PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

The Global Social Network

India's top Hindu Nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has gone global with shakhas (branches) in 39 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and several Islamic middle eastern nations, according to Indian media reports.

In the United States alone, the RSS has 146 active chapters spread over all 50 states, according to Satish Modh who has been associated with RSS work abroad for over 25 years.

While shakhas in India take place in open public spaces, most shakhas meet on university campuses on hired parking lots in the US, says Modh.  Most overseas shakhas are held once a week. In London, they are held twice a week. The UK has 84 shakhas.

RSS in US:

A US report entitled "Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Non-Profit Gro... disclosed the following findings regarding the strength and nature of the Hindu nationalist movement in the United States:

 a. Over the last three decades, a movement toward Hinduizing India--advancing the status of Hindus toward political and social primacy in India-- has continued to gain ground in South Asia and diasporic communities. The Sangh Parivar (the Sangh "family"), the network of groups at the forefront of this Hindu nationalist movement, has an estimated membership numbering in the millions, making the Sangh one of the largest voluntary associations in India. The major organizations in the Sangh include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

b. Hindu nationalism has intensified and multiplied forms of discrimination, exclusion, and gendered and sexualized violence against Muslims, Christians, other minorities, and those who oppose Sangh violations, as documented by Indian citizens and international tribunals, fact-finding groups, international human rights organizations, and U.S. governmental bodies.

c. India-based Sangh affiliates receive social and financial support from its U.S.-based wings, the latter of which exist largely as tax-exempt non-profit organizations in the United States: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sewa International USA, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation-USA. The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party - USA (OFBJP) is active as well, though it is not a tax-exempt group.

Influencing Thought and Policies:

The RSS is actively working to influence thought and policies in the West. Examples include the contents of the manifesto of the Norway mass murderer Breivik and attempts to influence California textbooks.

Breivik's Hindutva Rhetoric:

The Norwegian white supremacist terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto against the "Islamization of Western Europe" was heavily influenced by the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric which is typical of the Nazi-loving Hindu Nationalists like late Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), and his present-day Sangh Parivar followers and sympathizers in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who currently rule several Indian states. This Hindutva rhetoric which infected Breivik has been spreading like a virus on the Internet, particularly on many of the well-known Islamophobic hate sites that have sprouted up in Europe and America in recent years. In fact, much of the Breivik manifesto is cut-and-pastes of anti-Muslim blog posts and columns that validated his worldview.

"It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible. Our goals are more or less identical," Breivick wrote in his manifesto. The Christian Science Monitor has reported that "in the case of India, there is significant overlap between Breivik’s rhetoric and strains of Hindu nationalism – or Hindutva – on the question of coexistence with Muslims. Human rights monitors have long decried such rhetoric in India for creating a milieu for communal violence, and the Norway incidents are prompting calls here to confront the issue."

Hindu nationalists in India have a long history of admiration for Adolf Hitler, and his "Final Solution". In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

California Textbooks:

Not only have the BJP led governments in India fundamentally altered India's history textbooks, the BJP allies around the world are attempting to the same in textbooks as far as California.


"The introduction of new textbooks by the NCERT (under BJP) was inspired by the political purpose of seeking rationale from history for constructing India as a Hindu nation. The textbooks were, therefore, recast as narratives of Hindu religious nationalism. Claimed as an effort to retrieve the true nationalist history from the motivated distortions of colonial historiography they attribute to Indian nation an exclusively Hindu character."

"During this period the political climate in the country turned in favour of the Hindu fundamentalist forces, which enabled them in 1998 to lead a coalition government in which the Ministry of Human Resource Development which dealt with education was headed by a long standing cadre of the Hindu fundamentalist organization, Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh( RSS). Under his stewardship the government spared no effort to change the content and character of education, of which the introduction of new textbooks, was perhaps the most prominent and indeed controversial."

"The idea of India being a Hindu civilisational state runs through all the texts, either directly expressed or indirectly suggested. The question of the indigenous origin of Aryans and the identity of Harappan civilization with the Vedic society has some bearing on this issue. The former is quite central to the fundamentalist agenda of claiming the nation as Hindu, as the migration theory would deprive the Hindus of indigenous lineage. Therefore, against the widely held scholarly opinion Aryans are credited with indigenous origins, subscribing in the bargain to the colonial view of Aryan race. In the former case the textbooks put forward the view that the Aryans were indigenous to India and that the opinion widely held by scholars about their migration dismissed as inconsequential. In defense of indigenous origin no substantial evidence is adduced, except negative reasoning. It is asserted that the ‘the oldest surviving records of the Aryans, the Rig Veda, does not give even an inkling of any migration. It does not have any knowledge even of the geography beyond the known boundaries of Ancient India.’ It further says: ‘Many scholars think that the Aryans were originally inhabitants of India and did not come from outside. It has been argued by such scholars that there is no archeological or biological evidence, which could establish the arrival of any new people from outside between 5000 B.C and 800 B.C. This means that if at all there was any migration of Aryans or for that matter of any other people in India, it may have taken place at least eight or nine thousand years ago or after 800 B.C. to both of which there is no evidence. Further, the skeletal remains found from various Harappan sites resemble the skeletons of the modern population of the same geographical area.'"

The fanatic Hindu nationalists tried to do in California what their Indian counterparts have already done in India. They attempted to pollute California history textbooks in 2006, when they argued unsuccessfully to include lies like the indigenous origins of Aryans and tried to deny the terrible impact on hundreds of millions of Indians of the caste system and misogyny prevalent in Hindu texts and Aryan culture.

Hundreds of history scholars from US and South Asia helped defeat this reprehensible attempt by Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and its allies in the United States.

While the biggest victims of Hindu fundamentalists are the women and the Dalits of India, non-Hindu minorities and the neighboring states have not been spared either.

They are cowards and they prey upon unarmed Muslim, Christian and Sikh minorities in organized pogroms in what American scholar Paul Brass calls "production of violence" in India with many Indian intellectuals and some in the Indian press justifying the actions of the murderers.

The big brothers of these fanatic Hindutva terrorists occupy high positions in the Indian security establishment, according to former Maharashtra police chief SM Mushrif. These Hindutva allies in Indian government conduct covert warfare via terrorist actions in neighboring states including Pakistan through RAW.


The Indian Hindu Nationalists are rapidly increasing their global reach. The hate-filled ideology they preach is a growing potential threat to peace and stability of many nations where they operate. Breivik's actions represent only the tip of a much larger and growing iceberg of death and destruction that lies just beneath the surface.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Views: 689

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 23, 2015 at 8:16pm

Modi’s Idea of India

India, V.S. Naipaul declared in 1976, is “a wounded civilization,” whose obvious political and economic dysfunction conceals a deeper intellectual crisis. As evidence, he pointed out some strange symptoms he noticed among upper-caste middle-class Hindus since his first visit to his ancestral country in 1962. These well-born Indians betrayed a craze for “phoren” consumer goods and approval from the West, as well as a self-important paranoia about the “foreign hand.” “Without the foreign chit,” Mr. Naipaul concluded, “Indians can have no confirmation of their own reality.”

Mr. Naipaul was also appalled by the prickly vanity of many Hindus who asserted that their holy scriptures already contained the discoveries and inventions of Western science, and that an India revitalized by its ancient wisdom would soon vanquish the decadent West. He was particularly wary of the “apocalyptic Hindu terms” of such 19th-century religious revivalists as Swami Vivekananda, whose exhortation to nation-build through the ethic of the kshatriya (the warrior caste) has made him the central icon of India’s new Hindu nationalist rulers.

Despite his overgeneralizations, Mr. Naipaul’s mapping of the upper-caste nationalist’s id did create a useful meme of intellectual insecurity, confusion and aggressiveness. And this meme is increasingly recognizable again. Today a new generation of Indian nationalists lurches between victimhood and chauvinism, and with ominous implications. As the country appears to rise (and simultaneously fall), many ambitious members of a greatly expanded and fully global Hindu middle class feel frustrated in their demand for higher status from white Westerners.

Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister and main ideologue of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, is stoking old Hindu rage-and-shame over what he calls more than a thousand years of slavery under Muslim and British rule. Earlier this month, while India and Pakistan were engaging in their heaviest fighting in over a decade, Mr. Modi claimed that the “enemy” was now “screaming.”

Since Mr. Naipaul defined it, the apocalyptic Indian imagination has been enriched by the exploits of Hindu nationalists, such as the destruction in 1992 of the 16th-century Babri Masjid mosque, and the nuclear tests of 1998. Celebrating the tests in speeches in the late 1990s, including one entitled “Ek Aur Mahabharata” (One More Mahabharata), the then head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the National Volunteers Association, or R.S.S), the parent outfit of Hindu nationalists, claimed that Hindus, a “heroic, intelligent race,” had so far lacked proper weapons but were sure to prevail in the forthcoming showdown with demonic anti-Hindus, a broad category that includes Americans (who apparently best exemplify the worldwide “rise of inhumanity”).

A Harvard-trained economist called Subramanian Swamy recently demanded a public bonfire of canonical books by Indian historians — liberal and secular intellectuals who belong to what the R.S.S. chief in 2000 identified as that “class of bastards which tries to implant an alien culture in their land.” Denounced by the numerous Hindu supremacists in social media as “sickular libtards” and sepoys (the common name for Indian soldiers in British armies), these intellectuals apparently are Trojan horses of the West. They must be purged to realize Mr. Modi’s vision in which India, once known as the “golden bird,” will “rise again.”

Mr. Modi doesn’t seem to know that India’s reputation as a “golden bird” flourished during the long centuries when it was allegedly enslaved by Muslims. A range of esteemed scholars — from Sheldon Pollock to Jonardon Ganeri — have demonstrated beyond doubt that this period before British rule witnessed some of the greatest achievements in Indian philosophy, literature, music, painting and architecture. The psychic wounds Mr. Naipaul noticed among semi-Westernized upper-caste Hindus actually date to the Indian elite’s humiliating encounter with the geopolitical and cultural dominance first of Europe and then of America.

These wounds were caused, and are deepened, by failed attempts to match Western power through both mimicry and collaboration (though zealously anti-Western, Chinese nationalism has developed much more autonomously in comparison). Largely subterranean until it erupts, this ressentiment of the West among thwarted elites can assume a more treacherous form than the simple hatred and rejectionism of outfits such as Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Taliban. The intellectual history of right-wing Russian and Japanese nationalism reveals an ominously similar pattern as the vengeful nativism of Hindu nationalists: a recoil from craving Western approval into promoting religious-racial supremacy.

The Russian elite, created by the hectic Westernizing ventures of Peter the Great, was the first to articulate the widespread sense of inadequacy and failure created in societies trying to catch up with the modern West. In 1836, Pyotr Chaadaev argued in “First Philosophical Letter” that, “We belong neither to the West nor to the East, and we possess the traditions of neither.” His eloquent self-pity, which shook up Pushkin as well as Gogol and Tolstoy, inaugurated the semi-Westernized Russian elite’s tormented search for a native identity to uphold against the West.

In the 1920s, Russian thinkers exiled to Paris and other Western capitals by the Bolshevik revolution tried to reconfigure Russia’s place between Europe and Asia with a doctrine they called Eurasianism. While approving of a monolithic economy and one-party rule, these hypernationalists exhorted a religious revival and unity across Russia to combat evil influences from the immoral West.

In an astonishing development, their grandiose intellectual conceits have enjoyed both political imprimatur and popularity since the end of the Cold War, after Russia’s apparent deception by a triumphalist West. Today, while annexing Crimea and throttling domestic critics, President Vladimir Putin quotes the religious theorist Nikolai Berdyaev, author of “The Russian Idea.” And his cohorts in the media and the Orthodox Church circulate conspiracies that present the West as intent upon humiliating Russia with the help of NGOs, journalists, homosexuals and Pussy Riot.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 23, 2015 at 8:17pm

The perils of such ideological inebriation had already been illustrated by Japan’s descent into unhinged anti-Western imperialism in the early 20th century. As Japan grew stronger, partly with the help of Western imperialists, only to bump up against their presence in Asia, the obsession with beating the West at its own game intensified. Like the votaries of the Russian Idea, many Japanese thinkers became as frantic about defining Japaneseness vis-à-vis the West as with championing strict state control of domestic society.

The catch-all concept of kokutai — which roughly translates as “national polity embodied by the emperor” — asserted Japan’s evidently unparalleled virtues. Philosophers of the Kyoto School, like Nishida Kitaro and Watsuji Tetsuro, made more ambitious attempts to establish that the Japanese mode of cognition through intuition was both different from and superior to Western-style logical thinking. Such supercilious nativism provided the intellectual justification for Japan’s brutal assault on China in the 1930s, and then the sudden attack on its most significant trading partner in 1941.

Today, against the backdrop of a severe crisis of capitalism, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, like Mr. Putin, is asserting an unapologetic nationalism. Vowing to “take back Japan,” partly by revising the country’s pacifist Constitution, and disowning its previously expressed guilt for wartime brutalities, Mr. Abe has stoked tensions with China.

 October 24, 2014

What utter nonsense. There go Mishra and the New York Times again. I am no Modi fan, but this article is rife with misunderstanding, ...


Sridhar Chilimuri

 October 24, 2014

Although I am not a supporter of Mr. Modi this article lacks fairness. Mr. Mishra has command over English but not facts. Is there a...


This is just the kind of retrograde 1920s-style nationalist dogma that is making a big comeback in India, especially since last year, when Mr. Modi, a close ally of Mr. Abe, overcame the taint of various suspected crimes to launch his bid for supreme power. Interestingly, it is not the R.S.S.’s khaki-shorts-wearing volunteers but rather quasi-Westernized Indians in the corporate-owned media and mysteriously well-funded think tanks, magazines and websites who have provided the ambient chorus for Mr. Modi’s ascent to respectability.

India’s recent economic travails and diminished international standing have frustrated these rising Indians’ sense of entitlement, provoking them to lash out at such handy scapegoats as “racist” and “Orientalist” Westerners and Indian libtards and sepoys. Typical of their ersatz nativism is a book entitled “The New Clash of Civilizations,” which gleefully heralds India’s hegemony worldwide. It was written by Minhaz Merchant, the Anglicized former editor of a defunct lifestyle magazine called Gentleman and now a self-appointed publicist for the prime minister. Many such “Modi Toadies,” as Salman Rushdie calls them, had Western tails once, like the Harvard-economist-turned-book-burner.

Others still cling to those tails, such as the wealthy businessman called Rajiv Malhotra, hailed by Mr. Modi for “glorifying our priceless heritage.” Mr. Malhotra routinely puts out, from his perch in suburban New Jersey, popular screeds asserting that American and European churches, Ivy League academics, think tanks, NGOs and human-rights groups are trying to break up Mother India with the help of both dalits and sepoy intellectuals.

Lest he be accused of irrationality, Mr. Malhotra also claims that the intuitive Indian worldview is not only different from but also cognitively superior to the logic-addled Western outlook. Mr. Malhotra has worked up his own version of the Russian Idea and kokutai with some piffle about the “integral unity” of Indian philosophy, a notion that conflates very different Hindu and Buddhist traditions. In his North American redoubt, Mr. Malhotra runs workshops aimed at mass-producing “intellectual kshatriyas” (intellectual warriors).

The fantasies of racial-religious revenge and redemption that breed in Western suburbs as well as posh Indian enclaves today speak of a vast spiritual desolation as well as a deepening intellectual crisis. Even Mr. Naipaul briefly succumbed to the pathology of mimic machismo he had despised (and, later, also identified among chauvinists in Muslim countries). He hailed the vandalizing by a Hindu mob of the Babri Masjid mosque in 1992, which triggered nationwide massacres of Muslims, as the sign of an overdue national “awakening.”

There are many more such nonresident Indians in the West today, vicariously living history’s violent drama in their restless exile: In Madison Square Garden, in New York, last month, more than 19,000 people cheered Mr. Modi’s speech about ending India’s millennium-long slavery. But hundreds of millions of uprooted Indians are also now fully exposed to demagoguery. In an unprecedented public intervention this month, the present chief of the R.S.S., who wants all Indian citizens to identify themselves as Hindus since India is a “Hindu nation,” appeared on state television to rant against Muslim infiltrators and appeal for a boycott of Chinese goods.

Such crude xenophobia, now officially sanctioned in Mr. Modi’s India, seems only slightly less menacing than the previous R.S.S. chief’s wishful thinking about one more Mahabharata against demonic anti-Hindus. Japan’s expansionist gambles in China and the Pacific in the last century and, more recently, Russia’s irredentism in Ukraine show that a mainstreamed rhetoric of national aggrandizement can quickly slide into reckless warmongering. Certainly, the ruling classes of wannabe superpowers have spawned a complex force: the ideology of anti-imperialist imperialism, which, forming an axis with the modern state and media and nuclear technology, can make Islamic fundamentalists seem toothless. One can only hope that India’s democratic institutions are strong enough to constrain yet another wounded elite from breaking out for geopolitical and military manhood.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 24, 2015 at 9:13pm

#India, #Pakistan and #Bangladesh will reunite to form 'Akhand Bharat': #BJP Gen Sec Ram Madhav

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will reunite to form Akhand Bharat, or "undivided India", said General Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ram Madhav in an interview to Al Jazeera.
Referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Madhav said, "The RSS still believes that one day these parts, which have for historical reasons separated only 60 years ago, will again, through popular goodwill, come together and Akhand Bharat will be created. As an RSS member I also hold onto that view." However, he added that it "does not mean we wage war on any country, [or that] we annex any country. Without war, through popular consent, it can happen."

Recently, the BJP has been facing the ire over allgetions of rising number of cases of intolerance in the country. Several artists and writers have returned their awards protesting over the same.
Commenting on the allegations of rising intolerance in the country, Madhav termed it as a ploy "to defame the government and in turn to defame the image of India."

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 25, 2015 at 9:49pm

'#BJP is wiping off Muslim culture' from textbooks in #Modi's #India via @timesofindia
Congress national minorities president Khurshid Ahmed accused the state BJP for wiping off the culture and history of Muslims from state textbooks in Ajmer on Friday.
Ahmed is on a tour of Rajasthan to consolidate minorities votes which drifted away to BJP in state assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
"This is very disturbing to hear that state education department has dropped most of the chapters by Muslim and foreign authors. Rajasthan government is following the line of Central government's saffronization of education agenda," said Ahmed who vowed to challenge every unconstitutional move made by this government.
He charged the state government of neglecting the rights of minorities, scheduled tribes and scheduled caste. "This government is working on vengeance by silently spoiling the developmental work carried out by the Gehlot government like free medicines, laptops to students and tribal development," said Ahmed who hinted that Congress central leadership will not leave the Union finance minister Arun Jaitley scam involving DDCA. Nizam Qureshi, state president minorities, Congress said that they will highlight the Lalitgate scam involving CM Vasundhara Raje.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 27, 2015 at 8:25am

"#India, #Pakistan And #Bangladesh Can Become A 'Federation'": #Indian #BJP #Modi Minister Ram Vilas Paswan

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today favoured India, Pakistan and Bangladesh becoming a "Mahasanghatan" (federation) with a common currency and open trade, a move, he claimed would put an end to terrorism to a large extent.

"We cannot say if they can reunite or not; if they (the three countries) reunite, it's very good thing. At least if they don't become one nation (again), it can become a federation ('Mahasanghatan' as he put it)," Mr Paswan told PTI in an interview in Hyderabad.

"Bharat, Pakistan and Bangladesh were all in one nation (earlier)," the LJP chief said when asked for his views on BJP general secretary Ram Madhav's recent statement that RSS believes that the three nations would one day reunite again not by war but through "popular goodwill".

"These three nations can become a 'federation'", Mr Paswan said, mooting the idea of common currency, open trade and lifting of restrictions on movement of people.

"This will put an end to terrorism to a large extent," he added.

His comments have come after BJP's general secretary Ram Madhav said that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will reunite one day to create "Akhand Bharat" or an 'Undivided India'.

Mr Madhav had told Doha-based Al Jazeera: "The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) still believes that one day these parts, which have for historical reasons separated only 60 years ago, will again, through popular goodwill, come together and 'Akhand Bharat' will be created."

Mr Paswan also described Prime Minister Narendra Modi's last week's surprise visit to Lahore as a "masterstroke" and said it is an attempt to link the hearts of the people of the two countries.

"People on both the sides of the border want 'permanent friendship' between the two countries. Only terrorists oppose good bilateral relations between New Delhi and Islamabad," he said.

The Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said the LJP is fighting for reservation of SCs and STs in private sector.

"Not that you give reservation in all posts... where there is available -- Class-III and Class-IV posts, you can give (reservation)".

Mr Paswan rejected suggestions from opposition parties that 'Ache Din' is yet to come for 'aam aadmi' even after one-and-half year tenure of the Modi Government, as he listed various initiatives of the Centre, including Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bhima Yojana and Mudra Bank.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 6, 2016 at 8:05am

It's time #India stops blaming #Pakistan for every terror attack on its soil. #PathankotAttack via @qzindia

Since 2009, 31 (Pakistani) military installations, including airbases and intelligence headquarters, have been attacked by the militants affiliated with the Al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, and its affiliate and the sectarian killer group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). The attacks on Pakistan’s naval and air bases have led to the destruction of expensive equipment and loss of military personnel. If terrorism is sponsored singularly by Pakistan’s intelligence networks, then it would be irrational to believe that the military attacks its own installations.


The reality is that the militias since the Afghan jihad have fragmented, made further worse by the Al Qaeda’s operations for more than a decade. Pakistan is fighting this menace—mostly a result of continued regional conflict and its past security policies—and trying to eliminate these networks. Official statements from Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the military leadership, led by Army chief General Raheel Sharif, have indicated that the erstwhile distinction between good and bad Taliban no longer stands. Skepticism has been aired about these pronouncements since much more needs to be done to undo the militant infrastructure. But Pakistan is moving in that direction. In recent months, the state has eliminated the LeJ leadership, and several groups that comprise the Pakistani Taliban.
On top of that, Sharif would not have fixed an informal meeting with Modi without taking the military into confidence. He has avoided direct confrontation with the military in his third tenure. Reuters, citing security sources, had reported in December that the military paved the way for reviving stalled India-Pakistan dialogue process. The appointment of a retired general as national security advisor (NSA) provides the military a direct stake in the dialogue with India.
The rogue elements within the security apparatus that aided terror groups in the past have not gone unnoticed. Attacks on Pakistan’s military, and even the former president Musharraf, have happened with collusion at lower levels. But it is too early to conclude in that direction. Also, things have changed since 2008 Mumbai attacks. The incentive to escalate conflict with India is perhaps at its lowest—not because there has been a fundamental shift in the way Pakistani state works or imagines its nationalism. The regional dynamics necessitate this change. Pakistan of 2015 is aspiring for economic integration with China’s “One Belt, One Road” programme; and aiming to become a transit hub of energy trade.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 1, 2016 at 11:33am

#Hindu Nationalist "Scholars" in #India demand that #Harvard U Press drop its well-respected editor. #Modi #BJP #JNU 

The Murty Classical Library of India has been praised as an ambitious scholarly effort to make the classics of India available in the highest-quality English translations -- and to promote more study of those classics around the world. In the series, works are presented in their original languages (which include Bangla, Hindi, Panjabi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tamil and Urdu) with English translations on opposite pages. Hundreds of titles may eventually be published. An article in The Hindu in October said that "few intellectual and literary ventures have more transformative potential" for scholarship and understanding of India.

In what some fear is an escalation of demands from Hindu nationalists to control study of their country's history and culture, more than 11,000 scholars in India have in only a few days signed a petition demanding the ouster of the lead editor of the series, Sheldon Pollock, who is the Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies at Columbia University and generally considered a leading expert on the classic works of Indian civilizations.
Academics in the West are concerned not only about the petition but the reasons it gives. Pollock is criticized because he disagrees with some views of Hindu nationalists, because he is leading the project (which involves an international team of scholars) from the United States and because he recently signed a statement of scholars that defended students and faculty members at Jawaharlal Nehru University who are protesting the arrest of the president of the student union on sedition charges.
Effectively, say Western academics, their counterparts in India who are affiliated with the governing Bharatiya Janata Party are sending a message to the United States and elsewhere that professors who criticize the nationalist moves by the government will find themselves facing hostility or other obstacles to working on India. The petition is attracting widespread attention -- much of it positive -- in the Indian press.
Several scholars said they were deeply concerned but also afraid to speak out right now. Harvard University Press declined to comment. So did Pollock.

The debate over the Harvard University Press series comes at a time when some scholars in India whose views clash with nationalists report losing their jobs or their influence. Further, some American universities have been debating grants from Indian nationalist groups that some say go too far in letting those groups influence those who would be hired as scholars and teachers. The University of California at Irvine in February rejected grants for endowed chairs for this reason.
University presses, which both publish about and in India, have been the focus of debate previously.
In 2011, Oxford University Press ended publication in India of some essays that angered nationalists. After many scholars worldwide protested the move, Oxford reversed itself and said that it would publish the works in India. Among the organizers of a letter by scholars that was influential in getting Oxford to resume publication was Pollock, who is now editing the Harvard series.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 4, 2016 at 8:11am

Nobody wants to erase #India from textbooks. Yet another #California textbook controversy by #Hindutuva groups 

Is India being "erased" from California's history books? No, it's not.

But some 22,000 people have signed a petition to prevent the state from changing "India" to "South Asia" in its social studies curricula. A group of academics from schools including the University of San Francisco and Columbia University, and Hindu groups like the Hindu American Foundation, have signed on.

The State Board of Education is currently updating California's history and social science curriculum, and the petition is reacting to submissions in the public comment process that would replace some instances of "India" with "South Asia" and address Hinduism differently.

That request spurred a backlash from Hindu academics, leading to the petition that reads: "School students in California will be forced to learn that there was never an 'India' unless you act!"

This is not what is happening. The group that originally suggested the changes calls itself the South Asia Faculty Textbook Committee and includes South Asian scholars from Stanford, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University and UCLA, among others.

They do suggest that in some places "India" be replaced with "South Asia" because some of the area discussed currently belongs to Pakistan.

April 2, 8:52 a.m.: An earlier version of this article indicated the letter was also a response to the petition. It was not; the petition began after the letter was written.


"We wish to clarify that while 'Ancient India' is the accepted usage among Indologists, in other fields, pre-modern South Asia is the common term of reference. Since there is no standardized usage across fields, it is difficult for us to recommend a single standard term for use in the curriculum framework. After careful review, we have settled on a context dependent approach for the use of the terms, 'Ancient India,’ ‘India,’ ‘Indian subcontinent’ and ‘South Asia,’ as we explain in the edits. The use of terms like 'Ancient India' and 'India' in the current version of the draft framework, particularly for grades 6 and 7 is at times misleading. Although 'Ancient India' is common in the source material, when discussing the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), we believe it will cause less confusion to students to refer to the “Early Civilization of South Asia or “Ancient South Asia” because much of the Indus Valley is now in modern Pakistan. Conflating “Ancient India” with the modern nation-state of India deprives students from learning about the shared civilizational heritage of India and Pakistan."

The California History-Social Science Project takes public comment into account as it amends the framework and presents it to the state Board of Education. The group did adopt many of the faculty textbook committee's recommendations, and the Board of Education is scheduled to review the changes in May.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 4, 2016 at 10:47pm

Are #Hindutva groups from #India losing 10-year-long battle to change #California textbooks? … via @colorlines

For more than 10 years, conservative Hindu groups have been trying to make controversial changes to history textbooks in California. Opponents—who say their changes erase the caste system and certain South Asian identities—just won an important victory.

An ad hoc group of South Asian academics called South Asian Faculty Group that opposes the changes* won a significant victory at the latest public school board hearing on the issue on March 26. South Asian Faculty Group presented 76 of their own edits of the materials to the board. Sixty-two of them were accepted. All are being contested by the HAF and its conservative coalition.

Why such a protracted fight? California is one of the largest textbook markets in the country. "[The conservative groups] have invested thousands of dollars into this fight," says Thenmozhi Soundarajan, an organizer with the Ambedkar Association of California and Dalit History Month who opposes the changes. "They have already won in Virginia and Texas. A win in California would mean a change to all textbooks.”

Colorlines e-mailed HAF, Uberoi and DCF for comment, but did not receive a response. 

The struggle over textbooks and curricula demonstrates the ways that South Asian identity as a racial category is being contested and redefined in America. Soundarajan says that attempts at homogenizing this identity “hide the distinct violence of hierarchy that exist between castes, faiths, languages and countries.” 

Indeed, many of the textbook changes proposed by the HAF, Uberoi and DCF serve to obscure the origins of many South Asians in America. Their version of history would eliminate specific ethnic markers of the first South Asian to emigrate to the United States or rename them as “Hindu” or “Indian.”

For example, HAF suggests substituting references to Sikh culture with "Indian." Sikhs are an oppressed minority in India, and most of the first South Asians to migrate to North America were Sikh. Sikhs bore the brunt of American racism and xenophobia due to their visible marker of turbans. Sikh scholar Jaideep Singh covers the issue in a 2015 letter to the California State Board of Education: "Considering Sikhs’ overwhelming numerical dominance within migration [to America in the early 20th century], their demonization by exclusionists, and their prevalence in media depictions that focused on their racial and religious markers—turbans and prominent black beards on dark brown bodies—it is far more accurate, and important, to keep the word 'Sikh' in the curriculum." While the first Indian-American member of Congress, Dalip Singh Saund, was Sikh, HAF wants to describe him only as an “immigrant of Indian origin.” 

Along with blurring Sikh identity, conservative Hindu groups are also trying to delete references to the apartheid-like caste system that still structures the lives of millions of South Asians both in India and its diaspora from California textbooks.

A DCF leader, Shiva Bajpai, has gone as far as to call the caste system “beneficial.” “In every society some people are at the bottom of the economic scale,” he wrote in a paper submitted to the board. “Other societies solved this problem by enslaving people; [t]he caste system actually offered many advantages.” (The Uberoi foundation funded the paper under the auspices of its Institute for Curriculum Advancement.)

Soundarajan calls the caste system “the dominant system of oppression that has shaped all of our institutions,” and says that ignoring it “misses the key axis of power that our identities are shaped around.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 6, 2016 at 9:46am

If incorrect depictions of #India’s borders are a crime, will #RSS be prosecuted for ‘Akhand Bharat’? … via @scroll_in

Comically muscular jingoism has been the one of things the Bharatiya Janata Party has delivered on strongly. Since it came to power, the party has targetted students from Hyderabad and Delhi, suggested that citizenship should be made contingent on sloganeering abilities and misinterpreted the history of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. Friday morning bought the latest installment of the saga: a proposed law to punish incorrect depictions of India’s borders on a map with seven years in jail and a fine that must be equal to the annual income of a small Indian city: Rs 100 crore.

The nub of the issue is that the government of India claims a lot more land than it actually holds. The Jammu and Kashmir that you see on India maps is a fine thing ­– but it doesn’t really exist on the ground. Pakistan controls large parts of the western half of Jammu and Kashmir and China, the Aksai Chin region in the north-east. If you actually show this ground situation on a map, though, you can be prosecuted by the government under a 1961 act that now carries a jail term of six months. If Narendra Modi has his way, that will become seven years.

What about Akhand Bharat?

The interesting thing here is that there is one rather powerful group for which incorrectly depicting India’s borders is almost at article of faith. The Sangh Parivar believes in what is know as Akhand Bharat or undivided India. At its smallest, Akhand Bharat includes present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh: basically, the dominions of the British Raj. Other versions also have Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and sometimes even Tibet sidling into the map.


You need to be a member of PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network to add comments!

Join PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

Pre-Paid Legal

Twitter Feed

    follow me on Twitter

    Sponsored Links

    South Asia Investor Review
    Investor Information Blog

    Haq's Musings
    Riaz Haq's Current Affairs Blog

    Please Bookmark This Page!

    Blog Posts

    Vehicles in Pakistan: Over Half of All Households Own Motorcycles in 2019

    Private vehicle ownership in Pakistan has risen sharply over the last 4 years. More than 9% of households now own cars, up from 6% in 2015. Motorcycle ownership has jumped from 41% of households in 2015 to 53% now, according to data released by Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) recently. There are …


    Posted by Riaz Haq on June 17, 2019 at 10:57am — 1 Comment

    Trump's China Tariffs Helping Pakistani Garments Exports to America

    Pakistan's garments exports to the United States have jumped 12% in first quarter of 2019 from the same period a year ago, according to USITC Dataweb.  This double digit exports growth is being partly attributed to US President Donald's Trump ongoing trade war with China with the US government imposing 10% to 25% tariffs on certain Chinese goods. Pakistani rupee devaluation has also…


    Posted by Riaz Haq on June 13, 2019 at 4:59pm — 2 Comments

    © 2019   Created by Riaz Haq.   Powered by

    Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service