We request you to take immediate action to prevent vilification and intimidation of students, faculty of Hindu heritage as well as those of Indian origin under the guise of an event titled, “Dismantling Hindutva,” supposedly cosponsored by your institution. The word Hindutva, as defined by the Supreme Court of India (Ramesh Yeshwant Prabhoo case [1996 SCC (1) 130]) means:
“The words ‘Hinduism’ or ‘Hindutva’ are not necessarily to be understood and construed narrowly, confined only to the strict Hindu religious practices unrelated to the culture and ethos of the people of India, depicting the way of life of the Indian people.”
“Considering the terms ‘Hinduism’ or ‘Hindutva’ per se as depicting hostility, enmity or intolerance towards other religious faiths or professing communalism, proceeds form an improper appreciation and perception of the true meaning of these expressions emerging from the detailed discussion in earlier judgments of this court. Misuse of these expressions to promote communalism cannot alter the true meaning of these terms. The mischief resulting from the misuse of the terms by anyone in his speech has to be checked and not its permissible use.”
“It is a fallacy and an error of law to proceed on the assumption that any reference to Hindutva or Hinduism in a speech makes it automatically a speech based on the Hindu religion as opposed to other religions or that the use of words ‘Hindutva’ or ‘Hinduism’ per se depicts an attitude hostile to all persons practising any religion other than the Hindu religion.”
We believe that this event is being timed to take attention away from the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan and the larger region. At a time when many Hindus in America are working hard to address the issue of persecuted religious minorities, facing an existential threat in Afghanistan, this event targeting Hindus is aimed to distract from the critical humanitarian work that is the need of the hour.
American Hindus are also focused on highlighting the plight of Hindu girls in Sindh, Pakistan. For decades, on an average, three girls a day, some as young as 12-years of age are abducted, forcibly converted and married off to Muslim men decades older than them. This campaign named CHINGARI, Coalition for Hindu Girls Abducted and their Rights has been gaining tremendous momentum. We believe that many of the organizers of “Dismantling Hindutva” are aligned with the perpetrators of these heinous acts and their enablers, who want to divert the attention from increasing awareness about this human rights issue.
We expect that your institution will immediately disassociate itself from this event and reassure the Hindu students, faculty and staff that your institution is a safe space for all religious minorities.