The floor was being laid for some time, as Hindus within the US have campaigned in opposition to illustration of their religion at school textbooks in California a bit of greater than a decade in the past, and in opposition to varied scurrilous tutorial references
Firstpost is satisfied that Dismantling Global Hindutva (DGH), a three-day on-line convention (from Sept 10-12) deliberate by nameless organisers within the US, is a partisan and politically-motivated occasion designed to malign an historic faith and its adherents. Through columns and reported items, this Firstpost collection exposes why such programmes are deceptive, agenda-driven, and nothing however thinly-veiled Hinduphobia.
It was maybe the dates that triggered it.
On 11 September – the anniversary of the Islamist terrorist assault that introduced down the Twin Towers in Manhattan and led to the US getting into a two-decade warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan – the Taliban, cocking a brutal snook on the US, is about to inaugurate their Sharia-compliant authorities stuffed with males who’ve been declared terrorists in varied elements of the world.
The chief of this authorities is Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, notoriously on a United Nations blacklist. It will get worse. The Interior Minister is from the notorious terrorist group, the Haqqani Network. Sirajuddin Haqqani is needed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and has a $5-million reward on his head.
11 September additionally occurs to be a day that’s important for India and Indians. It is the day that Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda gave a well-known lecture on the Parliament of World’s Religions in Chicago and altered the angle of Hinduism and India within the Western thoughts, in some ways, perpetually. This speech is likely one of the most vital occasions within the historical past of recent Hinduism, one of many oldest faiths on the earth.
On at the present time, not certainly by coincidence, a controversial convention referred to as ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ is being held. Organisers say it’s supported by departments of lots of the world’s prime universities. Organisers additionally say the goal of the convention is ‘Hindutva’, or political Hinduism, the ideology adopted by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological mother or father, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Click right here to learn tales on Dismantling Global Hindutva
This convention has led to one of many largest examples of public mobilisation amongst Hindus around the globe, particularly in North America – from the place the occasion is ostensibly being organised. Tens of 1000’s of letters have been written to universities in opposition to the web convention. Several of those institutes have clarified that some particular departments, and never the college per se, are collaborating on this occasion.
Critics and Hindu advocacy teams say the “partisan” occasion is a thinly disguised assault on Hinduism, which has confronted – and faces – ostracism and misrepresentation, particularly in Western academia. This a part of the battle has been occurring for a few decade or extra, as practising Hindus have identified errors and misrepresentations of features of the faith as depicted in Western academia.
Among essentially the most criticised teachers – and who’ve headlined this convention – is a professor from Rutgers University, Audrey Truschke. She as soon as infamously claimed that the Ramayana, one of many two best epics of Hinduism, says that Lord Rama, its hero and some of the revered figures in Hinduism, is a “misogynist p**”. And then she claimed that this was from a translation from the Sanskrit unique by Robert Goldman, a widely known scholar of Hinduism and Sanskrit. Goldman dismissed the declare, saying it was false. “I discover it extraordinarily disturbing however maybe not surprising to be taught that AT (Audrey Trushcke) has used such inappropriate language and handed it off as coming from Valmiki (the writer of the Ramayana).
“Neither the great poet nor we used such a vulgar diction and certainly Sita would never have used such language to her husband even in the midst of emotional distress. Nowhere in our translation of the passage do we use words you mention at as using. She is in no way quoting our translation but giving her own reading of the passage in her own highly inappropriate language,” he wrote in an e mail trade.
It is due to the presence of individuals resembling Truschke and poet Meena Kandaswamy – who referred to as Rama a “d*****ad” – headlining this convention that protesters argue the occasion has little to do with politics or Hindutva, which even the organisers agree can’t be precisely outlined.
All this is able to be another fracas pushed by Twitter activism if it wasn’t so severe.
The response to this convention marks the primary main mass assertion of Hindu politics, particularly in North America. This has been build up for some time as Hindus within the US have campaigned in opposition to illustration of their religion at school textbooks in California a bit of greater than a decade in the past, and in opposition to varied scurrilous tutorial references.
For each Western tutorial like Wendy Doniger or Christophe Jaffrelot (additionally headlining the convention), who declare that the fears are unfounded and the protests merely political, there are others like Lavanya Vemsani and Jeffery Long, who assert that Hinduphobia, or cultural worry and ostracism of Hindus, is on the rise. And that it carries the legacy of outdated colonial and Abrahamic tropes of hatred in opposition to “pagan” faiths.
This debate will not stay inside the boundaries of quarrelling teachers and even stress teams. Some of essentially the most extremely educated and rich Hindus of North America at the moment are on this, and their affect has already began bringing in members of American politics into this debate.
This is the second when Hindu politics has began going mainstream – globally.
Hindol Sengupta is a a number of award-winning historian and writer.