Sangh Samachar

Why is the National HSC Scrambling to restrict access to its archives?

Last week, we had pointed to the National HSC changing the domain registration details for hscnet.org and the contact page on Hindunet in an effort to distance itself from the Sangh Parivar’s electronic infrastructure that it had set up and continues to maintain (see our Week #2 question to the National HSC). This week, we look at yet another belated and unsuccessful attempt by the National HSC to hide its ideological affinity with the Sangh Parivar.

Before the world wide web became popular in the mid-1990s, Usenet newsgroups were used for communication and sharing information. Through the early 1990s, the Hindu Students Council’s announcements and discussions were carried extensively on the Usenet newsgroup alt.hindu. GHEN/Hindunet maintains an archive of alt.hindu, and this was one piece of evidence we used in our report to establish the ideological and/or material linkages between the National HSC and the Sangh Parivar. This archive was public when our report was published, but now it requires a password for access. If one goes by the dates on Google caches of alt.hindu messages, this change happened some time in May 2007. The timing of this change coincides with changes made to the WHOIS domain registration pages of the National HSC website (we discussed these in our last week’s question to the National HSC, but there has been no response yet).

Our question to the National HSC for Week #3: Why has the National HSC password protected the alt.hindu archives? Why has it NOW sought to hide discussions that happened in the public domain in the mid-1990s?

The most plausible explanation is that the National HSC is trying to hide virulent Hindutva content in the alt.hindu archives. As we scan through the archives, we find that even as HSC chapters posted announcements about meetings and so on, National HSC leaders and other Sangh ideologues posted Hindutva propaganda including strong statements of support on the destruction of the Babri Masjid, the programs of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and VHP of America, as well as glowing tributes to Hindutva (samples). Besides, alt.hindu messages in 1994 and 1995 acknowledged HSC as being sponsored by the VHPA, even as the HSC’s history page says that in 1993, “HSC becomes an organization by itself is run independently of VHPA.”

The alt.hindu archives going back to 1994 are available on the Internet archive and an incomplete archive of the newsgroup is also available on Google Groups. We will be glad to share the archives, as a zip file, with anyone interested.

P.S. Last week, the Stanford HSC held a discussion on our report. We thank them for inviting us to the discussion, and for reading out our letter. In days to come, we will address some of the issues raised in the discussion. A video of the discussion is available here.

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