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In time and age of 'Dismantling Global Hindutva', a day in the life of a Hindu on campus abroad

Author: Rashmi Samant
Publication: Firstpost.com
Date: September 11, 2021
URL:   https://www.firstpost.com/india/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-hindu-on-campus-in-the-time-and-age-of-dismantling-global-hindutva-9955851.html/amp?__twitter_impression=true&s=03

From being called 'dotheads' and 'cow piss drinkers' to being force-fed beef under the garb of a joke or by 'mistake', on-campus traumatic episodes are aplenty

Firstpost is convinced that Dismantling Global Hindutva (DGH), a three-day online conference (from Sept 10-12) planned by anonymous organisers in the US, is a partisan and politically motivated event designed to malign an ancient religion and its adherents. Through columns and reported pieces, this Firstpost series exposes why such programmes are misleading, agenda-driven, and nothing but thinly-veiled Hinduphobia.


Infinite. That is what comes to my mind when I wonder how many personal messages I have received from young Hindus all around the world detailing their harrowing experiences during their campus days.

From being called "dotheads" and "cow piss drinkers" to being force-fed beef under the garb of a joke or by "mistake", on-campus traumatic episodes are aplenty.

In the aftermath of these incidents, most young Hindus on campus put their heads down, worked harder and became successful in their chosen careers, while carrying the trauma of the Hinduphobic attacks in the deepest corners of their conscience.

These attacks are motivated by pure spite for Hindus and nothing more. I can say this with great confidence, as I myself have faced harassment and humiliation.

On 11 February, 2020, I became the first Indian woman to have been elected into the prestigious office of the President of the Oxford University Students’ Union. It was a historic election that marked the biggest voter turnout in history, and I won 53 percent of the votes despite multiple candidates in the fray.

It was also an election in which I was the only woman and a person of colour running for President. Despite winning fair and square, I was brutally attacked and trolled by a group of students on campus.

Leading the pack was a teacher who made posts about smashing Saraswati idols — and upon my resignation, a post about how "Oxford was not ready for a Sanatani President", with a photo of my parents whose faces were blackened. I was harassed and humiliated. I had to fight extremely long and hard to get some justice after the incident. The process and victory have definitely given me renewed courage to stand up for myself and others attacked in a similar fashion.

There has been a steady rise in the number of attacks with the advent of social media, which has greatly galvanised the efforts to dismantle the Hindu community. The abundance of false and widely unchecked claims about Hinduism, coupled with the lack of substantive repercussions of these attacks, has only exacerbated the wounds.

At my university, one hall served dessert, which had a beef ingredient, to Hindu students during the Diwali dinner that it organised in 2020 — and got away with it by issuing a mildly diplomatic statement that did not sound like a proper apology. The "mistake" simply would not have happened had the festival been an Abrahamic one.

Not too long ago I came across a poster of a conference being organised with the help of some university departments in the West that sought to "Dismantle Global Hindutva". The visuals on the publicity material for the event were violent and showed Hindu men being attacked with a crowbar.

Surprisingly, this act of race-hate crime has been afforded the luxury of academic freedom by certain cabals, which otherwise resort to brutal cancelling of any life form, living or dead, that seeks to academically disagree with or present an alternative opinion within the frameworks of the very "free discourse" they claim to champion.

The rhetoric is colonial, hypocritical and incoherent to the extent that it contradicts itself in the very same breath. They speak of Hindu gods and practices in derogatory terms on the basis of their colonial understanding of the religion, and when their claims are debunked with facts, they claim victimhood by accusing the Indian government of attempting to gag their academic freedom.

The modus operandi is the same with abuse and misinformation about Hindus being spread under the garb of criticising the Indian government in power.

On day one, the conference unanimously decided to "Dismantle Hinduism as a religion to cure it of its affliction". To me, it surely sounds like colonisers reciting the edict to destroy an indigenous faith. Now we know why Hindus are the last surviving ancient civilization.

The colonisers got to the others first. Now they are onto us.

But the edicts of the oldest surviving religion says:

श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुण: परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् |
स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेय: परधर्मो भयावह: ||

It is better to strive in one’s own dharma than to interfere in the dharma of another. Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma. But competition with another’s dharma is borne of fear and insecurity in one’s own way of life.

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम्।।

Whenever evil (adharma) becomes dominant in society, it will inspire a wave of righteousness (dharma) that will restore true liberty in the society.

The dismantlers of "Global Hindutva" can definitely take a few lessons from this.

Rashmi Samant is the first Indian woman to have been elected President of the Oxford University Student Union. Views expressed by the author are personal.
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