Considerable numbers of us, the British Hindu Community, wish to bring a formal complaint against Mr. Abhijit Sarkar of the Faculty of History Department, University of Oxford (New College) for his sustained, vitriolic assault and constant vilification of Hindu Dharma and India over time. His racist hate speech against Indians and Hindus in particular has now upset large cross-section of British expat community here in the UK as well as India and the University of Oxford ought to reign him in.
He is bringing your esteemed institution the negative attention is does not need. He poses a serious risk to the reputation of this great University amongst the Indian community both here and in India.
These assaults are in the form of politically motivated articles as well as irresponsible and hate filled comments on social media platforms. Abhijit Sarkar completed his PhD thesis on the “Caste Dimension“ in the Great Bengal Famine which occurred almost 100 years ago in colonial India. Many books have been written by Western authors and some Indian ones on this tumultuous event.
Sarkar chose to focus on the “caste“ angle of this unfortunate episode in Bengal‘s history. It was heard in 2017. We want to know why almost 100 years after the event and after many academic studies on this occurrence during India‘s fraught colonial past does Sarkar chose to focus his considerable intellect on this event? Why out of so many aspects of India (including his own Indian Education) to choose from, did Sarkar shun these to study the impact of the caste system on the Bengal famine.
We Hindus well know that the Western world, whenever it wishes to attack India, uses the gibe of caste to attack her rise of self-confidence and self-respect. Even in the U.K. the bogey of caste is latterly being used to divide the British Hindu community.
Sarkar’s thesis, highlighting his hypothesis that the actions of the upper castes of Bengal had no mean role to play in the famine suffered by the Dalits of Bengal almost one hundred years ago, has won him many Awards and Glittering Prizes in the Western Academe.
It would appear that his negative skewering gaze on the history of a pivotal tragedy in colonial India may have provoked, in part, the resonance and glowing acceptance of Sarkar by Oxford University into its hallowed portals of learning. It is convenient after all, in the best traditions followed by Oxbridge historians of Britain’s colonial past, to focus on some innocuous aspect of a disastrous event rather than focus on the real causes.
It is a well-known fact the Great Bengal Famine was caused by the racist policies followed by the greatest Briton of them all, Winston Churchill. But it is nice for Sarkar to twist the truth to serve his own narrow agenda of securing his Fellowship, whatever damage that may do.
Not content to play a dignified and restrained role on the staff body of the Oxford University History Department where freedom of thinking expression and play of ideas is the hard won ideal, Sarkar has continued to pronounce and declaim at every opportunity his vituperative criticism of Hinduism, Hindus and the Indian government.
Article exposing communal ‘Hindu Mahasabha and bhakton ke daddy Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’ (Cambridge Core, 2020); Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee is revered by majority of Indians as an early fighter for India’s independence. To diminish this iconic figure by referring to him as the inspiration of Hindu communalism is to commit libel against this August figure.
Tweet accusing “self-styled guardians“ of “Hindutva“ of beating up a Muslim boy (Twitter: 13th March 2021). Any event taken out of context can be used to argue the opposite perspective. Sarkar, by choosing not to apply his mental rigour to situation, has done exactly that in this case. Furthermore, he used this tweet to additionally impress the distorted view of the West that somehow “Hindutva“ (“Hinduness”) is innately vigilante in its disposition.
Many of us one million British Hindus are not Hindus in name only but practising Hindus who delight in our identity as Hindu and as British. We feel insulted by your very prominent academician and employee public pronouncements which can be construed as insulting to a BAME community.
Tweet on Delhi farmer protest (2nd February 2021) showing a photograph of the Delhi blockade by the farmers protest convoy but the tweet alludes to police clashes with protestors couple with reference to internet shutdown. Sarkar posts a photo which does not directly link with the text of the tweet (CNN excerpt). This is another example of his using snippets of information out of context this time to portray the current government (BJP) as authoritarian, dictatorial and anti the common Indian.
He also has as a sub-moniker to his personal twitter handle (Anti-BJP) Are your staff allowed to flaunt their personal affiliations in this manner? Does he do so openly since he knows that he has the full support of Oxford University as his employers? Does the University endorse his anti-BJP stance? Would you be quicker to act if he were to put anti-CCP behind his name in a public sphere?
Tweet personally thanking the international community for “bringing the tortures of millions of Indians to the notice of the world “ He also appeals: “Intervene before it is too late!“(4th February 2021). Who is Sarkar appealing to? Is he appealing to India’s neighbours to the East and the West, the Democratic Islamic nations of Bangladesh and Pakistan? Is he appealing to the “Workers Internationale“?
Interestingly the “Greta Tool-Kit“ itself had revealed a concerted media onslaught unleashed on February 4th by India’s non-print media outlining their strategy for destabilising Indian society and bringing down the Indian government (the BJP government which Sarkar so clearly hates). A further tweet of his (now deleted) had called on somebody “to mount a military strike against the BJP Modi Government”.
Furthermore, if Sarkar was so worried about the lives of the millions of “tortured Indians” then why did he not remain in West Bengal to ameliorate the “tortured“ living conditions of his fellow Bengalis? Why has he absconded instead, to a comfortable seat amongst the genteel snowy spires of Oxford to broadcast his venom spleen bile and hatred for Hinduism, Hindus, and the current Indian government under the benign gaze of the Oxford University Authorities?
Tweet insulting a single female Indian actress telling her to “shut up your ignorant mouth“ about her comments on another Indian freedom fighter (not “bhakton Ki Daddy Shyama Prasad Mukherji ) and calling her “a creature“ ( 29/09/20). Is this interaction revealing Sarkar’s attitude to females in general or does he only hold this contemptuous attitude only towards Indian Hindu females?
Tweet using the “Caste Dimensions“ slur on films made by the aforesaid actress as quoted by WIRE (a non-print media company in India with dubious integrity in reporting and one of the groups alluded to in the Greta Tool Kit of 4th February 2021)
Tweet mocking Indian Home Minister Amit Shah for seeking medical treatment at Jawaharlal Nehru initiative the AIIMS hospital (6th September 2020) He refers to this Indian Leader as “having no shame“ and urges his followers to “Nehru – build hospitals, not temples and statues”.
Sarkar rubbishes an entire philosophy value base and culture with this throwaway line. We, the U.K. one million British Hindus, are hurt by this most brilliant Indian mind hurling such insults at the values and icons we hold dear. He does so flagrantly and confident that he will not be challenged, nay that he might even be supported by his employers in his political posturing.
Tweet employs sarcasm, commenting on India’s “democratic” government being as “callous to the poor as the British Raj” (25th April 2020). He should be ashamed for saying this as a historian. Clearly, he is not the great history scholar he tries to portray on this History Faculty page, University of Oxford website. Quite apart from the fact that this claim of his is a nonsense, Sarkar is a British resident and really ought to be highlighting the inequalities in British society during COVID. He ought to refrain implying that the Indian Central government is not democratically elected. By retweeting he also shows his endorsement of the view that Indian society “displays a hatred toward religious minorities once characteristic of medieval Europe“.
India is a very complex society with a complicated fractured history and to broadcast a glib analysis of India’s race/ religious relations with a view to malign India and to disparage her amazing resilience in the face of centuries of invasion, subjugation, plunder, exploitation impoverishment by foreign powers is a grave error on Sarkar’s part.
Tweet making viral a photo of the Indian parents of an Oxford University Hindu overseas student (17th February 2021) accusing them of representing “Far Right forces in India“ . This tweet is offensive on several fronts. Sarkar is a member of the academic establishment of Oxford University. He is attacking a female student through her parochial parents using his power as a man on a public platform and as a senior lecturer with the faculty to assess and mark students’ work (including students with “right wing“ views ).
He has broadcast the identity and visual image of this Indian couple which could make them a target for nefarious elements in India. He has endangered their welfare and compromised their privacy. Does Sarkar not know or care about GDPR? In his burning desire to be a “coconut” in the UK and blend in, he has become unbalanced and poses a serious risk to the reputation of the University.
Tweet in which Sarkar boasts about smashing Hindu “idols” as a child (15th February 2021). He mocks worship of “Saraswati Puja”. What immense PR for anti-Hindu forces which despise Hinduism, ridicule Hindu beliefs and practices in THEIR regular sermons and discussions. A person born as a Hindu, brought up in a Hindu family, grown up in a majorly Hindu society who has jettisoned the entire schemata is like manna from heaven for them. It emboldens them to attack and dismantle the very structure of British Hindu identity in very subtle and not so subtle ways (cf. the public posturing of Sarkar).
Tweet in which Sarkar makes the jaw-dropping claim that “far right Desi forces hate White people and Western modernity because they want to reinstate “Sanatan Hindutva“ culture ….. caste based tortures and most violent form of patriarchy” ….”always ready to destroy statues of …. Muslims or Christians“ (17th February 2021)! Since when have Hindus wanted to destroy statues of other religions?! One wonders if Sarkar partakes in hallucinogens or is he just making ridiculous assertions to rile Hindus.
These false and baseless assertions are so powerful since they conform with the majority opinion of non-Hindus who have been fed distorted information about a brutally savaged society (Hindu) which still survives after the most cruel and heartless depredations over the past thousand years. Equivalent civilizations have been wiped off the face of the earth and exist only in the imagination and in the Museums of the Western world.
Sarkar’s position vis-a-vis Hindu society and culture validates an ongoing attack on the Hindu way of life against which this letter is a form of rebellion.
Sarkar’s actions and stance is very painful to us British Hindus even as we write this letter of protest to you, Oxford University, bastion of learning and Christianity.
We hope from the above that you can see how the actions of your staff member Mr. Abhijit Sarkar bring the standing of Oxford University into disrepute in the eyes of the British Hindu community and possibly of the nation of India also. This is a hard-working, peaceful and critical component of the British economy and culture. Britain with all its post-Brexit woes is desperately seeking a 23 billion deal with the same BJP Modi’s India.
The parochial views of this militant and extremist member of your faculty is being broadcast far and wide and reaching various echelons of society in India and the British Hindu Community. The University should be quick to act to stop the damage Mr. Sarkar is causing with his cavalier and irresponsible tweets akin to tweets be a mildly intellectual Trump.
In conclusion, we are very aggrieved and appalled by the racist, abusive and offensive attacks by Abhijit Sarkar on our community, the completely unhinged and disturbing social media outbursts of this extremist and misogynistic member of the University of Oxford staff. Sarkar should be brought and held to account without further delay.
We the British Hindu Community will not rest until the University takes appropriate action against this extremist and zealot in academic plumes.
That Oxford makes a full and unconditional public apology for appointing and tolerating Hindu phobic staff and. We are a peace-loving people who gave Gandhi’s ideas of peace, yoga, meditation and mindfulness to the world. We have never invaded any country in the world but instead been invaded over centuries by the rest of the world. We have never converted other religions by the sword nor missionary zeal. We do not threaten or kill others or disrupt others’ way of life in the name of religion.
Hinduism has always been a way of life more than a faith or religion and this way of life is currently under threat by extremists like Mr. Sarkar who has conveniently forgotten how much his woke intellectualism owes to the liberal and free-thinking upbringing his Bengali (Hindu) parents gave him. We the Hindu Community are tired of being labelled “soft”, being an easy target and a tired of being taken for granted. We will no longer tolerate racist attacks against us. We have had enough. Sarkar should try preaching his hatred against the Muslims of Pakistan and we will then see how he fares once he gets a fatwa on his head.
We respectfully request as follows:
1) That Oxford University call Abhijit Sarkar to account for his hate speech and presence on social media culminating in disciplinary action to be taken with suspension from his working duties with immediate effect until the conclusion of your investigation.
2) That Oxford reflect upon its tolerance of Hindu phobic stance by its staff.
3) That Oxford investigate other trollers amongst its staff who are spreading hate thought against Hindu society especially British Hindus.
(Above open letter has been posted at the change.org petition started by British Hindus to gather support for their demands)
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