Kalavai denounces Hindu American Foundation Report

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An ardent Hindu denounces the HAF report on caste

You are by now familiar with the ill-conceived report on caste by HAF. The report received a lot of criticism as soon as it was released due to the following reasons:

  1. The report is blatantly anti-Hindu and is full of factual errors.
  2. It repeats the Christian missionary and Marxist propaganda.
  3. It perverts our sacred bhakti traditions and scriptures in a shocking manner.
  4. The HAF has reversed its own earlier stance during the CA textbook lawsuit.
  5. The report is endorsed, and was likely influenced, by white Christian academics that have openly declared that while caste is a Hindu problem the solution should come from other religions too. This is what missionaries have always urged. Now the HAF is agreeing with missionaries.

The HAF claimed that many Hindu swamijis have endorsed the report. But when the contents of the report were shown to the swamijis they were shocked and many of them issued directives asking the HAF to withdraw the report. I do not know why the HAF tried to manipulate our swamijis in the first place.

The HAF reached out to Vishal Agarwal, Krishnan Ramaswamy, and me to provide revisions. I understand that they reached out to a few others as well. I do not have organizational affiliations. My interest is dharma. So, I will work with any organization for the sake of dharma. In this case, since it was important to correct the report, I volunteered to revise it. I made it clear that the report requires substantive changes. Vishal, Krishnan, and I highlighted in red all sections of the report that needed revision effectively turning the report red.

A few days into the process, the HAF informed me that they are only looking for cosmetic changes and not anything substantive. I have been insistent from the very beginning that any discussion on caste discrimination should be factual and should contrast Hindu achievements with the rampant apartheid prevalent in American churches and Christian terrorism since no one has done more than Hindus to correct social inequities. The HAF informed that they will not allow any criticism of the white Christian establishments in this report. The HAF also issued a news item in the news media insulting our swamijis. These were unacceptable to me. I refused to provide any further edits to the report.

I am currently writing a critique of the HAF report. My critique will be titled, “Caste: a HAF-baked lamentation.” It will be released soon and will show why this report is harmful to Hindus. It is with a lot of sadness that I am writing this critique as it is directed at the HAF which has served Hinduism well in the past but has failed us this time. [Editor’s Note: This critique is now published HERE]

It is imperative that Hindus publicly dissociate themselves from this report so that the report cannot harm Hindu interests. An open dissociation will preclude HAF from claiming to be a representative of Hindus on the issue of caste. I do not know what compulsions made:

  1. The HAF to partner with anti-Hindu organizations such as Navyashastra to issue this report. Navyashastra has disseminated the call to burn the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and to have a UN tribunal put Hinduism on trial.
  2. The Human Rights Coordinator of the HAF to declare that the Ramayana is a racist narrative.
  3. The HAF repeat anti-Hindu propaganda by Christian missionaries as if they are facts.

The HAF has been secretive about their purpose in releasing this report. I presume that one of the intended purposes is to get the HAF an admission into one of the human rights bodies of the US State department. The HAF cannot sacrifice larger Hindu interests just to get themselves into a human rights body. If taking an anti-Hindu position is a precondition to enter these bodies, Hindu organizations should stay away from those bodies.

Many Hindus in India have raised a valid question, echoing the famous lines of Subrahmanya Bharati: “What right do these foreigners have to interfere into our affairs?” I second that. The HAF is an American organization. They refuse to talk about egregious religious apartheid and segregation in the American churches which are neatly divided into black, white, Hispanic, and Chinese churches. But they are eager to portray Hinduism negatively and to pontificate to Indians.

It is also very shameful that the HAF should, willingly or otherwise, end up as an instrument of the US State department and its agencies that are set to evangelize India.
It is with sadness that I denounce this report publicly. I hope the HAF will make amends. I hope Krishnan and Vishal will continue to provide revisions and that the HAF will incorporate those.

The HAF created this problem. They have to now solve it. This is also a wakeup call for other Hindus to found organizations that would represent them without sacrificing the Hindu interests.


Kalavai Venkat

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