In Defense of HSS: Opinionated Attacks on Ordinary American Hindus are Contributing to Growing Anti-Hindu Sentiments
- There's not a single example to show that HSS initiated any negativity and hateful campaign against any organization, community, individual, philosophy, or faith.
“In an ideal society, there should be many interests consciously communicated and shared. There should be varied and free points of contact with other modes of association. In other words, there must be social endosmosis. This is a fraternity, which is only another name for democracy. Democracy is not merely a form of government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards one’s fellow men.…”
— “My ideal: a society based on Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,” from “Annihilation of caste,”
by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
Today, it is a sad state of affairs that a group of self-proclaimed activists and so-called intellectuals, while repeatedly taking Dr. Ambedkar’s name, consciously ignore the connection between fraternity/society and democracy. Further, they actively choose negativity to divide society by spreading misinformation about others whose approach to life is respectful, peaceful, and inclusive.
Opinionated coercive attacks on ordinary American Hindus, referring to the word “Hindu” numerous times with negative connotations, and ganging up using social media have resulted in growing anti-Hindu sentiments. This is making Hindus experience the hate –that reflects in desecrated temples, ridiculing at workplaces, or denial of the constitutional rights of equal respect to the students who follow the Hindu faith.
Several socially active organizations, well respected in the broader American society, are common targets of such pointed bullying. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA (HSS) is one of these organizations that is constantly being attacked. For example, recent articles in the American Kahani, “BBC Documentary’ India…” and “A Rebel in the Crosshairs…” have quotes of two individuals wrongly narrating HSS and HSS work. In response to these repeated false allegations, it is important to repeat some basic facts about HSS. HSS USA is a 501(c)(3) registered independent nonprofit organization from and works only in the United States. The HSS holds weekly activity centers called “shakhas,” which practice fitness, yoga, and group activities and bring eternal Hindu universal principles into action. HSS membership is all-inclusive, diverse, and equitable.
Several neutral media and unbiased agencies have conducted extensive research and studied the work of HSS, articles, and social media posts. No single example can show that HSS initiated any negativity and hateful campaign against any organization, community, individual, philosophy, or faith. No evidence worth its merit has been produced against HSS that demonstrates that it works for any other agenda than its stated mission. Numerous times, mainstream media covered the social contribution of HSS families across the United States. Yet, HSS gets dragged into political commentaries and opinion pieces and conflated slanderously to violence and extremism. Instead of working constructively and making a positive mark on society, these mudslingers find it easy to loathe others’ social contributions and hate those who work selflessly.
A 19th-century Anglo-Indian woman author Isa Blagden, in her book, “The Crown of A Life,” made one timeless observation: “If a lie is only printed often enough, it becomes a quasi-truth, and if such a truth is repeated often enough, it becomes an article of belief, a dogma, and men will die for it.” Unfortunately, hate has become an article of belief for such people. Further, their actions create a toxic environment against minority Hindu society in the United States. Negativity has become the second nature of these activists, and the American Hindu community is falling prey.
There is a danger that such negativity, exclusivist attitude, and sense of entitlement may end up breeding a new American caste system. Hence, individuals responsible for such fear-mongering must revisit Dr. Ambedkar’s writing, practice his thoughts on Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity with a contemporary lens, and annihilate the hate from within.
Vikas Deshpande is a member of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA.