Hateful Hindutva Ideology Infects Indian Diaspora

Hateful Hindutva ideology is spreading rapidly among the Indian diaspora. Individuals and organizations connected to the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) are actively working to promote India's divisive Islamophobic politics among the Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and their children. Hundreds of the RSS shakhas (branches) are now found in at least 39 countries around the world. Hindutva is a Hindu supremacist ideology inspired by 20th century Fascism and Nazism in Europe; it is very different from the ancient Hindu faith, according to American history professor Audrey Truschke who teaches Indian history at Rutgers University in the US state of New Jersey. Top Indian economists have raised alarm about it. 

Global Hindutva Sangh Parivar. Source: Audrey Truschke

False narrative of victimhood underlies Hindutva ideology. Indian historian Aditya Mukherjee characterizes the Hindutva victimhood as follows: “The great achievements of the past are then contrasted with a false sense of victimhood, the concept of a great threat the majority is supposedly facing from the minority. This is how fascism works, globally".  "Hindutva was never meant to be understood as bounded by national borders; his (Savarkar's) ambition was always planetary", writes Vinayak Chaturvedi, author of "Hindutva and Violence". "He (Savarkar) gained notoriety for his programme to “Hinduise Politics and Militarise Hindudom” while also arguing for permanent war against Christians and Muslims", Chaturvedi adds. 

Recent hate incidents in Leicester (UK), Edison (NJ) and Silicon Valley (California) all have connections to the far right Hindu organizations in India.  Here's how a recent New York Times report "Tensions That Roiled English City Have Roots in India" explains what is going on with the Indian diaspora since Prime Minister Narendra Modi rose to power in India: 

"Across the Indian diaspora, ugly divisions are emerging. A bulldozer, which has become a symbol of oppression against India’s Muslim minority, was rolled down a street in a New Jersey town during a parade this summer, offending many people. Last year, attacks on Sikh men in Australia were linked to extremist nationalist ideology. In April, Canadian academics told CBC News that they faced death threats over their criticism of growing Hindu nationalism and violence against minorities in India. Since India’s independence struggle, Hindu nationalists have espoused a vision that places Hindu culture and religious worship at the center of Indian identity. That view, once fringe, was made mainstream when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party came to power".   

"We are all with you Modiji and Yogiji", said an Indian American man who tweeted a video clip of a recent car rally in Silicon Valley, California. Rally participants are shown carrying pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Some also carried BJP's lotus flags. Hindu Americans enjoy the freedom to practice their faith and culture in the United States while at the same time they support Hindutva fascist rule in their country of origin. 

69% of Hindu Americans Support Modi. Source: Indian American Attitudes Survey 2020

The 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey (IAAS) results confirm the anecdotal evidence of India's Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's massive popularity among Hindu Americans. The findings of a survey sponsored by Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment For International Peace reveal that 69% of Hindu Americans approve of Mr. Modi's performance. 70% of Hindu Americans agree or strongly agree that white supremacy is a threat to minorities in the United States, compared to 79% of non-Hindu Indian Americans. Regarding Hindu majoritarianism in India, however, the data point to a much sharper divide: only 40% of Hindus agree that Hindu majoritarianism is a threat to minorities, compared to 67% of non-Hindus, according to the 2020 IAAS Survey. 

The 7 in 10 approval rating of Mr. Modi by Hindu Indian Americans stands in sharp contrast to that of barely one in five Muslim Indian Americans. Indian American Christians are almost evenly divided: 35 percent disapprove, 34 percent approve, and 30 percent did not express an opinion. Twenty-three percent of respondents without a religious affiliation and 38 percent from other faiths approve of Modi’s performance, respectively. The share of “don’t knows” is the smallest for Hindus and Muslims compared to other religious categories, suggesting that views among respondents of these two faiths are the most consolidated.

The IASS survey sample includes 54 percent Hindus, 13 percent Muslims, 10 percent Christians, 8 percent belonging to other faiths, and 16 percent do not identify with any religion.

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.
Here is Professor Audrey Truschke on Nazi origin of Hindutva:
http://www.youtube.com/embed/XbFrxTbxBAw"; title="American Historian on Nazi Origins of Hindu Nationalism" width="320"></iframe>" height="437" src="https://img1.blogblog.com/img/video_object.png" width="320" style="cursor: move; background-color: #b2b2b2;" />

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Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 9:54am

Excerpts of "Hindutva and Violence" By Vinayak Chaturvedi:

(T)he ubiquity of Hindutva has ensured that everyone in India will have (Hindu Nationalist intellectual leader Vinayak Damodar) Savarkar’s ideas in mind for the foreseeable future. For Savarkar, Hindutva was never meant to be understood as bounded by national borders; his ambition was always planetary. Anyone with an interest in South Asia also knows that neither Hindutva nor Savarkar can be ignored today, no matter where they live. The challenge for all of us now is navigating the intellectual and political terrain to think with and against his ideas.

Hindutva and Violence (p. 11). State University of New York Press. Kindle Edition.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is a difficult figure. As an intellectual founder of Hindu nationalism, he has emerged as the most controversial Indian political thinker of the twentieth century. His arguments for Hindutva transformed political debate by rethinking the concepts “Hindu” and “Hindusthan.” He is remembered as an anti-imperialist who simultaneously longed for the resurrection of the lost Hindu Empire of centuries past. He is celebrated and condemned for his roles as a nationalist, a revolutionary, a political prisoner, and president of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha. He gained notoriety for his programme to “Hinduise Politics and Militarise Hindudom” while also arguing for permanent war against Christians and Muslims. He was never forgotten – and for many, never forgiven – for his associations with the murderers of M.K. Gandhi – the Mahatma. The consequence: Savarkar is declared a martyr by some and condemned as the enemy by others.

Chaturvedi, Vinayak. Hindutva and Violence (p. 20). State University of New York Press. Kindle Edition.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 10:33am

In 1939 Savarkar organised annual celebrations throughout Maharashtra on May 10th as “War of Independence Day.”22 By 1942 the date was also known as “Anti-Pakistan Day.”23

Chaturvedi, Vinayak. Hindutva and Violence (p. 286). State University of New York Press. Kindle Edition.

Savarkar could hardly have not been aware that the essentials of Hindutva he had articulated in the 1920s and promoted as president of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha were largely ignored in independent India. This notwithstanding, for Savarkar the fact that in 1947 “Hindusthan” was divided into two nation-states – India and Pakistan – did not mean that Hindus needed to abandon Hindutva. Instead, the post-colonial moment following Partition was precisely when Hindus needed to unite.11 Hindutva was now marginalised, but he considered this a temporary phenomenon.

Chaturvedi, Vinayak. Hindutva and Violence (p. 426). State University of New York Press. Kindle Edition.

Bharat as defined in the Constitution of India was not the same geographically as the Bharat of Savarkar’s writings. This did not seem a contradiction to Savarkar, especially as he considered the partition of Hindusthan (and the creation of Pakistan) to be temporary. What did Savarkar mean in the context of these changed circumstances? On July 3, 1947 Savarkar delivered a speech titled “Protest Against the Vivisection of Hindusthan” in which he pointed out that it was necessary for Hindus to reassess “all things past and present” – by which he meant Hindu history.22 It was important to show that historically Hindus had faced crises even more devastating than those of recent years. The power of Muslims in Hindusthan had substantially declined over the past millennium, to the extent that it had been reduced to the idea of Pakistan: “My message to Hindudom even on this Black Day in our History is to assure it once more, ‘Despair not! – a glorious future awaits the Hindus – if only they do not betray themselves!!”23 For him the point was what Hindu history had illustrated – the “amazing capacity for resurrection, of renaissance[,] of rejuvenation” of the “Hindu Nation.”24 He cited examples from Essentials of Hindutva and Hindu Pad Padashahi to demonstrate that Hindus were capable of establishing power. This speech is also important because it provides a preview of key arguments that Savarkar developed in Saha Soneri Pane.


Chaturvedi, Vinayak. Hindutva and Violence (pp. 430-431). State University of New York Press. Kindle Edition.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 10:34am

Jinnah’s interpretation of the “two-nation theory” differed from Savarkar’s formulation in arguing for the creation of a sovereign Muslim state – as against a single Indian state.51 Jinnah also wanted a formal treaty between Pakistan and Hindustan to reconcile differences between the two nations (and states). In the midst of great public debate on the idea of India containing two antagonistic nations, Savarkar’s clarification of his interpretation of two nations and the idea of the creation of a singular Indian state was often overlooked.52

There were, of course, exceptions, and Savarkar had some notable critics. B.R. Ambedkar argued against Savarkar’s interpretations in Essentials of Hindutva of defining Hindus as a nation, especially the idea of classifying all “Depressed Classes” as Hindus.53 But he also explained that Savarkar’s idea of two nations in India – a Hindu nation and a Muslim nation – did not mean that Savarkar called for a partition of territory. On the contrary, Ambedkar correctly pointed out, Savarkar’s priority priority was to maintain geographic unity. In fact Ambedkar noted that Savarkar’s ambition was not for a Hindu nation to coexist with a Muslim nation within India; instead, he wanted Hindus to establish “an empire over Muslims” for the purpose of creating “an imperial race” of Hindus.54 In other words, the resurrection of the Hindu empire noted in Hindu Pad Padashahi was part of Savarkar’s imperial ambition via the formation of an Indian state. This was a point that Ambedkar fully understood.55

Chaturvedi, Vinayak. Hindutva and Violence (pp. 438-439). State University of New York Press. Kindle Edition.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 10:34am

The conversation next turned to Gandhi’s murder. The leadership of the Hindu Mahasabha and its affiliates had declared the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan a failure. It had been condemned by Savarkar, for example, on the grounds that the “vivisection of the Motherland” was an insult to all Hindus, and the idea of Pakistan was a threat to the making of a Hindu nation in the aftermath of British rule.49 For Savarkar’s followers, like Godse and Dr Parchure, Gandhi and the Indian National Congress were to blame for the turn in political developments leading up to the Partition in 1947, a period in which it was argued that the rights of Hindus were not being protected. Godse echoed Savarkar’s claims: I stoutly maintain that Gandhiji … has failed in his duty which was incumbent upon him to carry out, as the Father of the Nation. He has proved to be the Father of Pakistan. It was for this reason alone that I as a dutiful son of Mother India thought it my duty to put an end to the life of the so-called Father of the Nation who had played a very prominent part in bringing about vivisection of the country – Our Motherland.50


Chaturvedi, Vinayak. Hindutva and Violence (p. 540). State University of New York Press. Kindle Edition.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 10:54am

Savarkar’s argument that the formation of Hindus qua Hindus was a process linked to colonialism and violence is central to any understanding of the meaning of Hindutva. Hindus were the perpetrators of violence who conquered and assimilated non-Hindus as Hindus in a process that can be described as dominance with hegemony. Savarkar considered this violence legitimate. Yet while he maintained that he “abhorred all violence” when perpetrated by a dominant force or entity, he believed it was justifiable for victims to seek vengeance against an oppressor.28 Hindus were in a permanent war – as victims of the past – in which violence was necessary to negate unjust violence. The mere existence of a Muslim or a Christian in India meant that the “foreign invader” was still present. The only resolution lay in the veer seeking vengeance – in what Etienne Balibar has called the “infinite circularity” of violence that has no end.29 The survival of Hindutva as an idea requires the unceasing repetition of this history: Hindutva may very well become hollowed out without it. All critiques of Savarkar’s history are necessarily meant to annihilate the epistemic conceptualisation of Hindutva. I am uncertain whether we are in a “state of emergency” – or that we will be in a “real state of emergency” as articulated by Walter Benjamin. But what is clear to me is that Hindutva cannot be ignored.30 And that being so, nor can Savarkar’s ideas about history. If Hindutva is of Being, then the very idea of the “Hindu,” as constructed by Savarkar, is at stake. To understand the fundamental thought that “Hindutva is not a word but a history” marks the continuation of this struggle.

Chaturvedi, Vinayak. Hindutva and Violence (pp. 521-522). State University of New York Press. Kindle Edition.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 10:55am

In India there are many who have been inspired by the writings and activities of Savarkar and his disciples. And one does not need to look very hard to find these individuals and groups, especially as their public presence cannot be avoided in everyday life. The discursive project of Hindutva, led by the BJP and its subsidiaries, for example, promotes the changing of names in consonance with Savarkar’s ideals. In November 1995 the Maharashtrian state government led by the Shiv Sena (Shivaji’s Army) changed the official name of Bombay to Mumbai.79 The Shiv Sena as a nativist organisation had been demanding the vernacularisation of the city’s name since its founding in 1966 but could only change it once it had secured the patronage of the BJP government at the centre. The process was extended to replacing the names of streets, buildings, railway stations, neighbourhoods, and anything deemed necessary to rid the city of its Portuguese and British titles, and as a way to reinscribe a Hindu identity in the city. Institutionally, the project has played an important role in targeting Muslims, Christians, and other minorities: reincarnations of the Hindu Rashtra Sena and the Hindu Rashtra Dal frequently make their presence felt. I asked Upendra Parchure about his views on the direction of today’s Hindu nationalism. To my surprise he was dissatisfied with the current leadership and their national programme. He argued that today’s politicians were corrupt, and consequently they did not live up to the ideals of creating a Hindu Rashtra as articulated by Savarkar, his father, and the others involved in the Gandhi murder case. Upendra Parchure reiterated that the assassination was necessary for the betterment of the nation, to ensure that India could develop into a strong, powerful homeland for Hindus. For Upendra Parchure I was part of the future generation his father and Savarkar had hoped would serve as the messengers of Hindutva. As Vinayak I could embody the characteristics of power, strength, and masculinity inscribed in my name, and participate in the making of a Hindu Nation. As I stated at the outset, I wish the story of my name had ended many years ago and did not require such a long, unsettling journey.


Chaturvedi, Vinayak. Hindutva and Violence (pp. 548-549). State University of New York Press. Kindle Edition.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 8:02pm

#UK Home Secretary raises concerns over #immigration from #India.“I have concerns about having an open borders migration policy with India because I don’t think that’s what people voted for with Brexit” #Leicester #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ahead-of-deadline-for-fta-uk...

Speaking at the Conservative Party Annual conference this week, Ms. Braverman also made negative remarks about “new migrants”, whom she blamed for the communal riots between people of Indian and Pakistani descent in Leicester last month, and said that life in the city had been disrupted “because of failures to integrate large numbers of newcomers”.

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

Suella Braverman’s comments come just two days after Secretary for International Trade Kemi Badernoch also lowered expectations on the agreement; sources say Prime Minister Modi’s visit to London is being planned for October-end
As trade officials from India and the United Kingdom race to seal Free Trade Agreement talks (FTA) in the next couple of weeks, U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss’s new Home Secretary threw a dampener on the process on Thursday by suggesting that she would not back the deal if it involves increased immigration to the U.K.

The comments by British Home Secretary (Minister) Suella Braverman came just two days after the new U.K. Secretary for International Trade Kemi Badernoch also lowered expectations on the FTA, that is due to be announced by Deepavali (October 24), according to a deadline set by the previous U.K. government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

According to sources, officials are also working on a visit to London by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of October, contingent on the FTA negotiations being finalised to a satisfactory extent.

The FTA agreement is being touted as proof of the Modi government’s ability to negotiate global trade deals, as well as a possible shot in the arm for Ms. Truss, in the midst of an economic crisis, especially as it was Ms. Truss as International Trade Secretary who conducted the opening rounds of trade talks in 2021.

Speaking to the British magazine Spectator, Ms. Braverman, who is herself the child of Indian origin migrants, said she had “concerns” and “reservations” about the deal.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 7, 2022 at 8:29am

#US advises "increased caution" while traveling to #India due to #crime, terrorism.“Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.” https://indianexpress.com/article/world/us-citizens-increased-cauti...


“Do not travel to: The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) due to terrorism and civil unrest. Within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict,” it said.

According to the travel advisory, “Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.” The advisory said that “terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.”

“The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal as US government employees must obtain special authorisation to travel to these areas,” said the travel advisory.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 8, 2022 at 10:15am

Indian Muslim delegation meets New Jersey lawmakers for probe in Hindu supremacist bigotry - IAMC


https://iamc.com/indian-muslim-delegation-meets-new-jersey-lawmaker...

“New Jersey’s lawmakers have a duty towards their constituents to ensure that the alien hate ideology of Hindu supremacism is stopped at the state’s borders and not allowed to vitiate the peace here,” Mohammad Jawad, president of the New Jersey chapter of IAMC, said. “Every lawmaker we spoke with at Trenton fully agreed with this objective.”

The IAMC delegation informed the lawmakers of the bigoted display of a bulldozer at a parade called by the Indian Business Association (IBA), an Indian American organization, in the state’s Edison and Woodbridge cities on August 14. Initially defending the bulldozer’s float, the IBA later apologized saying it was a “blatant divisive symbol.”

“We asked the lawmakers to seek federal investigation into the links of the IBA and the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP), whose leaders were prominently present at the hate parade, with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India’s preeminent Hindu supremacist organization that is persecuting India’s religious minorities,” Jawad said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 10, 2022 at 10:31am

The CJ Werleman Show
@CJWerlemanShow
Hindu supremacists have now infiltrated every level of British society and politics - to the detriment of Muslims in UK, India, and Kashmir.

Watch #CJWS here:➡️ http://youtu.be/DsPlsFkPGYc

https://twitter.com/CJWerlemanShow/status/1579226364397293568?s=20&...

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