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Friday, September 30, 2022

Hinduphobia in the US is real

Despite the members of the Bharatiya-American community occupying high-profile political posts, the diaspora has failed to produce leadership that champions Bharatiya-American and Hindu-American causes.

A carefully crafted elitist and toxic anti-Bharat, Hinduphobic narrative gained momentum in the United States and much of the Western world after the election of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of Bharat in 2014. The concerted campaign of the leftwing media, academia, and activists has finally started showing signs of fruition. A spate of anti-Bharatiya and anti-Hindu hate speech and hate crimes in the US has sent shock-waves among the members of the Bharatiya diaspora, especially among the minority Hindu community.

First, miscreants vandalized a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in South Richmond Hills, New York. The statue was found face down on the ground with debris around it. The back of the figure was spray painted with the word “kutta,” Hindi for a dog. According to the police, six suspects, aged 25-30, smashed the statue with a sledgehammer at 1:30 am. The scene of the crime was Shri Tulsi Mandir, a Hindu temple. This was the second toppling of this statue in less than two weeks. According to the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), a US-based Hindu advocacy group, the perpetrators were making “repeated calls for Khalistan.”

Another incident captured on video occurred in Freemont, California. Krishnan Iyer had gone to pick up his online food order from a Mexican fast-food restaurant. There, Iyer was deluged in a barrage of anti-Hindu slurs by another man. The man repeatedly called Iyer “dirty Hindu” and “ugly Hindu” who “bathes in cow urine” and “eats cow shit.” Cow, cow urine, and “cow shit” are some of the most common anti-Hindu slurs. The police later arrested Tejinder Singh and charged him with multiple counts of crime.

The report of the third incident came from the southern state of Texas. A viral video on social media showed a woman shouting racist comments and physically assaulting a group of women. “We don’t want you here,” the woman, a self-described Mexican-American, can be heard saying, “I hate you f***ing Indians,” she said, along with other racist abuse. The police charged the woman with bodily assault and injury and terrorist threats. One of the women in the group was identified as Rani Banerjee.

In yet another incident, a Bharatiya man was stalked and verbally abused across the Atlantic in Poland. The abuser identified himself as an American in the video and called the man a “parasite” and a “genocider.” “You have your own country,” one could hear the abuser saying in this viral video. “You are an invader. Go home, invader. We don’t want you in Europe. Poland for Polish only. You are not Polish,” said the abuser.

Conservative RW commentator Ann Coulter, Law Professor Amy Wax, academic Audrey Truschke

Ann Coulter, a conservative commentator, accused Bharatiyas of taking up affirmative action jobs from “Black people.” Amy Wax, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, called Bharat a “shithole” country where “Brahmin women” are taught they are better than everybody. Bharat’s stance on the Russo-Ukrainian war drew vile anti-Bharat and Hinduphobic reactions from high-profile social media handles. Last year, academicians participated in the Hinduphobic “Dismantling Global Hindutva Conference.” Audrey Truschke of Rutgers University was one of the conference’s main organizers.

Needless to say, “these programmatic and systematic attacks on Hindus are coming not just from the monopolists and the supremacists but also ‘progressive’ Democrats,” noted Ramesh Rao, a professor of Communication Studies at Columbus State University.

Hate crimes have consistently risen in the US in the last few years. According to stats available through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) database (available through 2019), the reported hate crimes jumped from 7,175 in 2017 to 7,314 in 2019, an increase of about two percentage points.

The 2019 UCR data shows that 4,784 hate crimes were racially and ethnically motivated. Of those, 4.3% (3.1% in 2017) were against Asian-Americans, a broad category including Bharatiya-Americans. One thousand six hundred five hate crimes had religious bases, and seven were against Hindus.

The FBI started tracking hate crimes against Hindus in 2013. “The actual hate crimes data on Hindus is still in its nascent stages,” said Suhag Shukla of the HAF. Many anti-Hindu incidents do not get recorded as such by law enforcement agencies due to mistaken identities. For example, some crimes motivated by anti-Arab or anti-Muslim sentiment may involve Hindu victims. On the other hand, some crimes against Hindus may also be based on their racial or ethnic identity.

A recent study titled “Anti-Hindu Disinformation: A Case Study of Hinduphobia on Social Media” found an environment of widespread hate on social media against the world’s minority Hindu community. The study was conducted by the National Contagion Research Institute at Rutgers University. The study noted that the Hinduphobic tropes are now “a critical asset for the media and platforms.”

Hindumisia.ai, an AI-based website that tracks Hindu hate on the microblogging platform Twitter, backs those claims. “Hindumisia.ai seeks to enable an analytical approach to counter anti-Hindu hate seen on Twitter,” said Ramsundar Lakshminarayanan, the site developer. “The anti-Hindu hate we see is just mind-boggling… The Twitter gravy train for anti-Hindu hate must be stopped,” Laxminarayanan added.

It’s no secret that the West’s perception of Bharatiya culture, texts, and traditions is at odds with the ground reality. The overriding Orientalist and colonial discourse about Bharat fosters a dubious and distorted “outsider” narrative at the cost of a native and authentic one. This perspective has permeated deep into the Western consciousness and manifests in academic and popular presentations. A deviation from such an outsider presentation or breaching the “academic consensus” is rejected as “Hindutva terrorism”.

The left-dominated academia and media have created a highly negative image of the Hindus, the largest religious group among Bharatiya-Americans. The specter of “Hindu Nationalism,” “Hindutva,” caste, etc., has been raised—without much understanding and contextualization—to demean and create hatred against the followers of one of the oldest and most liberal faiths. “We see academics line up to worry about Indian democracy, fearing Hindus will cast their vote to elect leaders of their choice,” said Rao, “but who never express concerns about Muslims, Christians, Sikhs doing the same.”

Despite the members of the Bharatiya-American community occupying high-profile political posts, the diaspora has failed to produce leadership that champions Bharatiya-American and Hindu-American causes. “Not one institution, group, or leader who claims the mantle of ‘secularism,’ or being ‘progressive,’ or ‘South Asian,’ or whose concern is ‘human rights,” said Rao, “has gone to bat for Hindus.”

(This article was first published on The Sunday Guardian on 10 September 2022 and has been republished with minor edits to conform to HinduPost style guide)

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hinduphobia is like Antisemitism, a useless term used to prevent real discussion about human rights abuses at home and abroad by their ‘group’.
    The real problem in the west is Hindutva groups promoting bigotry, islamaphobia, pushing Hindu extremist terrorism. How else do you explain fights between Sikhs and Hindus in Canada and USA? How else do you explain Hindus fighting Muslims in the UK.
    Hindutva is radicalizing Hindus and creating problems. Don’t blame Hinduphobia, blame HINDUTVA!

    • We know Islamists have no conscience and moral compass, and this comment proves that yet again. One just has to look at insitutionalized way Hindus are denigrated and dehumanized in Pakistan (and even Bangladesh), right from school textbooks, to popular culture, news media, politics, religion and any sensible person will realize the poisonous Islamic supremacist doctrines of non-Muslims being inferior, especially ‘idol worshippers’. As for Khalistanis living in Anglosphere, that is a movement created and backed by Pakistan’s ISI and sections of Anglosphere establishment with a colonial hangover, so the Sikh of Bharat know very well how to deal with those hate mongers who neither understand Sikhi nor Dharma. Your thoughts show the indoctrination your breed has suffered….but ignorance is not an excuse in this day and age. Ask questions, challenge the assumptions drilled into you from an early age in madrassas or bigoted community leaders, unlearn and become human again.

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