Deconstructing the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” conference

The focus of this article is to deconstruct the conference title and graphic and its timing in spitting the venom and negativity about Hinduism.

The focus of this article is to deconstruct the conference title and graphic and its timing in spitting the venom and negativity about Hinduism.
The focus of this article is to deconstruct the conference title and graphic and its timing in spitting the venom and negativity about Hinduism.

Dismantling Global Hindutva conference seems like an attempt to decimate & dismantle Hinduism?

A group of the so-called intellectuals, mostly university professors with a Ph.D., with their misplaced wisdom and leftist ideology are sponsoring a three-day conference calling to “Dismantling Global Hindutva.” Contrary to their wildest expectations, the conference has galvanized and united true Hindus globally. It is being strongly ridiculed and condemned globally on social media, email campaigns, webinars, and print media. The U.S-based Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and the Coalition of Hindus in North America (CoHNA) have taken the leadership role. I have written an email too. As a result, the universities listed as co-sponsors have been put on notice and some have withdrawn their name. Others chose not to fear faculty protests about an overly abused and indiscriminately used “academic freedom” as their right.

I am troubled with the conspiratorial, controversial, and damaging, demeaning, and demonizing theme of the conference. Therefore, the focus of this article is to deconstruct the conference title and graphic and its timing in spitting the venom and negativity about Hinduism. A better strategy should have been an intellectual discourse and debate of the tenets of Hinduism/ Santana Dharma and how they differ from other major religions and philosophies, as opposed to a deliberate focus on dismantling Hindutva.

I discuss the D-word two ways; the D in their earned Doctoral followed by D in dismantling. The first D deserves our respect for one’s ability to engage in a discussion and discourse with depth and breadth of knowledge in their discipline.

The Conference Date:

I ask why the conference is being held around 9/11?. Is it to commemorate Swami Vivekananda’s historical visit to Chicago and his mesmerizing speech on Hinduism in 1893? If so, I express my gratitude. But I must be clear that these disillusioned conference speakers are no match and deserve no comparison in any form with Swami Ji. However, I suspect and surmise that the chosen date is to remind us all about the darkest day of an act of terrorism in the recent history of mankind with unprecedented death and destruction. Are these liberal intellectuals trying to appease a select group of individuals and organizations – the believers of Jihadism, Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc., who want nothing but Sharia law globally? I dare remind the organizers that 9/11 was directed against America and the Western world which are largely Christian nations. India and Hindus have been the victims of terrorism long before 9/11. Another fact is that while all Muslims are not terrorists, it is very telling that almost all terroristic activities, including 9-11, are carried out by people of one particular faith. Are the Hindu phobic speakers seeking the support of like-minded Hindu-haters for the annihilation of Hindus, Hinduism, and Hindutva (HHH) for their own anti-Hindu agenda? Hindus globally must ponder about it.

Academic Freedom:

This concept is often used by educators and institutions for good, but occasionally for not so good, reasons. With my own academic background for more than 40 years, it is my firm conviction that academic freedom is about teaching, learning, discussing, studying, researching, and inquiring about a subject matter for the greater good without unreasonable interference, restrictions, censorship, coercion, and/ or fear of reprisal. A conference titled to “dismantle” anything, let alone Hindutva, is fundamentally contrary to what inquiry and academic freedom are all about. They are not asking the question or inquiring about Hinduism but a priori asserting their ill-gotten prejudices and misconceptions about HHH, and the sovereign country India.

The D-word:

I discuss the D-word two ways; the D in their earned Doctoral followed by D in dismantling. The first D deserves our respect for one’s ability to engage in a discussion and discourse with depth and breadth of knowledge in their discipline. I am hugely disappointed that the academics in the present context are using their Ds as a directive to discrediting and dismantling HHH instead. I ask, should we acclaim these intellectuals for their depth of knowledge or disparage them for the chosen negative word “dismantle” with many synonyms? Examples of synonyms include “take apart, take to pieces, take to bits, pull apart, pull to pieces, deconstruct, disassemble, break up, strip, strip down, knock down, pull down, tear down, demolish, fell, destroy, flatten, level, raze, raze to the ground, bulldoze.” The D-word in the title manifests their preconceived prejudices and hatred against HHH and India, the land with the largest Hindu population, the biggest democracy, thriving nation-building, and a strong economy. Perhaps, they are not able to make peace with the fact that today’s India looms large and her leadership stands tall among the world leaders despite the centuries of looting, onslaught, and invasion by many Muslim rulers, an evil British empire, and unfortunately even the post-independence internal politicians.

I question and challenge the speakers about their shallow knowledge of the history of Hinduism, the oldest religion, philosophy, and way of life, and the ancient Bharat, the oldest civilization and seat of learning like Takshshila. I abhor the ability and intentions of these several dozen ill-informed, Hindu phobic, left-leaning, myopic, bigot intellectuals even for dreaming to dismantle us, the proud Hindus, and our steadfast belief in Hinduism. I wish they would use their collective wisdom, intellectual prowess, and academic freedom to dismantle evils like global terrorism, demolish global poverty, and deconstruct/ tear down discrimination globally. The world will be a better place if we aspire for global peace and harmony for the greater good of humanity.

Let me remind what Swami Vivekananda said back in 1893 about the Hindu religion that it “has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.

I would be remiss without the due credit to the conference conveners for being inclusive and recognizing the presence of Hinduism “globally.” I take great pride that Hindus are everywhere. The organizers are cognizant but are they fearful of Indian Diaspora gaining prominence and becoming stronger in every walk of life, i.e., politically, financially, educationally, and socially? If these bigots can’t stomach the Hindu global presence and prowess, they have no business to spill venom on their success due to the hard work and the God-fearing way of life of Hinduism.

Let us recall that Hinduism puts humanity and the interest of everyone on the front and center as embodied in “vasudhaiva kutumbakam.” This is from the ancient Hindu text, the Upanishad, translated as “the world is one family.” I hope that the conference organizers are not ignorant not to know the very essence of Hinduism. But if they are, as a Hindu, I take the high road that, ‘to err is human and to pardon is divine.’ My message to conference leaders is that global means ‘the world as one family.’ The Hindus and Hinduism have been and are here to stay and be counted as an integral part of the world till eternity. Their futile efforts to harass and humiliate Hindus may cause tremors but they will never succeed in weakening the strong foundation of HHH. Let me remind what Swami Vivekananda said back in 1893 about the Hindu religion that it “has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.”

I must confess that I myself did not make much of a difference between Hindutva and Hinduism until I felt outraged with the D-word in the conference title. I now know that the suffix ‘tva’ in Sanskrit means the essence or quality. Accordingly, Hindutva means the essence or quality of being a Hindu. How disgusting that the conference organizers are purposely using the term “Hindutva” as a façade to demonize, discredit, and humiliate Hindus to create a sensation. It is ironic and unfortunate that many born Hindus, but non-practicing and non-believers in Hinduism, are the speakers. They are radical leftist activists and their academic background and scholarship are highly suspect. Topping all that appears to be an American professor who has labelled Lord Rama as a misogynist pig. I wonder if this individual calling names for Hindu God Rama is a misandrist. The Supreme Court’s decision to finally have the Rama temple built in Ayodhya must have caused unbearable stomachache especially for the American professor I am truly at a loss to find the appropriate words to characterize these Hindu phobic intellectuals except confronting them with an inquiry and question. Are they practicing academic prostitution under the cover of academic freedom similar to dismantling Hindutva as a façade in an attempt to decimate and dismantle Hinduism? I welcome everyone’s thoughts.

It is appalling that the graphic for the conference itself manifests sadistic thinking (given below). At first, I was in denial and wondered if my eyes were being deceptive. I wondered if the graphic designer means what it shows. But now I am very clear what I see and condemn it in the strongest words i.e., the hateful graphic showing human legs being crushed, tortured, and uprooted with a hammer. The hammer shown in the graphic in the U.S. is commonplace for uprooting the nails when necessary but it may not be as common in India. I cannot even imagine that there are educated people with such sadistic minds and thinking.

 

In conclusion, Hinduism, as already stated, is all about the world being one family without the hate and prejudice inflicted by one person/ group to another. Our civilized world should have the freedom to discuss and debate and civilly agree to disagree without prejudging, labelling, and characterizing in demeaning and demonizing ways. Most regrettably and unfortunately a group of the so-called academicians and academic institutions they represent have crossed all levels of decency in the name of academic freedom. With the unfolding of the recent events in Afghanistan, I am afraid if the conference organizers are Talibanizing the academic freedom for short-lived notoriety and causing a few unwanted and unwarranted tremors.

My first humble advice to the sadistic conference leaders is to back off but their poor wisdom and wit and witch-hunt for negativity may not let that happen. The second piece of advice is to at least invite speakers who hold a different point of view about HHH and allow a humble discussion about the differences if any. If this is also unacceptable, the Hindu-hating organizers are warned for a counteroffensive by collective energy, unity, and strength of global HHH with deep roots in the ancient Santana Dharma. Our steadfast Hindu belief can be shaken like many times before but it cannot be dismantled. To my fellow Hindus, let us commit to unite and celebrate, “Hinduism for Humanity and Dismantle Terrorism/ Prejudices Globally.”

Note:
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Born in village Kotah (Saharanpur), Vijendra Agarwal, left India in 1973 after Ph.D. (Physics) from IIT Roorkee but always remained connected with his roots. A researcher in Italy, Japan, and France, he came to US in 1978. He served as faculty and academic
administrator (Assistant Vice President, Associate Vice Chancellor, and Dean of the College of Science and Engineering) in several universities, and an Executive Fellow in the White House S&T Policy during Clinton administration. Following his voluntary retirement in 2014, he and his wife co-founded a US based NGO, Vidya Gyan, to serve rural India toward education, health, and empowerment of girls and overall development. An Indian at heart, his passion for writing has no boundaries. This includes policy, politics and people, and social/cultural activities promoting community engagement. Currently he is the Brand Ambassador for Times of India and frequently blogs on Linkedin on various topics.
Vijendra Agarwal

6 COMMENTS

  1. The Conference was no more than a Kaumi-ference, organised by Ac-tuals (Academician-Intellectuals, so-called) and attended by equally numbered participants with NO/little knowledge of the subject matter, just to please a specific group/Kaum, may be funded even.
    The gang” may like to enjoy Taliban’s rule in Af…, seeing thousands being killed, Women dis-respect, crying Children,…..Demonizing the World, disbalancing harmony,…..
    This Gang hates Hindu culture of Humanity – “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, ……. Harmony amongst different religions,…., acceptance of refugees with respect and fullest support.

  2. With due respect, you are wrong on all counts. The Gujrat case went all the way to the highest court in Gujarat and Modi was acquitted. Yes, the incident occurred and unfortunately people from each faith killed each other which should have never happened. There was more media attention to that incident than it deserved, particularly, in the Western media. In fact, the left side of thinkers lobbied hard to have a travel ban for Modi.
    No Muslims are being lynched anywhere in India; it is a conspiracy by Hindu phobic individuals. In fact, it was the other way in Kashmir for decades where Hindu minorities were constantly subjected to threats.
    Please cite one incidence in the West or anywhere Hindus committed atrocities or terrorist activities. Just think about the U.S, policy for 20 years, and in the end we gave Afghanistan back to Taliban on a gold platter. What can I say because you seem to have made up your mind as an anti-India individual? https://myvoice.opindia.com/2021/09/reflections-on-20-years-since-9-11-and-the-taliban-to-afghanistan-to-taliban-tat-outcome/

  3. Hindutva apologist nonsense!
    While we talk incessantly about 9/11, let’s remember that Hindu terrorists killed thousands of Muslim civilians in Gujarat, with no media attention. Plus they continue to lynch Muslims today, kill them over love jihad conspiracies and blame them for coronavirus!
    Even journalists, professors, intellectuals, human rights leaders, politicians, celebrities and ordinary citizens in the West must worry about death threats and abuse from Hindutva supporters in the West! It’s a real danger that must be addressed.

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