Hindus were being converted to other faiths every year in India.
“The [VHP] claim to have converted Christians and Muslims to Hinduism is just to enthuse their cadres. Both [statements] are blatantly aggressive instances of hate to provoke violence,” Christian activist John Dayal told World Watch Monitor. “The statistics are products of feverish minds and a bankrupt ideology. Their real purpose is political—to arouse passions, sharpen polarization and target religious minorities, and especially the Christian community.”
Hindu fundamentalists, Dayal added, “want to criminalize Christian presence and social work as a conversion conspiracy by Western powers.”
Stanford scholar Audrey Truschke on #Muslim rule in #India: #Mughal rulers were not hostile to #Hindus https://shar.es/1YGNDz via @Stanford
Truschke, one of the few living scholars with competence in both Sanskrit and Persian, is the first scholar to study texts from both languages in exploring the courtly life of the Mughals. The Mughals ruled a great swath of the Indian subcontinent from the early 16th to the mid-18th centuries, building great monuments like the Taj Mahal.
Over several months in Pakistan and 10 months in India, Truschke traveled to more than two dozen archives in search of manuscripts. She was able to analyze the Mughal elite's diverse interactions with Sanskrit intellectuals in a way not previously done.
She has accessed, for example, six histories that follow Jain monks at the Mughal court as they accompanied Mughal kings on expeditions, engaged in philosophical and religious debates, and lived under the empire's rule. These works collectively run to several thousand pages, and none have been translated into English.
Truschke found that high-level contact between learned Muslims and Hindus was marked by collaborative encounters across linguistic and religious lines.
She said her research overturns the assumption that the Mughals were hostile to traditional Indian literature or knowledge systems. In fact, her findings reveal how Mughals supported and engaged with Indian thinkers and ideas.
Early modern-era Muslims were in fact "deeply interested in traditional Indian learning, which is largely housed in Sanskrit," says Truschke, who is teaching religion courses at Stanford through 2016 in association with her fellowship.
Hybrid political identity
Truschke's book focuses on histories and poetry detailing interactions among Mughal elites and intellectuals of the Brahmin (Hindu) and Jain religious groups, particularly during the height of Mughal power from 1560 through 1650.
As Truschke discovered, the Mughal courts in fact sought to engage with Indian culture. They created Persian translations of Sanskrit works, especially those they perceived as histories, such as the two great Sanskrit epics.
For their part, upper-caste Hindus known as Brahmins and members of the Jain tradition – one of India's most ancient religions – became influential members of the Mughal court, composed Sanskrit works for Mughal readers and wrote about their imperial experiences.
"The Mughals held onto power in part through force, just like any other empire," Truschke acknowledges, "but you have to be careful about attributing that aggression to religious motivations." The empire her research uncovers was not intent on turning India into an Islamic state.
"The Mughal elite poured immense energy into drawing Sanskrit thinkers to their courts, adopting and adapting Sanskrit-based practices, translating dozens of Sanskrit texts into Persian and composing Persian accounts of Indian philosophy."
Such study of Hindu histories, philosophies and religious stories helped the Persian-speaking imperialists forge a new hybrid political identity, she asserts.
Truschke is working on her next book, a study of Sanskrit histories of Islamic dynasties in India more broadly.
Indian history, especially during Islamic rule, she says, is very much alive and debated today. Moreover, a deliberate misreading of this past "undergirds the actions of the modern Indian nation-state," she asserts.
And at a time of conflict between the Indian state and its Muslim population, Truschke says, "It's invaluable to have a more informed understanding of that history and the deep mutual interest of early modern Hindus and Muslims in one another's traditions."
- See more at: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/september/sanskrit-mughal-empire-090915.html#sthash.Y7zZog9s.dpuf
Nobody wants to erase #India from textbooks. Yet another #California textbook controversy by #Hindutuva groups http://fw.to/gEgxj8O
Is India being "erased" from California's history books? No, it's not.
But some 22,000 people have signed a petition to prevent the state from changing "India" to "South Asia" in its social studies curricula. A group of academics from schools including the University of San Francisco and Columbia University, and Hindu groups like the Hindu American Foundation, have signed on.
The State Board of Education is currently updating California's history and social science curriculum, and the petition is reacting to submissions in the public comment process that would replace some instances of "India" with "South Asia" and address Hinduism differently.
That request spurred a backlash from Hindu academics, leading to the petition that reads: "School students in California will be forced to learn that there was never an 'India' unless you act!"
This is not what is happening. The group that originally suggested the changes calls itself the South Asia Faculty Textbook Committee and includes South Asian scholars from Stanford, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University and UCLA, among others.
They do suggest that in some places "India" be replaced with "South Asia" because some of the area discussed currently belongs to Pakistan.
April 2, 8:52 a.m.: An earlier version of this article indicated the letter was also a response to the petition. It was not; the petition began after the letter was written.
"We wish to clarify that while 'Ancient India' is the accepted usage among Indologists, in other fields, pre-modern South Asia is the common term of reference. Since there is no standardized usage across fields, it is difficult for us to recommend a single standard term for use in the curriculum framework. After careful review, we have settled on a context dependent approach for the use of the terms, 'Ancient India,’ ‘India,’ ‘Indian subcontinent’ and ‘South Asia,’ as we explain in the edits. The use of terms like 'Ancient India' and 'India' in the current version of the draft framework, particularly for grades 6 and 7 is at times misleading. Although 'Ancient India' is common in the source material, when discussing the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), we believe it will cause less confusion to students to refer to the “Early Civilization of South Asia or “Ancient South Asia” because much of the Indus Valley is now in modern Pakistan. Conflating “Ancient India” with the modern nation-state of India deprives students from learning about the shared civilizational heritage of India and Pakistan."
The California History-Social Science Project takes public comment into account as it amends the framework and presents it to the state Board of Education. The group did adopt many of the faculty textbook committee's recommendations, and the Board of Education is scheduled to review the changes in May.
Are #Hindutva groups from #India losing 10-year-long battle to change #California textbooks? http://www.colorlines.com/articles/latest-10-year-battle-over-how-california-teaches-south-asian-history … via @colorlines
For more than 10 years, conservative Hindu groups have been trying to make controversial changes to history textbooks in California. Opponents—who say their changes erase the caste system and certain South Asian identities—just won an important victory.
An ad hoc group of South Asian academics called South Asian Faculty Group that opposes the changes* won a significant victory at the latest public school board hearing on the issue on March 26. South Asian Faculty Group presented 76 of their own edits of the materials to the board. Sixty-two of them were accepted. All are being contested by the HAF and its conservative coalition.
Why such a protracted fight? California is one of the largest textbook markets in the country. "[The conservative groups] have invested thousands of dollars into this fight," says Thenmozhi Soundarajan, an organizer with the Ambedkar Association of California and Dalit History Month who opposes the changes. "They have already won in Virginia and Texas. A win in California would mean a change to all textbooks.”
Colorlines e-mailed HAF, Uberoi and DCF for comment, but did not receive a response.
The struggle over textbooks and curricula demonstrates the ways that South Asian identity as a racial category is being contested and redefined in America. Soundarajan says that attempts at homogenizing this identity “hide the distinct violence of hierarchy that exist between castes, faiths, languages and countries.”
Indeed, many of the textbook changes proposed by the HAF, Uberoi and DCF serve to obscure the origins of many South Asians in America. Their version of history would eliminate specific ethnic markers of the first South Asian to emigrate to the United States or rename them as “Hindu” or “Indian.”
For example, HAF suggests substituting references to Sikh culture with "Indian." Sikhs are an oppressed minority in India, and most of the first South Asians to migrate to North America were Sikh. Sikhs bore the brunt of American racism and xenophobia due to their visible marker of turbans. Sikh scholar Jaideep Singh covers the issue in a 2015 letter to the California State Board of Education: "Considering Sikhs’ overwhelming numerical dominance within migration [to America in the early 20th century], their demonization by exclusionists, and their prevalence in media depictions that focused on their racial and religious markers—turbans and prominent black beards on dark brown bodies—it is far more accurate, and important, to keep the word 'Sikh' in the curriculum." While the first Indian-American member of Congress, Dalip Singh Saund, was Sikh, HAF wants to describe him only as an “immigrant of Indian origin.”
Along with blurring Sikh identity, conservative Hindu groups are also trying to delete references to the apartheid-like caste system that still structures the lives of millions of South Asians both in India and its diaspora from California textbooks.
A DCF leader, Shiva Bajpai, has gone as far as to call the caste system “beneficial.” “In every society some people are at the bottom of the economic scale,” he wrote in a paper submitted to the board. “Other societies solved this problem by enslaving people; [t]he caste system actually offered many advantages.” (The Uberoi foundation funded the paper under the auspices of its Institute for Curriculum Advancement.)
Soundarajan calls the caste system “the dominant system of oppression that has shaped all of our institutions,” and says that ignoring it “misses the key axis of power that our identities are shaped around.”
#Indian woman dubbed ‘the face of #Hindu #terror’, killer of #Muslims, to walk free. #India
India’s national investigation agency on Friday dropped all terror-related charges against a female Hindu activist jailed in connection with a bomb explosion in a Muslim neighborhood in 2008.
The National Investigation Agency recommended that all charges be dropped against Pragya Singh — a self-styled Hindu holy woman — and three others because of lack of evidence.
The move overturns earlier police findings and closes a chapter in one of the most contentious terrorism cases in the past decade in India.
[Hindu arrest in anti-Muslim bomb sparks controversy]
Singh and three others were arrested for being behind a September 2008 motorcycle bomb explosion in the town of Malegaon in the western state of Maharashtra.
The blast, which occurred during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, killed six people and injured more than 100.
Singh’s arrest was controversial because it was the first time that Hindus had been named in a terror case in India. It fueled a sharp political debate and angered many Hindus who accused the previous Congress Party-led coalition government of tarnishing the image of their community.
“The National Investigation Agency has said that there is no evidence to prosecute the four accused, including Pragya Singh,” her lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar told reporters in Mumbai. “There had been grave injustice done to them all these years.”
[Hindu terrorism charges force India to reflect on prejudices against Muslims]
The agency also dropped the organized crime charge against one of the other prominent figures in the case, a Hindu army colonel, Srikant Purohit, who remains behind bars on charges he provided the explosives and training to the bombers.
Indian media at that time had called Singh and Purohit “the face of Hindu terror,” a phrase that many Hindus objected to.
“Those who called it ‘Hindu terror’ committed a great sin,” said Indresh Kumar, a member of India’s largest and most strident Hindu nationalist organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The group is closely affiliated with the political party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Randeep Singh Surjewala, the spokesman for the Congress Party, which was in power at the time of Singh’s arrest, said the overturning of the charges “has shocked the collective conscience of the nation” and accused the Modi government of “blatant disregard and misuse” of the investigation agency.
On Friday, senior Congress Party leader Digvijaya Singh said “it was a matter of shame” that Modi’s government was “trying to protect those who were clearly involved in terror related activities.”
#DalitUprising in #India: Protest with dead cows tagged: "Here lies your mother, you do the last rites" AJE News
Dramatic visuals, photos and videos, have emerged on Indian social media sites and on TV news channels of growing protests by Dalit groups across Gujarat over the past few days.
Media reports say the unrest is spreading across towns and cities throughout the state, the home state of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
These protests have taken place after last week's assault on four Dalit men, allegedly by the members of a Hindu hardline group.
These Dalit men, who were trying to skin a dead cow, were bound, stripped, beaten with sticks by men claiming to be "cow protectors", and then dragged by a vehicle in Una, a town a few hundred of kilometres away from the capital city of Ahmedabad.
Disparate cow protector groups have sprung up to dispense mob justice across northern and western states of India in a shocking breakdown of law and order.
It was the latest in a series of violent cow-related incidents that have once again highlighted the problems and discrimination linked to caste and communities. Last year, a Muslim man, Mohammed Akhlaq, was beaten to death by a Hindu mob in his home for allegedly killing a cow in his village.
On Tuesday, enraged Dalit protesters left cow carcasses in buildings and compounds of Indian government offices. They were making a point to state that they would no longer do tannery work, traditionally seen as a job for lower castes and Dalits.
Dalit Muslims of India
The cow, revered by Indian upper caste Hindus as a Mata (mother), has been used to spur hate against religious and other minorities such as Muslims and Dalits. Killing or consuming cow meat is a religious taboo for pious upper caste Hindus.
Dalit handles on Twitter posted pictures and videos of protesters.
Along with images of cow corpses were slogans that read "Yeh hai tumhaari maata. Tum karo antim sanskaar" (Here lies your mother, you do the last rites).
Meanwhile, an AFP report said a police officer was killed and several others were wounded during violent clashes on Tuesday.
Gujarat is already battling chaotic protests by a powerful upper caste clan that wants reservations in government jobs for their people, the Patels.
This lays bare the claims by many sociologists that the rapid urbanisation of India has weakened the caste system.
The new Dalit uprising in the world's largest democracy is yet to appoint its "leaders". Just like the film Sairat is brought to life by newcomers, the Dalit consciousness movement is playing out a new resistance script.
From #Modi's Guru Golwalkar to #GOP's #Trump: #India's #Hindu Nationalists Cheer & Pray for #Trump. #Islamophobia
INDIA’S Hindu right is desperately seeking a role in the American elections even if it’s a walk-on appearance in a crowd scene. It asks if its right-wing friends from Israel can tip the balance in a keen American contest, why can’t the Hindu right be at least a cheerleader. After being rapped on the knuckles by Barack Obama a few times — following the cordial talks with Prime Minister Modi in Delhi, for example — the Hindu right wants a less censorious incumbent in the White House. Public prayers and weird voodoo rituals have been invoked to boost the chances of Donald Trump.
The two have much in common. Mr Trump claims to speak for core American values, passing off contrived fear for nationalist fervour. In India, the Hindu right has laid claim to defining — rather, it has been allowed by a somnolent opposition to prescribe — what is nationalist and what isn’t. Someone’s stand on the Kashmiri uprising is the signal for praise or rebuke. They both hate Muslims. And, as Mr Trump’s aversion of Latinos expands his arena of nurtured prejudices the Hindu right targets the tribal communities of the northeast.
Hindtuva goons, raised on political patronage, periodically bludgeon Manipuri and other people from the northeast in Delhi and elsewhere. Mr Trump’s veiled fear of African Americans mutates in India into physical assaults on students and visitors of dark complexion. As with Muslims and Dalits, African residents find it difficult to rent a house in Delhi.
Mr Trump and the Hindu right have a common ancestor too: Adolf Hitler. As such, they are joined at the hip in their biases. About Muslims, Trump says: “They’re not coming to this country if I’m president. And if Obama has brought some to this country they are leaving, they’re going, they’re gone.”
Trump and the Hindu right have a common ancestor: Adolf Hitler. As such, they are joined at the hip in their biases.
As his wife plagiarised from Michelle Obama’s speech, Trump borrowed without attribution from Guru Golwakar’s book We or Our Nationhood Defined. The early pioneer of the Hindu right wrote: “The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture ... In a word, they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment — not even citizens’ rights.”
There was a notable difference though. Golwalkar’s reference to non-Hindu people included Indian Christians. This should not deter any alliance of two utterly right-wing demagogues. After all, Golwakar’s praise of Germany’s treatment of Jews didn’t deter his followers from bonding with right-wing leaders in Israel.
“To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races — the Jews,” Golwalkar wrote with approval. “Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by. Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”
Hinduism and Terror
In the past decade, extremist Hindus have increased their attacks on Christians, until there are now several hundred per year. But this did not make news in the U.S. until a foreigner was attacked. In 1999, Graham Staines, an Australian missionary who had worked with leprosy patients for three decades, was burned alive in Orissa along with his two young sons. The brutal violence visited on Muslims in Gujarat in February 2002 also brought the dangers of Hindu extremism to world attention. Between one and two thousand Muslims were massacred after Muslims reportedly set fire to a train carrying Hindu nationalists, killing several dozen people.
These attacks were not inchoate mob violence, triggered by real or rumored insult; rather, they involved careful planning by organized Hindu extremists with an explicit program and a developed religious-nationalist ideology. Like the ideology of al-Qaeda and other radical Islamists, this ideology began to take shape in the 1920s as a response to European colonialism. It rejected the usually secular outlook of other independence movements; in place of secularism, it synthesized a reactionary form of religion with elements of European millenarian political thought, especially fascism.
Twentieth-century agitation against the British led to the rise not only of the secular and socialist Congress movement but also of the rival Hindu nationalist movement collectively known as the Sangh Parivar (“family of organizations”). The Parivar proclaims an ideology of “Hindutva,” aimed at ensuring the predominance of Hinduism in Indian society, politics, and culture, which it promotes through tactics that include violence and terror. Its agenda includes subjugating or driving out Muslims and Christians, who total some 17 percent of the population. It castigates them as foreign faiths, imposed by foreign conquerors—even though Christians trace their origins in India to the Apostle Thomas in the first century and Islam came to India in the seventh and eighth centuries.
The Sangh Parivar’s central organization is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), founded by Keshav Hedgewar in 1925. Hedgewar was influenced by V. D. Savarkar, who believed that Hindus were the descendants of the ancient Aryans and properly formed a nation with a unified geography, race, and culture. Savarkar’s 1923 book Hindutva—Who is a Hindu? declared that those who did not consider India as both fatherland and holy land were not true Indians—and that the love of Indian Christians and Muslims for India was “divided” because each group had its own holy land in the Middle East.
M. S. Golwalkar, the RSS’s sarsangchalak (supreme director) from 1940 to 1973, sharpened these themes. In 1938, commenting on the Nuremberg racial laws, he declared: “Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us … to learn and profit by.” In an address to RSS members the same year, he also asserted: “If we Hindus grow stronger, in time Muslim friends … will have to play the part of German Jews.” He insisted that “the non-Hindu … must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion… Or [they] may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges.” On March 25, 1939, the Hindu nationalist Mahasabha Party, an RSS ally, likewise proclaimed: “Germany’s solemn idea of the revival of the Aryan culture, the glorification of the swastika, her patronage of Vedic learning, and the ardent championship of Indo-Germanic civilization are welcomed by the religious and sensible Hindus of India with a jubilant hope.”
'Straight out of the Nazi playbook': Hindu nationalists try to engineer 'genius' babies in India http://wapo.st/2pnhDKH?tid=ss_tw … by @anniegowen
Members of a Hindu far-right organization called Arogya Bharati say they are working with expectant couples in the country to produce “customized” babies, who, they hope, will be taller, fairer and smarter than other babies, according to a report in the Indian Express newspaper.
The group's health officials claimed that their program — a combination of diet, ayurvedic medicine and other practices — has led to 450 of these babies, and they hope to have “thousands” more by 2020, the report said.
“The parents may have lower IQ, with a poor educational background, but their baby can be extremely bright. If the proper procedure is followed, babies of dark-skinned parents with lesser height can have fair complexion and grow taller,” Hitesh Jani, the group's national convener, told the newspaper.
Jani explained that the program consists of a “purification of energy channels” and body before a pregnancy, and mantra-chanting and “proper food,” such as meals rich in calcium and vitamin A, after the baby is born.
The newspaper identified the group as the “health wing” of the conservative Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, but Ramesh Gautam, Arogya Bharati's national general secretary, said the group was merely “inspired” by the conservative ideology of the RSS rather than being officially supported by it. Arogya Bharati's website says it is a "voluntary organization of service minded people who have an interest in the health of society.”
On Saturday, the chairwoman for a state child rights commission tried to attend one of the workshops where couples are counseled on how to produce these “genius” babies — as the Economic Times termed it — but was barred by organizers, that newspaper said.
“This is an unscientific thing that’s happening here. It cannot continue,” Ananya Chatterjee, the chair of the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said. The group countered that her charges were “politically motivated.”
Responding to a petition from the commission, the West Bengal state high court later mandated that organizers present an affidavit and video of the proceedings, which went off as scheduled.
The program launched over a decade ago and has spread to several Indian states. Organizers said it was inspired by a RSS leader who met a woman in Germany more than 40 years ago. An official said the woman led a post World War II re-population effort in Germany for “signature children” based on the same principles, according to the Indian Express report.
This comment — and its evocation of the legacy of Third Reich era eugenics — prompted immediate backlash on social media, with one critic writing on the Daily O opinion website that this “dystopia in the womb” was “straight out of the Nazi playbook.”
The RSS was founded in 1925 as a volunteer organization to advance the rights of Hindus. Over the years, it has given rise to many of the country’s more successful conservative politicians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A few of its founders praised in essays and books the totalitarian movements of Nazism and fascism sweeping Europe at the time, scholars have noted.
“The original RSS stalwarts found a political validity in racial resurrection championed by Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich,” Angshukanta Chakraborty, an opinion writer on the Daily O website, wrote, adding, “And even now, a racially pure search for homeland or creation of one along racially/communally pure lines appeals to the RSS and is the heart of its ideology.”
#India's #Modi loving, #Muslim hating #Hindu #Nazis love #Hitler: "Hari Om Heil Hitler", "Aum, Hail Aryan, Hail Aryavart" (Hail Aryans, Hail Land of the Aryans), "Adolf Hitler, the ultimate avatar", "India’s Swastika God"
Shrenik Rao Dec 14, 2017 6:20 PM
July 2008. I was on a cycling expedition, from the southernmost tip of India to its most northern state. Along the way, I took a pit stop at Nagpur, the geographic center of India and the epicenter of Hindu nationalism. There, I saw a building with a bizarre name: "Hitlers Den." A pool parlor, its walls were emblazoned with tacky Nazi insignia, and on its shopfront – a swastika on full public display.
The swastika is not an unusual symbol in India. It’s ubiquitous. Markets, shops, homes, temples, vehicles, notebooks, property documents and even shaved heads are smeared with vermilion or turmeric swastikas, often with the words "Shubh Labh," meaning "good fortune."
But this was most definitely Hitler’s Nazi swastika - a tilted version of the Hindu swastika on a black background. This blatant display of Nazi symbolism was odd. What was "Hitler’s Den" doing in the middle of Nagpur? I wondered. I brushed it off as stupidity and cycled on.
Ironically, Hitler – the genocidal maniac who murdered more than six million Jews, who propagated a Nazi ideology that promoted hatred, Aryan racial puritanism and white supremacy – continues to find many followers in India, a nation of predominantly brown-skinned people.
Here, Hitler’s brand of fascism has taken on a distinctly Indian flavour, authenticated with a combination of ethnic hatred and Hindu nationalism, in stark contrast to the principles of ahimsa (non-violence) that accompanied India's freedom struggle.
Recently, browsing through Facebook threw up an eerie shock. "Hari Om Heil Hitler," said a post next to an image of a young Hitler, followed by a paean to Aryan values. The cover picture read, "Aum, Hail Aryan, Hail Aryavart," meaning "Hail Aryans, Hail Land of the Aryans." On display is his German screen name – "Kemradschaft Jeet."
His feed is full of Nazi insignia with images of Hitler and graphics of Vishnu, a Hindu god known for several reincarnations. "Adolf Hitler, the ultimate avatar," said one image. "India’s Swastika God," said another. Their posts reflect an oft-repeated theory in neo-Nazi web forums, that Hitler was a reincarnation of Vishnu.
Vile anti-Semitic obloquy accompanied it: "Germany is now a Rabbit under the shelter of Jewish Finance," "With the Hollywood movie industry and the majority of U.S. television networks, newspapers and publishing houses Jewish-owned, for nearly 70 years, the demonization of Adolf Hitler has been almost relentless."
His friends comment in chorus: "Jai Shree Ram, Heil Hitler" ("Hail Shree Ram, Heil Hitler"), "Nazi the great," "Hitler was supporter of Indian Nationalist." Many of them shared a YouTube video with over 100,000 hits, entitled "Adolf Hitler, The Greatest Story Never Told," alongside the salutation "Jai Hind" ("Victory to India," an independence-era slogan.)
These posts are a putrid mix of anti-Semitic racism, misogyny and extreme Hindu nationalism. Evoking the widely held myth of Aryan racial superiority (appropriated to refer to "Aryan" Indians) and the Nazi propaganda of the "sacralization of terror, embodied in the Kshatriya code and the Bhagavad-Gita," these posts reflect the belief that Hitler was born to end Kali Yuga, the dark age of Hindu mythology.
As one post reads: "If we go to North East [of India] we find mixed races of Mongoloids and many more cases where pure Aryan bloodline was lost."
In this episode, I speak with prominent Indian public interest lawyer and civil rights activist Prashant Bhushan about India’s effort to delegitimize 4 million mostly Muslim refugees and residents in Assam, India. We also speak about Sanghi efforts to subvert India’s secular democracy with what can only be described as Hindu fascism.
Please click here to listen: http://traffic.libsyn.com/channeltherage/Prashant_Bhushan.mp3
‘A battle between #Hindutva and #Hinduism is coming’. "The key question is: how do we keep our (RSS) organization intact if we (abandon #caste system) and move towards an egalitarian #Hindu society?" #India #Modi #BJP #Dalit
Walter Andersen is, perhaps, the only scholar to have observed, or studied, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for nearly five decades. In intellectual circles, it is normally believed that as an organisation, the RSS is impervious and impenetrable.
What is the RSS view of Modi’s economics, especially foreign economic policy, demonetisation and GST?
The RSS was undoubtedly responsible for Modi’s rise to the top. But it views Modi’s economics with scepticism. Modi is more open to FDI and foreign trade than the RSS would like. His demonetisation and GST directly hurt groups that are the original base of the organisations: the small traders. The RSS, of course, did not pass a resolution against demonetisation or GST. That is now how it works. But it sought to influence how these policies would be implemented – to ease the burden on small traders.
Let us finally return to the relationship of the RSS and Muslims. Your book says that Golwalkar repeatedly used the term “ek hazaar saal ki ghulami” (one thousand years of servitude). Your also say that Deoras changed that, and in 1979, opened the RSS to Muslims. Narendra Modi has often used the term “barah sau saal ki ghulami” (twelve hundred years of servitude), which is more in the Golwalkar vein than in the Deoras mold. At any rate, the implication of the Golwalkar and Modi statements is that India’s colonisation began with the arrival of Muslim rulers either in the 8th century in Sindh or the 11th century in Delhi. This militates against the historian’s argument that it is the British who started colonising India in 1757. The Delhi Sultanate or the Mughal era was not a period of colonisation. However offensive Babur or Aurangzeb were, the other Mughal kings Indianised themselves, even married into Rajputs, and developed commitments to India. The British did not Indianise themselves. They were the real colonisers. How can one justify the term Mughal colonialism?
I don’t think many RSS activists, or even prachaaraks, would disagree with the distinction you are making between the British and Mughals. When Deoras invited Muslims to join the RSS, he did argue that Muslims were mostly India-born, and therefore Indian.
But despite that ideological development, PM Modi returned to the Golwalkar understanding.
There is clearly a generic problem, here. Even those RSS ideologues, who want Muslims to enter the RSS, would like them to accept India’s “historic culture”.
But India’s “historic culture” — the arts, the languages, the everyday manners, the poetry, the architecture, the music — have a lot of Muslim contributions.
But that implies that Urdu, which was widely spoken in North India, is not an Indian language, which is so hard to accept. Urdu was not born in the Middle East.
Let us now turn to the recent lynchings. Your book says that the higher echelons of the RSS and BJP don’t approve of lynchings. But how does one align your claim with the following: ministers in Modi government have expressed sympathy for lynchers, even garlanded those convicted of lynching (though out on bail), but the Prime Minister has not taken them to task. Indeed, though the Prime Minister has spoken against lynchings, his most forceful denunciations came when Dalits were hit. When Muslims are attacked by lynch mobs, he, at best, makes perfunctory remarks, if at all.
I haven’t thought clearly about the Muslim-Dalit distinction you are drawing, nor does the book talk about it. I will think more systematically about it.
Global #Hindu Nationalists: Meet The Army Of #BJP's #NRI Supporters From #America, #Europe. In #election season, hundreds of #NRIs descend on #India to push for #Modi’s second term. #Elections2019 #Islamophobia https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/india-news-the-bhakts-overseas-call/301372
London-based software professional Santosh Gupta has taken a six-month break from his hectic work schedule—he is on a mission to secure a second term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ramesh Shah, 70, is also in India on the same mission, but separately. Both Gupta and Shah are part of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), the ruling party’s foreign cell that has 25 chapters across the world. With just weeks to go for the first phase of the general elections, hundreds of such BJP supporters are campaigning in India or from abroad—overseas warriors of the BJP’s vast army of supporters in the battle of ballots.
Gupta and his 30-member team are in India since November; they are among 300 professionals from the UK chapter in India. Last week, Gupta’s team visited a number of colleges and met with students in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. He is content with the positive feedback they are receiving, except from students of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The United States chapter of the BJP is also capturing the imagination of the sizeable Indian community. Georgia-based medical professional Dr Vasudev Patel, who is in charge of the ground operations, says Modi made India more prominent in the world map.
Patel, who moved to the US in 1984, shares a personal rapport with Prime Minister Modi. “I have been working with Modi since 1975,” says Patel, who belongs to Mehsana in Gujarat. The campaign is on full swing with ‘chai pe charchas’ being held on a weekly basis in at least 20 cities.
With the elections drawing close, Patel spends at least two hours on a daily basis to coordinate with social media and friends back home. “Every week, a group of at least 150 professionals gather at famous places like World Coca Cola Centre or Times Square, make small videos on the Modi government and post it on social media,” he says. The US chapter, which boasts a membership of 6,000, also has a dedicated team that has been assiduously working to execute plans. Car rallies are also being held in various states to garner support of the Indian community.
Patel says that even senators and governors acknowledge India as a growing power, which wasn’t the case before. “We held a candle march after the Pulwama incident, in which thousands turned up. One senator also took part in the march without any invitation,” says Patel.
Ramesh Shah, who is currently touring villages in India, sums up why the diaspora community passionately bats for the BJP and Modi. Shah, who has been in India since last November, has visited villages in Jharkhand, Gujarat and a few other states. “No other leader connected with the diaspora the way our PM did. He inspires me to do more at this age,” says Shah, who hails from Aravalli in Gujarat. A US-based retired engineer, Shah campaigns along with his wife. “I feel powerful because of the strong leadership.”
Hatred and extremist views in #India's #Hindu Diaspora:"To destroy Hindu history is the secret conspiracy of the Christians," and "If it comes to Islam, they are the world’s worst religion." #Hindutva #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia #Christians https://www.itv.com/news/2015-02-18/exposure-the-charities-accused-of-promoting-hatred-and-extremist-views/
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK (HSS) "runs as a voluntary organisation with weekly youth leadership training centres across the country," according to its website.
But undercover filming shows children as young as 13 being taught at a summer camp organised by the charity that the number of good Muslims "can be counted on fingers".
The same tutor at the camp can also be seen telling children, "To destroy Hindu history is the secret conspiracy of the Christians," and "If it comes to Islam, they are the world’s worst religion."
The charity has since told Exposure that depicting it as "anti any religion" is "wrong and counterproductive to the positive work HSS has done in building interfaith relations."
We promote Hindu values which are about cohesiveness, duty to society and universal peace.
Our actions over the years show that HSS promotes diversity and unity in Britain.
We are investigating these alleged comments to ensure those who made them are better informed, trained or prevented from making statements which may be interpreted as anti another community.
– HINDU SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH UK
Asked about the programme's findings, the Charity Commission said they were "absolutely shocking" but said, "We don’t have a power to shut down an ineffective or a troubling charity in that way".
The Commission also said that in the draft Charities Bill it has asked for a specific power to wind up a charity that is no longer fit for purpose.
Since filming, it has confirmed it is investigating the serious concerns raised by Exposure about Global Aid Trust and HSS (UK), and that it has removed The Steadfast Trust from the Register of Charities.
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) is a subsidiary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for supporting and mobilising Hindus living outside India. Founded in 1940s in Kenya, it is currently active in 39 countries and boasts 570 branches.
Two volunteer members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (swayamsevaks) that had settled in Kenya in 1940s and started a shakha (branch). Since such shakhas were not on 'national' (rashtriya) soil, they were renamed as the branches of Bharatiya Swayamsevak Sangh, later Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS). RSS Pracharaks Bhaurao Deoras and others spent several years abroad to develop the organisation. During the Emergency RSS was banned in India and, consequently, sent its organisers abroad to seek support and carry out activism.
The British wing of the HSS was established in 1966, and shakas were established in cities like Birmingham and Bradford.
In North America, the HSS gave the lead to the sister organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, World Hindu Council), which was founded in Canada in 1970 and in the United States in 1971. The HSS followed in its wake. Currently, the United States has 146 branches of the HSS, the largest network outside the Indian subcontinent.
The HSS organisation in Australia, as elsewhere, says that its focus is on the country in which it is based and that it does not send money to India. It claims to be "ideologically inspired by the RSS vision of a progressive and dynamic Hindu society that can deal with its internal and external challenges, and contribute to the welfare of the whole world". Aside from providing links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), they also have links with organisations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Hindu Youth Network. They exist to raise awareness in matters relating to Hindus but support no political party or candidate.
The HSS was established in Nepal around 1992 by a group of Nepali students who were influenced by leaders of the Hindu nationalist RSS while studying in India. The two bodies share a similar Hindutva ideology. The HSS are reluctant to clarify their sources of financial support other than to say that members donate what they can. Their presence is particularly prevalent in the Terai region and they have regimented programs of education, dissemination of ideology and exercise as elsewhere in the world.
The Nepali HSS has been among several groups campaigning for a reversal of Nepal's 2006 decision to become a secular state after years of being ruled by a Hindu royal family. They say that the king had not favoured Hindus, that the decision was engineered by anti-Hindu groups, included communists and missionaries, and that in any event it was unnecessary because there had been no persecution of religious minorities under the previous system. Among their demands has been that only Hindus should be appointed to high official posts.
The UK HSS organisation was established in 1966. HSS is involved in personality development for young people in the UK. UK HSS runs Shakha for men, Samiti for women and Balgokulam for children with increasingly popularity. UK HSS is actively involved in developing relationships with the local community. UK HSS has introduced many new sports in UK like Kho-kho, ring etc.
#India's Young and Well-Educated young #engineers, #doctors, #lawyers, chartered #accountants, #bankers and #journalists Are Marching to the Beat of #Hindu Nationalism whose early leaders publicly admired #Hitler and #Mussolini. #Modi #BJP https://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/indias-young-and-well-educated-are-marching-to-the-beat-of-hindu-nationalism/93992#.XOQsnpDZlok.twitter via @ozy
Founded in 1925, the RSS has long counted India’s urban middle class as a key base, with shakhas in neighborhood parks a common sight throughout India. But that relationship was beginning to snap with a millennial generation that found the organization’s rigid hierarchical structure outdated, and the daily physical exercises boring, says Mukhopadhyay. As liberal, left-leaning education and politics dominated India, the RSS came to be seen as regressive among the English-speaking elite of the country. Dhillon’s neighbor, 42-year-old Supreme Court lawyer Bipin Bihari Singh says that people didn’t want to be identified as shakha participants.
That’s now history because the RSS is adapting — except its ideology — with the times. After consulting a top fashion designer, it swapped its khaki shorts in 2016 for smart brown trousers and made the uniform optional. The RSS now recruits door-to-door and offers weekend and virtual events for those who can’t attend daily meetings. In meetings, Sanskrit lexicon is now occasionally replaced by English, and the RSS has launched 65 new affiliate bodies targeting specific professions. Since 2016, an average of 100,000 new recruits have signed up through just the website each year, compared to just over 60,000 annually before that, according to the RSS.
Abhishek Junnarkar, a 38-year-old assistant vice president for a multinational company, says the RSS “trains us how to save our country from people who want to overpower us.” That sense of threat from an often-unspecified source — be it Muslims, Christian missionaries, Pakistan, communists or secular liberals — is at the heart of the RSS training.
Take the common shakha game Lahore Kiska Hai (Whose is Lahore). The group leader asks, “Lahore kiska hai,” and players shout back, “Lahore hamara hain (Lahore is ours).” Players then push each other to grab a stone that’s meant to symbolize Lahore. The RSS vision for India, after all, includes most of South Asia as a single nation.
Modi’s muscular nationalism fits this narrative. “People want to work for the nation the way he does,” says Ajay Mudpe, RSS publicity head in the Konkan region. But working “for the nation” can mean “othering” those the RSS sees as outsiders. A WhatsApp campaign in a Noida neighborhood, for example, led to a boycott of Bengali Muslim household helpers who were en masse labeled “ illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Meanwhile, the National Voters Forum, an affiliate of the formally apolitical RSS, has been urging professionals to vote for a party that works for the “interest of the nation” — code for the BJP.
Back in Supreme Towers, Dhillon says he’ll stay with the RSS no matter how the BJP does this week. The deep roots the organization has put down in India’s high-rise apartment blocks aren’t going anywhere. “Once in RSS, always in RSS,” he says.
How Tulsi Gabbard Unites Bloodstained Hindu Nationalists, the Genocidal Assad and the U.S. Far Right
On the one hand, she condemns the Saudi-U.S. led coalition as complicit in a genocidal war, but she welcomes India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been called the "man with a massacre on his hands" with open arms.
Some background: In 2002, Modi was chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat when fire broke out in a train full of Hindu pilgrims. This is how The Guardian’s Aditya Chakrabortty describes what followed:
"Within hours and without a shred of evidence, Modi declared that the Pakistani secret services had been to blame; he then had the charred bodies paraded in the main city of Ahmedabad; and let his own party support a state-wide strike for three days.
Tulsi Gabbard has an exceptional appreciation for Modi.
Hers is a very personal rapport. She presented him with her own copy of the Bhagavad-Gita, on which she took her Congressional oath of office, when he visited the U.S. Modi sent her with "a beautiful message of Krishna" for her wedding. Gabbard then presented him with a CD of music from her wedding.
Upon Mr Modi’s invitation, she took a trip to India where she was widely regarded as the "darling of the BJP and the RSS" – the RSS (a right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organization) being the BJP’s ideological "parent." Both groups, which wield enormous power in India, take pride in a narrow, chauvinistic view of India as a Hindu country where Muslims and other minorities should be considered second-class citizens.
Such was her affinity that Tulsi opposed House Resolution 417 - "Praising India’s rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality, and reaffirming the need to protect the rights and freedoms of religious minorities" - that was seen as a veiled criticism of Modi. She even tried to brush away the Gujarat pogrom by saying, "There was a lot of misinformation that surrounded the event in 2002."
When it comes to Modi, Gabbard seems to have no pangs of conscience about "destruction, death and suffering" and comfortably wipes the blood off the hands of those complicit in murder.
Why would Tulsi Gabbard damn what she sees as America’s complicity in Yemen but embrace an authoritarian foreign leader with blood on his hands? Why does she openly support and endorse Modi’s poor track record on human rights? What distinction does Gabbard draw between the thousands of Muslims massacred in Gujarat and the thousands of Muslims who died in Yemen? Why isn’t she making a similarly passionate plea to Prime Minister Modi to stop the ongoing mob lynchings and rapes in India?
One obvious reason she won’t do that is the financial and electoral benefits she accrues from openly supporting Modi. By displaying her carefully cultivated public support for Modi, she has won the support of many Indian Americans - particularly those with links to the RSS - by flaunting her 'loyal' Hindu identity.
#Israel Consulate in #Mumbai #India Organizes Event on #Hindutva and #Zionism. The poster of the event flaunts images of Zionist leader Theodor Herzl and RSS leader VD Savarkar. #Modi #Kashmir https://indianculturalforum.in/2019/08/22/israel-consulate-in-mumbai-organises-event-on-hindutva-and-zionism/?fbclid=IwAR3XeY1aKqR1YxJPaXMZ-xyJzHuVcU5bTc6xfT-a0jK_jxCH-oo6qIhdkwU
All masks are off and all veneers discarded- the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai along with one Indo-Israel Friendship Association is organising a public discussion on Hindutva and Zionism on August 26th, at the The Convocation Hall of University of Mumbai. The poster of the event flaunts images of Theodor Herzl and VD Savarkar, and the event has Subramanian Swamy and a professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Gadi Taub as speakers. So far, Israel’s mission in India spoke the language of bringing technology and building cultural ties. Israel’s agencies, as part of its Brand Israel, have tried to whitewash its occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism against Palestinians by hosting events, film festivals, etc, in an attempt to deflect attention from its crimes.
However, this time the ruling dispensation in India gives the Israeli embassy the confidence to drop all pretenses. All along, it is the connivance of these ideologies that has brought India and Israel closer in the last half a decade, at the cost of Indian solidarity to Palestine. In this context, we are sharing an excerpt from Sukumar Muralidharan’s essay “The ideological common ground between Hindutva and Zionism”, from the collection From India to Palestine: Essays in Solidarity edited by Githa Hariharan.
As Hindu nationalist ideology moves into its more extreme fringes, its inherent paradoxes stand out with similar starkness. Early pioneers of the ideology articulated these in the confident belief that minor doctrinal inconsistencies would be of no consequence in the mission of facing down a common enemy in Islam. As India under colonial rule lurched from the bitter aftermath of the collapse of the Khilafat agitation into an extended phase of communal estrangement, the notion of a country inhabited by two nations became widely accepted, crystallised especially in two political vehicles: the Hindu Mahasabha and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). A text published in 1939 by M.S. Golwalkar, a year before he took over the leadership of the RSS, remains one of the most authoritative statements on Hindu nationalism, offering rich insights through its comments on contemporary world events into the ideological pantheon it drew sustenance from.
Golwalkar’s statements lauding Nazi Germany for its virulent manifestation of “race pride”, which led to the expulsion of the Jews despite the world recoiling in horror at the enormity of the deed, are widely cited. These offer eloquent testimony in themselves, but only tell the full story when juxtaposed with the observations on Zionism that the same text offers. Golwalkar identifies India as one among the early nations that afforded sanctuary to the Jews after their country passed into Roman tyranny. This was obviously a bond in his rather twisted historical imagination, which persisted into that moment in history when the greater dispersal of the Jews took place, with the “engines of destruction . . . under the name of Islam” being let loose in the land. Palestine, in Golwalkar’s sense, suffered much like India did, losing its culture and traditions on account of the intrusions of Islam “Palestine became Arab, a large number of Hebrews changed faith and culture and language and the Hebrew nation in Palestine died a natural death.” But hope was not lost, since “the attempt at rehabilitating Palestine with its ancient population of the Jews is nothing more than an effort to reconstruct the broken edifice and revitalise the practically dead Hebrew National life.”
#SiliconValley's #Indian #American #Hindu Congressman Ro Khanna rejects #Hindutva, asks fellow Hindus to speak for "equal rights for #Hindus, #Muslims, #Sikhs, #Buddhist & #Christians.” http://www.sanjoseinside.com/2019/09/03/op-ed-ro-khanna-rejects-hindutva-launches-new-debate-for-south-asian-americans/#.XW7y5uqXWe8.twitter via @SanJoseInside
by Amar Shergill
There was a political shift in the South Asian American community last week which arrived quietly but will have consequences for years to come. It reverberated from its origin in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party with implications for the United States, India and world geopolitics.
Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) tweeted the following on Aug. 29: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians.”
The quote seems innocuous without context, therefore, a brief political summary follows.
The history of the South Asian subcontinent is complex with language, religion, ethnicity and caste that predate America by several millennia. The Indian democracy has been managing this complexity with mixed success since its colonial independence in 1947. In fact, violence against minorities has often been a path to electoral success. Although there are many examples, the most recent and infamous are the 1984 Genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and the 2002 Gujarat Massacre of Muslims.
In recent years, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won elections by pairing violent political rhetoric with virtual impunity for those that engage in the rape, torture, murder and oppression of Indian Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ravidassias, and Hindu Dalits. (See the US Commission on International Religious Freedom Reports for detail.) Modi’s political party (BJP) and its cultural counterpart organizations (RSS, VHP, etc.) form the backbone of the Hindutva movement. However, in deference to the complexity of India, we should note that this is not simply a religious conflict. Hindutva is a fascist and supremacist movement similar to white supremacist movements in the US. It mobilizes around a virulent religious ethno-nationalism, holding that India is a homeland for only Hindus and uses violence to intimidate compliance around its economic and political policies.
Every organ of Indian democracy is in crisis under Hindutva and progressive movements across South Asia have been mobilizing to ask the world for solidarity as they continue to bravely resist the volatile conditions in the region. Further, Modi and the Hindutva movement have set upon a path to influence U.S. policy from within the American political system, which brings us to recent events.
Last month, Caravan published a longform exposé by South Asian analyst, Pieter Friedrich. The article sourced and detailed decades of Hindutva organizing in the US and their development of political allies. At the top of that list is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, also a candidate for the US presidency, who has cultivated deep ties to the Hindutva movement. She attends their events in India and the US, solicits money from American Hindutva organizers, and even invited their leaders to her intimate wedding ceremony. As an apparent term of that bargain, she does not engage in criticism of the Indian government and often advocates its positions during US policy debates.
On Aug. 12, the author of the Caravan article tweet-replied to a Gabbard campaign post, providing a link to the piece. Khanna also replied. The exchange is provided below:
Khanna’s statement was immediately recognized by South Asian politicos as a seismic shift in Indo-centric politics. He is the highest ranking American elected official of Indian origin, with a deep understanding of and connection to South Asian politics, and, yet, he stated in decisive moral terms that the dominant political ideology of India must be rejected as a matter of fundamental human rights.
Before #India’s elections in 2019, #Facebook took down inauthentic pages tied to #Pakistan’s military & #Indian Opposition Congress party, but it didn't remove #BJP accounts spewing anti-#Muslim #hate & #fakenews. Why? FB executive Ankhi Das intervened. https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-hate-speech-india-politics-muslim-hindu-modi-zuckerberg-11597423346
In 2017, Ms. Das wrote an essay, illustrated with Facebook’s thumbs-up logo, praising Mr. Modi. It was posted to his website and featured in his mobile app.
On her own Facebook page, Ms. Das shared a post from a former police official, who said he is Muslim, in which he called India’s Muslims traditionally a “degenerate community” for whom “Nothing except purity of religion and implementation of Shariah matter.”
In Facebook posts and public appearances, Indian politician T. Raja Singh has said Rohingya Muslim immigrants should be shot, called Muslims traitors and threatened to raze mosques.
Facebook Inc. employees charged with policing the platform were watching. By March of this year, they concluded Mr. Singh not only had violated the company’s hate-speech rules but qualified as dangerous, a designation that takes into account a person’s off-platform activities, according to current and former Facebook employees familiar with the matter.
Yet Mr. Singh, a member of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, is still active on Facebook and Instagram, where he has hundreds of thousands of followers. The company’s top public-policy executive in the country, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the hate-speech rules to Mr. Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence, said the current and former employees.
Ms. Das, whose job also includes lobbying India’s government on Facebook’s behalf, told staff members that punishing violations by politicians from Mr. Modi’s party would damage the company’s business prospects in the country, Facebook’s biggest global market by number of users, the current and former employees said.
India is a vital market for Facebook, which isn’t allowed to operate in China, the only other nation with more than one billion people. India has more Facebook and WhatsApp users than any other country, and Facebook has chosen it as the market in which to introduce payments, encryption and initiatives to tie its products together in new ways that Mr. Zuckerberg has said will occupy Facebook for the next decade. In April, Facebook said it would spend $5.7 billion on a new partnership with an Indian telecom operator to expand operations in the country—its biggest foreign investment.
Another BJP legislator, a member of Parliament named Anantkumar Hegde, has posted essays and cartoons to his Facebook page alleging that Muslims are spreading Covid-19 in the country in a conspiracy to wage “Corona Jihad.” Human-rights groups say such unfounded allegations, which violate Facebook’s hate speech rules barring direct attacks on people based on “protected characteristics” such as religion, are linked to attacks on Muslims in India, and have been designated as hate speech by Twitter Inc.
While Twitter has suspended Mr. Hegde’s account as a result of such posts, prompting him to call for an investigation of the company, Facebook took no action until the Journal sought comment from the company about his “Corona Jihad” posts. Facebook removed some of them on Thursday. Mr. Hegde didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Within hours of the videotaped message, which Mr. Mishra uploaded to Facebook, rioting broke out that left dozens of people dead. Most of the victims were Muslims, and some of their killings were organized via Facebook’s WhatsApp
Islamophobia Goes Global
Hindu nationalism has helped spread a distinct brand of anti-Islam around the world, and famously multicultural Canada may have a problem on its hands.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has long been criticized for discriminating against India’s estimated 200 million Muslims. Tensions between this large minority and the Hindu nationalists who support Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been mounting in recent years, resulting in worrying laws, dangerous harassment, and deadly mob violence in India. Now, the hostility has moved outside of India’s borders. Thanks to social media and a dedicated diaspora, antagonism toward Muslims by supporters of India’s right-wing, Hindu nationalist government has gone global. And the international spread of domestic prejudices is causing diplomatic ripple effects for India’s allies.
This has been particularly apparent in the Persian Gulf region, home to millions of Indian expatriates. Modi’s carefully cultivated ties to the Gulf regimes are now threatened by instances of ultra-nationalist Indian expats spewing Islamophobic rhetoric online. While much of the vitriol has been aimed at the Muslim population back home in India, it has also taken the form of social media posts that denigrated Islam more generally, as well as the Prophet Mohammed. The situation has led to rare criticism of Modi by Gulf elites. In April, the government of Kuwait, along with a member of the Sharjah royal family in the United Arab Emirates, criticized widespread Islamophobic social media posts in India accusing the country’s Muslims of deliberately spreading the coronavirus and engaging in a “corona jihad.” Modi eventually responded by tweeting that the virus “does not see race [or] religion,” although his government’s rhetoric says otherwise. A month later, the UAE Federal Public Prosecution issued a public warning against discrimination after scores of Indian expats were fired from their jobs for anti-Muslim social media posts. This and similar incidents led the Dubai-based Gulf News to run an editorial in May calling for India to stop “exporting hate” to the Gulf.
Some members of Canada’s Indian diaspora echoed such sentiments, tweeting comments about how the prayer call broadcasts are part of an Islamist “strategical campaign through out the world” or that “blaring loudspeakers” can never be “peaceful.” Several of the tweeters have quietly lost their jobs since then, amid pressure from anti-hate groups.
But few cases have garnered much attention. The exception is that of Ravi Hooda, who sat on a regional school board in the Toronto area and tweeted that allowing the prayer calls to be broadcast opens the door for “Separate lanes for camel & goat riders” or laws “requiring all women to cover themselves from head to toe in tents.” When Hooda’s tweet was called out by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, a Twitter war ensued. Dozens of pro-Indian accounts, often with usernames containing an eight-digit string of numbers—a common indicator of a bot account—came to Hooda’s defense. A local controversy instantly took on an international character.
Hooda, for his part, is a volunteer for the local branch of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, which represents the overseas interests of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the right-wing Hindu nationalist organization that promotes the Hindutva (literally, “Hindu-ness”) ideology that India is a purely Hindu nation at its core. Modi himself is a lifelong RSS member, and a majority of his ministers have a background in the organization. The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh opened its first chapter in 1947, in Kenya, and today has more than 500 branches in 39 countries. The group’s chapters are called shakhas (branches) and, in addition to offering community services, help organize the diaspora through lectures, camps, and other organizational sessions that are aligned with the RSS’s ideological outlook.
#US affiliate of #Modi's #BJP registers as foreign agent in #America. FARA is an important tool to identify foreign influence in the United States and address threats to national security. #Trump #Hindutva #India #UnitedStates #Elections_2020 https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/us-affiliate-of-bjp-registers-as-foreign-agent/story-vUFzyF4pYIFVEpy4I9o62L.html
The US affiliate of the Bharatiya Janata Party - Overseas Friends of BJP-USA (OFBJP-USA) - recently registered itself with the American government under a law that requires individuals and entities that engage in political activities on behalf of a foreign principal to file a public disclosure of their ties and activities.
The OFBJP-USA identified BJP as its “foreign principal” in a registration form filed on August 27 with the US department of justice (DOJ) under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), 1938. It listed Vijay Chauthaiwale, in-charge of the BJP’s department of foreign affairs, as the party official it works with.
For the mission and objective of the BJP as the foreign principal, the OFBJP, said in the registration form, “Advocating for welfare social policies, self-reliance, robust economic growth, foreign policy driven by a nationalist agenda, and strong national defence for India.”
Adapa V Prasad, one of the three signatories of the registration form, denied that the registration was compelled by a US investigation of the organisation as had been contended by some. “OFBJP has voluntarily registered under FARA with DOJ, he said, adding, “OFBJP is not under any investigation.”
A response was awaited from the US justice department to a request from Hindustan Times to confirm or deny that an investigation was underway.
Prasad said the members of the organisation learned about FARA regulation “very recently and upon review of the regulation; we thought it best to register voluntarily”.
He added, “We haven’t suspended any of our activities. We are fully functional.”
The department of justice says, “FARA is an important tool to identify foreign influence in the United States and address threats to national security. The central purpose of FARA is to promote transparency with respect to foreign influence within the United States by ensuring that the US government and the public know the source of certain information from foreign agents intended to influence American public opinion, policy and laws, thereby facilitating informed evaluation of that information.”
“Willful violation” of the law is punishable with up to five years in jail and or a maximum fine of $250,000, or both. The punishment for certain lesser violations is a jail term of no more than six months or a fine of $5,000, or both.
#Nazi era #German reminder to all those enabling #Modi's #Hindutva #Fascism in #India and elsewhere. #Hitler #Trump #Johnson
“When all this is over, people will try to blame the Germans alone, and the Germans will try to blame the Nazis alone, and the Nazis will try to blame Hitler alone. They will make him bear the sins of the world. But it's not true. You suspected what was happening, and so did I. It was already too late over a year ago. I caused a reporter to lose his job because you told me to. He was deported. The day I did that I made my little contribution to civilization, the only one that matters.”
― Iain Pears, The Dream of Scipio
Most of the terror attacks which happened inside Pakistan, their links go or trace back to Indian agents or Indian elements, is this not an international level of terrorism?
Do you know that their are some Indian companies who are funding and sponsoring ISIS?
As “champions of militant Hindu supremacism” (Hindutva) are trying to re-invent themselves after former President Donald Trump’s defeat, Human Rights Coalitions on Wednesday warned that Sonal Shah and people of her ilk have become active under garb of champions of Asian Americans in the US.
After Hinduvta champions were exposed by civil society groups, the Coalitions said efforts were made to hide their real identity or to show their disassociation of the Hindtuva groups. It also advised noted Indian-origin TV journalist Fareed Zakaria and others not to be fell into trap of the newly formed The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) which is a new front for Hindutva groups.
In a statement, the Coalitions underlined that ever since several human rights groups, South Asian progressive activists and protestors against the Donald Trump administration in the US and the Narendra Modi regime in India, including the Alliance to Save and Protect America from Infiltration by Religious Extremists (ASPAIRE), Coalition of Americans for Pluralism in India (CAPI) and Coalition to Stop Genocide in India, have stepped up their efforts to expose several prominent and politically ambitious Indians in the US and their links with the far right Hindu extremists groups in India, efforts are on by those exposed to cover up their association with these groups.
The statement pointed out that Hindutva leaders, however, do so without formally denouncing these hate groups and publicly renouncing their affiliations with them. Many youth leaders of Hinduva supremacy fronts (not to be confused with Hinduism) which started spreading their wings in the US, a couple of decades ago have been infiltrating the Democratic and the Republican Parties. They have become more aggressive after Narendra Modi, who is also a product of these extremist groups, became the Prime Minister of India in 2014.
One of those exposed was Sonal Shah, who has now surfaced as the founding President of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), launched on May 3. TAAF describes her as a “foremost global leader on social impact and innovation”. Efforts seem to be on by her to connect with the larger and therefore influential Asian American community, leaving behind the narrower Hindutva identity.
She shot to the limelight in November 2008, when the newly elected President Barack Obama nominated her for the post of energy secretary. She had to however settle as director of the White House office of social innovation and civic participation, a department created by her, after she was called off for her Hindutva links.
Recently, when Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, withdrew her nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) amid bipartisan opposition in the senate, as President Joe Biden was announcing his team, Shah’s name too surfaced for the post.
However Shah was again called out for her links with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a strident Hindu extremist group in India, and VHP-A (America) it’s sister organization in the US. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had in its World Factbook of 2018, labeled VHP as a militant group. This group was instrumental in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, in which more than 2000 people were brutally killed and about 200,000 people were rendered homeless, triggering national and international outrage.
Shah was the national co-ordinator for VHP-A to raise funds for the 2001 Gujarat earthquake victims, which was accused of helping only Hindu victims and not the Muslim victims. She has also been associated with Ekal Vidyalayas, a movement founded by the VHP with the major objective of countering Christianity among Adivasis (forest people) in India who follow their own religion but struggling to get their identity back.
FACTSHEET: RASHTRIYA SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH (RSS)
by Bridge Initiative Team
Published on 18 May 2021
IMPACT: Founded in 1925 by K.D Hedgewar, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is an Indian right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organization. In 2020, RSS had almost 585,000 members and over 57,000 branches or sakhas, including a trade union wing (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh), women’s wing (Rashtriya Sevika Samiti), student wing (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad), and economic wing (Swadeshi Jagaran Manch). The Print, an Indian news outlet, estimates that 3 out of 4 ministers in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are members of the RSS, including the current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was founded in 1925 by K.D Hedgewar in response to a series of small and large scale riots between Hindus and Muslims across northern India. As the historian Tapan Raychoudhuri has noted, Hedgewar believed the riots were Muslim riots as he [Hedgewar] claimed that in every single case, “it is they [Muslims] who start them.”
In the Sangh’s mission statement, Hedgewar wrote: “The Hindu culture is the life-breath of Hindustan. It is therefore clear that if Hindustan is to be protected, we should first nourish the Hindu culture. It is the duty of every Hindu to do his best to consolidate the Hindu society.” In 1927, RSS co-founder — Dr. B.S. Moonje — described the RSS as an institution which could produce “the military regeneration of the Hindus” and unify the people in line with “the idea of fascism.” In 1940, M.S Golwalkar succeeded Hedgewar as head of the RSS.
Golwalkar, widely regarded as the ideological architect of the Sangh, is the author of We, or, Our Nationhood Defined, which maps out a vision of a “Hindu Rashtra”. A March 2018 piece by Parnal Chirmuley in The Indian Express notes that Golwalkar’s vision [of a Hindu state] drew inspiration from Italian fascism, specifically Mussolini’s organization of fascist paramilitary forces. In comparing the supremacy of Hindus in India to the supremacy of the Aryan race in Hitler’s Germany, Golwalkar wrote, “To keep up the purity of its race and culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging of the country of the Semitic races— the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here .. a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”
In the 1940s, under Golwalkar, RSS volunteers were forbidden from taking part in Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s “Quit India Movement” against the British empire. During the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, Golwalkar is reported to have met with Gandhi over RSS’s alleged involvement in widespread anti-Muslim pogroms. On January 30, 1948, Nathuram Godse, a former member of the Sangh, assassinated Gandhi. In the aftermath, Golwalkar was jailed, and the RSS banned.
In 2009, following the BJP’s defeat in national elections, Mohan Bhagwat— who grew up in a staunchly RSS family— took over the organization. Leading up to the 2014 election, the Sangh actively campaigned for the Hindu-nationalist party, backing Narendra Modi, then the Chief Minister of Gujarat, as the front runner. Narendra Modi is a lifelong member of the RSS, and is accused of “allowing” the 2002 massacre of Muslims in his state.
In recent years, the RSS has been at the forefront of promoting Hindu-nationalism in India, with the Sangh accused of inciting violence against India’s Dalit-Bahujan community, including hate crimes against Muslims, lynchings of Dalits, and pogroms against religious minorities.
FACTSHEET: RASHTRIYA SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH (RSS)
by Bridge Initiative Team
Published on 18 May 2021
In recent years, the RSS has been at the forefront of promoting Hindu-nationalism in India, with the Sangh accused of inciting violence against India’s Dalit-Bahujan community, including hate crimes against Muslims, lynchings of Dalits, and pogroms against religious minorities.
In 1992, RSS had campaigned for the destruction of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, arguing the Mughal era structure was built on top of the birthplace of the Hindu God, Ram. Following the BJP’s landslide electoral victory in May 2019, Mohan Bhagwat reaffirmed the Sangh’s commitment to the masjid-mandir (mosque-temple) debate at an RSS-education camp, saying, “Ram’s work will be done.” In December 2019, after the Supreme Court of India ruled in favor of the destruction in November 2019, three RSS leaders were charged with “commuting a deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings and uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of a person” in Karnataka, India, for reenacting the demolition of the mosque.
In April 2019, The Caravan reported a new initiative by the RSS to bring “true nationalist narrative” to Indian academia. Since BJP came to power in 2014, prominent historians such as Romila Thapar have argued that the Sangh is “attempting to foreground revisionist histories with a glorified view of a Hindu past” by rewriting school textbooks, setting up “RSS-model schools”, and lobbying streaming platforms to remove “anti-nationalist” content. Balmukund Pandey, the head of the historical research wing of the RSS, is on record asserting: “The time is now to restore India’s past glory by establishing that ancient Hindu texts are fact not myth.”
Since its early days, RSS has been linked to white supremacist organizations in Europe and North America. In 2011, Anders Breivik— the Norwegian mass murderer— hailed India’s Hindu nationalist movement as a “key ally in a global struggle to bring down democratic regimes across the world”, listing the websites of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the National Volunteers’ Organisation, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad as resources.
The Sangh has also been linked with Hindu-American advocacy groups in the U.S, chief among them the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) in Washington, D.C. Mihir Meghani, co-founder of HAF, is a long time member of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, and has spoken at conferences organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, the international religious branch of the RSS. Meghani is also the author of Hindutva: The Great Nationalist Ideology where he writes, “The future of Bharat is set. Hindutva is here to stay. It is up to the Muslims whether they will be included in the new nationalistic spirit of Bharat. It is up to the government and the Muslim leadership whether they wish to increase Hindu furor or work with the Hindu leadership.”
In 2005, the Hindu America Foundation (HAF) partnered with the Vedic Foundation and the Hindu Education Foundation, to push the state of California to change passages on Hinduism in official school textbooks. In a February 2006 cover story, Siliconeer, a monthly magazine for south Asians on the west coast, said the changes in curriculum that HAF was pushing for reflected “chauvinistic political agendas” seeking to equate the history of India with the history of Hinduism. Recently, HAF board member Rishi Bhutada served as the official spokesperson of “Howdy Modi,” the RSS backed rally for India’s BJP prime minister held in Houston, Texas on September 22, 2020.
FACTSHEET: RASHTRIYA SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH (RSS)
by Bridge Initiative Team
Published on 18 May 2021
In October 2019, HAF invited Aarti Tikoo Singh, who claimed, in a Twitter exchange with Tarek Fatah, that “Islamophobia is a bullsh*t word thrown in as a slur by those who have irrational fear (phobia) of any criticism of Islamic extremism [and] regressive Muslims.” In April 2019, after city councils across Canada voted to allow the Islamic call to prayer (adhan) to be broadcasted for a few minutes a day during the holy month of Ramadan, Fatah claimed that the Muslims wanted the public adhan to become a “permanent feature”, and that Greek Town (as the neighbourhood of the mosque is known) might soon become “Islamabad.” Fatah was retweeted by Ravi Hooda, who commented that the decision— to broadcast the adhan— opened the door for “separate lanes for camel & goat riders” or laws “requiring all women to cover themselves from head to toe in tents.” Writing for Foreign Policy, Steven Zhou identified Hooda as a volunteer for the local branch of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, which represents the overseas interests of the RSS.
In February 2020, following anti-Muslim pogroms in Delhi, 16 RSS cadres were arrested and charged with murder and rioting. At least 53 people were killed during the violence, almost three quarter of whom were Muslims. According to The Guardian, the catalyst for the pogrom is widely acknowledged to have been a comment by Kapil Mishra, a BJP leader, who issued a public ultimatum declaring that if the police did not clear the streets of a protest against a new citizenship law seen as anti-Muslim, his supporters would be “forced to hit the streets”.
Today’s RSS tries to distance itself from its past. But according to Arundhati Roy, “its underlying ideology, in which Muslims are cast as treacherous permanent ‘outsiders,’ is a constant refrain in the public speeches of BJP politicians, and finds utterance in chilling slogans raised by rampaging mobs. For example: ‘Mussalman ka ek hi sthan—Kabristan ya Pakistan’ (Only one place for the Muslim—the graveyard, or Pakistan). In October this year, Mohan Bhagwat, the supreme leader of the RSS, said, ‘India is a Hindu Rashtra’—a Hindu nation. ‘This is non-negotiable.’”
Sewa International has raised millions of dollars in donations for #COVID relief. It supports pro-#Modi #Islamophobic #Hindu nationalist organizations and projects in #India, without proper disclosure of how the funds were being used. #Hindutva https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/06/covid-india-charity-sewa-hindu-nationalism.html via @slate
COVID Relief Donations Are Supporting a Project to “Hinduize” India
Why are Twitter, Microsoft, and Google promoting a charity with ties to right-wing nationalism?
As the world has become more aware of India’s still-grim COVID crisis, concerned and well-meaning citizens of the world have shared links through which to donate money and supplies to India’s beleaguered populace and overcrowded health and funeral services. One of the most popular of these has been a group called Sewa International.
According to the organization’s press releases, Sewa’s “Help India Defeat COVID-19” media campaign has raised millions of dollars from more than 100,000 donors since late April, with this money going toward purchasing and sending oxygen concentrators, oximeters, and other essential equipment to India, which is grappling with a dire shortage of these technologies. The organization has also raised money and sent equipment for COVID relief in Nepal and Trinidad and Tobago.
Sewa’s initiative has become well-known within and beyond the Indian diaspora: Stories of distraught Indian Americans encouraging Sewa donations have proliferated in the news, and outlets like ABC News have highlighted Sewa’s work. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey earmarked $2.5 million for Sewa as part of a $15 million donation for Indian COVID relief. Internal communications provided to me by a source showed that Microsoft and Google encouraged their employees to donate to Sewa and offered matching funds, in Microsoft’s case through the donation-management platform Benevity. New Jersey’s Monroe Township partnered with Sewa to provide India aid, while the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the largest organization representing Indian American doctors, also held a fundraiser for India with Sewa. The group also has partnered with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency to ramp up domestic vaccination efforts in both Philadelphia and Texas, where Sewa’s U.S. branch is based.
A mysterious new report tells you who funds Hindu nationalism in US, and with how much money
While Hindu groups like the HSS flag the report as 'unreliable', anti-Hindutva activists say that it's based on available data but not getting enough attention.
Drawing upon publicly available resources, the report details the financial ties of groups in the US that are spending millions to influence American education and further the interests of the Indian government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Over almost 20 years — 2001 to 2019 — seven of these charitable groups spent at least $158.9 million, sending some of it to groups in India. Around half of this money, nearly $85.4 million, was spent between 2014 and 2019.
While Hindu groups in the US have flagged the unreliability of the report, anti-Hindutva activists have said that it is based on publicly available data but not getting enough public attention.
Titled ‘Hindu Nationalist Influence in the United States, 2014-2021: The Infrastructure of Hindutva Mobilizing,’ the report is authored by Jasa Macher and facilitated by the South Asian Citizens Web. It’s a researched update on a 2014 report, authored by someone who uses the same initials and email address: JM.
But Google the author and you won’t find a digital footprint — only references to their report.
“We find it strange that a report on the alleged nefariousness of various organisations, including our own, is likely written under an unacknowledged pseudonym, seemingly created solely for the purpose of this report,” wrote the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) to ThePrint in an email response.
Following the money
So, where does the money come from? Philanthropists among the diaspora, fundraising drives, wealthy family foundations and American taxpayers themselves.
Organisations like the Bhutada Family Foundation and the Puran Devi Aggarwal Family Foundation donated around $2 million to groups like the HAF, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), and Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA between 2006 and 2018, according to tax records. While the report points out that the donors’ ideological opinions can’t be assumed based on the fact that they’ve donated to Hindu non-profit groups, it lists the Sangh affiliations of those who head these family foundations.
According to a 2021 Al Jazeera report, five Right-wing groups — Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, HAF, Infinity Foundation, Sewa International, and VHPA — received $833,000 of U.S. federal Covid relief funds, paid for by the American taxpayer. The HAF filed a defamation suit against the reporter, Raqib Hameed Naik, as well as others named in the report, including members of another US-based group, Hindus For Human Rights. ThePrint has reached out to the organizations mentioned in this article for their comments on the report.
The Edison bulldozer scandal is a wake-up call for people to learn about Hindutva hate | Opinion by Audrey Truschke
A bulldozer — celebrating far-right Hindu nationalist violence against Muslims — drove through the streets of Edison, last month at an Indian Independence Day parade. Many New Jersey politicians were present and claim to have been unaware of the bulldozer’s appalling symbolism of praising, even encouraging, the violent oppression of Indian religious minorities.
The backlash is continuing to grow, including calls for the organizers to be held accountable (they have since apologized) and for more people to learn about Hindutva hate.
For many New Jerseyans, the Edison bulldozer scandal is the first time that they have heard about the intolerant ideology of Hindu nationalism, also known as Hindutva or Hindu supremacy. But it is unlikely to be the last time.
I have been studying global Hindu nationalism for years, including a recent focus on Hindu Right goals and tactics in the United States. America, especially New Jersey, is a stronghold for Hindu nationalist groups who provide financial support and ideological guidance for the larger global movement. This extremist ideology — which has roots in early 20th-century European fascism — has flourished for decades, largely unchecked, in our state and has had many harmful consequences.
Hindu nationalists propagate their intolerant ideas in the United States through a network of organizations. Some of the most common include the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-America (VHPA), and the Hindu Students Council (HSC). Sometimes a Hindu nationalist group registers as a foreign agent, such as Overseas Friends of BJP, which promotes the interests of India’s far-right ruling party. More commonly, Hindu nationalist groups try to spread and normalize their extremist ideas under the ruse of promoting Indian culture, such as at the Edison parade.
In the recent parade, the celebration of human rights violations was merely symbolic, but it is sometimes far more visceral for New Jersey communities. In 2021, federal agents raided a Hindu temple in Robbinsville, New Jersey and found Dalit men—who are at the bottom of a hierarchy of social oppression known as the caste system—held in bonded labor. Governor Murphy joined the many who condemned the “horrific, unfathomable” conditions of modern-day slavery. What he did not note is that the Hindu temple, part of the BAPS denomination, has strong ties with India’s Hindu nationalist BJP government. As of now, a case is pending in federal court in New Jersey that accuses BAPS of human trafficking in multiple states.
Hindu nationalists regularly attack lots of people—including Dalits, Christians, and the many Hindus who oppose Hindutva—but Muslims are their most common targets. In India, Muslims are subjected to daily violence and harassment, an abysmal situation documented by human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United States International Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In 2022, USCIRF recommended India for sanctions for the third year in a row due to rapidly worsening conditions in the country, especially attacks on Muslims.
The Edison bulldozer scandal is a wake-up call for people to learn about Hindutva hate | Opinion by Audrey Truschke
Here in New Jersey, Indian Muslims are mainly safe from Hindu nationalist violence, although not always. In 2019, the Rutgers-New Brunswick Hindu Students Council — a Hindu nationalist group — invited a Hindutva demagogue from India to speak. The off-campus event featured Islamophobic hate speech. It also involved a recent Rutgers-Newark alum — and Kashmiri Muslim — being heckled and physically assaulted by others present. At the time, few noticed beyond the South Asian American community, but it is one brick in a larger edifice of anti-minority, Hindu nationalist hate.
At a meeting of the Edison city council on Aug. 22, a councilmember applauded the activists who had called out the parade bulldozer as a hate symbol: “By you bringing this to our attention, it stops it from going forward... what you’re doing today by bringing awareness is the first step, and that’s the strong step that needs to be done. You’re educating us.” I appreciate his words. But I wonder if he and the other councilmembers have any idea what that education often costs those brave enough to speak.
U.S.-based Hindu nationalists regularly attack South Asian community groups, such as the Indian American Muslim Council, which has been active on the bulldozer issue. They smear individual members and spread Islamophobic rumors about entire organizations, such as when the far-right Hindu American Foundation and its allies attacked IAMC last year. Hindu Right attacks in the United States can put one’s family at risk and even require the use of safe houses.
As a professor who works on Hindu nationalism, I am also subjected to regular Hindu nationalist attacks. I often require armed protection when I speak publicly in America, due to the threat of Hindu supremacist violence. While law enforcement has kept me safe thus far, it has not stemmed the waves of hate unleashed against me and Rutgers, my employer. Hindu nationalists are part of the Global Far Right, and so we sometimes see bleed-over ideas, such as the anti-Black racism lobbed against Rutgers administrators, including President Jonathan Holloway, in a recent propaganda piece by a Hindu nationalist.
Anti-Asian hate crimes are growing in New Jersey. By targeting South Asian Muslims and Dalits, as well as Hindus who disagree with them, Hindu nationalists in the United States are contributing to that alarming trend. If we are to confront and begin to counter such hateful assaults, we must recognize Hindutva’s deep roots and long-standing harms in New Jersey.
A hard truth is that while many New Jerseyans are only now learning the basics of Hindu nationalism, many of our state’s minority communities — especially South Asian Muslims — have lived for decades with the spectre of fear and intimidation imposed by purveyors of this intolerant ideology. It is time for that era to end, and for us to say together — Hindutva hate has no home in New Jersey.
India’s government is exporting its #Hindu nationalism. Example: #Leicester in #UK. #Modi paints India as a kind of Hindu Zion. #Islamophobia is rampant among bjp stalwarts. Authorities have bulldozed Muslim homes in #Delhi & #BJP ruled states. #Hindutva https://www.economist.com/asia/2022/09/29/indias-government-is-exporting-its-hindu-nationalism
The violence that erupted two weeks ago between Muslims and Hindus in the English city of Leicester, home to a large population of Britons with South Asian ancestry, appears at last to be dying down as police flood the streets. It began with brawls and quickly escalated into attacks on mosques and temples.
Events in faraway Leicester bear on Banyan’s Asian preoccupations, largely because of the reaction of the government of India. Its high commission in London condemned the “violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of [the] Hindu religion”, but, pointedly, did not condemn Hindus’ violence against Muslims.
Admittedly, Pakistan decried a “systematic campaign” of violence and intimidation against Muslims. But then Pakistan, a state founded on putting Islam (and by extension communalism) at its core, would look after its own, wouldn’t it? The Indian state, by contrast, long sought to represent a secular ideal that rose above communal divisions.
That ideal also informed the internationalist, inclusionary rhetoric of India’s foreign policy. The notable omissions in the Indian High Commission’s statement are indicative of a break in policy since the rise to power in 2014 of Narendra Modi, the prime minister. He is cheerleader-in-chief for Hindutva, a strident form of Hindu nativism promoted by his Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp).
The Indian government’s response was notable in another respect. Most of Leicester’s South Asian Muslims have their ancestral roots not in Pakistan but, like its Hindus, within the borders of India itself. Mukul Kesavan, an Indian writer, writes that to identify only with its Hindus “is to withdraw...the ancestral claim to India from the Muslims of Leicester.”
This is all of a piece with the bjp’s majoritarian approach at home, where Hindus constitute four-fifths of the country’s 1.4bn people and Muslims about one-seventh. Islamophobia is rampant among bjp stalwarts (though Mr Modi usually carries a dog whistle). When Hindus and Muslims have clashed in Delhi or in bjp-ruled states, authorities have bulldozed Muslim homes in retribution. Mr Modi’s Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 grants Indian citizenship to refugees from neighbouring countries—so long as they are not Muslim.
As Mr Kesavan argues, standing up for Hindus abroad bolsters Mr Modi’s standing among Hindus at home. Mr Modi has long understood this aspect of personal power. Before the pandemic he staged huge rallies for the Indian diaspora in America and Britain. On visits abroad he pointedly combines diplomacy with prayer. Mr Modi paints India as a kind of Hindu Zion.
In the American capital this week the foreign minister, S. Jaishankar, lambasted those supposedly spreading false views of India, such as the Washington Post. He defended the government’s suspension of the rule of law and the internet in majority-Muslim Kashmir as motivated only by pure intentions. The minister is representative of Hindutva at the heart of the foreign-policy establishment. A paper in International Affairs, an academic journal, by Kira Huju of Oxford University describes how Indian diplomats hewing to the secular, internationalist line have been squeezed out, silenced or marginalised in favour of hardline hacks. Not only that, diplomats abroad must now promote a Hindu-inflected alternative medicine known as Ayurveda, as well as take instruction in the promotion and practice of yoga.
Tensions That Roiled English City Have Roots in #India. #LeicesterCity clashes reflect a spread of sometimes violent extremism across the broader Indian #diaspora driven by #Hindutva, the divisive political ideology supported by #Modi & #BJP. #Islamophobia https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/02/world/europe/leicester-violence-uk.html?smid=tw-share
Experts say it is only the latest example of how the toxic politics that are roiling India — and leading to the persecution of Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities — have migrated to other parts of the globe.
Across the Indian diaspora, ugly divisions are emerging. A bulldozer, which has become a symbol of oppression against India’s Muslim minority, was rolled down a street in a New Jersey town during a parade this summer, offending many people. Last year, attacks on Sikh men in Australia were linked to extremist nationalist ideology. In April, Canadian academics told CBC News that they faced death threats over their criticism of growing Hindu nationalism and violence against minorities in India.
Since India’s independence struggle, Hindu nationalists have espoused a vision that places Hindu culture and religious worship at the center of Indian identity. That view, once fringe, was made mainstream when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party came to power.
Human rights observers have since documented a sharp rise in violence against minorities in India, particularly targeting Muslims, but also Christians. Activists and journalists, including many Muslims, have been jailed or threatened with prosecution under an antiterrorism law that has received scrutiny from India’s highest court.
Mr. Modi has largely responded to this violence with silence, which experts say his most extreme supporters interpret as a tacit sign of approval. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent Indian public intellectual, last month wrote that the Leicester episode followed a playbook “familiar for anyone who knows Indian riots: The use of rumors, groups from outside the local community, and marches to create polarization in otherwise peaceful communities.”
The tensions that spilled onto the streets last month have prompted soul searching among the different religious communities in Leicester, a city of about 368,000 in England’s Midlands. Leicester has one of Britain’s highest proportions of South Asians, a vast majority of them people of Indian heritage, who make up some 22.3 percent of the city’s overall population, according to the most recent government statistics.
Leicester is 13 percent Muslim and 12.3 percent Hindu, and most of the people from both religious groups are ethnically Indian.
After British rule ended with the partition of India in 1947, creating a separate state of Pakistan, subsequent legislation allowed citizens from across the Commonwealth to move to Britain. Another wave of South Asians arrived in the 1970s after Uganda’s dictator, Idi Amin, suddenly expelled thousands of people of mostly Indian origin from Uganda. By then, Leicester had gained a reputation as a city that was generally welcoming to immigrants.
“Leicester has always been proud of the fact that we have new people coming from all parts of the world,” said Rita Patel, a local councilor and member of a South Asian women’s collective working toward peacebuilding.
Scientists in India protest move to drop Darwinian evolution from textbooks
Decision marks troubling rejection of science, critics say
Scientists in India are protesting a decision to remove discussion of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution from textbooks used by millions of students in ninth and 10th grades. More than 4000 researchers and others have so far signed an open letter asking officials to restore the material.
The removal makes “a travesty of the notion of a well-rounded secondary education,” says evolutionary biologist Amitabh Joshi of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. Other researchers fear it signals a growing embrace of pseudoscience by Indian officials.
The Breakthrough Science Society, a nonprofit group, launched the open letter on 20 April after learning that the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), an autonomous government organization that sets curricula and publishes textbooks for India’s 256 million primary and secondary students, had made the move as part of a “content rationalization” process. NCERT first removed discussion of Darwinian evolution from the textbooks at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to streamline online classes, the society says. (Last year, NCERT issued a document that said it wanted to avoid content that was “irrelevant” in the “present context.”)
NCERT officials declined to answer questions about the decision to make the removal permanent. They referred ScienceInsider to India’s Ministry of Education, which had not provided comment as this story went to press.
“The country’s scientific community is seriously dismayed to see that the theory of biological evolution … has been dropped,” the Breakthrough Science Society said in a statement. “Students will remain seriously handicapped in their thought processes if deprived of exposure to this fundamental discovery of science.”
One major concern, Joshi says, is that most Indian students will get no exposure to the concept of evolution if it is dropped from the ninth and 10th grade curriculum, because they do not go on to study biology in later grades. “Evolution is perhaps the most important part of biology that all educated citizens should be aware of,” Joshi says. “It speaks directly to who we are, as humans, and our position within the living world.”
Post a Comment