CSFH: Hindu Students Council is Another Arm of Sangh Parivar

In a meticulously-researched and well-documented new report titled Lying Religiously: The Hindu Students Council and the Politics of Deception, the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate has provided solid structural links between the Hindu Students Council (HSC) and the Hindu nationalist Sangh Parivar.

Before proceeding any further, I do want to say two important things:

1) If you are put off by the language/rhetoric in the first chapter, please do read on. The report goes on to lay out an irrefutable case, and it would be a shame to abandon it in the first few pages.

2) This report deals extensively with the central structure and leadership of the HSC without dealing much with individual chapters. I understand from having spoken with folks who are involved in campus branches of HSC that some chapters operate relatively autonomously. If you are a member/officer of a campus HSC branch, the report does not accuse all individual members or all individual chapters of being directly involved with Hindu nationalism or the Sangh.

There are, however, cases where the link with individual chapters is quite apparent. Take this undated press release from the University of Houston chapter of HSC on its reorganization. In the press release is a link to the following photo (click photo for larger version):

Notice someone who probably isn't a member? That's Ram Madhav, the national spokesman of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and this picture was probably taken during Madhav's tour of the US in Fall 2004.

I hope very much that students who are involved with HSC will take the time to read this report with an open mind and take a firm stance on whether or not this is the kind of organization with whose central leadership they want to be affiliated.

More about this relatively soon; if not from me then from someone else.

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Comments

oops sorry, meant to ask:

oops sorry, meant to ask: What specifically about the report did you find deceptive?

hi Anonymous, I found the

hi Anonymous,

I found the HSC's response to be pretty vague.

The true deception is in the report itself, which attempts to present itself as a reputable source of information about HSC while actually being a mix of outdated information (some of which is 15 years old and presented as currently accurate) and inaccurate claims published by anonymous authors concealing their true motivations for initiating this misleading attack (from the HSC press release, linked above).

While it is true that some of the information is 15 years old, at no point in the report did I see any attempt to pass it off as current. That information was included to trace the HSC's history as a project of the VHP of America and to document the subsequent erasure of this link from the HSC's public image. If I missed something, please tell me. The report dated its information quite clearly.

As for anonymous authors, the CSFH press release which went out contained contact numbers and names, and I don't think CSFH's true motivations were concealed at all: the point of the report is to expose the close relationship between the HSC's central leadership and the various bodies of the Hindu Right. The fact that the central leadership of the largest Hindu youth organization in the United States is so closely tied to the Hindu Right is a problem, to say the least.

The HSC's statement doesn't engage this at all. Rather, it seems to validate the report with the following:

Such organizations include the Art of Living, BAPS, Chinmaya Mission, Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, the Gayatri Parivar, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, International Society of Krishna Consciousness, the Vedanta Society, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, and various Hindu temples and ashrams. The fact that HSC shares many values with all of these organizations and believes that Hindus must be unified and strong does not mean HSC is responsible for any of the actions of those groups or their affiliates. Neither does it indicate that HSC is being secretly (or not so secretly) run by any of those organizations.

Why does HSC feel the need to come out and say that it's not responsible for the actions of these groups? Of course it isn't. But in this statement, the HSC is essentially saying, "Yes, we are connected with them, so what?"

HSC is outraged that when HSC has been occupied in trying to support its Virginia Tech members, these anonymous writers have decided to push this propaganda. This insensitivity and disregard for the Virginia Tech community only shows that the so-called “Campaign to Stop Funding Hate” is actually pushing hate with its anti-Hindu stance taking precedence over any reasonable person's concerns (from the HSC press release).

I think this is rather unfair, given the fact that the CSFH press release was dated April 13 and the report itself was released on April 15, a day before the tragic events at Virginia Tech.

I'd consider the report

I'd consider the report actually more shoddily researched, and actually very deceptive in how it makes its claims.

Anyway, a link to HSC's response to the report: http://www.hscnet.org/articles.php?pid=78

And a link to the facts about HSC: http://www.hscnet.org/fact.php

To address your

To address your questions:

I'll quickly point to one example of outdated information being substianted as current, since it's the page I'm on right now while looking at the report. In section 2.3.2, it references a relative of an HSC member as being part of the Governing Council of VHP-A. In the footnote citation, the reference is to a page published in 1999. A quick check of the VHP-A's website indicates that the relative is no longer a governing council member, nor is he an officer at any of their chapters. So not only is the report using McCarthy-like guilt-by-association tactics by attacking members on a personal level, but it's using outdated information to do so.

Actually, here's another example, since it kind of invalidates a whole section of the report. The report presents HSC as managing a number of different websites of different Hindu groups, referencing an entity called Hindunet/GHEN. It also cites a copyright archived showing the website of Hindunet as copyrighted by HSC. A check of the current website indicates that the current copyright is registered to an entity called Global Hindu Electronic Network, Inc., which appears to be a for-profit corporation. I'm betting that if I went and dug into tax and incorporation records, it would show the organizations as legally separated and unconnected, outside of GHEN being the webhost for HSC. (And as far as I know, just because you share server space with someone doesn't mean you're suddenly an endorser of all their views.)

I suggest you reread the press release that CSFH put out. Yes, it did put two phone numbers on there, but no names are associated. (looking at the copy on the website.) I've only seen one name in total associated with the release, that of Samip Mallick. I highly doubt one person wrote all 65 pages. IMHO, HSC was correct to call the report's writers as anonymous.

As for HSC's ties with organizations, I think it's being clear in saying that it will work with any Hindu organization in the United States. But considering the report alleges that HSC is being secretly run by the VHP-A and HSS as their youth wing (section 2.4), that list of organizations in its entirety kind of points out the opposite. In other words, HSC is being transparent about its activities, as contrary to the claims of the report. And an interesting question for you to ponder: this report doesn't identify any current officeholder in HSC at the national level. How are you certain that all of the central leadership is so intimately tied to the Hindu "Right"? (I put that term in quotation marks because trying to define this along a left vs. right spectrum of politics doesn't make any sense. Most Hindus, for example, are in favor of strong environmental policies and gun control, both liberal issues. Basic counterexample, there are others that raise the same point.)

As for the reference to Virginia Tech, I heard from others that there was a concerted effort at posting the CSFH press release on various lists in response to HSC's press release about how they were supporting their Virginia Tech chapter with a way for people to send them messages of support. I think any decent person can find such behavior troublesome, and I can imagine HSC leaders getting rightfully outraged by that fact. I suspect they were either on those lists or they heard from their own sources about that.

To your final question, about what did I find deceptive about the report:

First, the report uses very McCarthy-like guilt-by-association tactics, especially in section 2.3.2, about the various relatives of former or current HSC members. Is someone supposed to be judged by their family members now? And in any case, what does that have anything to do with your claim that the HSC leadership is closely tied to the Hindu "Right"? The majority of the examples cited deal with people at the chapter level.

Secondly, much of the report is based on old, old information...a quick read of the footnotes indicates almost nothing past 2003. But when you read the report itself, it doesn't make mention of the fact that it's using old information to make its case. In fact, in many cases, it presents that information as accurate and current.

Third, the anonymity of the report's writers is troublesome. If they are so confident in their claims being truthful, why not sign their names to the report?

And finally, there seems to have been zero dialogue with HSC on the issue. Did the report's writers actually ascertain, via talking to the HSC leadership, that they were making truthful claims? Did they try talking to HSC and saying, we noticed this, is this pattern correct, or are we making incorrect conclusions? Or did they just intend to sneak attack and ambush HSC?

Because if it's the latter, then it seems clear to me that their motives weren't to educate people...it was just to smear a vibrant campus organization that they disagreed with.

nice try anonymous apologist

nice try anonymous apologist for HSC!
The report provides a historical account of the genesis of HSC and its leaders - you call information from 1999 "outdated." I wonder how do you propose we deal with historical accounts of anything if the archive is declared "outdated." Perhaps in your view we do not have any understanding about ancient Egypt because hieroglyphs are "outdated."

As for the VHP-A governing council member in 1999, you fail to mention the individual - Vijay Pallod, who happens to also be the VP of IDRF a major Sanghi "fundraising" front.

As for your comments on GHEN - again, just because two siamese twins "legally separate" does not mean that their relation to each other becomes "outdated" or "irrelevant."
Also, the IP address information is not about simply "sharing" server space as a matter of coincidence. It is about the HSC's "karyakartas" actually being responsible for the development of the web presence of the Sangh Parivar. IT is not a coincidence that the websites of the RSS, VHP, Panchajanya, Organiser, ABVP, VHP-A, HSS, OFBJP, IDRF, etc. are all on the same Class C network, thanks to Ajay Shah's diligent "seva" for the "parivar" cause.

"vibrant campus organization indeed" - HSC's vibrant saffron colors are there for the world to see thanks to this incredibly comprehensive report!

I came here to talk about the

I came here to talk about the post and the report, and not really about my views. But I'll give 2 responses quickly...if the thread doesn't realign back onto the topic of HSC, I doubt I'll be coming back.

First, in your community example, you are seeing exactly what I called the ossification of the caste system. To cite the American Heritage dictionary:

a. The process of becoming set in a rigidly conventional pattern, as of behavior, habits, or beliefs.
b. Rigid, unimaginative convention.

Hinduism, ripped free of the caste system, but keeping all its diverse set of beliefs, would be the paramount of diversity. Can you see any other religion in the world able to tolerate such divergent views in its belief systems without resorting to call their fellow believers heretics?

Secondly, oddly enough, the caste system is where I think both sides can make some ground. (I expect half of you to have snorts of derision here) From the left side, obviously, their focus on economic justice is important. From the right side, I think the focus on eliminating boundaries in regards to religious and cultural rituals is also important. (that's been a stated goal of the RSS/VHP for a while, from what I read) Both a social and economic solution is needed, IMHO. (I'm sure those of you who snorted in derision will believe it's actually the RSS/VHP goal to maintain the caste status quo. Fine, I really do not care.) And it's not something that can be driven at the governmental level, because with the kind of politicians present in India, it is inveitable they will fail the people. (Nandigram being the most recent example.)

Anyway, I happened to read the CSFH's new press release, and found it mildly amusing that they decided to attack the HSC over something that happened in 1995. I suspect none of HSC's national executive board was even in college at that point. And if I'm correct regarding GHEN and HSC being totally separated, they will look like fools. This is what happens when you do not first attempt to engage in dialogue.

What a picture. It's almost

What a picture. It's almost as if the HSC is the cult for a) vulnerable american desi kids stricken by exponential levels of geekiness, dorkiness, and social awkardness compounded by mental colonization of a specific profile of provinicial immigrant parents and general ignorance about India and Hinduism b) the less sophisticated FOB who cant handle the American brand of exclusion and social alienation seems to be a willing victim too c) the conscious and aware individual who willingly embraces this objectionable version of fascism. These observations ofcourse take into account that not all HSC's are connected to the sangh or are the same .. just what it seems to function as for identified inclined people.

You know, alienated gora americans find solace in punk rock, bad dress sense, gothness, hippiedom or some other aesthetically repulsive and snide subculture, korean-americans in Hello Kitty and photobooths and so on.... they are not, in large numbers, driven to unknowingly/knowingly support an organization/s that sees the massacre of all minorities in India and the subjection of women to a patriarchal Indian state probably with khaki shorts as the national dress as their main priorities.

Anonymous: you're right about

Anonymous: you're right about the flaws in the report, which I believe was drafted in 2004 and only recently published, accounting for some of the flaws. But I didnt write the report so I dont want to respond about its flaws: I want to respond about how HSC's response is dancing around the important questions. Its the usual sad response of a political organization facing hard allegations: accuse the accuser, ignore the accusation.

What it comes down to is our level of credulousness. If regional members of the HSC want to behave like lawyers, and the substance of the report because of its technical flaws, they harm themselves. Having read the report, and taken cognizance of its flaws, I still found it compelling and I want to see people follow up the questions it compellingly raised.

It is commendable that HSC maintans all there linkages with Hindu associations and other religious associations. But with which one is it most strongly associated? Why do they always mention the VHPA last in these prodigious lists? Their strongest tie is manifestly the VHPA. If a German students association maintained a primary tie to the Nazi Revivalist Party, as well less offensive German groups, would that absolve them of the implications of the connection? Don't let this fact slip out from under the debate: the VHP is a violent, and in my personal opinion, criminal and anti-Constitutional (Indian Constitution) organization with documented ties to anti-minority pogroms in India.

And then they talk about the universal values of INCLUSION and TOLERANCE? Listen, as far as I personally see it, heres the central problem that the report brings up: the HSC central leadership has substantied, past linkages to the VHPA and the Hindutva political establishment, it also has highly probable but legally unsubstantiated present connections. Any intelligent college student who reads a bit about the VHP, or visits India for a week, will find that inclusion and tolerance are not among their political values. That being the case, the HSC needs to honestly divulge and break ties with the VHP and its American chapter.

In their response to the CSFH report, the HSC got a good punch in, I'll admit. But in terms of talking about themselves, they are dissembling and it is obvious. The VHPA is the primary affiliate of the HSC, whether the linkage is still structural or no longer so. This is extremely problematic and it is something the HSC must address, rather than tuck away in long, disingenuous lists of affiliates.

The Resources links on the HSC site are inactive on my browser, but I do know that a few years ago, you could get from the HSC webpage to a defense of the Babri demolition with less than three mouse clicks. Just to be clear, that was the demolition of one of the largest mosques in India, in violation of the order of the Supreme Court of India, which led to large-scale communal killings - those are the facts and the rest is speculation and politics. That is a perfectly good example of the how Hindu extremist politics will trickle into HSC's agenda in the best-case scenario - that is, if the relationship is actually unofficial and not mendacious.

So you're right - the report is flawed and I think it would be in CSFH's best interests to respond to those flaws and fix them. Meanwhile I think it would be in the best interests of the members of the HSC for them to take a deep, honest look at the latent and underlying character of their organization - below the pujas, dandiya-raas and multi-culti membership rolls - and figure out whether "plausibly innocent" is innocent enough.

Addendum 1: You can use the phrase 'Hindu right' without the quotation marks - it refers to the Right-Left spectrum in South Asian politics, which mostly relate to religious majoritarian vs egalitarian policies in the state, national security and caste. As in the States, there's a separate axis that concerns economics.

Addendum 2: Without using this to bolster my argument, here's something funny from the HSC's factbook:

"The conference hosted a highly acclaimed and unprecedented Inter-Faith meeting where speakers from Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, Native American and African Elder religions agreed on a need for “Mutual Respect and Acceptance” and “Universality of Humanity”."

Anyone missing in there? Was there a not Muslim delegate at this hallowed event? Did they feel it was imperative to give that spot to the representative of African Elder religion?

Also, I forgot to mention

Also, I forgot to mention this, but "Ram Madhav, the national spokesman of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh" - doesnt that set off enough alarm bells? If it doesnt, you need to spend some time reading about the RSS. I recommend Khaki Shorts Saffron Flags (Orient Longman) or AG Noorani's The RSS and the BJP (a quick read, only about a hundred pages).

How are you certain that all

How are you certain that all of the central leadership is so intimately tied to the Hindu “Right”? (I put that term in quotation marks because trying to define this along a left vs. right spectrum of politics doesn’t make any sense. Most Hindus, for example, are in favor of strong environmental policies and gun control, both liberal issues. Basic counterexample, there are others that raise the same point.)

Most Hindus are in favour of strong environmental policies and gun control? Really? So most of India's roughly 800 million Hindus support 'strong environmental policies' and 'gun control?’ Oh, you meant most upper-middle class Hindus in America are in favour of 'liberal’ policies. And by 'liberal' you meant American democrats. I’m not sure that these are interchangeable terms.

I think what was meant by "Hindu Right" was the politics of Hindu nationalism in the Indian context, though obviously not confined to the territory of India itself. Its kind of revealing that a supporter of such a 'vibrant campus organization' would mistake Hindu Right for Hindu Republican (of which there are many). Maybe this speaks to the last clause of section 'a' of the last post.

Regarding the HSC response to CSFH's report, one is immediately stricken by HSC's claim that they "share an interest in promoting a stronger, more educated Hindu community," with groups openly part of the Sangh Parivar like the RSS and VHP, coupled with a lack of denunciation for their documented actions. While I would be willing to accept that members and leaders at the 'chapter level' might be ignorant of Sangh politics in India (i would even be likely to believe that many would likely be horrified if they were to discover what the Sangh does), but I doubt the same is true for the members of the HSC responsible for their response to the CSFH report. That means that they likely support the politics of the Sangh rather than disavow it. And the Sangh is well known for propagating its ideology through 'unaligned' and 'apolitical' organizations, schools, and a variety of other institutions. The connections between seemingly innocuous organizations (e.g., Ekal Vidyalaya), Sangh ideology and the perpetuation of violence against minorities in India are not that difficult to discern. But that would require knowing what the term "Hindu Right" means.

by last post i meant SS's

by last post i meant SS's post

You're quite right about

You're quite right about this:

the Sangh is well known for propagating its ideology through ‘unaligned’ and ‘apolitical’ organizations, schools, and a variety of other institutions. The connections between seemingly innocuous organizations (e.g., Ekal Vidyalaya), Sangh ideology and the perpetuation of violence against minorities in India are not that difficult to discern.

In fact the alleged relationship between HSC and the Sangh reminds me of the kind of half-hearted mendacity of the RSS about the Bharatiya Jan Sangh when the latter was first formed (the BJS would later transform into the BJP, as soon as the ruse was no longer politically useful).

Anonymous was pointing out

Anonymous was pointing out reasonable weaknesses in the fabric of the report - I think he’s just presuming HSC innocent until proven guilty.

Correct. One shouldn't go trying to tear down organizations without explicit and strong information backing them. The report doesn't cut it for me. And I do think both of these two sides in the overall debate in the Indian political spectrum could settle to some middle ground if they were to talk to one another: it's my opinion that they both fundamentally misunderstand each other, because I believe Hinduism to be a progressive religion in general, once you strip away the now-ossified caste system. Attacks like this, however, just widen the gap.

I was unaware that I had to

I was unaware that I had to pass an ideological purity test to post here by condemning various organizations. I've focused solely on HSC, because that's what the report is about. Nor am I getting into condemnation or commendation: Substantive argument is hijacked when one is required to judge organizations tangential to the argument at hand.

To address substantive points brought up by the flood of commenters:

To raj:
Comparing the history of HSC to Egyptian history is a logical fallacy. You may to work on your skills in creating analogies. Namely, the Egyptian civilization of the Pharaohs has been extinct for a very long time, so therefore nothing could change. However, considering that HSC has only been in operation for 17 years and is a campus based organization (meaning it experiences significant turnover in membership every year), I would say 8 years is a long time in the history of the organization.

Second, even if Mr. Pallod is the VP of IDRF, how does that reflect on his nephew? Again, it's a McCarthy-like guilt-by-association personal attack.

Third, on GHEN: I'll make a bet with you. If it turns out that no current HSC member or leader does any work for GHEN or is involved with its operations at all, will you agree that section of the report is invalidated? And before you cite the name of Ajay Shah, there's nothing out there currently saying he's involved with HSC in any form.

To Nizam:
Thanks for conceding there are flaws in the report. We will have to agree to disagree on whether those flaws are fatal to the report. Obviously, I believe they are.

On VHP-A being the primary affiliate of HSC: I doubt this. Considering that the major claim of the report is that the national leadership is linked with the VHP-A, one would think that VHP leaders would be speaking often at national HSC events. A quick scan of the press releases for the national events HSC has hosted shows no references to any VHP-A leaders speaking. Certainly, at the chapter level, VHP-A leaders might've spoken. But that would be divergent from the claim of the report. Now, one could argue that the linkage is cladestine, that VHP-A is the primary affiliate of the HSC even though the VHP-A has not been front and center at any HSC national events in the past 3 years. Or one could use Occam's razor based on the available evidence and decide that such affilation might not be primary at the current point in time.

On mendacity in general: Before you start throwing that word around, documented irrefutable proof that the HSC has been mendacious might be a good idea. Right now, the only group I apply that term to is the Bush Administration.

On the Right vs. Left thing: it's tangential and non-germane to this thread, so I'm going to drop it and just politely disagree. Though I do see where you are coming from. (However, I would quibble with the designation of it being on a South Asian political spectrum. Indian political spectrum, ok, I can see that. But this certainly isn't the political dynamic in Bangladesh or Pakistan. The minorities are an afterthought in both of those countries. Egalitarianism isn't on the menu in them.)

On the Muslim delegate on their panel at the Dharma Conference: Who knows? Maybe they couldn't find one willing to commit to being on the panel?

On Ram Madhav: Ok, so he was hosted at a chapter to talk. What did he talk about? What did the chapter do afterwards? (Obviously, if the chapter started hosting anti-Muslim presentations, then you could say he had a negative effect.) And the key part: Did the chapter make the decision to host him? If so, then how does this impugn the national leadership as the report has claimed? There's tons of context missing from this to make any evaluation of that data point worthwhile.

Aatish:

About the Right vs. Left thing: I doubt it actually revealed anything to you.

About the press release and the lack of denunciations: Clearly, the whole line of argument is about Indian politics. Now, interestingly, in their press release, they indicated that they work with organizations in the United States. They didn't mention any Indian organizations. What exactly should they be denouncing and moving away from? Organizations that they have no substantive tie to in the first place?

And unless someone has written something while I've been writing this, I don't think anyone's really addressed the first, third, and fourth thing about what I found deceptive about the report. Nizam did engage me on the second point though, and I appreciate that.

Dont turn this into a

Dont turn this into a flamewar, guys. Anonymous was pointing out reasonable weaknesses in the fabric of the report - I think he's just presuming HSC innocent until proven guilty. But in my opinion that guilt is pretty well established.

Noticeably missing from

Noticeably missing from Anonymous's remarks are a condemnation of the ideologies of RSS, HSS, and VHP. Seems like Anonymous maybe more of a defender of these hate groups than the innocent HSC chapters that are not affiliated in a substantial and meaningful way with these groups.

Attacks like this, however,

Attacks like this, however, just widen the gap.

Right. It's not that Narendra Modi is still in office.

Anonymous I believe Hinduism

Anonymous

I believe Hinduism to be a progressive religion in general, once you strip away the now-ossified caste system.

What does it mean to be a progressive religion in general? How can you even make 'general' statements about a religion so immeasurably diverse in practice? But lets pretend that you can, and just consider your implicit belief that a 'progressive' religion like Hinduism makes for progressive actions by its followers.

My family practices Lingayatism (considered a sect of Hinduism), which was founded by a poet/philosopher/reformist named Basavanna in the 11th century. Its founding principles are a rejection of the caste system and a belief in the unitary and monotheistic nature of God. Basvanna's life and work is filled with laudable actions and progressive commitment. He refused to don the Brahmin's sacred thread from the moment it was offered, using Vedic content he wrote anti-orthodoxy pro-poor poetry in the vernacular that is still sung today, he rejected untouchability and invited Dalits to dine with him, he even sanctioned the marriage of a Brahmin woman to a Dalit man and fought for their right to the extent that he was exiled from his home. Sounds like a man and a religious philosophy that would engender revolutionaries willing to confront head on inequality and injustice.

Well, think again. The Dalits in one side of my family's Lingayat dominated village are still barred from building their houses within the village, and are forced to draw water from separate wells. The urban section of this side of my family still contains anti-Muslim bigots willing to buy into a larger "Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan" view of Indian politics. Lingayats function pretty much like a caste (endogamy, particular food habits and rituals etc.), and are in some places dominant and in others not. In either case, they are likely to perpetuate whatever local configuration of caste power relations present, and they are almost never on the absolute bottom. So much for 'ossification'...

Maybe I'm not being fair, your initial criticisms were mainly directed at the failings of the CSFH report in providing the contact information of the authours etc. Some of your criticism is valid in that sense, and I'm sure that we can all agree the report could have been formulated better. And you are not required to state your ideological propensity at the begining of your posts, but what you say and how you say it, even if you are not explicitly dealing with ideological disagreements, communicates a certain worldview. I believe that the worldview communicated in your comments of this post is partially responsible and definitely complicit in mass violence against minorities in India. If you would like to more clearly state your views on India, Hinduism, Nationalism and minorities in India, then I will be able to more clearly state the exact hows and whys of how your view is complicit in genocide. Until then, I can only go on what you give me.

In that vein, before I make any assumptions, can you please illuminate specific misunderstandings between the two sides in the Indian political system? And also perhaps what middle ground would you like them to settle on? I would like to make clear that I hold no commitment to the Indian 'left' on the issue of minorities in India and further that they have shown themselves to be capable of equally fascist policies (e.g., Nandigram).

I think the CSFH

I think the CSFH counter-response quite strengthens their position. It identifies people responsible for the report, and it leans harder on the weakest point on the HSC response, which as I said before, is that they didnt reply to CSFH's charges.

I expect that HSC National will find a way to slip through the cracks in the CSFH challenge, if they respond at all. Answering question (b), for instance, they will probably say, "the HSC participated in the Vishva Sangh Shibir without any political agenda or compulsions, but only in pursuance of its sugar-sweet mission to learn about Hindu culture and heritage."

I'm glad to see them toss off the Virginia Tech dodge (incidentally, another RSS tactic, "Hindus are dying, and we're saving them! How can you criticize us now! Do you hate Hindus!") Please. After my first post, I remember the exact language about the Babri Masjid demolition that the HSC linked to: they called it "India's second war of independence." If CSFH is correctly describing HSC National's response to Godhra and the massacres, it would say enough about the hypocrisy of their tolerance and inclusion principles.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Again, on a separate note, the HSC condemns the arrest of the Kanchi Shankaracharya:

Finally, despite being an extremely well respected member of the Hindu community, His Holiness was treated like any ordinary criminal and immediately shifted to the Vellore jail; it would have been more appropriate if the police were to interrogate him on all matters in the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham itself.

For the Indian police to treat His Holiness in this matter is tantamount to the Italian police arresting the Pope on Christmas Eve.

Their statement doesnt mention the fact that the Shankaracharya was arrested on charges of murder. It makes much of how "progressive" the Shankaracharya is, presumably referring to his proposal that the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board graciously give permission for a Ram Mandir to be built in Ayodhya, rather than have it taken from them (the AIMPLB are a bunch of bastards, as it is, and have no mandate to do any such thing).

Moreover, in the absence of any Hindu order of precedence, the Shankaracharya cannot be compared to the Pope. There are five Shankaracharyas, of which the one in the Kanchi matt is most or least respected, depending on whom you ask. As Swapan Dasgupta, a right-wing journalist, points out about the Kanchi matt, "Recent events have clearly shown that the Kanchi mutt is just another Hindu institution; it has no special status in the eyes of the vast majority of Hindus. More to the point, it suffers on account of its perceived image as an institution for the Brahmins."

On the other hand, they did arrest him on Diwali, which is the kind of bull-headedly arrogant thing Indian police do.

I finally read the report and

I finally read the report and the response by HSC. The questions I had about the report were this:

1) Why does this matter to someone who's not already committedly anti-RSS? Show me the money. I want more details about what the HSC specifically does (give instances of fundraising) and how it does harm, if in fact that's what's happening. Perhaps that's in there and I just missed it--so my bad in that case--but the report is LONG and a concise executive summary would have been nice (I thought the prologue was insufficient).
2) I agree that more recent evidence would have helped strengthen the case. You're talking about a very ephemeral entity by its very nature--give some examples of what it's doing.

Ironically, I found the HSC's counterresponse the best evidence in support of CSFH's report :) Particularly this section:

HSC members are encouraged to reach out to a wide variety of organizations in the United States that share an interest in promoting a stronger, more educated Hindu community. Such organizations include the Art of Living, BAPS, Chinmaya Mission, Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, the Gayatri Parivar, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, International Society of Krishna Consciousness, the Vedanta Society, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, and various Hindu temples and ashrams. The fact that HSC shares many values with all of these organizations and believes that Hindus must be unified and strong does not mean HSC is responsible for any of the actions of those groups or their affiliates. Neither does it indicate that HSC is being secretly (or not so secretly) run by any of those organizations.

So I send people and share work and values with VHPA but I'm not responsible for any of its activities? Can't have it both ways, kids :)

Anonymous, Dr. Anonymous and

Anonymous, Dr. Anonymous and other swayamsevaks on this forum:

The report shows that the since the mid 1990s HSC is hiding its affiliations to the VHPA, while the VHPA and RSS are open about the affiliation. So you would expect HSC's public statements to not have any references to its ties to the VHPA. You cannot insinuate that this means they have no connections. Nice try again, but you need to do better than providing apologetics for the Sangh Lafangs!

Hi folks, I'm sorry I haven't

Hi folks,

I'm sorry I haven't been more active in this discussion. I've spent the past two days throwing myself at the feet of everyone in the Chennai passport office - an experience I hope to relate soon - and there's nothing I can say here without taking considerable time to say it.

The good thing about this

The good thing about this whole episode is that it is starting dialogue about real issues. The bad thing is that it isn't intended to start dialogue; if it were, CFSH would have posted this on a blog instead of spreading it as a press release.

Before I go on, let me say this: I think the only valuable facts that the report has brought out are:

(1) There are leaders in HSC who are at the least sympathizers of the RSS / VHP organizations in America, and perhaps in India.

(2) HSC's website is hosted by the same Hindu-centric web servers that host other Hindu organizations and sites, many of whom are outwardly RSS associated.

(3) That the HSC leadership has held controversial positions on issues related to Indian politics in the past.

I agree with all of these things and that they are disturbing about HSC, but not necessarily the conclusions being made by CSFH or the way they make them.

The sad thing is, this report has nothing to do with HSC or the content of its work. It has nothing to do with Pujas, Festivals, Student conversation, Hurricane Katrina relief, Virginia Tech condolences, Hindu organizations other than those the authors don't like, HSC's chapter governance, etc. Nor does it try to recognize that most chapter leaders, at best, balk at the ideological positions of the people that try to bring in any sort of influence of Hindu extremism. They are college students for God’s sake, their idealism makes them naturally lean left as it is.

The report does not find any fact of whether or not HSC sympathizes with RSS/VHP/BJP positions on issues of violence / hatred / extremism. Instead, it says, by even loose association, they must obviously agree with everything these people do. That’s like saying I go to school at Yale and agree with everything they do, like admit George Bush. Let’s not be ridiculous and unreasonable, and give some credit to HSC for being clear about its associations with VHP and other orgs that are not the “Hindu right”; after all, almost all of the information provided by CSFH came from publicly available information and HSC’s own website, hardly suggests that they are hiding anything – like most people, they’ve grown up and become more open minded and accepting over time. Why is it so attractive to lynch them for where they were 10 years ago? Many people that were bullies in high school grow up to be great people, recognize that people grow.

Like others on this blog have insinuated, it is important to recognize this whole HSC thing is in many ways a proxy fight of Indian politics and entrenched ideologies on American soil. You can't base an entire report on a truth that is based on political interest, it undermines objectivity and seriously casts doubt on intentions of the writers: if they really cared about Hindu Students Council's brush with the Hindu right, they might have chosen to talk about the *real* problem and engage in dialogue.

For instance: Talk about how it is troubling that HSC is more tolerant of extremist positions than it should be. Explain why. Don't assume that the response to RSS spokesman Ram Madhav's visit is "Wow, I love you RSS guys"; recognize that most people in HSC are students like you and me who have brains and can tell when someone comes with ideological bias. If David Duke comes to speak to the Republican club of NYU, that doesn't make everyone in the Republican club guilty of the same perspective of David Duke. Does HSC also invite other types of Hindu “leaders” to speak, some that do not support the RSS? Then, maybe, they should be respected for exposing students to a range of Hindu ideologies – helping them get informed about the spectrum.

A more progressive action, kind of like organizing for the disadvantaged in NYC, would have been to help HSC recognize what you believe is poor judgment and come up with a better way to structure themselves rather than making every Hindu student in the country feel like they are jumping into unwanted controversy by attending a harmless HSC event – that would have been the more respectable thing to do. In some ways, this IS an attack on Hinduism’s influence in American university – who is next, the non-HSC hindu club whose President’s father votes for the BJP?

What kind of pro-democracy and diversity people are CSFH? It’s ok to fight for the voices of the marginalized, but not to allow other people on the fringes to have their voice if it doesn’t meet your standards? Stand for values instead of ideologies – if HSC does things that are illegal, hold them accountable – but don’t go out bashing people because you think their political position is detestable. Not everybody likes the position of CSFH, but most people choose dignified ways of disagreement, which is why CSFH gets to be so disproportionately loud by playing a dirty game that most other are not "radical" enough to counter.

If the interest of the writers was to expose the people in HSC who have links, they should have sent a note to HSC chapter leaders and said: "Hey, I know you guys have grown as people, and leadership has changed in the past 20 years, but maybe you should be more aware of the connections that some of your members and leadership has to political positions in India; we are glad that as those politically active groups have become more extreme, you guys have built your distance, but it is important that you continue to provide a welcome place for different political views as you create a space for Hindus on campus."

Instead, the report goes online, to the press, on every blog it can push it to, and to the lefty media before it ever becomes a conversation with HSC itself. It names a bunch of people and tries to make them sound like Hindu extremists, if not for now than at least five years from now when someone Googles them. It stops talking about HSC and makes it all about the RSS and Indian politics rather than events and forums for Hindu students on campus, run by Hindu students on campus. As a one-time sympathizer of FOIL, YSS, CSFH, OY!, Rad-desi, I find this approach really hard to swallow. I think CSFH and friends are finally painting themselves as what they are – extremists in their own form.

Why? I don't think this report is very respectful in its ways of making any such point, and I find its attacks on individuals and attempt to make HSC controversial rather than talking about the real issues a very very dirty way of trying to build "solidarity". In fact, anonymous personal attacks in the name of solidarity are a signature of the extreme left.

As such, CSFH is laden with great political bias of its own, and fails to recognize that any democratic institution is going to have an ideological spectrum. If you go to church, or mosque, or temple, or a Indian New Year's eve party, there will always be people who have extreme views. That doesn’t make the group disgusting. HSC doesn't ask for political views or ideological patronage (or even religion) before letting people show up at an event to celebrate Diwali or take a leadership role, nor should they. Judge them based on what they do and not who you would like to associate them with, and stop making student organizations full of people ignorant of Indian politics the playing ground for political ideologies from 10,000 miles away - I would apply to both HSC and CSFH.

Isn't it ironic CSFH and its “parivar” of organizations that mimics the RSS’ sketchy series misleading front organizations? CSFH, YSS, FOIL, PROXSA, RAD-DESI, OY!, and their mouthpiece "Gadhar" Etc, do require ideological patronage and have lots of shared leadership (as does the RSS, one big reason why the chapter-led HSC and the ideology-led VHP have probably grown in distance over the years). Hey guys, I have a smart idea: let’s fight the RSS by creating an RSS of our own!

In some ways, I commend CSFH for raising issues that are important to discuss. There needs to be reasonable conversation on the influence of extremism. However, in the guise of being progressive, I think the writers of this report are showing great disrespect for other human beings and the intelligence of people – they don’t even acknowledge that people in HSC have brains of their own and that Hindu students generally don’t want to be extremists and are, in fact, generally allergic to them. The thousands of students that have been part of HSC aren’t just a group of gullible morons;

By being so judgmental across the board, CSFH’s method of tacking issues that face the South Asian community are fundamentally anti-“solidarity”; instead, they further divide people and illustrate just how venomous Indians are against each other. Our community has a long way to go. Grow up. Have face-to-face dialogue. Take your issues with other people straight to the source rather than the press and the anonymous protection of the internet, then, just maybe, you would have the credentials to preach about solidarity.

While HSC is transparent about its affiliations, recognize that so is (in a convoluted way) CSFH/FOIL/YSS, etc. Their ENTIRE existence is based on being anti-Hindu-right-wing. How do you expect a group whose charter is based on hating Hindu extremists and getting others to join them to write an objective report on hatred shown by Hindu extremists? Seriously.

I’m not sure if I am more irritated by politically-motivated CSFH/FOIL’s continued and intolerant hijack of what is “progressive” in South Asian American politics or by the weakness of Hindu Americans for being apathetic every time someone tries to paint their culture and communities as “extremist.” Anyone who gives this propandic garbage credence needs to take a step back and put the world into perspective. Hindus need to step up and be vocal rather than let their apathy be mistaken as silence about extremism.

Those that preach for a Hindu nation and those who spend every waking minute hating them and trying to bring them down – good luck to you both. I wouldn’t want either of you running my country.

I have serious skepticism

I have serious skepticism that most people who talk about Hinduism...

Dr.Anonymous let's fisk your skepticism some

Who are the ones you are skeptical about?

What is your definition of understanding strong, weak or otherwise?

Why only what is now known as Hinduism? What about earlier notions?

The 'report' and the comments made by some posters on this thread suggests that the skeptical glance should be directed here to start with!

Sanghi trolls don't deserve a

Sanghi trolls don't deserve a detailed response, some quick comments nevertheless:

1) Is the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate Sangh baiting?
CSFH's response: We are not ‘Sangh baiting’ Sangh baiting would imply that we only do this to get a rise out of the Sangh because we merely ‘dislike’ them for some reason. Such a contention is not just wrong, it is silly. The Campaign is largely an outcome of the horror all of us felt after the Sangh Parivar went on its genocidal rampage in Gujarat. The Sangh presents one of the greatest dangers to India’s existence as a tolerant, pluralistic and democratic society, and its ideology of hate needs to be countered. Since a large proportion of the Sangh’s funding derives from overseas, exposing some of its fund-raising tactics overseas, and the uses of such funds, is necessary.

‘Sangh baiting’ indeed. We all have our personal and professional lives that we would love to give our exclusive attention to, but are compelled by conscience to do this work until the Sangh’s hate can be neutralized.

2) Is the Campaign 'selectively targeting' majority communalism?
See CSFH's comment on The Asymmetries of Communalism

The website that Ravi links

The website that Ravi links to talks of desi-american students, while above Ravi is talking of Hindu-Americans and Indian-Aemricans. What are these three categories about?

You might also want to check this out Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association

The report's authors don't have a clue about Hinduism and seem to be ill-equipped to discuss the subject.

Can someone who's defending

Can someone who's defending HSC please explain what this means and why it's not communal?

HSC shares many values with all of these organizations and believes that Hindus must be unified and strong

Where is the emphasis on diversity that Anonymous#2 was mentioning in #23? The intelligence?
And "strong"?

All this is from HSC's own words, not a critical report!

As for who knows what about Hinduism--I have serious skepticism that most people who talk about Hinduism, and particularly the Hindu Right, have strong understanding of what is now known as Hinduism.

The Deception Continues: HSC

The Deception Continues: HSC Fails to Deny CSFH Charges
Report is "Spot on" say report writers

New York, Monday, April 23, 2007: On Sunday, April 15, 2007, the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH) released a 65-page new report titled "Lying Religiously: The Hindu Students Council and the Politics of Deception," (LyR) that comprehensively documented the links between
the North American campus based organization, the Hindu Student Council (HSC) and the ultra-right, violent, Hindu chauvinist network of organizations in India-the Sangh Parivar. The report was released at the "2007 Organizing Youth (OY!) Conference" held in NYC from April 13-15 and was enthusiastically received by South Asian American youth at the OY conference.

In its response to the report, the HSC press release of April 20, 2007 characterizes the CSFH report as a "smear campaign" that is "based on inaccuracies" and "outdated information." Beyond these assertions the press release only repeats banal platitudes about itself and its vision without denying even one item of evidence presented in the LyR report.

The first charge is curious since almost all information presented in the CSFH report are drawn directly from official HSC or Sangh Parivar sources. This leaves no room for claiming that the sources are invalid or the representation is "inaccurate" since these are all the HSC's own statements about itself, and various Sangh organizations' official statements about the HSC (See our first press release and a summary power point presentation at hsctruthout.stopfundinghate.org for
details of the report). The methodological emphasis on sources internal to the Sangh family is to ensure that the evidentiary basis of the conclusions drawn is of the highest standards. Given this, we can only conclude that the HSC leadership is in denial.

Nevertheless, CSFH would like to highlight a few pieces of the evidence that the National HSC leadership has chosen to avoid and invite the HSC to publicly comment on the same.

a. The CSFH report documents that HSC maintains and hosts numerous Sangh websites (RSS, VHP, VHPS, ABVP, and others), thus playing the role of a mature partner in the Sangh family or parivar. This information is documented in detail with IP addresses in section 2.4.3, and Appendix A of the CSFH report. Does the HSC deny this?

b. In 1993, the HSC claimed that it became fully independent of the Sangh. Yet, in December 1995, the HSC was an invited participant at the Vishva Sangh Shibir (Global Sangh Training Camp). According to the press release of the organizers of that camp, "all its delegates were
from several affiliated organizations of RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh], which operate abroad as Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Sewa International, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Students Council, Friends of India Society International, etc.," and the camp was "conducted on RSS ideology for NRI [non-resident Indians] workers." CSFH challenges the National HSC leadership to comment on how it gained access to the sanctum sanctorum of an RSS shibir without being a member of the Sangh.

c. Despite all disavowals by the HSC leadership about their relationship to the Sangh, the VHP of America, has repeatedly, and most recently in 2003, said that the HSC was its project. Here is an extract from an archived VHPA page from 2003: "The programs and projects are defined by the local community needs within the broad framework of the Parishad mission. The ongoing projects are: Hindu Student Council: It is the youth wing of VHP-A functioning in 50 universities and colleges in the USA." Given the official HSC position that it severed all links with VHPA in 1993, this amounts to a minimum of ten years of deception. Does the HSC deny that this link existed at least until 2003 officially? The VHP-A website still lists the HSC as an "Organizational Component" that it "facilitates and promotes". Is the VHP-A website also "based on inaccuracies" and "outdated information"?

There are many more such examples in our report. The fact is that M/s Bhutada and Trivedi of the HSC National (who issued the HSC's press release) are still trying to hide the connections between the HSC and Sangh. "The National HSC's inability to contest even a single piece of evidence outlined in the report is nothing but an attempt to cover up with a hope that the chapters will not ask too many questions" said Ashwini Rao, a CSFH coordinator. "The report" he continued, "is spot on!" The HSC National leadership does not owe the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate any explanation. It owes its members in all the universities across North America an explanation as to why these affiliations were not revealed to them and why their futures were being endangered by associating them with an extremist group of organizations. We would urge members of every HSC chapter across the US and Canada who was not aware of these links to demand an explanation of the National HSC. The members of HSC who were not told about these connections were certainly duped.

One other matter raised in the HSC press release deserves comment. The HSC National leadership accuses CSFH of insensitivity in launching such a campaign at a moment when they are busy offering solidarity to the Virginia Tech HSC chapter after the tragic events of April 16. We find this diversionary tactic most hypocritical, for the HSC has stood by in stony silence after each riot carried out by its sister organizations in India. In 1993, the HSC rationalized and celebrated the destruction of the Babri mosque (and the anti-Muslim violence that followed) as "the beginning of the new age of Hindu Renaissance, a new Hindu Revolution". Again, after the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, the National HSC promptly (and rightly) called for apprehending the perpetrators of the Godhra carnage, but was understandably silent about justice for the families of the more than 2000 Muslims massacred in what was probably the worst carnage since 1947. In fact, in the post-genocide days, the National HSC was busy oiling the machinery of the Sangh's global propaganda network (by maintaining the electronic infrastructure of the Sangh). Is the National HSC not complicit in the cover up that has ensued since 2002?

CSFH urges a public debate and discussion on this within the South Asian community, especially among Hindu-American youth, whose trust has been betrayed by the National HSC leadership. There could be no better starting point for a collective sorting out of the truth from the lies than with the HSC national leadership answering the challenges to the three very concrete and specific points we have raised above. The LyR report is replete with such evidence and if needed CSFH will break this down release-by-release for the benefit of
the Indian-American community.

To call this smear a report

To call this smear a report would be to accord it a dignity it does not deserve. The most interesting parts are the sections that reveal the authors' utter ignorance of Hindu philosophy and tradition. Let's take the Dharma Conference that has gotten the authors' knickers in a twist. The 'report' starts off saying,

The ‘dharma conference’ website defines dharma as:
“That which sustains the natural order of things”
“Refers to the universal principles, laws and duties that bring peace, harmony and progress.”
“Help to live life harmoniously and achieve ultimate human potential.

It is obvious that the above three could include within their ambit any religious or spiritual doctrine. The broad definitions that follow take full advantage of the ambiguities implied by the word.

Dharma is all but impossible to define in English. Just as words dharma, karma, murti, and puja have no Western equivalents, religious concepts such as prayer, worship, idol, and God have no Hindu or Indic equivalent.

A 'religious doctrine' is an unquestioned statement of faith, a dogma, and a claim about the truth of what we experience. Monotheism, the creation of Man in the image of God, sin, and salvation is one classic religious doctrine. The creation of Man as an unwavering slave of God in perpetual submission to his will, unto the day of judgement, is another religious doctrine. The term spiritual doctrine is an oxymoron. The follower of a religious doctrine would have no doubt about 'that which sustains the natural order of things' - that can't be but God - which is why followers of religious doctrine do not organise dharma conferences. For the Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and Sikh, dharma is an eternal question. Are there correspondences between the Dao and Dharma? We don't know but it is worth exploring. How would it such a thing happen? You would have scholars from the two traditions reading the discussion guides (erroneously named scripture; more aptly termed sutra or discussion guides) establishing ground rules, a vocabulary, and then trying to work from first principles.

Great, judge CSFH by its

Great, judge CSFH by its actions, not what it says. If it wanted debate, it should have started with debate. The prudent way to debate on campuses, is, whether you like it or not, to ask for debate or to write to the people you are accusing.

The report is not objective. CSFH's website does sound like it is (but so does HSC's). Don't spit back with rhetoric, when you are not willing to take others at face value.

CSFH has a political agenda, it is honest about it. Don't walk a line as if HSC is the only one that does, and ignore the fact that CSFH does as well because their viewpoint sounds more attractive to you than HSC's. Recognize that when you pass judgements and assumptions off as truth, you are damaging other people.

CSFH expresses great disgust in its fight against hate through the tone and method of its work, in fact, it is obviously trying to get others to hate Hindu politics, best shown by the type of ignorance shown by people trying to talk about Indian politics who know little about it based solely on the type of mis-information that CSFH promotes (on blogs like this one). Go to India and learn how caste and community politics actually operates it and you will be shocked to find that the so-called "Hindu Right" is far from the only group to do promote division, and most people on the ground in India know that - but Indian-American youth somehow think that India is full of a bunch of communalists, that every uncle who supports the second largest party in India is responsible for genocide. Don't we sound like a bunch of really compassionate and understanding young people? No, in fact we sound bigoted, angry, and unwilling to understand.

CSFH would be better off objectively educating the Indian American community on communalism without a partisan bias. Like the Hindu right, all the stuff on their websites say exactly what is PC, but hey, so does HSC's - isn't that what CSFH is accusing HSC of? Being deceitful about its true intentions? Is it really that hard to believe that CSFH might be, as well? and doesn't it make you wonder if it takes one to know one, and recognize that CSFH is over-obessesed with its disgust for its political enemy?

That doesn't make what CSFH says untrue. It is a problem that HSC has so many people with a political bias in one direction and claims to be non-political. But don't take CSFH off the hook for being irresponsible.

If you look for more than what justifies your position, you will find a lot of written material from CSFH, FOIL, YSS, etc, and some of the more extreme individuals that are part of them that spews political hate in exactly the same ways that they accuse the "Hindu right". They are the "anti-RSS".

If you read this report with a lens of understanding, the bias is bluntly obvious, as is the attempt to make things true in public opinion that are far more contentious on the continent where it is relevant.

At the very least, we should all be committed to learning the truth, and take CSFH as one perspective, not a balanced one, frankly, because it is not. Someone needs to put up a more unbiased dialogue.

HSC is on the defensive. How could you expect them not to be? You guys sound like a bunch of immature jocks and cheerleaders in high-school - throwing insults at unsuspecting nerds and laughing about how they respond. Do you think this would have been different if you went up against the campus Christian organization for being anti-muslim? What do you expect innocent people to do when you go on an unwarranted rampage? Do you think it would look any different than what HSC is doing? Why are you only reading responsed to confirm your existing assumptions? Are you committed to fostering more understanding or justifying your position?

Yes, you can read HSC's responses at yet another way to support a conclusion you made before you ever gave them a fair chance, or you could be more enlightened and read it for what it is - an anonymous group making really hurtful statements against an organization that are way out in left field, making personal attacks at individuals, and forcing HSC to defend itself to random people who are now saying "I heard you guys were responsible for genocide, you should be banned on campus." It is hard to believe that isn't what CSFH wanted, and it is a very far cry from dialogue.

The last two anonymous

The last two anonymous comments (#23 & #28) are from a different person than the initial set. Anonymous comments are cool, but please differentiate yourself somehow from other people's comments on this thread - or better yet, just make up a handle.

Comment #26 had been eaten by the spam filter, so you might have missed it on first read. It's there now.

This motherfucking program

This motherfucking program just swallowed a huge, thoughtful post that took me an hour to write, and said "You're posting too quickly. Slow down"

RRRRRR The fascists win again

Nizam, Your language doesn't

Nizam,

Your language doesn't suggest that you are capable of any thinking.

And me hearties do you know why commie crooks are careful to dub Hitler a Nazi? Because Nazi is the short form of National Socialism. It wouldn't be good thing to dub the enemy a socialist just like themselves right? Commie crooks and Lefty loons are International Socialists while Hitler was a National Socialist - of course both are before anything else, anti-social!

Nizam, do you have any idea how the Nizam of Hyderabad was overthrown and his regime dissolved for good? It's an event the closet extremist Akbar Ahmed hates to recount.

I've only glanced at the

I've only glanced at the report in question, and here are my thoughts:

1. I too wondered who the authors were. And the fact that the authors are not explicitly named anywhere undermines what could have been the validity of the report.

2. I spent an entire year (2005-2006) diligently and religiously checking the HSC website, the Dharma Conference, and so on daily as well as hearing impassioned people tell me how much everyone got all their observations wrong.

Here is one article under "Popular Articles" of which Kanchan Banerjee" is a "Popular Author." Excerpts:

Understanding Culture

By Kanchan Banerjee
Published on 02/18/2003

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Various Cultures of the World
In each society and culture, the basic needs of human beings are same. However, as the interests and tendencies of each culture vary, each gives more importance to one aspect of human life. Most probably it was Swami Vivekananda who said: "Each culture has, as it were, a basic idea to work out, a destiny to fulfill, a role to play in the world, and a contribution to make to the whole human civilization. A culture can flourish, only so long as it remains true to its original ideal. Until that ideal is destroyed a culture cannot die, nothing can kill it."

Each culture is viewed through the way it expresses itself. Its forms of expression are embedded in its religious practices, arts and literature, sciences, customs and sociopolitical systems. Cultures can be classified into three basic classes: spiritual, mental and material or physical. A culture whose main purpose is material progress, and which lives at a sensate plane only, is a material or physical culture. Where the highest goal of a people is mental or intellectual satisfaction, there exists a culture of intellect or the mind. Finally, the culture whose primary goal is spiritual attainment is a spiritual culture. A culture fitting into one of these categories might contain elements of the other two cultural types, but it may be judged easily by observing its predominant characteristic.

There are many cultures in the world. The distinct ones are Western, Hindu, Confucian, African and Middle Eastern. For lack of space here, we will discuss Western and Hindu culture only. Western culture has several strands. The first is the political and social ideas originating in the city-states of the ancient Greeks: their apprehension of the values of truth, beauty and faith in reason and intelligence. The second is the Roman dynamic spirit of formulation of administration and establishment of law and the scientific mind in search of truth. The third and final strand is the Christian ideas of the divinity of love and compassion and the brotherhood of mankind, as well as the Jewish values of righteousness and justice.

The Promethean spirit of human excellence was also a part of Hindu culture -- the Mahabharata itself is a testimony of it. Greece and Rome produced Socrates and Pythagoras, but these societies rejected them. Plato was also perceived as coming from a different world-view, while in reality he was trying to bring his people toward the concept of ’Man know thyself.’ People absorbed only his social views and did not understand his spiritual side.

This type of neglect rooted in a movement away from introspection slowed down the further upward movement of human spirit in the West. It created a vacuum and ultimately the Greek and Roman civilizations crumbled down under their own pressure. Then early Christianity came as a spiritual alternative, which soon put a bar on freedom of expression. Also, Christianity’s emphasis on belief, ’only path’ dogma and the inability to satisfy the rational mind stopped aspirations toward a search for the true ’inner universe.’ Christian theology took over spirituality and stopped all new experiments toward the inner science or the science of life. It inhibited the search for truth both outwardly and inwardly. It took many Galileos to sacrifice their lives for the search of truth, it took long time for science to overcome the loss of freedom. Once this freedom was returned after the Renaissance, people in the West put most of its energy into their search for truth in the external world. Therefore the West has become a field of actions toward the external world. This has become the West’s specialization and has produced the inventive geniuses. At the same time, the values of liberty, equity, democracy and the rule of law have flowered in the Western mind. The rejection of the theocratic states of old Europe and their oppression definitely strengthened these values. In last 100 years, Christianity has changed a lot and many of the sects within Christianity (e.g. Unitarian, Presbyterian) has reduced the burden of theology and dogma and focussed more on true spirituality of Christ.

Although the influences of Judeo-Christian religious ideas and Greco-Roman inspirations for higher human achievements are present in Western culture, still Western culture is predominantly material and the majority of its people live at a sensate plane. On the other hand, Hindu culture was spiritual throughout the ages, excepting periodic deviations because of foreign influence and a lack of inner strength, as occurs today. Hindus have seen the abode of the divine in everything, not confined in the temples alone, whereas Judeo-Christian tradition puts God in the church or temple only and Western materialist society abandons the spirit altogether by cutting off human potential at a sensate level, which tends to go outward only. Hindus would not kick something, a book (source of knowledge connected with divine Saraswati), money (source of wealth connected with divine Lakshmi) and even a tree, because the Divine is present in all things. Hindus would ask for forgiveness for stepping on earth, or for plucking a leaf from a plant. Western cultures, however, have encouraged people to exploit nature to an extent that continued existence becomes uncertain!

Any day, any time, a `survival of the fittest’ mentality combined with inventive power may turn out to be `survival of none.’ The stockpile of armaments held by various nations reminds us of the comments of both Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo, that we are still living in the barbaric phase of our so-called civilization and that we are yet to be ’civilized’! This is the outcome of a material culture. Arnold Toynbe similarly said: "It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race."

Greco-Roman culture specialized in the subject of ’man in the society,’ or the external connections of human beings, whereas Hindus specialized in the ’human being in-depth,’ or the inner connections of human beings. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, former president of India, beautifully illustrates this when he said: "The ideal man of India is not the magnanimous man of Greece or the valiant knight of medieval Europe, but the free man of spirit, who has attained insight into the universal source by rigid discipline and practice of disinterested virtues, who has freed himself from the prejudices of his time and place. It is India’s pride that she has clung fast to this ideal and produced in every generation and in every part of the country, from the time of the Rishis of the Upanishads and Buddha to Ramakrishna and Gandhi, men who strove successfully to realize this ideal."

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Hindu Culture
What are the core principles of the Hindu culture? Since the Dharma of the Self is divine, Hindus respect and revere all of creation as divine. Since the nature of the Divine is Sat-Chit-Ananda, therefore life has to be founded upon Sat: the True or Real, Chit: Consciousness and Ananda: bliss of love. This simple yet profound vision creates a totally different culture. Truthfulness, respect, tolerance, acceptance, ahimsa, honesty - all these great virtues were cultivated in people’s lives and a society with a high standard of culture was created.

Hindu culture discovered the concept of Dharma: the true nature of being and its paths, righteousness, the laws of life. Everyone is duty-bound to unfold his or her potential to the fullest. The concept of Isvara and Brahman (omnipresent all pervading supreme being) has been the creation of the highest contemplating minds, a concept to which modern physics is coming close to these days. The law of Karma is another great discovery, by which we are all bound together. Hindus literally believe that "we are the makers of our own destiny," what we want to be that we can become. Every action yields a result either positively or negatively affecting the person, family, community and the society. Dharma is the central pivot of this culture. Universality, humanism and absolute freedom or liberty are the pillars of the Hindu culture. As, Swami Vivekananda said: "Freedom is the first condition of growth," freedom from all limitations and attachments had taken the form of highest ideal in the concept of Mukti. Hindus have specialized in the discoveries of the inner world, the science of spirit, the science of consciousness.

Based on these principles Hindus have given birth to many spiritual paths, panths or sects, including Jainism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, including new groups like Swaminarayan. Hindus have created a vast literature and arts with everywhere the concept of spirituality is the central theme. To fulfill the path of Self-realization, Hindus have created many systems suitable for people of various physical, mental and spiritual capacity: Karma, Bhakti, Jnana, Hatha and Raja branches of Yoga are the highest achievements of this culture.

Yet it is a mistake to think that Hindus neglected material and mental needs. We must remember that Columbus was on his way to Bharat (India) not in search of God, but of gold. The British did not go to India for it’s vast and diverse natural beauty, but to add to their own material prosperity and to feed their own poor. Hindus developed shastras and vidyas, i.e. branches of knowledge and technology in the hundreds; from karma-yoga to kama-sutra, natya-shastra of music and dance to shilpa-shastra (arts and architecture), Rasayan (chemistry) to Ayurveda, Astronomy to mathematics to martial arts. Virtually in every possible field they have left great marks! Indian ships were the best till the 18th century. But the greatest contribution lies in the field of spirituality, the science of spirituality - Yoga.

Hindus tried to perfect everything by adding spiritual values. A soldier would not attack another soldier who was unarmed. They would not exploit nature and they coined the word "milking" instead. They were deeply aware of the importance of environmental harmony, not because of a biochemical concept of ecology, but owing to a vision of the entire universe as a living entity. This is called spiritualization. To be able to call an animal like a cow "mother" is spiritualization, as is to be able to call the Sun the giver of all life as Surya-dev or Lord Surya. To be able to express one’s identity with the reference to the Supreme Being : "Aum Tat Sat or Aham Brahmashmi" is nothing but spiritual identity. Hindus already offered to the world thousands of years ago what Julian Huxley called "the science of human possibilities."

If we want to clearly see the distinction between cultures we can look at the basic human act of relationship and communication, how greeting is done by people. Hindus’ "Namaste" is the expression of the reverence of the entire body, mind and the spirit of human divinity, whereas other cultures greet physically and intellectually. The distinction between two societies can be simply stated as the Hindu culture in the Indian sub-continent was pre-planned (like a city) and ‘samskriti’ was the basis, and Western civilization grew according to ‘prakriti, without any planning.

Now the obvious question comes to our mind, then why India and people of India are in such a miserable condition today? The history can answer the question. Any entity can be destroyed if the inner strength weakens and if external forces overpower the entity. Here is what Swami Vivekananda said about it: “The social laws of India have always been subject to great periodic changes. At their inception, these laws were embodiment of a gigantic plan, which was to unfold itself slowly through time. The great seers of ancient India saw so far ahead of their time that the world has to wait centuries yet to appreciate the full scope of this wonderful plan, that is the one and only cause of degeneration of India. The degeneration of India came not because the laws and customs of the ancients were bad, but because they were not allowed to be carried to their legitimate conclusions.

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Indian Culture
Hindus welcomed people from abroad and were open to new ideas for their living. Hindus are the only country that gave shelter to the persecuted people from all over the world, including the Parsees, the Jews and the Tibetan Buddhists and Bangladeshis till today. Yet it is easier to say "take the best of both worlds" than actually doing it. Culture is a living organic ecosystem. One cannot just impose an alien idea or practice on a culture, it has to fit into the system as if it were as organic as a part of our own body. Hindus did not simply take things from the outside, but assimilated them and adapted them to their own life and culture which was already very rich and diverse.

During the last thousand years of foreign invasion and foreign rule, Hindus have lost a lot; most importantly dynamism. During this period the society had to work hard just to survive and allowed maximum ossification to protect it. As a result, constant reform, which is the hallmark of the Hindu society almost stopped until the last part of the 19th century. The time has come for Hindus to look through the lenses of 21st century needs to help remove unnecessary and evil practices not only in India but also throughout the world.

Today, some people may like to call the Indian culture as a composite one, or even a culture put together by invaders. This is misleading. The culture of Bharat rests firmly on spiritual and yogic principles today as it did in past. Even non-Hindus in India reflect these influences. Unfortunately a small class of people who controls the affairs of the nation, having faith in and guided by Western ideals tries to create a culture of different type, sometimes in the guise of what is "modern" or "progressive" (which is neither a complete replica of the West, nor completely away from Hindu culture). The art, literature, music, and other forms of entertainment such as films are influenced by these people. Many current forms of expressions and entertainment, which sometimes pass for art and culture in India are far from Indian culture.

Although the mud and the jungles are left behind by the flood of hostile battles of past, majority of India still remains the India of Ram, Krishna, Sita, Draupadi and Shiva Parvati. Even the Christians in India maintain Hindu cultural aspects. Churches are using AUM and Saffron, doing "pooja" to Jesus. So called communists are no less religious and continue with mantras and rituals. Therefore it seems like the current phase of confusion is temporary and slowly India is going back to her true Dharma.

The popular Indian movie culture is a show of malnourished people. Finding nothing better to appreciate, it engulfs anything it finds on the way. It mimics others but cannot digest, because its stomach is not built for certain types of food and the society suffers from cultural malnutrition. The land has become free from foreign rule, but the cultural alienation still exists among her elite, as the trend was set by the first Prime Minister himself. But fortunately the shapers of the destiny of the nation today are not just these elite, but also a large number of truly cultured people, those who have Samskaras and promote Samskriti, who are joining a new cultural awakening of the nation.

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Our Role
All of Asia was flooded with India’s culture and philosophy, not by force but by the choice of the people. Buddha and Ram provide spiritual inspiration to many nations of Asia today, including China, Japan, and Indonesia. Since the advent of Swami Vivekananda in America, Hindu Dharma is slowly finding its place in the hearts of the Americans. Mary Louise Burke said: "There are already many in the West who are in the Vedanta philosophy. These ’unsung devotees’ find in Vivekananda’s and Ramakrishna’s teachings the ways of total sacrifice." Although Vivekananda’s teaching are not to be found in the mainstream of Western thought and culture, the Christian Church in the West, both Protestant and Catholic, are taking deep interest in the Eastern thoughts. Without quite knowing the source the Americans are influenced by Vivekananda in their "search for life within." That’s not all; many other spiritual leaders have made major contributions to the building of modern American minds.

What then we ought to do? What is our cultural debt to India? What do we owe to the society we live in? Hindus living in those lands which are predominantly non-Hindu will not only have to maintain their culture, but emphasis has to be given to allow to develop new forms to expressions their Hindu cultural values. This must be done with great caution. One new approach could be to Hinduize selected native practices/festivals and reform some Hindu practices. Practicing Hindu values and traditions at home and providing Hindu Samskaras to the children must be the first priority. Have we tried to learn to be a "Hindu Parent"? We must watch out what we are practicing and propagating in the name of our culture in our individual life, our home, our parties, our community and in our organizations.

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Conclusion
Some thinkers are saying that the next world war is going to be a war of cultures. People like Samuel Huntington thinks that the clash of civilizations is inevitable. If the cultures are as Bertrand Russel said are "billiard balls" then they are going to definitely collide with each other. In this crucial matter, Hindus are an exception, a flexible, absorbent and open people who have accordingly suffered a lot. Hindus hold the key to the peace and progress of the world of tomorrow. We as Hindus will not only contribute towards the minimization of conflicts but also give the light to the world towards the recognition of one Global Human Culture where unity in diversity will be the key-note and all cultures will be regarded as facets of a Global and Universal Culture.[link]

Nizam This motherfucking

Nizam

This motherfucking program just swallowed a huge, thoughtful post that took me an hour to write, and said “You’re posting too quickly. Slow down”

I hear you. That has happened to me like 16 times, and it's pissed me off to no end.

A trick I learned so that I don't lose the hour or so I have taken to write a post and then get it eaten up by WordPress: select the entire comment and copy, and then try to post. If it doesn't post, at least you have the comment copied. Paste it onto Word and save, and try again later.

I know, I know, what a headache. You have no idea how many times I've muttered curses under my breath at around 2 AM when my posts get eaten up.

Where are HSC's responses to

Where are HSC's responses to the substantive points raised by the report? Nowhere. HSC defenders on this forum have not even the fig leaf of a defense wrt the main point - that the HSC is a Sangh Parivar organization tied to the VHP and the RSS.

HSC = Hindutva (U.S. youth branch)

Could the moderator remove

Could the moderator remove this idiotic piece by Kanchan Bannerjee? What is the purpose? Seems the poster threw this in to divert attention away from the main issue: HSC's culpability as a Sangh Parivar front.
Kanchan Banerjee by the way is a full time Swayamsevak so his words should be taken with a sack full of salt.

I am certainly not saying

I am certainly not saying that HSC is without fault, nor am I attempting to defend them. I think the *real* issue that CSFH has brought up is that HSC is not an apolitical organization, that is, that it is peculiar that they show linkages with a political ideology that is highly polarizing; this should, at most, be seen as an appeal for HSC to be more transparent if it is true that they have political motivations.

However, I think it is also contendable that HSC is NOT the Sangh. They are Sangh sympathizers, it seems, and perhaps they share political interests. They also claim to be an inclusive organization, reaching out to far broader networks that what the extreme right would typically do so, and they are independently governed. If they (as in all of their membership) have done or said sweeping things that suggest they are complicit in the things that we disagree with about the extreme right, then I think this sort of approach is warranted. However, mere association with organizations that have political ideology, and their unwillingness to go out an publicly denounce others as CSFH would suggest, does not make them guilty of another's sins.

For example: The board of my University is led by an evangelical that is far right wing in American politics, but that does not mean that my University is. He is fiscally conservative; so am I, but I wouldn't vote Republican. I can share values with people and share spaces with them and not be exactly like them (wouldn't you agree)?

My problem with this whole debate is that some Indian-Americans, specifically those behind CSFH, would choose this method to make the above points. I think the report is an absolute disgrace to our community and how we choose to deal with each other, what sort of respect we show for our fellow countrymen, and how political ideology is of greater importance than humanity.

I, as an individual who cares deeply about India's secular progress, am ashamed to be party to such bickering. I feel like moderate views that are looking for possible ways to address this are not welcome in this debate - for the fear that I'd be put into a position that is on one extreme or the other, or both by both extremes.

It shouldn't be that way. We should be able to have a civilized conversation about seclarism, the orthodoxy of the Hindu right, and the indoctrinating style of the ultra left/communist leaning CSFH.

Silly me, for using such a

Silly me, for using such a relative term as "recent Indian history."

The point is that upon seeing the horrific acts of violence which the Sangh and its affiliates have carried out, groups of people (like CSFH) have come together to act to stop them.

Baloo, I hardly think you

Baloo, I hardly think you bring anything valuable into this discussion by calling anyone who has issues with this report a swayamsevak.

I'm glad that Desi Italiana posted that piece because, in addition to revealing structural links between the HSC and the Sangh, I think it's also time that ridiculous pieces like Banerjee's were taken apart.

In fact, the first time I read that piece on the HSC website, the link between HSC ideologues and the Sangh became more apparent than CSFH's report could ever have made it:

Those Muslims who cannot get out of the past glory (?) of imperial influence (e.g. Mughal) are still suffering from an identity crisis and a superiority complex that contributed toward the destruction of the indigenous culture. They remain alienated from their country’s natural and historical cultural ethos. Not surprisingly Pakistanis have considered themselves to be a different race or culture than the Indian and ally themselves with Central Asia, Persia or Arabia as the source of their culture and history. But the Hindu process of making everyone its own relative or family has been working on many Muslims as well. Many Muslims recognize that they are part of an Indian cultural ethos, sometimes termed as Hindutva, and are positively contributing to it. Some Sufi saints, musicians, dancers and singers are exemplary in this matter, though other Sufis have promoted Islamic aggression as well. (hscnet.org)

This passage is essentially a lighter, more positive paraphrasing of the RSS's beloved M.S. Golwalkar, in a passage from his book "We or Our Nationhood Defined," which we all love to quote (at least I know I do):

The foreign races in Hindusthan [India] must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must loose (sic) their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment — not even citizen's rights. There is, at least, should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation; let us deal, as old nations ought to and do deal, with the foreign races, who have chosen to live in our country.

the orthodoxy of the Hindu

the orthodoxy of the Hindu right, and the indoctrinating style of the ultra left/communist leaning CSFH.

They're both indoctrinating and cult-like but really... why the equation of CSFH with mass murderering, morally policing, patriarchal Sanghis?

Don’t forget Operation Blue

Don’t forget Operation Blue Star.

That said, the destruction of the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat genocide are two pointed examples of some of the worst disregard for humanity in recent Indian history.

Also, the genocide in what used to be East Pakistan by the West Pakistani army.

And don't forget the mother of disregarding humanity and wanton killing, rape, and so on (by several sides- Hindu, Muslim, Sikh) of people just because of their religious affiliation: Partition.

That said, the destruction of

That said, the destruction of the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat genocide are two pointed examples of some of the worst disregard for humanity in recent Indian history.

Don't forget Operation Blue Star.

There are two different

There are two different versions of the same article titled "Understanding Culture":

http://www.hscsamskar.com/articles/3/1/Understanding-Culture which is what I linked to and is found on the HSC Samskar page, and yours which is on the HSC website: http://www.hscnet.org/hwp.php?articleid=13

Vivek: Those Muslims who

Vivek:

Those Muslims who cannot get out of the past glory (?) of imperial influence (e.g. Mughal) are still suffering from an identity crisis and a superiority complex that contributed toward the destruction of the indigenous culture. They remain alienated from their country’s natural and historical cultural ethos. Not surprisingly Pakistanis have considered themselves to be a different race or culture than the Indian and ally themselves with Central Asia, Persia or Arabia as the source of their culture and history. But the Hindu process of making everyone its own relative or family has been working on many Muslims as well. Many Muslims recognize that they are part of an Indian cultural ethos, sometimes termed as Hindutva, and are positively contributing to it. Some Sufi saints, musicians, dancers and singers are exemplary in this matter, though other Sufis have promoted Islamic aggression as well. (hscnet.org)

I was wondering how on earth I missed the paragraph you quoted above, and so I checked the link you provided. It's the same article I linked to! But I was looking at the "print article" version and that did not have the bit quoted above.

Hmmm.....

See, now we are actually

See, now we are actually having a useful discussion about the dangers of ideological association; up until now, this has been squarely a finger-pointing and divisive conversation.

Before Baloo again turns me into a cronie of any position without my own ability to think, get something straight: I'm not defending HSC, nor am I defending CSFH. I think the report says a lot of telling things, but we need to keep our arguments based on actual truths and observation: not political ideology.

What do I believe is true? HSC people like Kanchan Bannerjee show great political undertones in their writings. HSC seems to have clear linkages with Sangh organizations by way of people involved. The Sangh is an explicitly political entity. However, all of HSC's linkages are not Sangh (which suggests that they must do more than just pipe Sangh ideologies). It seems, however, that HSC should be more transparent about its politics, or be willing to answer critical questions about their affiliations.

Vivek asks: What do we do from here? : I would argue for a platform that allows us to have a civil discourse on these issues, and as an Indian community think very critically about the influence of extreme ideologies, and most importantly get us to once in for all start talking about how we want India and the Indian-American community to deal with polarizing political ideologies in the quest for a secular society and mutual respect. We need to thrash out the question of whether or not religion in India can be separated from politics (even in America for that matter), whether it can be addressed, and what sorts of political dynamics religion drives on the subcontinent / in the diaspora. OR, a non-partisan group, willing to put their names on a report, should write a more complete document on the influence of Indian political ideologies from all sides on supposedly apolitical institutions in America.

Maybe then, we could educate and engage people on a broad scale, and those within HSC/RSS/CSFH/FOIL to ensure that their activities are leading to some sort of constructive resolution.

If their are people willing to participate and rally others to participate - I'm happy to volunteer to set it up as some sort of moderated blog format, with some folks who commit to writing regularly to illustrated a diversity of perspectives.

Anonymous #2 (#38): I think

Anonymous #2 (#38):

I think the *real* issue that CSFH has brought up is that HSC is not an apolitical organization, that is, that it is peculiar that they show linkages with a political ideology that is highly polarizing...

Quite agreed, though I think you understate the malignancy of the political ideology with which HSC is linked: it's not just polarizing, it's destructive, exclusive, and fascistic.

However, I think it is also contendable that HSC is NOT the Sangh. They are Sangh sympathizers, it seems, and perhaps they share political interests.

Agreed again, as long as we're talking about the HSC as a whole - center and chapters.

I think the report is an absolute disgrace to our community and how we choose to deal with each other, what sort of respect we show for our fellow countrymen, and how political ideology is of greater importance than humanity.

I was disappointed by the aggressive tone of the report in several places, especially in the first chapter, as have I been disappointed by the tone of some of the comments on this thread. I don't think adopting such a tone is at all useful when trying to engage with people.

That said, the destruction of the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat genocide are two pointed examples of some of the worst disregard for humanity in recent Indian history. These two incidents spurred many people to act against the Sangh Parivar and take it down once and for all; it's incredibly unfair to accuse these folks of valuing political ideology over humanity when what motivates them IS a sense of humanity. How does the report deny anyone his/her humanity?

I'm also not sure why you invoke community and fellow countrymen: how are you defining these terms?

I agree completely with the sentiment of your comment, and second your call for a constructive decision. But what's done is done. The report is out, and couched in abrasive language is compelling evidence linking the founders of the HSC to the Sangh Parivar. How is this relevant today? At the most basic level, it is these same people who lead retreats and whose written works can be found on the HSC website.

CSFH makes no bones about their motivation:

The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (SFH) is a coalition of people-professionals, students, workers, artists and intellectuals-who share a common concern that sectarian hatreds in India are being fueled by money flowing from the United States. SFH is committed to an India that is open, tolerant and democratic. As the first step, SFH is determined to turn off the money flow from the United States to Hindutva hate groups responsible for recurring anti-minority violence in India (stopfundinghate.org).

I don't really know why talk of their motivations have entered the discussion: CSFH see HSC as a US arm of the Sangh, probably with potential to support the Sangh financially and in other ways in the future, and have laid out evidence stating their case. Whether you liked the editorial tone in which parts of the report read or not (I didn't), it has established a link between HSC and the Sangh Parivar.

So, given your initial statement about the real issue of HSC as an apolitical organization linked with a highly polarizing ideology, where do you think things should proceed from here?

Silly me, for using such a

Silly me, for using such a relative term as “recent Indian history.”

I was trying to stick to "recent" and "Indian" as well, but I think that it's not entirely fair of those progressives/leftists who apply politco-moral standards only to the sangh and not to Congress or any number of other cabals. Equal opportunity bashing, even if the bashing is not of people who are still committing moral errata with equal frequency or power.

On the flipside, the only reason I know anything more than "oh yeah" about the Congress government's role in fostering anti-Sikh and anti-Punjabi sentiment is that I was brought into critiques of the Sangh, so obviously not mutually exclusive.

I also think people should be critiqued for stupidity (e.g. creating the social space that allows something like the sangh to gain mass support, if in fact it has some).

Baloo: Could the moderator

Baloo:

Could the moderator remove this idiotic piece by Kanchan Bannerjee? What is the purpose? Seems the poster threw this in to divert attention away from the main issue: HSC’s culpability as a Sangh Parivar front

That "poster" is me, a fellow blogger of PTR.

Before you pop off, did you read my post?

It's not diverting the issue at all. If anything, it adds more fodder and just another example of how virulent ideologies are being propogated in seemingly harmless messages. The HSC is not just an extended arm of the Sangh, but it has also has substantiative articles which provide insight to how political messages- embedded in the language of dharam and so on- are disseminated. If you are seriuosly asking what is the point of posting excerpts from articles that are published on HSC's website, then I don't know what to say to you. Do you prefer we simply continue with the report? Because I think we should add other concrete examples of what the politics of HSC are.

In fact, since anonymous and

In fact, since anonymous and his clones have gone about making silly assertions about the report, it may be a good idea to expose their deceptive antics. This entire section of the report details the ties between the VHP and the HSC. Again, teh HSC is not just a bunch of little bopeeps fascinated by Hindutva, but an organizational initiative of the Sangh Parivar, nurtured by the VHP.

http://hsctruthout.stopfundinghate.org/ch2.html

p.s. Vivek, you claim that the tone of the report is aggressive. I think it most aptly is. An aggressive effort to confront the fascistic thugs who cheer every massacre of innocent human beings is a small response; it would be a tragedy if the report authors decided to throw cotton balls at the henchmen and cheerleaders of murderous thugs.

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