About a month or so ago, a friend of mine sent me a Twitter message from Holi Against Hindutva, a campaign started by students at Yale University, along with support from outside groups. The fact that this group (now called Students Against Hindutva) was using the Hindu festival of Holi “against” something got me curious. Given my background in uncovering the machinations of anti-Hindu groups, an alarm bell naturally went off. How are a bunch of 19-20 year-olds able to garner visibility in major Indian media and many US outlets, able to organize events in several major universities (usually, logistics and money are major headaches), and how are they able to brainwash well meaning kids into weaponizing their festivals to promote hate against their community? Who was organizing this and why?
My whole website and research has been dedicated to methodically uncover various anti-Hindu groups in North America and in other locations. So Holi Against Hindutva was certainly intriguing.
Hindu Symbols For Political Propaganda
The fact that a group is using a popular and sacred Hindu festival for political propaganda is problematic in itself. While these groups are “South Asian,” their targets are almost always India and Hinduism. Facts are exaggerated, incidents are hyped up and truth is stretched to give birth to wild theories and “evidence” that show India and Hinduism as fascist oppressors of minorities and women. Documented brutalities against minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries are ignored. One would barely see any protests, teach-ins, Twitter storms, etc. being done for Hindu and Sikh girls who are kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan, or for the persecuted minorities of these countries. Similarly, atrocities and the ethnic cleansing of Kashmir Hindu Pandits is entirely dismissed or brushed off under the propaganda of “Free Kashmir.”
The end results of such selective activism are venomous, with irresponsible US politicians, academics and our own fellow Hindus peddling this propaganda wholesale.
Against Hindutva and not Hinduism?
Holi Against Hindutva and the various anti-Hindu groups consider Hinduism as an oppressive and fascist religion, and hide their real target under the label of “Hindutva.” – Hinduism and India. While they keep screaming that they are against “Hindutva” and not Hinduism, the below analysis (including the Holi Against Hindutva campaign) proves otherwise.
Many newspaper outlets and blogs have already shown examples of how Hindu symbols have been denigrated by such anti-Hindu activists and groups. For example, at a now famous protest, activists in Bengaluru used the sacred Hindu symbol of “Om” to resemble a Nazi Swastika, with profane word “F*** Hindutva” proudly written above and below (see image on the right).
Take another example – In a series of protests against CAA/NRC, people from the San Francisco Bay Area, to Maharashtra, India and West Bengal, India, linked the cow (revered by a majority of Hindus) to these protest by holding signs saying “The cow ate my documents…so I ate the cow. One need not be a genius to figure out the blatant denigration of another Hindu religious symbol in these pictures and protests. While they could have used other phrases or symbols, they deliberately chose the cow knowing very well of its importance to Hindus.
In another instance, the picture on the right is a drawing by another leftist activist, portraying India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, Hitler and Mussolini as the Hindu deity Brahma. Note the Jewish and Hindu symbols on their hands as well.
Finally, another “Hindutva” image shows India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a pig’s face. Upon closer examination, we can see blatant use of Hindu sacred symbols. The sacred symbol Om is on the character’s pocket, while the sacred symbol of Trishul (trident) with the Hindu religious flag is behind the character.
It seems that these activists cannot say anything without smearing Hindu symbols, deities and festivals. Such is the deep hatred of Leftist activists who are behind the CAA/NRC protests. One can only imagine the backlash had the tables been turned and had Hindus used sacred symbols of other religions for their political purposes.
Thus, when these South Asian activists and campaigns like Holi Against Hindutva use sacred Hindu deities, symbols and festivals to advance their politicking, it is not some innocent attempt to bring about unity and solidarity but an outright insult to Hindus and Hinduism.
Using Jihadists as the face of resistance?
Interestingly, the “Open Letter” page of Holi Against Hindutva uses a shot from the protest at Jamia Milia Islamia University in New Delhi. The woman at the center of the image is Ladeeda Sakhaloon, one of the most controversial figures of the CAA/NRC protests.
On December 11, 2019, Sakhaloon posted a controversial message on her social media page, calling for “Jihad” along the lines of historic battles fought by Muslims with the intervention of Allah.
Once again, could you imagine the backlash, had a Hindu organization put an image of a Hindu inciting war against minorities based on some Hindu historical incident? Yet, the South Asian activists get away with such outright display of hatred.
Key players behind Holi Against Hindutva
Interestingly, no major Hindu organization (student or otherwise) has joined this anti-Hindu coalition. The list (which has been amended cleverly to mask certain players) includes mostly South Asian groups with skewed views of Hinduism and India, Muslim organizations, radical leftist groups, etc., with half-baked knowledge about Hinduism and India. Initially, when the site was started, the list of organizers included mostly Muslims students and a few “Hindu” students (list has now been removed). It is now replaced by the various groups endorsing Holi Against Hindutva. As a rough count (as of March 4, 2020), there are 17 South Asian organizations, 10 Muslim organizations, 2 Sikh organizations and about 10 “other.” The count doesn’t include a category called “student of,” where a handful of students from a university decided to endorse the campaign. Furthermore, it is disturbing to see that Muslim students are endorsing such hatred. I am sure they would call out Islamophobia had some group or coalition used Muslim symbols and texts to peddle hatred and advance political propaganda.
However, one must ask again – can a bunch of 19 year-olds mobilize nationwide events and campaigns, be featured in prominent newspaper outlets and channels, etc.? Who are the puppet masters using the shoulders of pretty and innocent faces to fire the gun and how have they radicalized these youth into self-hating Hindus?
1) Equality Labs
Equality Labs is a South Asian organization (and the brainchild of Dalit activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan) whose sole focus has been to demonize Hinduism via the lens of race, caste, gender and minority atrocities. It aims to show that Hinduism = Casteism = Racism, a line of thinking popular among many South Asian groups such as the Forum of Inqualabi Leftists, South Asia Solidarity Initiative, Sadhana, Indian American Muslim Council, etc. It projects Hindus in India as angry, casteist mobs, killing minorities on a daily basis, as well as Hindus in the US as supporters of such violence. For them, “religion oppressed minorities” in South Asia only include those who are supposedly oppressed by Hinduism; thus, their activism is selectively directed towards India under the thin veil of South Asia. Equality Labs is aggressively engaged in numerous attempts to subvert and influence the discourse on India and Hinduism on campuses, in mainstream media and in popular opinion.
In May 2019, Equality Labs and Soundararajan, along with the South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT), held the first congressional briefing on caste, hosted by none other than Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. The objective was to “highlight the growing problem of caste in the United States.” In the press release, Soundararajan proudly claimed this event to be “a historic briefing because it is the first time Caste discrimination in the United States is being acknowledged and being openly discussed by Congressional staffers.” The report and briefing provided half-baked truths about Hinduism and India, focusing only on “Hindu atrocities” while ignoring the plights of minorities in other parts of South Asia or that caste is practiced by Sikh, Muslim and Christian communities in South Asia.
Equality Labs is also heavily involved in the recent anti-India protests around the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), with hyperbolic claims of “genocide” against Muslims as a result of the Indian government’s decisions. To illustrate its handiwork, consider the following –
- In the “Stop Genocide In India” section on its website, Equality Labs declares: “The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is a dangerous Indian law [which] threatens to drive 1.4 billion people deeper into the grips of casteist and religious nationalism.” Similarly, its handout on CAA has explosive claims, such as “In India, it is Hindus versus everyone else. Muslims are seen as infiltrators and invaders, while Dalits and tribals are branded as urban-Naxals and anti-nationals.” Further in the handout, Equality Labs states: “In India, Muslims and caste oppressed communities are marked by their last names, who they worship, the clothing they wear, where they live, whether they eat meat, and where they live.” Finally, the handout claims that India is at the 8th stage of genocide (out of the 10 stages in its handout) – “beginnings of murders, theft of property, and trial massacres” – thus, portraying an essentially Nazi state entering the final stages of genocide.
- Equality Labs has also created a “Organizing Against Hindu Fascism Toolkit.” The toolkit is replete with dangerously inaccurate claims about Hindus and India. For example, it declares that “Hindu fascists justify racist domination and superiority through the oppressive system of caste.” Similarly, it claims: “Hindutva promotes a common culture rooted in Brahminical traditions that present a hierarchy of castes and oppressive upper caste domination as ‘natural.’ The emphasis on Hindu dharma as the moral code asserts caste duties and roles as governing society and economy, and is used to exert control over Dalit Bahujan and Muslim lives and labor.” Hence, Equality Labs cleverly mixes racial theories with inaccurate depiction of Hindu practices while conveniently ignoring that the current Prime Minister of India, the current President of India and the current Home Minister of India are all from “lower castes” or are non-Brahmins! The toolkit provides 198 methods of nonviolent methods of resistance, how to effectively use various networks, friends, families, faith group, etc. to spread such information, how to create social media “Twitterstorms,” organize protests and rallies, etc. at various Indian consulates, Indian businesses like Patel Brothers, etc. It also provides education on First Amendment rights, digital security protocols and procedures, etc. It lists sample chants for rallies (e.g. “Casteist, sexist, anti-gay, Narendra Modi, go away”), provides creative posters and ways to take selfies, and also sample tweets for use on social media (some examples – “#CAA was designed to function as a citizenship test for India’s Muslim population of 200 million, creating the world’s largest stateless population. #RejectCAA #RejectNRC”, “India is already building detention centers to illegally detain and torture Muslims. #NRC is our Holocaust. Will we allow this to happen again?”)
Such dangerous propaganda is the cause of massive misinformation and Hinduphobia being spread among students and mainstream, along with lawmakers.
Holi Against Hindutva and Equality Labs
On the surface, and on Holi Against Hindutva’s website, one cannot easily find the connection between the two. However, the below information bring the partnership to surface – in fact, it shows that Holi Against Hindutva is really just a shell used by Equality Labs and other groups to advance their political agenda.
Holi is casteist –
The falsity in and the anti-Hindu nature of this campaign is evident when one reads the below snapshot from Holi Against Hindutva’s website. The group claims that Holi is casteist because it celebrates the burning of a lower caste woman – a blatant lie meant to conjure up graphic imagery of angry, casteist Hindu mobs, along with bride burning. It accuses Hindus who celebrate Holi as endorsers of some extremist ideology that wants to drive India’s 200 Million Muslims out.
On March 2, 2020, Equality Labs also wrote a highly pejorative article about why everyone should reject Holi because it endorses casteism. Strange, considering that it uses Holi for its own political agenda. Equality Labs appeals: “If you are serious about caste abolition, and the rights of South Asian Indigenous and religious minorities, you must confront the truths about Holi and work to challenge Brahminical positions on history from the South Asian experience.” It claims that upper caste Hindus have whitewashed the festival for Americans and the western world by showing fun colors, family gatherings, etc. and have erased the “atrocities” associated with caste; that “for centuries, activists and historians from India’s Indigenous communities and oppressed castes have argued that the myths around Holi were deliberately built to hide a violent overthrow and conquest.” It then attempts to provide an “indigenous perspective” of Holi (Equality Labs considers Dalits as the indigenous people of India that were violently suppressed by fair skinned Aryans with their Vedas and castes). It mistranslates the Sanskrit word “Asura” as indigenous people and the Sanskrit word “Deva” as a group of non-indigenous people.
Exposing the twisted logic –
This narrative is a classic case of superimposing outdated racial and colonial theories on top of mistranslations to fit a particular hateful agenda. This is a strategy deployed by many South Asian and leftist activists to confuse gullible young minds who are not familiar with Hindu stories, philosophy, etc. and have digested false narratives from the likes of Equality Labs. Anyone familiar with Sanskrit, the Vedas and various Hindu texts, know that they are replete with stories of Asuras and Devas, where each has divine powers obtained by doing penances and yoga. Similarly, Hiranyakashipu (the “indigenous king” of the story of Holi, according to Equality Labs) was the son of sage Kashyap (which would make him a “Aryan” or a “non-indigenous” according to Equality Labs’ twisted logic). Similarly, major Rigvedic deities such as Varuna are Asuras. So, how does Hiranyakashipu become a “indigenous” king who was oppressed by “non-indigenous” foreigner Devas if he was the son of a “non-indigenous” famous sage?
To continue, anyone familiar with the story of Holi knows that Holika (the woman referred by Holi Against Hindutva and Equality Labs above) was the sister of king Hiranyakashipu and thus not a “lower caste” woman. In addition, the fact that the festival itself is named after Holika is an important reminder of the lesson from the whole story – that good will triumph over evil, no matter how powerful or magical the evil is. In addition, the son of Hiranyakashipu (Prahalad) is the hero of the story and one of the most famous characters of Hinduism. Why would “casteist Brahmins” make a “lower caste boy” one of the most famous and revered characters of Hinduism?
This narrative is thus a patent work of Equality Labs, as evidenced from the group’s works and statements and the article above.
The connection –
In its decision to reorganize from Holi Against Hindutva to Students Against Hindutva, the group uses the same language as that used by Equality Labs – that Holi has a casteist history which celebrates the burning of a “lower caste” woman, and that Holi Against Hindutva will work on caste abolition and advocacy of “Muslim, Dalit, Bahujan, femme and Advisasi communities.” The snapshot below illustrates this point.
Similarly, Holi Against Hindutva’s March 5th event at Harvard (bottom, right) uses the same language as above and as show in the snapshot from Equality Labs’ website (blue, left).
In another instance, Holi Against Hindutva (Students Against Hindutva) is seen asking for funds to support Equality Labs and quotes Thenmozhi Soundararajan on the resolution against India passed by the Seattle City Council.
Thus, the above examples show that Equality Labs is one of the main driving forces and the ideological backbone behind Holi Against Hindutva.
2) Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC)
IAMC is listed as one of the signatories on the website of Holi Against Hindutva (cleverly hidden among the various student groups). I had provided significant amount of details on the IAMC and its anti-India activities on my website A House of Cards. IAMC is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States, and was established in August 2002 (after the 2002 Godhra riots in India). While it claims to “…promote peace, pluralism and social justice…,” its activities routinely demonize India and Hindus by exaggerating facts and outright hyperbole. Even more disturbing is the fact that IAMC puts on a farce about Indian patriotism while its founders are known to support Pakistani extremists and glorify jihadists that fight India in Kashmir. A few examples below are worth noting:
- IAMC’s founding president is Dr. Shaik Ubaid, who demonstrates visceral hatred against India and Hindus. (Note that Ubaid is still active in IAMC and multiple anti-India protests as seen here). To bolster their agenda, Ubaid and IAMC notoriously exaggerated the number of Muslims that died in the 2002 Godhra riots. For example, in 2002, ImanNet (Indian Muslims Alert Network, a division of IAMC), published a brochure titled “Unite to Fight Hindu Fascists,” which contained highly explosive information to incite anger and hatred in a wider audience in mosques and other public spaces. Among other things, the brochure exclaims: “It is estimated that more than 5,000 Muslims [emphasis added] were hacked to death, burnt alive or shot by police in the Gujarat ethnic cleansing and 2,000 women and little girls [emphasis added] were raped.” Ubaid sent a personal appeal to Muslim media outlets around the world, urging financial help as well as “volunteers to distribute the [above brochure] in their area masjids, churches, schools and stores.” In this appeal, Ubaid exaggerates the situation yet again by declaring: “The fascist forces have plans to ethnically cleanse India of Muslims, Christians and other minorities. In Gujarat they demonstrated the depth of their evil when they massacred 5,000 people, gang-raped and burnt alive little girls. Even unborn babies were not spared.” Such sensational claims mask the truth – the death toll from the Godhra riots was well documented as around 1100 people, which included 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus, not to mention the 59 Hindus that were burnt alive by a Muslim mob, sparking the riots. This is nowhere close to the exaggerated numbers that Ubaid and IAMC continue to peddle.
- Ubaid has also been associated with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) for many years and was the secretary-general of ICNA as well as the associate editor of ICNA’s newsletter The Message. ICNA is known for its Islamist views and has been under close scrutiny and criticism for alleged ties to Islamist extremist organizations and individuals around the world. In addition, ICNA has organized several controversial events, invited controversial individuals at its events and glorified terrorists who fight Jihad in places like Kashmir and Chechnya. To illustrate –
- ICNA’s official website (www.icna.org) is registered to Raza Farrukh, whose farrukh.net is a mirror website of the Media Division of Jamaat-e-Islami, the Islamist extremist party of Pakistan. Farrukh is part of Jamaat, which believes in establishing a hard-core Islamic state based on Shariah law and has been known to lend support to the Afghan Taliban and Islamist jihadists.
- In addition, Jamaat’s old website carried a link to a highly biased and incendiary website on Hinduism by one Abdul Wahid. This was the sole information available on Hinduism on Jamaat’s website. Titled “Hinduism: Inside and Out”, the website opens with the following introduction to Hinduism:
It seems that a group of polytheists with a sick fetish for cattle have the audacity to launch an attack against Al-Islam. Yes, the irony is truly there, but these people have brought their own destruction from shirk (polytheism), so it is our duty to bring to light major points about this religion, which currently is oppression 98% of the country of India (as well as other Hindu-majority countries). From the articles that will follow, the reader will be able to easily see how sick of an atrocity Hinduism is upon humanity. If these people would only submit their hearts to Al-Islam and live their lives by the way of Syedna Rasul-e-Akram (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam), they wouldn’t be in half of the predicament they exist in today, with all of their sorrows pointing towards one thing: Hinduism!
- ICNA’s October 1997 edition of its newsletter, The Message, prominently featured an exclusive interview with Syed Salahuddin Ahmed, the Supreme Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, a terrorist organization that advocates a violent armed struggle against India in Kashmir. Ahmed is also on the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) Most Wanted list. In the interview, Ahmed proudly and optimistically describes the success of the Jihadi struggle against India:
The situation by the Grace of Allah, is very optimistic and most encouraging…And by the Grace of Almighty Allah, Kashmiri mujahideen have been vigorously engaging in open combat for the last seven years, resulting in the total loss of 20,000 troops of India, including four big generals, four to five brigadier-colonels (sic), and more than 250 major and captain-ranking people.
IAMC’s biased and hyperbolic stances are not a thing of the past. For example, on February 28, 2020, IAMC tweeted a graphic that illustrated how Delhi’s riots are an anti-Muslim pogrom aided and abetted by the Indian government.
This tactic is similar as the one used to exaggerate claims about the 2002 Godhra riots. It is now well documented that both Hindus and Muslims died in the Delhi riots and it was nowhere close to a pogrom as IAMC would like us to believe. For over 17 years, IAMC and its coalition partners have been screaming of violent genocide against Muslims. Yet, India’s Muslim population has continued to grow and India is set to become the largest Muslim country in the world by 2060.
In similar vein as above, on March 3, 2020, IAMC tweeted an article which wrongly
portrayed the Delhi riots as the beginning of a state-sanctioned pogrom against India’s Muslims and completely downplayed the number of Hindus killed in the riots – a theme that has been pushed by IAMC, Equality Labs and many others. To them, Hindu lives do not seem to matter. When genuine Hindus call out this bias, they are labeled as “Hindutva extremists” and thus gagged.
3) Coalition Against Fascism in India (CAFI)
Jazzy name indeed. CAFI describes itself as a “a broad, progressive and inter-faith coalition based in the US, comprising citizens concerned with the rise of fascism and Hindutva extremism in India. It is not affiliated with any political party.” However, closer examination of the coalition members reveals interesting facts.
- CAFI is a new incarnation of Coalition Against Genocide (CAG), a coalition that was set up by IAMC, the Forum of Inqualabi Leftists (FOIL) and various other anti-Hindu groups. Most of the core players in the CAG are still active in CAFI. CAG and CAFI dupe the general public, lawmakers and students by creating false and paper based organizations to create a propaganda of hundreds of groups fighting against a “fascist Hindu government.” The reality, as analyzed in my report on CAG, is very different and shocking.
- CAFI members, among others, include IAMC, Alliance for a Democratic and Secular South Asia (ASDSA), Hindus for Human Rights (HFHR), India Civil Watch (ICW), International South Asia Forum (INSAF), etc.
- This group’s members have a history of attacking Hindus and Hinduism for many years, openly supporting secessionism, a bigoted, violent political agenda, and even terrorism.
- For example, Alliance for Secular and Democratic South Asia (ASDSA) has known ties to individuals who have openly supported the violent Maoist terrorism in India. In 2001, M.V. Ramana, a member of ASDSA, wrote a Hinduphobic article “The Bomb of the Blue God,” juxtaposing the image of Hindu deity Krishna on a bomb and linking the sacred text Bhagavad Gita to violence.
- Similarly, India Civil Watch’s (ICW’s) key member and spokesperson, Raja Joseph Swamy (alias Raja Harish Swamy) has extensive links to bigots like Kancha Ilaiah who have called Hinduism a “religion of violence.” In fact, he has personally demonized Hinduism as inherently and necessarily oppressive and violent. According to Swamy:
Hindu ‘dharma’ is caste-based; Hinduism is casteism; to be Hindu means to belong to a caste, and not as it is in most religions, to merely subscribe to a set body of beliefs. Hinduism has no universal religious requirements; therefore it is sufficiently open to interpretation along lines that are outrageously oppressive.
- International South Asia Forum (INSAF) is a sub-group of The Forum of Inqualabi Leftists (FOIL), formed with the help of Montreal based South Asia Research and Resource Center (CERAS). CERAS is also a part of CAFI. One of CERAS’ founders, Daya Varma, was a hardcore Maoist who was proud of his association with the violent Naxalite movement in India. In sharing how he became a Maoist, Varma admitted: “Perhaps because of the Chinese support for Naxalbari armed struggle, I became a Maoist. As a result I got linked to crazy or less crazy Maoists. Even after realizing that many of these outfits were opportunists or reflected juvenile enthusiasm rather than a commitment to revolution, I remained a Maoist[emphasis added].”
- Another coalition (and founding) member is Hindus For Human Rights (HFHR) – an advocacy organization fighting for the rights of all except of Hindus. It was founded by Sunita Viswanath, who is also the founder of Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus. I have briefly discussed Sadhana’s dangerous views and alliances in this report on the attack on the 2018 World Hindu Congress. HFHR has also endorsed Holi Against Hindutva, applauding its “creative approach and…the youthful energy.” However, the group cleverly masks its true intention behind an innocuous goal of “manavtha (human rights) of all communities from a Hindu perspective.” Apparently, Hindus are not important – the organization almost exclusively fights for the rights of others religious groups and demonizes the Indian government in all sorts of ways (see their blog here, with not a single human rights tear for Kashmiri Hindus, Pakistani Hindus, Bangladeshi Hindu, Rohingya Hindus, etc.). To show its hypocrisy, consider this – On January 31, 2020, it applauded and endorsed Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s Resolution (HRes745) on Kashmir. In its endorsement, HFHR remarked that “there is an urgent need for the United States and the rest of the world to keep up the pressure on India to take meaningful steps to ease the suffering of the Kashmiri people.” January 2020 also marked the 30th Anniversary of the brutal ethnic cleansing of about 400,000 Kashmir Hindus. Yet, HFHR completely ignores these Hindus in advocating for end to the “suffering of the Kashmiri people.” Are Kashmiri Hindus not true Kashmiris? Do Hindu lives not matter? Similarly, on December 12, 2019, HFHR, along with the IAMC, cosponsored a congressional briefing where speaker Dr. Gregory Stanton warned the attendees that “preparation for a genocide is definitely underway in India,” in order to influence US lawmakers to act against India. Continuing with HFHR’s biased advocacy – one of its board members is Raju Rajagopal, the founder of another West Coast based leftist subgroup (EKTA/Coalition Against Communalism). Rajagopal and EKTA used to host the websites of other leftist member groups and subgroups that were created by the FOIL. Rajagopal actively opposed Hindu parents in the 2005 6th Grade California Textbook Controversy, which depicted Hinduism in a pejorative way vis-a-vis other major world religions. Rajagopal argued that such views were important, because “…exposing our children to India’s vibrant pluralistic and ‘argumentative’ traditions, and encouraging classroom discussions on the legacies of racism, caste and gender bias, will serve them better as future citizens, whether of the US or of India.” That may be true in higher grade classroom or a college-grade classroom; however, such “healthy discussions” do not happen in 6th grade classes in the US. Instead, the Hindu/Indian kids only sit with their heads down in utter dismay and feelings of inferiority, and may come home crying about how embarrassed they are to be a Hindu. Rajagopal should perhaps avail himself to giggles and other snide reactions of non-Hindus by sitting in the 6th grade class! Such views are also endorsed by Viswanath and Sadhana, when they supported the campaign against Hindu parents. Sadhana’s members have also taken the story of Ramayana out of context to fit their political agendas. To illustrate, one of the “anonymous” members of Sadhana wrote a blog reinterpreting the story of Sita’s Agnipariksha (test by fire) through skewed lens of feminism and marginalization. In the blog entry, she calls Rama “a god king [who] isn’t grown-up enough to simply ignore idle gossip after the first trial…” and then goes on to declare: “Because all the Sitas are also fresh out of fucks, and we want a lot more than a safe space away from sorry kings. We want an end to the slut-shaming. We want the justice system, in its required adherence to evidence to stop policing and punishing women more than it ever upbraids or holds men accountable.” Such dangerous juxtaposition is how organizations like Sadhana, Equality Labs and others confuse young Hindus in the name of feminism, gender equality, racism, and social justice.
In conclusion, the above analysis bring to light a few things. First, Holi Against Hindutva (Students Against Hindutva) is a anti-Hindu organization openly denigrating a sacred Hindu festival by mistranslating its stories and true meaning to advance its own political propaganda. Secondly, it accuses all Hindus who celebrate Holi of being violent, casteists, misogynists, and racists based on obfuscated caricatures of Hindu deities, practices and symbols. In doing so, its real targets are India and Hinduism, and not “Hindutva.” Third, while Holi Against Hindutva has students groups, the real puppet masters are the likes of Equality Labs, Indian American Muslim Council, Hindus For Human Rights, and many others who exhibit a severe disdain for India and Hindus, and are known for their biased activism. These groups and activists exaggerate numbers, cook up facts and create fake groups in order to accomplish their objectives. In doing so, they deceive lawmakers, the media, the mainstream public and gullible young minds, and radicalize them against India and its majority religion (Hinduism). Under the rubric of South Asia, only India and Hinduism are criticized, while atrocities committed against Hindu minorities in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, etc. are completely ignored. For them, “Free Kashmir” is a slogan that excludes the hundreds of thousands of indigenous Kashmiri Hindus who have historical links going back to over five thousand years. For them, the intersectionality of caste, gender, race, etc. only apply to India and Hinduism, and not to other South Asian countries or major South Asian religions like Islam and Christianity.
Imagine the impact on young Hindus – will they have a safe space on campuses to proudly celebrate their festivals, observe their traditions, voice their concerns for the community, etc. without being labeled as “Hindutva extremists,” without being subject to racial attacks or without being accused of Islamophobia? How are universities allowing such blatant Hinduphobia in the name of “free speech” while they vehemently protect other communities from Islamophobia or anti-Semitism?