Indic Thought Leaders and Activists Discuss “Breaking India-A Decade Later”

Hundreds attend power-packed conference organized by CoHNA to understand progress made and the challenges that remain
March 8, 2022. (Virtual). More than 1200 participants from 21 countries registered for a two-day conference organized by the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) in partnership with Infinity Foundation. Featuring Rajiv Malhotra, Dr. Madhu Kishwar, General G D Bakshi (Ret’d), Dr. Sarita Sheshagiri, Prof. Arvind Sharma, Pt. Satish Sharma, Aditi Banerjee, Dr. Kundan Singh and other eminent scholars, activists and thought leaders, the conference discussed the impact of the groundbreaking book “Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dalit and Dravidian Faultlines” by Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan and what has changed in the decade since it was published.
“We must continue to unite Hindus the world over into taking coordinated actions against overt Hinduphobia such as the recent conference on ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’” said Rajiv Malhotra, author of “Breaking India.” Speaking of their personal experiences from modern India, Dr. Kishwar and General Bakshi pinpointed the divisiveness in Indian society that had been introduced by the British colonial powers and was being forcefully amplified today.Many speakers highlighted the damage caused by the teaching of distorted history and the need to decolonize. “We cannot accept a situation where our history is written from Oxford” said General Bakshi. “If you are petrified of controversies, things cannot change,” Dr. Kishwar added.Commenting on the current gatekeeping in Indology research, Dr. Sarita Seshagiri provided crucial insight: “Scholarship is being built around the paradigm of competitive victimhood. This academic endorsement is then used to shape public perception and policy.”Day two of the conference featured two powerful panels on Hinduphobia in Academia and Caste and the Exploitation of Indian Faultlines.Dr. Kundan Singh compared historical trends of the treatment of subjugated people at the hands of colonial powers and showed how, despite powerful trends around political correctness today, Hindus remain the one group who can still be “othered” and demonized. Author Aditi Banerjee encouraged Hindus to “have the courage and confidence to be assertively Hindu.”Prof. Arvind Sharma juxtaposed classic western/modern understandings of “caste” with period inscriptions, to demonstrate a system that was more fluid than what common modern day academic generalizations dictate. Adding powerful personal testimony to the panel, Dalit activist and senior CoHNA volunteer Aldrin Deepak pointed out that none of his Hindu friends had ever asked him about his caste until the CISCO case. “People cannot make decisions about a community that they know nothing about. Yet, that is what is occurring in California universities.”

The conference concluded with a call for Hindus to unite in rejecting biased and divisive narratives and progress toward genuinely addressing inequality.