Section 1.01 Spotlight on Prominent FOIL Members and Their Affiliates

Since FOIL deems itself as a group of ‘radical activists’, it is important to shed some light on the individual members or affiliates of the forum.  What are their views and their positions when it comes to Hindus (in India and abroad) and India?  What is the basis for their views?

In his groundbreaking book Breaking India. Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Fault lines, (India: Manipal Press Ltd, 2011), Rajiv Malhotra, a US based NRI intellectual and founder of Infinity Foundation, and Aravindan Neelakandan, an NGO activist and editor of a highly popular web portal Tamil Hindu, discusses how the secular Indian Leftists/Communists, along with some members of the US Left delegitimize India and by extension its Hindu population.  According to Malhotra, “While the US right-wing neo-cons support the idea of a Christian India, the left-wing has a general sympathy towards Islam.  Both these have Hinduism and classical Indian civilization as their common enemy.”[1] Indeed, one will seldom find significant criticisms of Islam and countries like Pakistan or Bangladesh in the writings of FOIL and its affiliates.  According to their views Indian society is a splintered mirror of sub-national/regional identities held together by the oppressive and authoritative Indian state and Hindu social order.  Per Malhotra, “Such portrayals become tools in the hands of those who demand the US-mediated balkanization of India”[2].

The effect of this phenomenon is also felt by Hindus all over the world, including in USA and Europe, where India and Hindus are seen as oppressive caste followers, anti-minorities, anti-women and non-progressive.  India is viewed as a legacy of colonial British era with no historical validity.

(a)     Romila Thapar

(B)     Vijay Prashad

(C)     Biju Mathew

(D)     Angana Chatterji

(E)     Vinay Lal

(F)     Meera Nanda


[1]  Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan, Breaking India. Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines, (India: Manipal Press Ltd, 2011), 247

[2]Malhotra and Neelakandan, 248

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