Coalition of Hindus of North America

Letter by 150 Plus American and Canadian Organizations Universities Expressing Concerns Regarding the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” Conference

Note: Signatories will be updated periodically. To add your organization’s or group’s name as a signatory (official representatives only), please click here to fill out the form.

Letter to Universities

Dear University Administrators,

As a diverse group of community organizations, temples and spiritual groups, we are contacting you regarding the upcoming virtual “Dismantling Global Hindutva Conference” on the weekend of September 10-12, 2021. We are truly shocked and dismayed that your university has decided to support such a conference and urge you to reconsider your decision to be a co-sponsor and supporter. We are deeply concerned that this is a thinly veiled attack on Hinduism in the name of academic freedom and sows seeds of bigotry that will intimidate and imperil minority Hindu students and faculty members on your campus. We are already seeing this unfolding, where Hindu groups and students raising concerns are being singled out and labeled as extremists.

Far from being an academic exchange of ideas, some of the featured speakers are on record for supporting violent political movements, have called for an end of Hinduism as a religion on a myriad occasions and have openly disparaged Hindu deities, customs and traditions. A few examples are illustrated below:

  • Kavita Krishnan is on the Politburo (Central Committee) of a Communist Party -CPI-(Marxist-Leninist), which  has a history of supporting armed struggle and violence and glorifies letters and works by Charu Mazumdar, one of the key figures of the violent Naxalite movement in India. The party has openly stated, “…it is totally false to suggest that we have given up the policy of armed resistance….Militant sections capable of resistance have come up in many villages…” In a bizarre fashion, Kavita Krishnan tried to blame a Hindu festival as inspiration for a Muslim killing another Muslim.
  • Nandini Sundar, a professor at the Delhi University, was also named as a key link between violent Maoist leaders (the CPI-Maoist is also recognized as a terror outfit by the State Department) and their urban sympathizers by Podiyam Pandu, a Naxalite involved in a deadly attack on Indian Police in 2017. In 2016, Nandini Sundar was named as an accused in the murder of an anti-Maoist activist by violent Maoist terrorists and their accomplices. 
  • Anand Patwardhan is a filmmaker, whose short film, titled “We Are Not Your Monkeys,” shockingly labeled some human beings as “lower castes” and equated them with monkeys. The filmmaker is also known for making hostile and abusive remarks against the Hindu epic Ramayana.
  • Meena Kandasamy, has authored a poem that calls the Hindu deity Rama a “di**khead” who needs “the testicle of a golden deer” to “rouse [his] manhood” and portrays the Hindu goddess Sita as lusting after Ravana, her kidnapper in the epic. 
  • On May 17, 2021, amidst the COVID-19 crisis in India and the overwhelming deaths, journalist Neha Dixit demeaned Hindu funeral rites by alleging them to be part of “omnipresent…oppressive Brahmanical practices.” 
  • In 2010, P. Sivakami participated on a provocative panel which argued that the caste system will not go until Hinduism is erased and that “Hinduism is spiritual fascism.”
  •  

An official conference resource, called the “Hindutva Harassment Field Manual,” cites those who consider the popular Hindu festival of Holi as fundamentally “casteist” and “violent.” The same resources is also rife with anti-Hindu sources who have publicly called for dismantling Hinduism, called Hindu temples “monuments of slavery” and labeled Hinduism as “exploitation and murder of Dalits anywhere.” A co-author of the conference’s “Hindutva Harassment Field Manual” resource (Professor Audrey Truschke) has called Rama a “misogynistic pig” and argued that another sacred Hindu text, Bhagavad Gita, “rationalizes mass slaughter.” Another co-author has called Hindus the worst scum on earth.”  

Millions of Hindus in North America and globally revere Rama and Sita as well as look to the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana to guide them in their everyday lives. Hindu students of all ages attend religious and cultural programs and festivals enriched with stories from these sacred texts to develop a sense of cultural identity. Thus, we cannot help but feel intensely hurt when universities officially endorse those who have a history of bigotry against the same texts and religious traditions.

Like us, do you wonder why the organizers are hosting this conference on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 – the worst terrorist attack on American soil? The conference organizers seem to imply that “Global Hindutva” is an insidious problem that has permeated beyond India to the extent that the next 9/11 is imminent and will be caused by “Hindu extremists.” This is a false and dangerous conflation of the Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and global terrorism with Hindu organizations. Yet, a keynote speaker at the conference has already expressed this sentiment.

Universities are supposed to be a melting pot for competing ideas and diverse identities. Yet, there is an obvious and growing attempt to silence the voices of practicing Hindus at various universities. Academics who indulge in petty partisan politics and vilify the Hindu community are jeopardizing the ability to live out our identities on campus. The vilification is precise and methodical – via denigration of our sacred texts, deities and religious beliefs, and by equating us with white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the United States and in Europe. 

Your sponsorship endangers Hindus who live in the United States and Canada, as the topic and the conference imagery are designed to foment hatred against our community. It puts American and Canadian students at risk by falsely terming some of their associations as a front for a foreign political organization and it does so simply because they practice a minority faith.

It is evident that, far from being a conference, this is a political rally aimed to bring about political change in the largest democracy in the world. We would brook no such interference in our (US and Canadian) politics. Why does your university engage or endorse taking a political position on a sovereign nation?

We therefore urge you to dissociate your institution from such a conference. Your continued association sends the message that your institution supports such Hinduphobia and bigotry. As educators who seek to foster diversity, equity and inclusion, we trust that you will do the right thing and convey a different message to your campus and the greater community.

 

Signatories (in Alphabetical Order)

 

United States

1. Adi Shakti Durga Mandir, New York
2. AIM for Seva, Michigan
3. All World Gayatri Pariwar Northern California, California
4. Ambekar Network of Dalits in North America, California
5. Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Pennsylvania
6. Arya Samaj of Long Island, New York
7. Arya Samaj of New Jersey, New Jersey
8. Ashwin College of Ayurveda and Vedic Sciences, California
9. Aurora Hindu Temple , Illinois
10. Ayyappa Seva Sangham, New York
11. Bhagavad Gita Foundation USA, North Carolina
12. Bharatiya Temple, Indiana
13. Bhavani Shankara Mandir , New York
14. Brahmana Seva Organization, New Jersey
15. Center for Global Polytheist and Indigenous Traditions, New York
16. Chicago Telangana Assocaition, Illinois
17. Chinmaya Mission Alpharetta, Georgia
18. Chinmaya Mission Atlanta, Georgia
19. Chinmaya Mission Austin, Texas
20. Chinmaya Mission Chicago, Illinois
21. Chinmaya Mission Houston, Texas
22. Chinmaya Mission San Jose, California
23. Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA), New Jersey
24. Datta Yoga Center Houston, Texas
25. Dayton Hindu Temple, Ohio
26. Detroit Indians, Michigan
27. Detroit Telangana Community, Michigan
28. Dharma Palana Sabha, New Jersey
29. Drishtikone, Georgia
30. Durga Temple of New Jersey, New Jersey
31. Federation of Indian Associations Georgia, Georgia
32. Gandhi Foundation, Georgia
33. Gargi Center, Texas
34. Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, Texas
35. Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora , Texas
36. Gokuldham Haveli, Georgia
37. Good Karma of Capital Region, New York
38. GOPIO (Global organization of people of Indian origin) Orange County , California
39. Great Lakes Aradhana Committee, Michigan
40. Greater Atlanta Vedic Temple, Georgia
41. Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay, Florida
42. HindiUSA, Pennsylvania
43. Hindu Alliance of America, Kansas
44. Hindu Americans of San Diego, California
45. Hindu Center Inc., New York
46. Hindu Center of Charlotte, North Carolina
47. Hindu Community and Cultural Center Livermore Temple, California
48. Hindu Community Center, Minnesota
49. Hindu Community of Greater Livingston, New Jersey
50. Hindu Community Relations Council of MI, Michigan
51. Hindu Community Springfield, Ohio
52. Hindu Cultural Center of North Alabama, Alabama
53. Hindu Cultural Center of Tennessee, Tennessee
54. Hindu Heritage Foundation of America, Minnesota
55. Hindu Jewish Coalition, New Jersey
56. Hindu Media Bureau, Massachusetts
57. Hindu Satsang, Illinois
58. Hindu Service Foundation, Georgia
59. Hindu Society of Metropolitan Chicago, Illinois
60. Hindu Society of Minnesota, Minnesota
61. Hindu Speakers Bureau, California
62. Hindu Students Council, New Jersey
63. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, New Jersey
64. Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of the Rockies, Colorado
65. Hindu Temple of Central Arkansas, Arkansas
66. Hindu Temple of Central Texas, Texas
67. Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, Illinois
68. Hindu Temple Of North Texas, Texas
69. Hindu Temple of Omaha, Nebraska
70. Hindu Temple of Tri-State, New York
71. Hindu Temple Society of Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
72. Hindu Temple Society of Mississippi, Mississippi
73. Hindupedia, California
74. Hindus of Greater Houston, Texas
75. Indian American Muslim and Hindu Council, Michigan
76. Indo-American Friendship Forum Foundation, Washington
77. Infinity Foundation, New Jersey
78. Institute for Advancing Pluralism in Society, Michigan
79. Integral Yoga Institute of NJ, New Jersey
80. InterfaithShaadi, California
81. International Gaudiya Vaishnava Society, Texas
82. Irvine Hindu Mandir, California
83. Isha Vedic Foundation, New Jersey
84. Ishwar Sewa Foundation, Texas
85. Kansas City Hindu Temple, Kansas
86. Karamyogi (NFP), Illinois
87. KarmaKonnect, Florida
88. Kerala Hindus of North America, Arizona
89. Kerala Hindus of Northern California, California
90. Lokakshema Satsang, Texas
91. Metropolitan Asian Family Services, Illinois
92. Miami Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, Florida
93. Michigan Indian Community Services, Michigan
94. Minnesota Hindu Milan Mandir, Minnesota
95. Mohan USA, New Jersey
96. New York Hindu Sanatan Mandir, New York
97. Om Kriya Yog, New Jersey
98. Organization of Hindu Malayalees, California
99. Pakistani American Minority Council, Michigan
100. Rajanahally Charitable Temple Trust, Massachusetts
101. Rajasthan Association of Georgia, Georgia
102. Rajdhani Mandir, Virginia
103. River Comics, New Jersey
104. Safe Coalition For Human Rights, Illinois
105. Sai Jalaram Temple, Texas
106. Sanatan Mandir Atlanta, Georgia
107. Sardar Patel Foundation, Georgia
108. Sarva Dharma Service Center, New Jersey
109. SarvaGuna Bharatanatyam, California
110. Sewa International, Georgia
111. Shakti Mandir, Georgia
112. Shiv Dham Hindu Temple, Florida
113. Shiva Vishnu Temple, Ohio
114. Shree Sai Parivar, Georgia
115. Shree Swaminayaran Mandir of California, California
116. Shri Navagraha Devasthanam of North America, New York
117. Shri Sanatan Mandir, New Jersey
118. Shri Surya Narayan Mandir, New York
119. Shri Vishnu Mandir, New York
120. South Florida Hindu Temple, Florida
121. Sree Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple, Ohio
122. Sri Meenakshi Temple, Texas
123. Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, Maryland
124. Sukadhwani Music School, Texas
125. Telangana Development Forum – Detroit Chapter, Michigan
126. The Durga Temple of Virginia, Virginia
127. The Hindu Community Forum, California
128. The Hindu Temple Society of North America (Ganesh Temple), New York
129. The Saraswati Sangam Project, New York
130. Trinity Datta Yoga Center, Illinois
131. Umiya Mataji Temple, Georgia
132. United Leuva of Houston, Texas
133. United States Hindu Alliance, Georgia
134. Universal Philosophy and Religion, Florida
135. USA Pandit Parishad Inc., New York
136. Uttar Pradesh Association of Detroit, Michigan
137. Uttar Pradesh Mandal of America, California
138. Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, Illinois
139. World Association for Vedic Studies, Texas
140. World Hindu Organization, Georgia
141. World NRI Association, New Jersey
142. World Peace Center, Georgia
143. Yoga in Daily Life, New York
144. Yoga Vedanta Center, New Jersey

Canada

1. All Montreal Malayalee Association, Quebec
2. Canada Hindu Schools, Ontario
3. CASEC Canada, Ontario
4. Chinmaya Mission Calgary, Alberta
5. Chinmaya Mission Toronto, Ontario
6. Gujarati Samaj of Montreal, Quebec
7. Hindu Cultural Centre, Ontario
8. Hindu Federation, Ontario
9. Hindu Forum Canada, Ontario
10. Hindu Society of Calgary, Alberta
11. Indic Studies Toronto, Ontario
12. Indo Canadian Kashmir Forum, Ontario
13. National Alliance of Indo-Canadians, Ontario
14. Nimittekam Canada, Alberta
15. Northern Alberta Malayalee Hindu Association, Alberta
16. Organization of Hindu Malayalees Calgary, Alberta
17. Radha Krishna Mandir and Cultural Centre, Ontario
18. Rajasthan Association of North America, Ontario
19. Sewa Canada International Aid, Ontario
20. Sri Jain Mandir, Ontario
21. Srishti Foundation, Ontario
22. Tatvamasi London Ontario, Ontario
23. Telugu Alliance of Canada, Ontario