On behalf of Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference (HMEC) we would like to draw your attention to an online seminar that is being sponsored by dozens of Universities across the US. The event titled “Dismantling Global Hindutva (Hinduness)” is timed to happen from September 10-12. Many of the organizers are neither Hindus nor of Indian origin.
Hindutva is Hindu + Tattva, or essence of Hindu dharma. It is a manifestation of Hindu dharma in our daily lives inspiring us to reach out in compassion to all creatures beyond our individual selves. There is, however, a concerted effort to malign this term and under its guise to attack Hindus. For example, the previous attempt in this series was, “Holi Against Hindutva” on campuses two years ago. The same group is already contemplating, “Diwali Against Hindutva”.
This attack on Hindutva is along the lines of various attempts to divide American Hindus based on “caste”. You may recall that in the previous HMEC meeting, we discussed:
It is shocking that the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” event is supposedly sponsored by forty-five Universities and/or various departments or institutes within these universities. The Universities are supposed to be space spaces for Hindu youth. However, there is no question that this conference will make it much less safe for them.
As a mandir, you play a pivotal role in the society. You are the center of our community activities. Due to the First Amendment to the US constitution, this Hinduphobic conference will probably take place as planned. We believe that the Mandirs under the banner of HMEC will be able to diminish the impact of this conference by asking the universities, their departments and their institutions to disavow this conference.
We therefore have two requests for you:
We look forward to working with you to do outreach to the co-host University nearest to you.
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org at call Ajay Shah at 858-866-9661
Thanking you in advance,
Jt. General Secretary
Convenor, Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference
World Hindu Council of America (VHPA)
On behalf of Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference (HMEC), representing more than 600 temples and religious institutions across USA and Canada, we, the undersigned, demand that your University disavow the event titled “Dismantling Global Hindutva (Hinduness)”.
The word Hindutva translates -as Hindu + Tattva, or essence of Hindu dharma. It is a manifestation of Hindu dharma in our daily lives inspiring us to reach out in compassion to all creatures beyond our individual selves. There is, however, a concerted effort to malign this term and under its guise to attack Hindus.
The word Hindutva, as defined by the Supreme Court of India (Ramesh Yeshwant Prabhoo case [1996 SCC (1) 130]) means:
“The words ‘Hinduism’ or ‘Hindutva’ are not necessarily to be understood and construed narrowly, confined only to the strict Hindu religious practices unrelated to the culture and ethos of the people of India, depicting the way of life of the Indian people.”[…]
“Considering the terms ‘Hinduism’ or ‘Hindutva’ per se as depicting hostility, enmity or intolerance towards other religious faiths or professing communalism, proceeds from an improper appreciation and perception of the true meaning of these expressions emerging from the detailed discussion in earlier judgments of this court. Misuse of these expressions to promote communalism cannot alter the true meaning of these terms. The mischief resulting from the misuse of the terms by anyone in his speech has to be checked and not its permissible use.”
It is shocking that the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” event is being co-sponsored by your university or a department or institute within your university. It is important to note that many of the organizers have expressed virulent anti-Hindu views in the past. A reasonable conclusion, therefore, is that this conference intends to further their Hinduphobic views.
The universities are supposed to be safe spaces for Hindu Youth and youth of any religious persuasion or no religious affiliation at all. However, there is no question that this conference will make American Hindu students and Indian immigrants much more susceptible to violent racism. Considering increased violence against American Hindus and Indian immigrants in the US, there is an increased need to bring about harmony among Americans belonging to various faiths and ethnicities. This conference in contrast, promotes anti-Hindu hatred, with a clear objective to vilify Indian immigrants who do not subscribe to the theological and ideological bent of the hosts and their backers.
We expect that your institution will immediately disassociate itself from this event and reassure the Hindu students, faculty and staff that your institution is a safe space for all religious minorities.