Rakesh Bahadur’s Analysis of HAF Report

7. HAF Caste Report and Unanswered Questions (21st February 2011)


Find attached a list of questions asked by people on the HAF report. These questions are compiled from different email threads and also input provided by friends. These questions will illustrate the reasons for disagreement on the report. The list of questions is long. In the Hindu tradition the list is cut at 51 (an odd number).

Key Questions

  1. What were HAF’s gains by writing this controversial report which has put Hindus against Hindus? Were the benefits worth the divide amongst Hindus?
  2. Why the process of writing the original report and its revisions are done in utmost secrecy with no transparency? This report is done by an advocacy group to better represent its constituency.
  3. Why Hindu community is being kept in dark about the names of the authors, reviewers, and table of content of the revised report?
  4. HAF board of directors, members and author of the report are American citizens, what authority do they have over domestic policy issues of India?
  5. Has HAF analyzed why this report (as part of its advocacy) is generating questions instead of answering them?
  6. Why HAF is not complying with the request of DharmAchAryas and maThAdhipathis like swAmiji DayAnanda saraswati, Sri PraNava PAndya of Gayathri pariwar, Sri Puthige swamiji, Sri Pejawar Swamji of Udupi, and Swamiji Ramdev?
  7. What are the verified and verifiable sources of information in this report?

Purpose

  1. What is the purpose of the report and its target audience? The real information, not the one available on the FAQ on the website.
  2. Why is HAF taking up the social issues of India in international forums?
  3. Are Indian government and the constitution not dealing with the issues there or not aware of crime in India?
  4. Why a report on caste? Why not do a report on impacts of affirmative action in India?
  5. What is the intent of HAF for bringing out this issue in American media (Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Hinduism Today) before giving opportunity for Hindu community in USA to review its report?
  6. Why HAF report does not talk about caste in present tense. Why everything is in past tense?

Definitions

  1. Why does HAF have to define Varna and Jaati the way anti-Hindus and non-Hindus have done it?
  2. What is HAF’s definition of Human Rights violation? Human Rights violation is generally meant if the government of the country is targeting/ discriminating against a specific group of its citizen.
  3. What about the reverse caste discrimination?
  4. The term “Scheduled Caste” became part of English lexicon in 1935. There was no entity/ individuals/group known as SC before 1935. Then why HAF is going backward in time?

Audience

  1. Is HAF planning to go to UN or US Congress with this report?
  2. What does HAF expect from them? Advocacy should always want something in return for its constituency (Hindus).

Authors and Endorsers

  1. Who are the real authors? (Hard to believe that Mihir, Pawan and Swaminathan wrote it, considering their over busy schedules).
  2. Why take help/endorsement from groups like Navya Shastra?
  3. Why use reference cases from Dalit Freedom Network and Indian Social Institute to prove human right violations?
  4. Why not take from currently available statistics on crime from the government departments and report total crime rate?
  5. Did the people who endorsed the report have seen the entire report for a few days before they wrote the endorsement?
  6. Why HAF let Kalavai go?
  7. Is Krishnan Ramaswamy still involved with re-writing the report?
  8. What is official position/responsibility of Vishal in HAF? He is not listed as one of the authors but answers majority of the questions.
  9. Why it is impossible for HAF to share the names of the authors and table of contents for the revised/rewritten report?
  10. Why scholars like Dr. N. S. Rajaram withdrew their endorsement of the report, once the report was available publicly?

Rejection and Reanalysis of Scriptures

  1. Advocacy means supporting the core constituencies beliefs and not attacking them. Why HAF is advocating reanalysis and rejection of scriptures?
  2. Does HAF want to replace ancient time tested Dharmshastras with Navyashastras?
  3. Why not listen to the Acharyas? Acharyas represents the institutions, defying them means defying the basic foundation on which Hinduism is built.
  4. Why defend Ramesh Rao after he insulted Ramayana? Individuals have the right to express their opinions. But HAF, being a Hindu advocacy organization, shouldn’t defend the act of insulting Ramayana.
  5. When crimes and Human Rights violations are occurring now, then what is the point of rejecting scriptures? Should not it be the Constitution of India?

Negative Impact on Future Generations

  1. What kind of requirement analysis or consequence analysis was performed by HAF?
  2. What negative impacts will be on Hindus and Hinduism in India, UK, and USA? Students will feel guilty about their religious identity and public display about their beliefs and traditions. Is this what HAF want? Even if the Dedication is completely removed, the total impact of the report will devastate and overwhelm Hindu students who are already being mocked and caricatured. Does HAF want them to be persecuted in the presence of their peers?
  3. Why HAF is spending resources on a topic which has no relevance in USA? There are plenty of issues facing Hindus in USA e.g. textbooks, SOLS, CFS , discrimination in jobs, … etc.

Damage Control

  1. Why HAF did not agree for Subash Razdan to lead the dialogue between HAF and critics of report?  (Subash offered, Critics accepted his leadership, HAF did not accept his help)
  2. Why HAF is seeking survey only from select people? Why people on HAF’s bulletin distribution list, members, donors, fundraisers and supporters are not asked to respond to the survey?
  3. Why HAF is treating it like a political campaign?  Why HAF is asking people who may review to sign/agree with some legal language non disclosure?
  4. Will HAF provide, before its publication, the entire report to Acharyas’ and others (scholars, critics) for constructive comments?
  5. Why is HAF allowing initiation of discussion on its report at RISA?

Miscellaneous

  1. Why not a Human Rights violation report about Kashmiri Pandits? Why not report terrorist acts victimization of Hindus in their own country and the government inaction. Is this not human rights violation?
  2. Why HAF is the report  silent on discrimination by Govt. of India taking control over Hindu temples only? Other religions are free to practice and maintain their worship places. Freedom of religion is a fundamental right which encompasses maintaining worship workplaces too.
  3. What actions has HAF taken when the American visa was denied to Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi? If not, why not? Was that not advocacy for Hindus in USA?

Organizational

  1. If HAF is membership driven organization then why members are informed about any elections or seek for nominations?
  2. Why HAF does not send annual audited financial report to its current and potential members, donors, fund raisers, …..? Why not on HAF web site?
  3. What is the constitution and by-laws of HAF at the time of registration? When and what changes were made and why?

Next Steps

  1. After this what will be the next issue- Indian political system? Where does HAF’s responsibility begin and end?
  2. Why would an advocacy group fights with its own base (Hindu community)?
  3. What, if anything, will happen to Hindus if HAF does not finalize and produce this report on caste?

 

NOTES :

[1]http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/india/news/article_1355133.php/Apex_court_frowns_at_expanding_backward_castes_list

[2] http://www.hindustantimes.com/CM-supports-Jats-OBC-demand/Article1-557653.aspx

[3] http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20101223/main1.htm

[4] http://indiacurrentaffairs.org/sc-st-obc-officers-in-iasipsifs/

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