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Hinduphobia is Real, Time to Call out Intellectual and Political Racism against Hindus

By: Ratan Sharda

Last Updated: January 26, 2022, 10:31 IST

Hindu dharma, encompassing all the belief systems born in Bharat and taking inspiration from the Vedas and Upanishads, is defined by westerners with no Dharmic background.  (AFP File Photo)

Hindu dharma, encompassing all the belief systems born in Bharat and taking inspiration from the Vedas and Upanishads, is defined by westerners with no Dharmic background. (AFP File Photo)

Institutionalisation of Hinduphobia is real. The latest attempt in the US to introduce ‘caste’ as a category for admitting Indians in universities is part of a Hinduphobia campaign.

Some years ago, the doyen of Indology in the USA, Wendy Doniger wrote a book titled ‘The Hindus – An Alternative History’. First, there has never been an authorised history of Hindus or ‘Hinduism’ a term used for Hindu philosophy, so how could there be an alternative history? An outsider who looks at ‘Hinduism’ with westerner worldview, who has been patronised by an institution that has roots in the organised church, took upon herself to define ‘Hinduism’ and then write an alternative history too! This is how, outsiders have taken control of Hindu narrative. Based on their interpretation of ‘Hinduism’, Hinduphobia is promoted.

First problem starts with defining a ‘way of life’ having various faiths and ‘sampradayas’ with very open-ended approach to search of the ultimate truth and or every possible worldview as an ‘ism’. None of the scholars have defined Christianity or Islam as an ‘ism’. But Hindu dharma is bracketed into a closed system like ‘Communism’, ‘Marxism’ and so on. All Bharatiya belief systems, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism are tagged as an ‘ism’. If we were to go by definition of a closed ideology, then Islam and Christianity, which are not open to change, evolution or reforms should be ‘Islamism’ and ‘Christianism’, not Hindu dharma.

A chapter-wise review of the abovementioned book, covering about 600 occurrences of factual errors, trivializations, and eroticization, has been meticulously developed by Vishal Agarwal, and partially by Chitra Raman. When a Hindu scholar, Dinanath Batra, went to a court for baseless and wrong interpretation of Hindu scriptures by a person whose Sanskrit is suspect and has been challenged by many Sanskrit scholars with pointed references. He was called fascist and intolerant though he did not burn Wendy’s book nor did he take out protest marches demanding ‘sar tan se juda’ (separate head from the body). The publishers and the author couldn’t respond to his objections backed by correct references and publisher agreed to pulp the book in India, not worldwide. But Batra was demonised across media. The good gentleman and Hindus were condemned as fundamentalists, intolerant and fascist.

This is how Hinduphobia is entrenched in the western academia, happily ingested by people down the food chain for better prospects in the international circuit controlled by Left and Church promoted academics. These people are identified by the highly respected public intellectual, Rajiv Malhotra, as mercenary ‘brown sepoys’ who join Wendy and her likes as pawns in this game of supremacism.

First to confront this Hinduphobia was Swami Vivekananda. His Chicago speech is a classic.

Hindu dharma, encompassing all the belief systems born in Bharat and taking inspiration from the Vedas and Upanishads is defined by westerners with no Dharmic background. They hold seminars in which they tell Hindus what is right or wrong about the scriptures and their society. They are either Westerns looking at Hindu dharma through Christian lenses or irreligious atheist Marxist lens. They don’t even call the westerners who have spent a lifetime to study and imbibe Hindu dharma or Sanatan dharma. Scholars such as David Frawley, Jeffry Armstrong or Koenraad Elst find no place in such seminars of intellectual gymnastics. Do they do it for other belief systems or religions, say Islam or Christianity? No. In their case, the interpretation or discussions are done by their scholars, not westerner “non-believers.” Do they try to write ‘alternative history of Islam and analyse it under Freudian lense’? No.


Jeffrey Kripal, Wendy Doniger’s protege, paints Ramakrishna Paramahamsa as a pedophile and Swami Vivekananda as a homosexual. In his book ‘Ganesa’, Paul Courtright, another student of Wendy, caricatured Ganesha with a trunk that is likened to a limp phallus and as one who is attracted to his mother ‘Parvati’. A senior ‘sanyasi’ of Ramkrishna Mission, Swami Tyagananda, wrote a long rejoinder refuting all the claims of the so-called scholar, Kripal. They never engaged him in a debate, nor did the book reach the academic shelves. Bindi has been academically analysed as “A drop of menstrual blood”. There are hundreds of such examples.

Swastika has been defamed and abused as being the inspiration of Hitler and Nazis. Scholars created a narrative which is now accepted broadly despite vehement counter by scholars on the other side that clearly show that Hitler and none of his top colleagues ever used the word ‘Swastika’. It was mentioned by Nazis as ‘Hagen Cruz’ or the ‘Hooked Cross’. Hindus have been abused and insulted based on this untruth and propaganda.

This is how Hinduphobia is mainstreamed as a truth. However, it is ‘Islamophobia’ that is now an institutionalised term that can be thrown at anyone who tries to even read out exact meaning of the verses in their holy book.

Genocide of Kashmiri Hindus and atrocities on them are not recognised. The ‘scholars’ controlling the research in universities do not allow any research or thesis on atrocities on Kashmiri Hindus and the aspiring researchers are told, “There was no genocide in Kashmir.”

According to evidences from the official chroniclers of Islamic invaders, Hindu holocaust over centuries was biggest holocaust in the human history. Indian historian Professor KS Lal estimates that the Hindu population in India decreased by 80 million between 1000 AD and 1525 AD, an extermination unparalleled in the world history. This slaughter of millions of people occurred over regular periods during many centuries of Arab, Afghan, Turkish and Mughal rule in India. Those who agreed to pay exploitative ‘Jiziya’ tax was allowed to live as ‘dhimmies’ or second-class citizens. Four million Indians from 1825 to 1850 and 15 million from 1875 to 1900 died of British made famines.

Pope has gone on record apologising for inquisitions and other cruelties to convert people in various countries but he has not yet shown any inclination for apologising for cruelty against Indians to convert people. Goa inquisitions are still not officially recorded because Indians have not presented their records to the world assertively.

The painful history of ‘girmitya’ or contract labour, which was nothing but a glorified name for cruel bonded labour for conscription from India for British and other imperialist colonies in Fiji, Surinam, Mauritius, Trinidad and Guyana, has never been given its due place. While atrocities against blacks and natives are reluctantly and slowly being recognised, and, rightly so, Hindus have not yet found place in this atrocity literature.

The latest attempt in the US to introduce ‘caste’ as a category for admitting Indians in their universities is part of this campaign of Hinduphobia. Prof Ved Nanda (Professor of Law for 55 years in USA, President of the Faculty Senate for two years, vice provost for Internationalisation from 1994 to 2008, has taught in 8 other Law schools) has written to California State Education trustees, “We have adequate, indeed, effective federal and state civil rights laws addressing discrimination based on national origin and its related categories [….] based on my experience of never having come cross a single case of discrimination among the faculty or students in all these universities based upon caste. Hence, adding caste as a separate category is totally redundant and could perhaps discriminate against Hindus.”

But it is an uphill struggle for Hindus to fight for self-respect.

Institutionalisation of Hinduphobia is real. Tirumurti, permanent representative of India to the UN, has rightly called out this bias against Hindus. It is time to call out this new kind of intellectual and political racism.

The writer is a well-known author and columnist. He has written seven books on RSS and done PhD on RSS. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.

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first published:January 25, 2022, 15:28 IST
last updated:January 26, 2022, 10:31 IST