Critique of Hindu American Foundation’s Report on ‘Caste’

MEDHA EDITOR’S NOTE: In our quest to foster quality discussions & debates on serious & topical issues of the day, we look forward to your participation in the freshly ignited debate on that old perennial favorite, “Caste”

Here’s some background. Out of the blue, the HAF (Hindu American Foundation) has released what it claims to be a definitive Report (173 pages long. See below for link)  on the thorny subject of “Caste”. In one fell swoop it seems to have changed from an outwardly focused advocacy organization fighting for the rights of the micro-minority Hindus in the US, to a Global Reformer, who wishes turn it’s guns “inwards” and to reach across oceans, across time & space and take upon itself the onus of “reforming” Hinduism itself. This even to the extent of recommending censoring & ‘editing” the hoary ancient Smrtis etc!

If you think that’s a stretch, or even if you think it is appropriate, be sure to take part in the comments on at least one definitive Rebuttal of HAF’s report, right below, by our Medha Geopolitical Guru.

 


 

Critique of Hindu American Foundation’s Report on ‘Caste’

By Rajiv Malhotra

Author of: “BREAKING INDIA: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines” (January, 2011)

Chairman of Board of Governors, Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth)

Professor Emeritus, Dev Sanskriti University, Haridwar.

Special Overseas Advisor to the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha

Board Member, World Association for Vedic Studies

Founder and President of Infinity Foundation

Summary

The critique below is in response to a report on “caste” recently issued by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), “Hinduism: Not Cast in Caste” (available at http://www.hafsite.org/sites/default/files/HAFN_Caste_Report_Dec10.pdf.) The purpose of my critique is two-fold: (1) to highlight substantive defects in the content of the report and (2) to demonstrate the severe damage that has already been inflicted or will likely result as a consequence of the distribution of the report. The report threatens to undo significant progress achieved by the Hindu community in correcting derogatory misrepresentations of Hinduism in the US educational system, provides valuable ammunition to anti-Hindu groups that will seriously undermine Hindu interests worldwide, and has serious geopolitical ramifications that threaten the interference of Western bodies into internal Indian/Hindu matters. Meanwhile, it does not achieve anything constructive to improve conditions on the ground in India in any sense.

This is a grave and urgent crisis for the Hindu community and cannot be dismissed or glossed over as a philosophical or ideological disagreement. The issuance of this report has become a serious political vulnerability for the Hindu cause. This critique is written in the hopes that HAF will respond to the concerns documented herein in a constructive manner through collaboration with concerned members of the community.

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