Author: Harsh Verma
(Introduced and Edited by Beloo Mehra)
Editor’s Note: The Sulekha article is an
earlier version of the article presented below.
release of “Foreign Exchange of Hate: IDRF and the American
Funding of Hindutva”, a 91-page report accusing IDRF of
“duping” its Indian-American donors, and the accompanying
media frenzy created a stir of sorts among many members of Indian
diaspora. Since the Internet has now become a hotbed for debating
such issues, the controversy surrounding the “Hate Report”
also unfolded itself on IndDiaspora, an e-group that provides a
forum for Indians across different countries and backgrounds to
connect with one another and discuss issues pertaining to life in
the diaspora (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndDiaspora).
The article below summarizes the IDRF-related debate as it
took place on IndDiaspora.
voices presented here are those of a small group of concerned
members of the diaspora. These
are the voices of people whom the “Hate Report” may consider
as being “duped” by IDRF.
These are the voices of people whom the “Hate Report”
may consider as partially responsible for “funding hate”.
These are the voices of people whom the “Hate Report”
may consider as supporting “sectarian” relief and development
work (whatever that means to the authors of the report!) in India.
readers will see in the following article, the voices of diaspora
are the voices of sanity and reason, expressed only after careful
consideration of facts and clear-headed deliberation over issues.
Alas, all of that is missing from the original “Hate
Report” which through its misguided and biased “research”,
faulty and incompetent analysis, and sweeping and prejudicial
generalizations attacks not only a legitimate charity
organization, but also through its rhetoric of ‘guilt by
association’ holds all donors, volunteers, and supporters
accountable for the recent unfortunate violence in Gujarat, India.
following article clearly makes a case that members of Indian
diaspora with as diverse opinions, ideologies and politics as
represented below CAN NOT be easily “duped” as the authors of
“Hate Report” would like their readers to believe.
The article also makes a case that by not considering such
diverse voices of the diaspora the authors of “Hate Report”
and their collaborators in the media clearly fail to understand
the ground realities and instead choose to preach hatred from
their ivory towers.
Verma, the founder and owner of IndDiaspora, summarizes below a
sampling of diverse voices from the Indian diaspora – to present
just such a ground reality.
have been drawn though the outcome is now almost certain.
The IDRF, a charity that provides funding for Hindu causes
in India is to be investigated on charges that it has duped
Indians into contributing money which is used for fomenting
religious violence in India.
A study conducted by eleven NRIs in the United States was
published by the Mumbai based Sabrang Communications and The South
Asian Citizens Watch. The
campaign is led by a known India baiter, Biju Mathew who has
kicked off a signature campaign on a petition to be submitted to
leading US corporate houses such as CISCO, asking them to stop
“funding hate”. Mathew
has also launched “Project Saffron Dollar”, which aims at
putting an end to the collection of funds by the IDRF.
Copies of the report and petitions demanding an end to the
funding have been dispatched to various US corporations, Internet
portals, and money exchange facilities.
He accuses the IDRF of discriminating against Muslims and
other minorities in India and contributing to the communalization
of Indian society. He
also points out that the IDRF has raised money for Hindu victims
in Kashmir & Bangladesh but not for Muslims in Gujarat, which
according to him proves its bias against MusliMs.
The issue was
raised in the IndDiaspora forum and a heated debate ensued which
ranged from discussions on the RSS, the prejudice against Hindus
in the Indian media to the role of communists in Indian history as
well as today. The
first question was whether these people (authors and publishers of
“Hate Report”) could be trusted and it was here that a
controversy began. One
of our members, a professional in the US, pointed out that Biju
Mathew is a member of FOIL (Forum Of Indian Leftists), a shadowy
communist/ Marxist organization operating in the US.
Similarly, SACW is a communist organization based in France
while Sabrang is a communist organization operating out of Mumbai,
India. According to
this member, the language used by the likes of Matthew and his
collaborators at FOIL, Sabrang, and SACW to publicly denounce US
foreign policy, top US leaders & politicians is laden with
incredible invective & vituperation.
These authors simply cannot be believed or trusted.
This issue was
taken up by another member who pointed out that FOIL’s
pronouncements on US/Israel and its disagreements with US foreign
policy, cannot have any bearing on their report on IDRF.
That would tantamount to distrusting anyone who did not
kowtow to US foreign policy, and this smacked of McCarthyism.
This young member (a graduate student in the US) suggested
that it was necessary to look at the report and consider the
facts. There were
crucial questions to be answered in this regard, according to him:
Whether NRIs knowingly/unknowingly are funding extremist
Hindutva groups in India?
What is this IDRF? Where
does the IDRF money go? Is
it transferred legally or funneled through to the Parivar by
Do the organizations that benefit from these groups declare
their income? What
are these funds used for?”
The reply came from the first participant
in this debate:
is there clear evidence of Hindutva organizations being officially
declared extremist by any recognized world body?
If this is not so, then the whole argument collapses under
its own weight. Further,
Indian leftists and communists have had a long history (60 plus
years) of bitter political opposition to Hindutva. For this reason
alone, it is unwise to accept any FOIL pronouncements on Hindutva
without incontrovertible proof.
Mathew himself should have revealed this potential conflict
of interest, but did not, in an attempt perhaps to dupe
In this member’s
opinion, it is unfair to conflate Hindutva/ the Sangh with
extremism. He added:
equation is a political/ ideological position unrelated to facts.
It is irresponsible & dangerous to define any movement
or individual from the vantage point of its ideological/ political
opponents. He pointed
out that there was no shred of evidence that IDRF or any Sangh
outfit has officially been branded “extremist”, let alone
illegal, by any recognized body.”
Hindutva in the
member’s opinion was a contemporary Hindu movement trying to
make a particular historical identity a central element of its
example, it appears to espouse the literal interpretation of the
Hindu epics such as Ramayana, and builds the modern Hindu identity
on a lineage to the people represented in the epics.
In actuality, large parts of Hinduism are unrelated to any
such historical identity. Most
diaspora Hindus, including the twenty million Americans practicing
yoga/meditation, would clearly be one of those in the ahistorical
category. Too much
focus on historicity has made the legitimacy of Hinduism
contingent upon the provability of ancient historical claiMs.
Hinduism’s theologies do not depend upon any history for their
validity, in the same sense as the Laws of Gravitation do not
depend upon proving the historical details of Newton’s life.
This is where Hindutva appears to be misguided.
However, this does not make them extremist any more than a
bible literalist automatically becomes an extremist.”
This member then
went on to explain why the attack on IDRF is misguided,
uninformed, and biased:
but not the least, Indian NRIs/ US corporations/ foundations fund
many charitable organizations.
Any law that targets IDRF will also impact numerous other
charitable organizations that predate the IDRF by decades.
The first casualty would be the Baptist church in the US,
which has long been accused of funding terrorism in India’s
In response to the
first issue raised by this member (regarding the branding of any
Sangh outfit as extremist) another of our members, a graduate
student in the UK pointed out that the Indian government on 10th
December, 1990 did ban the RSS, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal along
with Jamait-e-Islami Hind and Islamic Sevak Sangh, under the
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.
ban of course was later lifted.
Does this mean that the government was wrong?
Similarly, the PWG (Naxalites) was banned by the government
as well and recently that ban too was lifted.
Was the government wrong again?”
She pointed out
that a more balanced view of the Sangh, its history, its leaders,
would come from Sudip Dasgupta’s PhD dissertation on the topic
of NRI funding to the VHP and its use of the money.
question that then arises is whether this is relevant to 2002 and
events of today. It
is well known that the Indian government (like any government in
the world) does things to suit its political agendas over time.
Why is NRI funding to the VHP an issue if the VHP is not an
illegal or extremist organization?
How is it different from NRI funding to Christian or
Islamic organizations? Under
the circumstances, Dasgupta’s PhD is not only irrelevant, but
highly biased too.
Also, the argument
of formal designation of a terrorist group is not a reasonable
argument. If this
were so then it would not be tenable to term terrorist groups such
as the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Harkat-ul-Ansar as terrorists till they
were recognized as such by the UN or the US.
And the fact is that Pakistan and the OIC had indeed banned
the RSS and VHP. However,
the argument that OIC and Pakistan have banned RSS is really of no
merit. In Arabia and
other Gulf countries, no religion other than Islam is permissible.
Filipino Christians have tried to observe mass
clandestinely and have been punished severely, often whipped and
imprisoned for doing so. In
fact even Shias have faced numerous problems despite being Muslims
in the ‘holy land of Islam’.
Maybe getting banned would be a sign of congratulations in
such fundamentalist regimes and acceptance would actually mean
some kind of affinity with fundamentalist/terrorist ideologies.
With regard to the
issue of banning outfits without the approval of UN or the US,
another member pointed out that the Indian Government had already
declared the Lashkar and similar outfits as terrorists pre-911.
These terrorists had already conducted several murderous
attacks against innocents in India and had proudly claimed
ownership for these attacks.
But the idea of
someone’s hard-earned money donated with a different intention
being channelised to VHP for a temple construction (or mosque
destruction) or for paying legal defence fees for the likes of
Dara Singh and Co. was
extremely loathsome. It
gave a feeling of being cheated, as the money was collected for a
different cause. Whether
or not VHP or RSS were fundamentalists merited a different thread
of debate. There need
to be more efforts toward revealing the hidden agendas of
organizations like IDRF and then leave it to the donors to judge
thereafter. None of
them are obligated to produce proof for not supporting these
hidden agendas if they don’t want to.
Everyone has a right to know what happened with the money
The work of Biju
Mathew is biased and has an agenda of its own.
Whatever be the funds generated by the VHP, they are far
less compared to those generated by a single missionary order of
either Christianity or Islam.
But there is no corresponding research on them.
No one wants to inquire into the effects of Saudi funding
or the support given by many fundamentalist Christians to
terrorists in the northeast.
This Dussehra saw terrorists warning against the
celebration of Durga Puja by Hindus in Tripura and Baptist
ministers uttering vituperative statements in Nagaland.
The news was blacked out by the Indian media but was
reported by the BBC. So
there is also the problem of one-sided coverage on the RSS and
Hindu issues in the Indian media. The same Outlook
magazine, which eulogised the multi-millionaire Kanwal Rekhi for
his opposition to Hindutva, failed to report these utterances or
demand a similar enquiry into the nature of funding received by
is nauseating. His
argument that IDRF be victimised for raising funds to support
Bangladeshi Hindus is terrible.
Bangladeshi Hindus are among the most victimised people in
this planet since they were ruthlessly exploited, persecuted and
their wealth looted by Islamic miscreants in the riots.
The Bangladeshi government refused to respond and the
Indian government also looked the other way.
The western countries just ignored the issue but chose to
come rushing in on the issue of Gujarat.
Some of us were involved in attempting to make this human
tragedy known but failed to do so on account of entrenched
attitudes in the Indian and world press.
We find Mathew’s arguments to be highly fascist and
supportive of Hindu genocide.
If IDRF is to be
victimised for supporting the Bangladeshi Hindus, then pray who
will do so? Will Mr.
Mathew and his gang do the honours?
Incidentally the gang of Mathews and Vijay Pershads stood
silently in the shadows while massive murder and rape was going on
in Bangladesh. After
remaining silent while Hindus were being massacred they now have
the gall to stand up and say that the organisation providing
relief to these victims should be banned.
If there is to be an enquiry into IDRF, let there also be
an enquiry into Christian funding of militancy in the northeast,
Saudi funding of Madrassas and Hindu genocide in Bangladesh,
Pakistan and Indonesia (another area of discrimination).
Till then any action against the IDRF alone is unjustified
and reeks of a direct attack on Hindus as a religious community.
there was indeed merit in the argument that hard earned money not
be channelised for causes other than the one for which they were
donated, one of our members pointed out:
regards the intention of the IDRF, that is easily obtained from
the IDRF website where the information of where the money is going
has always been available. So
one wonders what ‘research’ Hindu haters like Biju Mathew et
al have done, They have merely done a cut and tendentious paste
assignment with the data that has been publicly available for at
least 3 years now. No
one was duped by IDRF. The
donors gave money fully knowing where it went—they knew that it
was not going to the Christian Missionaries and Tabhlighis, and
that itself was a sufficient reason for many to donate to IDRF.”
This was not enough
for another member - a young American woman married to an Indian,
and therefore a member of Indian diaspora. She stated that while
she agreed that Hindutva advocates are not “extremist
any more than a bible literalist automatically becomes an
extremist”, there was a connection since extremists are
usually literalists, which could be the Bible, the Ramayana, Das
Capital, or the Koran. Therefore,
she worried about growing fundamentalism when it becomes
increasingly activist and extreme, as it has in the US, Gujarat,
and all over the world. She
added that all fundamentalists are not extremists, but the trend
or correlation could not be denied. And
fundamentalists were not the only extremists—communists and
imperialists have killed more people than anyone.
But she did not support these people either.
In her view, an extremist was anyone who thought that his
beliefs should be forced upon others.
As such they had to be stopped.
This member also
pointed out that NRI funding for VHP was certainly an issue for
her since she did not support Christian and Muslim organizations.
She was not really concerned about stamps of approval or
whether the VHP had been banned by Pakistan or India since she
could perfectly well draw her own conclusions about extremism or
terrorism and did not need the authority of Bush or the UN or the
government to persuade her to do so.
She needed information.
The perpetrators of violence would certainly not explain
first-hand about what they do and how they organize—whether in
Gujarat, Kashmir, or Iraq. So,
she had gotten used to “second or third hand hearsay” about
which she was cautious. She
would like to be more vigilant about checking facts, but it was
not easy for her to find evidence for even half of what she read.
For another member,
the issue was not the RSS but about the hidden agendas of charity
organizations and the need for a full disclosure of information
about the beneficiaries and how the money is spent.
The anger comes when the donor is kept in the dark about
the real mission. Be
it the VHP or Muslim league or the Christian missionaries, the
donor should know who this money is actually going to.
According to this member, with regard to the RSS, many
organizations, both Indian and Western, ‘leftist’ and
‘non-leftist’ have over the years documented the participation
of the RSS and its sister organizations in communal riots.
Human Rights Watch, People’s Union for Civil Liberties
and many other organizations/teams have documented the involvement
of VHP, Bajrang Dal etc. in the recent Gujarat riots.
He added that their role in the Babri Masjid demolition has
also been well documented.
A couple of members
pointed out that the RSS is an organization that has participated
in organized killing of non-Hindu people (and now dalits
too as it appears after Jhajjar) for decades, whose founder was
fond of Hitler and which unlawfully brought down an ancient
monument in the name of religion etc. Furthermore, RSS literature
is strewn with valorization of swayamsevaks
beating up Muslims during riots.
So, according to them, it is no secret that these groups
are extremist and have participated in extremist activities.
Contrary to their name of ‘Relief and Development’ and
claims of “strengthening the roots of a democratic, secular
India” they funded killers and proselytizers, probably without
the knowledge of their patrons.
Targeting them was definitely not an attack on the Hindu
religious community as a whole.
Surely, the Hindu religious community did not merely
comprise of the Dara Singhs and the Asheemanads.
This contention was
hotly objected to by another member.
He made the assertion that without the Hindutva = extremism
equation, Mathew’s report has no validity.
Funding Hindutva by itself cannot be bad, only if it can be
conflated with extremism. Therefore,
there is a desperate requirement and need to equate Hindutva with
extremism for Mathew’s initiative to have any legitimacy.
He further added that HRW cannot be cited as an appropriate
organization until they have done a report on Bangladesh and
Kashmir, both of which predate Gujarat by several years and are
logarithmic orders of magnitude much worse.
As to the charge of organized killing of non-Hindus by the
RSS, this member pointed out that it was typical FOIL-type
propaganda, debunked in all respects by the research done by Dr
Elst, whose findings have not yet been challenged by anyone.
As far as Jhajjar
is concerned, this member pointed out that, the real truth was
just now emerging after the initial feeding frenzy was over, and
as it turns out, this was not a dalit issue.
The latest report even implicates the local police.
With relation to RSS complicity in riots, this member
has shown that riots in India are always organized and started by
certain minorities as a means of intimidating and terrorizing law
abiding citizens. When
successive governments failed to protect its own innocent
citizens, the RSS was born as a means of self defence against such
terror tactics—the middle ‘S’ in RSS stands for swayamsevak
which really means “self defence or self reliance” in the face
of governmental incompetence and negligence.
It is the basic human right of self-defence against terror,
In actuality, the
Jhajhar incident is also a case of failed leadership on the part
of the RSS to get embroiled and demonized in an event in which it
had no hand at all. It
is now clear as per the statements of even dalit
Parliamentarians that the killings were done by the police which
then blamed the VHP. The
news was then picked gleefully by the media as another stick to
beat the RSS with. The
RSS had a wonderful opportunity to use this event to turn the
tables on their accusers. They
could have instituted an independent enquiry, visited the
situation to talk to the victims and then sued the offending
newspapers for malicious reporting.
They could have also used the event to reach out to the dalits.
Instead, Giriraj Kishore came up with an imbecile statement
that the life of a human being was less than that of a cow and all
hell broke loose.
Actually there is
indeed a problem with the VHP being targeted in such a fashion by
human rights groups. The
same groups do not make
the same efforts to target the Students Islamic Movement of India
or like-minded Islamic groups, which are behind a whole lot of
always Hindu groups who are targeted.
Now it would be easy to say that the VHP has extremists who
must be targeted and that these groups have done civil society a
great deal of service by exposing such extremists.
If only things were so simple.
A lot of organizations are just not willing to listen to
the sufferings of minority Hindus.
It is as if Hindu women getting raped and Hindus getting
killed are of no consequence.
Only when the victim happens to be a non-Hindu, do the
floodgates of criticism open.
There is a further
problem. Many such
human rights groups are led by people with a distinct agenda of
demonizing Hinduism. This
demonization of Hinduism and projecting it as backward has become
an industry. This
provides benefits, which are financial as well as political.
The critic of Hinduism becomes a name to be feted and may
even get invited to lecture tours in the US.
On the other hand, anyone reporting the crimes of Islamic
fundamentalists is targeted as a rascal who must be silenced.
There is indeed some truth in the RSS’s denunciation of
the media. However,
the RSS has an extremely foolish and idiotic leadership, which
sits and complains rather than making an effort to rectify the
situation. Instead of
taking a reasoned approach, it has engaged in its own demonization
of the media and handled matters terribly so that it now deserves
what it gets.
There may indeed be
lumpen elements in the Bajrang Dal which have to be weeded out but
there are more brutal murderers of Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh
and Indonesia. Why isn’t a demand made for them to be brought to
justice? Why isn’t
the international community approached to apprehend them?
But that would not bring in financial and political
benefits so that is shelved and Hindus are blamed.
Till the more serious perpetrators of massacres in
Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Indonesia are brought to justice, the
selective targeting of Hindus cannot be supported.
And there are
indeed benefits to attack Hindus.
Lalit Vachani for example obtained funding to the tune of
$15,000 from the UK based The Soros Foundation for “The Men in
the Tree” and “The Boy in the Branch” which are films on the
RSS. One member
thought that it would be interesting to have a list of other
projects funded by the Soros Foundation.
Here is a list of projects funded by the foundation in the
same five-year period:
Sanjay Talreja (US) “The Rise and Fall of Bombay”
$15,000 (7/99). It
explores how Bombay, once India’s most liberal and secular city,
has now become a bastion for ethnic and religious fundamentalism.
Ranjan Kamath (India) “The Die is Caste” $15,000
(10/99). It is on the
dalits, the 160 million
people at the bottom of India’s caste system.
Mystelle Brabbee /Craig McTurk (US) “Khilawadi: Eldest
Daughter of a Gypsy” $30,000 (3/98).
This is about a community of gypsies in India, where the
eldest born daughter to each family must be a prostitute to
support the rest.
Arvind Sinha (India) “Between the Devil and the Deep
River” $23,000 (9/2000). It
is about the entrapment of 2 million people inside the banks of
rivers in Bihar, India.
Monique Simard/Deepra Dhanraj (Canada/India) “Nari Adalat:
The Women’s Court” $15,000 (9/2000).
It is about the women’s courts in the state of Gujarat in
India; an answer to the official courts where they seldom find
justice regarding issues such as domestic violence.
Raney Aronson (US) “ASHA” $40,000 (5/2001).
It is a profile of Indian women who are working at the
grass-roots level to stop the devastation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic
Now, some of the
projects are indeed worthy and look at real issues.
But it was pointed out that while there is funding of
attacks on Hindus, not a single grant has been awarded to the
Kashmir issue, the rising Christian fundamentalism in the
North-east etc. It’s
as if these don’t even exist.
Clearly, one only gets funds if you have an India bashing,
Hindu bashing theme. Another
member checked the HRW website and stated that if one were to use
it as a source of information one would have no idea about Hindu
deaths in Bangladesh, and no idea of the magnitude of their plight
from a key participant in this debate presented the much-needed
Indians and the western world have ignored the three (yes, three)
genocides of Hindus (1946, 1971 and current) in the Bengal area
within the last 60 years. The
1946 ‘direct action day’ called by the Muslim League saw tens
of thousands of Hindus being killed.
The 1971 West Pakistani genocide led to 2.5 million murders
of Hindus while the current one is taking place today.
There is also the currently ongoing, foreign funded
Christian violence in the Northeast, which escaped attention so
Malhotra, in his Sulekha column, RISA Lila - 1: Wendy’s Child
Syndrome raises the following alarm: “History shows that
genocides have been preceded by the denigration of the
victims—showing them as irrational, immoral, lacking a
legitimate religion, lacking in compassion towards others and love
towards their babies, etc., i.e,
not deserving of the same human rights extended to white
people. Notice how
these so-called practices of mothers are labeled as “a
distinctive Hindu pattern” per se.
This is also why “dowry murders” have been very
aggressively put on the dominant culture’s agenda, to be
prosecuted specifically as “a Hindu problem”, even though the
scholarship of Veena Oldenburg and others clearly establishes that
it is not a “Hindu” problem.
The time has come to ask: How does today’s scholarship
compare with the Eurocentric scholarship in earlier times about
Native Americans, African slaves, Jews, Roma, and others, who were
subsequently victims of genocide in various ways?
Are certain “objective” scholars, unconsciously driven
by their Eurocentric essences, to pave the way for a future
genocide of a billion or more Hindus, because of economic and/or
ecological pressures of over-population later during this
Power, Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights
Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, has written
about American ignorance of genocides:
America’s public awareness of the Holocaust often seemed to set
the bar for concern so high that we were able to tell ourselves
that contemporary genocides were not measuring up.
As the writer David Rieff noted, “never again” might
best be defined as “Never again would Germans kill Jews in
Europe in the 1940s.
by averting their eyes or attending to more pressing conventional
strategic and political concerns, US leaders who have denounced
the Holocaust have themselves allowed genocide.
Because the savagery of genocide so defies our everyday
experience, many of us failed to wrap our minds around it.
We gradually came to accept the depravity of the Holocaust,
but then slotted it in our consciousness as ‘history’; we
resist acknowledging that genocide is occurring in the present.
Survivors and witnesses have trouble making the
are thus able to retreat to the “twilight between knowing and
not knowing. But this
is not an alibi. We
are responsible for our incredulity.
The stories that emerge from genocidal societies are by
definition incredible. That
was the lesson the Holocaust should have taught us.
In case after case of genocide, accounts that sounded
farfetched and that could not be independently verified repeatedly
proved true. With so
much wishful thinking debunked, we should long ago have shifted
the burden of proof away from the refugees and to the skeptics,
who should be required to offer persuasive reasons for disputing
eyewitness claims. A bias toward belief would do less harm than a
bias toward disbelief”.”
concluded that the overriding issue was the question of selective
bias. Why have people
been involved in condemning the Sangh (which comprises tens of
millions of ordinary Indians) without a shred of evidence but are
unable to string together two lines for Kashmir or Bangladesh?
Those who dutifully trot out reports & propaganda films
about the Sangh should first ask themselves what they have done
for Bangladesh or Kashmir. Why
do so many Indians not even want to acknowledge the atrocities
committed against Hindus in Kashmir or Bangladesh?
Is it just plain and simple political correctness, a
leftist bias, or something more serious/deeper than that?
discussion back to the “Hate Report”, a member pointed out
some key problems with the report.
very basis of this report is based on defining RSS as the apex
entity of the Sangh Parivar and Hindutva. The report says that VHP,
BJP, and Bajrang Dal are the cultural, politica,l and para-military
wings of the RSS. The
Seva Vibhag, which gets funded by the IDRF, is dubbed as the RSS
Service wing. And
that is how this tedious connection between the VHP/Bajrang Dal
and the Seva Vibhag starts and ends.”
There is much that
is wrong with our “history” as well.
The left and those who see themselves as secular have cried
themselves hoarse over the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
Yet this same group of people has been active in distortion
of Indian history to hide the evil deeds of many Islamic
of temples were destroyed during Islamic rule but their
destruction has been either be explained away or outright denied.
In many cases there is deliberate hiding of facts about
policies on slavery of Hindus, violent persecutions, and forcible
there have been others like Akbar, but the majority was akin to
Aurangzeb or worse. The
exceptions have been made the rule.
In this regard, let me end with a question
raised by one member of our group:
can perhaps even buy the argument that soon after independence
there was a desperate need to shove the old demons in the closet
so that a fresh start could be made.
But then there is still so much resistance to even look at
the issues from an academic standpoint.
What does it say about the social responsibility of
academics, especially historians in nation-building?
When and why did our politicians, historians, journalists
decide that some human tragedies are worse than others, and that
some atrocities are not serious enough to be even reported?”
Harsh Verma: Harsh has had a background in environmental
activism and E-Learning. With
a deep interest in Hindu mythology since childhood, he has been
involved in making mythology relevant to modern day concerns.
His articles in this regard have been published on Sulekha
and Indian newspapers such as The
Hindustan Times, New Delhi.
Harsh is deeply interested in issues concerning the Indian
Diaspora and the subject of Hindu Reform.
In this respect, Harsh has founded two extremely successful
yahoogroups called IndDiaspora (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndDiaspora)
and Hindu Reform (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hindureform).
Both of these groups have columns on Sulekha: Diasporic
Rangoli and Hindu Reform. Harsh
is based in Chennai, India.