Coalition of Hindus of North America

SIGNATURE FORM FOR ORGANIZATION LETTER TO UNIVERSITIES REGARDING THE “DISMANTLING GLOBAL HINDUTVA” CONFERENCE

PLEASE NOTE:

The below form should only be filled out by an representative, board member, trustee, or anyone who is authorized to act on behalf of the organization and has received permission to do so. A consolidated letter containing all the names of the organizations will then be sent to the universities who are co-sponsors/supporters of the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” Conference.

USA and Canadian organizations only please.

Others from outside of USA and Canada are welcome to send letters via our main link at https://cohna.org/dismantlehinduphobia.

Thank you for supporting this united effort across organizations and groups.

Please contact us at info@cohna.org if you have any questions.

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.”
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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.

SIGNATURE FORM