We must stand up
We cannot be apologists for hate
(Let us not “stand down.”)
We must stand up.
Last weekend, in Chicago, the World Hindu Congress opened its second annual conference to celebrate Hinduism. A grand gesture, by all means, but especially jarring in times like ours. The event’s attendees included speakers like Mohan Bhagwat, a chair of the Indian right-wing, militant group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which squarely dominates the public and private spheres of Indian political life. Bhagwat’s address apparently elicited “tremendous applause.” As part of that speech, Bhagwat was emphatic that Hindu society control its pests. It was evident to the audience he was referring indirectly to human beings.
There is also an account of mob-like outrage against peaceful protesters who attended the events. See that here.
Another attendee of note was Indian-American Congressman, Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-08), Illinois. Because, wow, really?
Indian newspaper, The Hindu, published his comments at the conference. It’s difficult to see why he would attend at a time when India’s ruling political party, the BJP, clearly well-represented at WHC, reigns supreme in practically every realm of Indian life at the moment, demonstrating it is clearly beyond the pale. (I wrote more on it here.) More from an activist group taking on the WHC (kudos!) here.
As good Hindus, I contend we not support the World Hindu Congress (WHC) as long as they side closely and unapologetically with the RSS and the BJP. WHC’s positions are untenable, morally compromised and unacceptable in our current climate.
Last, and by no means least, I just helped finish a film with the human rights group Ensaaf on the violence Congress Party policies in Punjab created, in the aftermath of the 1984 pograms against Sikhs.
That film, “Our Family’s Execution,” 30 minutes long, follows. We need to connect the dots. What happened then could happen again. It affects us all — each and every one of us. Hope you’ll watch, distribute, act. Thanks.