- Given the content of the conference, it is obvious to me that there could be increased occurrences of Hindu hate on campuses and elsewhere.
Now that the so-called “academic conference” “Dismantling Global Hindutva,” is over I’m really concerned about the safety of students on campus. I’m writing to you again about the consequences of the hate filled conference on the Hindu students on the campus.
First, I would like to thank you for asking the conference organizers to take down the logo of the university. That really helped to expose the deceitfulness with which the organizers claimed the support of the entire university.
As a practicing Hindu, my dharma encourages questioning, discussion and debate ( see Shankaracharya-Mandana Mishra debate). Therefore, I consider academic freedom a prerequisite to understand each other, promote diversity of thought. But, a basic requirement of an academic conference on a contentious issue is that it allows discussion of different and even opposing viewpoints.
But what transpired at the conference exposed the extreme hate the speakers carried towards Hinduism and Hindu people.
As I feared, the speakers did not hide their evil design in targeting Hinduism under the guise of targeting the “political ideology” of Hindutva.
For example — these are some of the things that I heard at the conference:
- Hindutva has basis in Hinduism, therefore, to destroy Hindutva differentiating Hinduism is not possible.
“Hindutva is inseparable without Hinduism. Arguments that Hindutva is not Hinduism are deeply dangerous”
- Essentialized Hinduism as casteism, Brahmanism and claimed it as root of Jewish holocaust (!!!!????!!!!)
“Brahmanism [slur used against Hindus] played a very crucial role in the constitution of Nazism itself”
- Group of “Academics” tweeted that claiming Hindu identity itself is a problem as it leads to Hindutva
- Denied that Hinduphobia exists whereas first documented evidence is available here, especially in Academia and here. Here is a statement from an Academic on Hinduphobia in academia.
- Political nature of the conference was evident where many speakers spent a lot of time on Modi, BJP, Indian parliamentary elections results of 2014/2019.
- One “academic” declared: “India is a construct of Hindutva, everyone is a minority in India. Everyone of them should have the right of self-determination like Kashmiris in India occupied Kashmir.” This essentially called for Balkanization of India just like the communists did prior to Independence in 1947
As I emailed before the conference, all my concerns regarding the conference have become true.
Given the content of the conference, it is obvious to me that there could be increased occurrences of Hindu hate on campus and elsewhere.
I sincerely hope that the university administration encourages the campus community to report hate attacks based on religion without fear. Hindu students should be encouraged to practice their beliefs according to their traditions without fear of being attacked. More importantly, his/her academic performance should NOT be targeted by the faculty who supported this hateful conference.
The Constitution of the USA provides for complete freedom to practice one’s religion and that same may not be used to discriminate against anyone. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) protects students of any religion from discrimination, including harassment, based on a student’s shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, or citizenship or residency in a country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity.
I’m going to report this event and the support by the university to the federal government to the Office of Civil Rights as well.
I earnestly hope that the conduct of the university would be fair with respect to Hinduism, Hindu students and faculty at the university and you will reevaluate the support to such events in the future.
Madhu Hebbar, an engineer, is an IIT graduate, living in greater Los Angeles area. He is a practicing Hindu, and an avid reader, who is interested in Eastern philosophies and their general application to Western challenges. He is engaged in coaching youngsters interested in Hindu civilizational history, universal values and its modern-day relevance. He has contributed to many intellectual engagements for a decade plus in Hindu community across the U.S.