Urge universities to disassociate with the Hinduphobic conference
New York: Prominent Hindu American groups Friday urged several US universities not to support an online conference titled ”Dismantling Global Hindutva” next month.
Conference organizers, who are requesting anonymity, claim the three-day event starting September 10 is cosponsored by more than 45 centers or departments at over 41 universities, most of whom are from the United States.
Various Hindu American groups Friday expressed outrage at the stated goal of the conference — exploring the consolidation of Hindu supremacist ideology in India and elsewhere — as mentioned on its website and being promoted on various social media platforms.
The list of speakers and panelists for the conference are mainly those who have been known for their activism against various Hindu groups in India and the US.
The Dismantling Global Hindutva have listed the names of more than 40 top American universities as their sponsors and cosponsors, including the Columbia University, Emory University, Harvard University, New York University, Rutgers University, Princeton University, University of Chicago and University of California in Berkeley, San Diego and Santa Cruz.
“The DGH organizers trade on the prestige of your institution’s name to host, not an academic conference, but a partisan event related to politics in India. The event platforms activists with extensive histories of amplifying Hinduphobic
The group also asked the universities to “ensure the safety and well-being of Hindu students, faculty and staff on your campus who may feel targeted, threatened or face hostility” because of the developments.
Apparently at least five universities listed as cosponsors appear to have distanced themselves from the event – a claim rejected by anonymous organizers of the program through a newly created Twitter account.
HAF which is at the forefront of the campaign, also accused the organizers of unauthorized use of names and logos of some of the universities touted as cosponsors.
The event, which Hindu advocacy groups say promotes hatred against the community and is politically motivated, has triggered a heated online debate that is now spiraling into a full-fledged war of words between the campaigners and the organizers.
HAF says its campaign reaching out to over 40 universities — mentioned as cosponsors or supporting cosponsors in publicity material for the event — is receiving “tremendous global response” and yielding results.
It has launched a “grassroots campaign to enable students, alumni and concerned citizens to send their own letters to every university ostensibly co-sponsoring the DGH event.”
HAF says the speakers’ list consisted of activists who “equate Hinduism with caste bigotry”, “deny indigeneity of Hindus to South Asia”, “support the violent Kashmir militancy” and “deny Hinduphobia & systemic oppression Hindus face throughout South Asia (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kashmir).”
“The DGH website mentions no academic organizers & specifically defines the event as nakedly political with an intention to ‘dismantle’ the current government of India. Universities have clear political neutrality statements that oppose sponsorship of partisan political events,” HAF said on Twitter.
American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD) has also initiated an online petition which has already garnered 2000 signatures. These signatures and associated comments are being sent to all the Universities co-sponsoring the event requesting them to disassociate themselves from the event.
Ajay Shah, the President of VHPA and Convener of AHAD said, “Dismantling Global Hindutva event has been organized from September 10 to September 12. It is no coincidence that the event has been timed to take place on Anniversary of September 11 terror attack, the largest on the American soil by the radical Islamic terrorists. It should be clear that the organizers of this event have a nefarious motive of deflecting the attention away from the radical Islamic terrorism to the peaceful Hindu community by vilifying the essence of Hindu spiritual practices, culture and way of life, embodied in Hindutva. At a time when thousands of Muslims from Afghanistan are seeking refuge from Islamic terrorism to predominantly Hindu India, to label Hindutva as a radical extremist philosophy is not just ironic but malevolent.”
Commenting on the event, Utsav Chakrabarti, Executive Director, HinduPACT stated, “At a time when radical Islamists in the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, are emboldened by Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan, and are openly threatening India and its Hindu population, this event by Taliban apologists targeting Hindus, is worrisome. It shows that many Universities in the United States have become de-facto platform for the promotion of intolerance and violent extremism.”
Community leader Sunil Agrawal while likening the organizers of the conference to intellectual Talibanis warns, “All real human right activists should take “Dismantling global Hindutva’s” call seriously. One iTalib (intellectual talib
“iTalibs sitting in academia and the scholarly world, come up with their own theory, interpretation and twists and spread it in such a way to produce maximum hatred against Hindus. For example, Hindutva’s real meaning is Hinduness or Hindu way of living, but iTalibs twisted it as supremacist Hindus, which in reality, never existed. Once they twisted the term, now it is easy for them to use it against any Hindu or Hindu organization who try to stand for continuation Hindu culture and identity or oppose iTalibs,” he says.
“Hindu civilization, which gave science, surgery, mathematics, metallurgical wonders, architectural marvels, binary theory etc to the world is at crossroads due to constant attacks. Frustration of iTalibs is that despite thousands of attacks on Hindu civilization, why is it continuing, so they came up with this group “Dismantling global Hindutva” with a plan to finish off Hindus. This is high time for real human rights activists and law enforcements to investigate “Dismantling global Hindutva ” group and put them behind bars, before they try to generate enough physical Talibanis to repeat the 1950s, and 1990s against global Hindus,” he adds.