Unmasking Hindutva – By Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed
Social science academics associated with American and European universities organised a three-day online conference titled “Dismantling Global Hindutva” from September 10 to 12…. As soon as the announcement pertaining to the conference was made sometime in August, the organisers and the invited speakers were threatened, trolled and intimidated on social media…. Niraj Antani, a Republican State Senator from Ohio, condemned the conference, terming it as “Hinduphobia”. In India, the event attracted massive opposition, with several media outlets taking the lead in campaigning against it.
The speakers acknowledged the “bravery” and “fortitude” of the organisers in staying the course and proceeding with the conference. The conference had nine thematic sessions with 45 speakers (including the moderators)…. A handful of Indian activists, who were subjected to virulent online attacks, including death threats, also spoke at the conference. The organisers deserve to be congratulated because it is hard to imagine an academic event that rigorously interrogates the idea of Hindutva taking place in India with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in government at the Centre.
The historian Gyan Prakash, in his opening statement, said Hindutva, which he characterised as “anti-democratic and anti-intellectual”, was the “de facto ideology of the ruling regime in India” and that it “seeks to alter the constitutional order”. Prakash stated that the concerted attacks in the U.S. and India on the basis of “false characterisation of the conference as anti-Hindu” was because “the Hindutva ego is fragile”….