A virtual conference — ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ — scheduled for next month, is facing resistance from Hindu American groups, for its partisan and Hinduphobic motives. The three-day conference, co-sponsored and supported by departments and centers at over 40 universities in North America, will explore “the threat and power of Hindutva, its historical development, the fascist dimensions of the ideology, its alignment with other supremacist movements and define all that is at stake across a range of political, socio-cultural, and economic issues,” per its website.
On its Twitter page, organizers of the conference said: “We are invested in examining the beliefs and actions that constitute Hindutva, an ideology that propagates hate, promotes Islamophobia, and seeks to reduce the myriad practices of Hinduism to a singular notion of a Hindu motherland.”
Speakers include scholars, journalists, and activists like Anand Patwardhan, Ayesha Kidwai, Banu Subramaniam, Bhanwar Meghwanshi, Christophe Jaffrelot, Kavita Krishnan, Meena Kandasamy, Mohammad Junaid, Nandini Sunder, Neha Dixit, and P. Sivakami. Some of the departments and centers supporting the conference include Northwestern, UC Berkeley, UChicago, Columbia, Harvard, UPenn, Princeton and Stanford.
Who are Opposing the Conference?
Opposing the conference, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has written to the presidents and key administrators of all universities listed as event co-sponsors, asking them to distance themselves from the event, calling it “the antithesis” of their values. In the letter, the HAF urges the university officials to ask the event organizers to remove their university’s name and logo from its website, promotional materials, and social media posts. And “to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Hindu students, faculty, and staff on your campus who may feel targeted, threatened, or face hostility or harassment as a result of this partisan, anti-Hindu event.”
The Coalition of Hindus in North America (CoHNA) and American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD) and HinduPACT initiatives of World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) also issued statements opposing the conference. The label of “Hindutva” is being used as a smokescreen for overt Hinduphobia, they allege.
Similarly, American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD) and HinduPACT have initiated an online petition. “Dismantling Global Hindutva ” yet another attempt by some of the best known Hinduphobic academicians and their allies to systematically delegitimize Hindu dharma at the academic institutions in the U.S,” read the statement. “We request the sponsoring universities to take immediate action to prevent vilification and intimidation of students, faculty of Hindu heritage as well as those of Indian origin under.”
“This conference paints Hindus disproportionately and falsely as purveyors of extremism, actively denies the genocide of Hindu people, and most troublingly, labels those who disagree as ‘Hindutva,’ which the conference organizers define as Hindu extremism,” CoHNA says. “Furthermore, many of the conference speakers either have a history of supporting Naxalite/Maoist violence or of disparaging Hindu deities, festivals and practices.
This article first appeared on American Kahani and you can follow this link for more details https://bit.ly/3yaUf6z
Here is how you can apply to attend the conference https://bit.ly/388DT3X