Hinduphobia is a smokescreen for Hindu nationalists - IAMC

Hinduphobia is a smokescreen for Hindu nationalists

(RNS) — This weekend, the Dismantling Global Hindutva: Multidisciplinary Perspectives Conference, sponsored by more than 70 departments and study centers at 53 universities, is gathering online to address the ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism. Hindutva is a growing threat to minority faith communities, oppressed caste groups as well as to academic freedom and democratic values.

The conference has been met with violent threats, litigious tactics and other attempts at intimidation from right-wing Hindu nationalist organizations. One organizer of the meeting recently got an email saying: “if this event will take place then I will become Osama bin Laden and will kill all the speakers, don’t blame me.”

We are writing as scholars of Hindu studies, founders of the Feminist Critical Hindu Studies Collective and as people of Hindu heritage to speak out in support of the conference’s aims.

Hindutva is a political movement that claims that only Hindus can be legitimate citizens of India, excluding India’s thriving Muslim, Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi communities. In South Asia, resistance to Hindutva has been led by Muslim, Dalit and feminist activists. The DGH Conference builds on the momentum of such activism.

Over the past few weeks, Hindutva-aligned organizations and individuals have been objecting to the conference, calling it a form of “Hinduphobia.” In a letter dated Aug. 19, the Hindu American Foundation asked the presidents of sponsoring universities, which include Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Rutgers University, and the University of Virginia, to withdraw their support.

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