In our report, Lying Religiously (LyR): The Hindu Students Council and the politics of deception, we have documented in detail the links between the HSC and the Sangh Parivar. We have relied primarily on sources internal to the Sangh Parivar so as to ensure that the evidentiary basis of the conclusions drawn is of the highest standards. This week, we look at contradictory claims made by the HSC and the VHP of America about their relationship.
The National HSC claims to be independent of the Sangh Parivar. The facts page on the National HSC website says:
When HSC was started in 1990 by few students, they got very little support from adults in the Indian-American community. There was no national Indian/Hindu organization that could provide HSC with resources like intellectual speakers/Swamijis, books, etc. The only non-sectarian Indian organization with a pan-American presence that offered to help them was the VHP-America (VHPA). The leaders and members of the VHPA offered to support HSC as a project, helping HSC with resources like speakers/swamijis, books, etc. Once HSC was started up, it become an independently run organization within 3 years, in 1993.
However, this is contradicted even by HSC’s own statements. Last week, we presented as evidence two sources:
- A HSC announcement in 1994 for the Yuva 94 conference which included the admission that HSC is sponsored by the VHPA.
- A HSC announcement in 1995 for the Northeast Regional Youth Conference which also admitted that HSC is sponsored by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America and requested applicants to Please make checks payable to VHPA.
Despite all disavowals by the National HSC leadership about their relationship to the Sangh Parivar, the VHP of America has repeatedly, and most recently in 2003, said that the HSC was its project. Here is an extract from an archived VHPA page from 2003:
The programs and projects are defined by the local community needs within the broad framework of the Parishad mission. The ongoing projects are: Hindu Student Council: It is the youth wing of VHPA functioning in 50 universities and colleges in the USA.
Given the official HSC position that it severed all links with VHPA in 1993, this amounts to a minimum of ten years of deception. Does the National HSC deny that this link existed at least until 2003 officially? The VHPA website still lists the HSC as an Organizational Component that it facilitates and promotes. Is the VHPA website based on inaccuracies and outdated information?
Our question to the National HSC for Week #4: How does the National HSC explain such links with the VHPA, years after it claimed to have become an independently run organization?
More recently, in Fall 2004, a core team with representatives from both Hindu Students Council and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh joined in spirit, strength, and resources to coordinate the Midwest Hindu Youth Retreat in Illinois. Again, in Fall 2005, the HSC of Florida Institute of Technology and the HSS jointly conducted a Yuva Sangam. One of the themes of the conference was to promote Hindutva.
CSFH continues to urge all concerned individuals and groups to engage in a substantive public discussion on the issues we have raised in our LyR report. Such open discussions are important within the South Asian community, especially among Indian-American youth, who we believe have been deceived by the National HSC leadership. It is incumbent upon all HSC chapters to begin sorting out the truth from the lies by asking the National HSC leadership to respond to the concrete challenge we have raised above and not produce random distractions.
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.
Last week (05/26/07), the Campaign to Stop funding Hate had promised one question every week for the National HSC to respond to. The first question read: Why did the National HSC build the Sangh Parivar’s Global Internet infrastructure and why does it continue to maintain it? As evidence, CSFH had presented material from Lying Religiously in the form of an IP Map.
CSFH had noted that apart from sharing contiguous IP addresses, several important Sangh websites, including those of the RSS, HSS, VHP, VHP-America and ABVP list
Hindunet Inc as the Admin Organization and/or Ajay Shah (the first president of the HSC) as the Admin Name. And the copyright notice on Hindunet says: Please note that entire collection of GHEN websites is copyrighted 1989-1999, Global Hindu Electronic Networks, Hindu Students Council.
CSFH’s question to the National HSC for Week #2: Why has the National HSC NOW changed the Admin information for hscnet.org and also changed the contact page on Hindunet? Does it believe that by changing the admin/contact information NOW, the chapter level membership will fail to see the connections between the National HSC and the RSS? Why is it continuing on this path of further deceit and deception?
Read the full question here
Six weeks after the CSFH report — Lying Religiously (LyR) — was published with conclusive evidence that the National HSC was part of the RSS family of organizations (Sangh Parivar), the National HSC has failed to refute even a single piece of evidence in our report. Far from providing any substantive counter evidence or argument, officers of the National HSC have resorted to ad-hominems against the CSFH collective.
This strategy is not new. It is typical of the Sangh Parivar. The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate has done investigative work on the Sangh since 2002. In our first report, The Foreign Exchange of Hate, which exposed the flow of dollars from the US to the RSS in India, we used a similar structure of evidence as the current report on the HSCs — a majority of the evidentiary documents were drawn from the Sangh itself. In response, the Sangh Parivar attacked the collective and NOT the report, just like the National HSC leadership has done now. Our response from 2003, entitled Deceit as a Core Value: The RSS Method, is archived here. We urge all HSC members and the Indian-American community at large to take careful note of this pattern — when completely unable to deal with the evidence against it, the Sangh resorts to ad-hominem attacks against its opponents.
In our two earlier press releases, we pulled out evidence from our report and framed it in a simple and easy to understand format and challenged the national HSC to refute the evidence. They have failed to do so in both their press releases. Do we take the national HSC’s silence on the issue as its inability to deny its close links with the Sangh Parivar?
In our effort to keep the focus on the substantive evidence presented in the LyR report, CSFH will in the next 12 weeks send out one question every week to the national HSC leadership with a single issue or piece of evidence for them to respond to. Our reason for this is simple: we want to make absolutely clear to every reader –- and especially, every HSC member past and present — that the National HSC has been deceptive about its connections with the RSS family and its only strategy is to distract from the evidence presented in the report.
Week #1: Why did the National HSC build the Sangh Parivar’s Global Internet infrastructure and why does it continue to maintain it?
In our report, we have documented how the National HSC has built and continues to maintain the Sangh’s Global Internet infrastructure. The evidentiary source for the IP Map is a neutral site, DomainTools. The IP Map is probably the most damning piece of evidence against the National HSC that establishes deep, systematic and undeniable links to the rest of the Sangh Parivar. It is not an incidental set of connections, but a deliberate and carefully built infrastructure. The National HSC has of course remained silent on this. However, some concerned HSC chapter members have written to us directly asking questions. The most often repeated question is whether the IP map shows anything more than some electronic links, and this needs further explanation.
Allow us to explain in some detail: Every machine on the Internet has a unique IP address that reads something like: 22.214.171.124, that is, four numbers separated by periods. Each set of numbers in an IP address that is separated by periods is called an octet (because it is represented in the binary form by a set of eight zeros and ones). Thus an IP address is made up of four octets. For brevity, we will represent an IP address as A.B.C.D where A,B,C and D represent numerical values and are each an octet. How the octet pattern is arranged says a lot about the organization that is using an IP address. For instance, a large network like AT& T will typically have an octet structure where every single machine that it owns on the internet will share the exact same value in the first octet. That is, all of AT&T’s computers on the internet share the same first octet. Such addresses with a common first octet are called Class A addresses.
So also, a large to medium size business could ask for a Class B address where the first two octets (in our scheme, A and B of the A.B.C.D structure) are common for every machine it has on the internet anywhere in the world. Many MNCs have Class B addresses. Finally, smaller organizations could seek and be allotted a Class C address where the first three octets – A, B and C are fixed. Every machine they have on the internet will then have the first three octets repeated and the last octet will change. This is the case for most of the Sangh Parivar organizations hosted by the HSC — they share the first three octets and have CONTIGUOUS fourth octet (as in, say 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52). Furthermore, most of these websites, including those of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (184.108.40.206), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (220.127.116.11), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (18.104.22.168), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (22.214.171.124), India Development and Relief Fund (126.96.36.199), Sewa International (188.8.131.52), Organiser (184.108.40.206) and Akhil Bharthiya Vidyarthi Parishad (220.127.116.11) list Hindunet Inc as the Admin Organization and/or Ajay Shah (the first president of the HSC) as the Admin Name. And the copyright notice on Hindunet says: Please note that entire collection of GHEN websites is copyrighted 1989-1999, Global Hindu Electronic Networks, Hindu Students Council.
In short, the HSC supports the electronic infrastructure of the Sangh Parivar. There is no way for all this to be an accident or a coincidence. In other words, there is no other explanation for this phenomenon but the fact that the national HSC, under the leadership of Ajay Shah, was given this task by the Sangh which they executed faithfully. (For a brief organizational overview of the Sangh Parivar, see here).
CSFH continues to urge all concerned individuals and groups to engage in a substantive public discussion on the issues we have raised in our LyR report. Such open discussions are important within the South Asian community, especially among Indian-American youth, who have been deceived by the National HSC leadership. It is incumbent upon all HSC chapters to begin sorting out the truth from the lies by asking the National HSC leadership to respond to the concrete challenge we have raised above and not produce random distractions.
Organized Religion is like Organized Crime; it preys on peoples’ weakness, generates huge profits for its operators, and is almost impossible to eradicate — Mike Hermann
Earlier this month, CNN-IBN came out with spectacular exposes on money laundering by Hindu godmen. The culprits included Ram Vilas Vedanti (or more respectfully, Vedanti Maharaj), Guruvayur Surya Nambudiri and Kapil Advait (alias Pilot Baba)
- Vedanti is a former chairman of the Ramjanmabhoomi Trust, a former BJP MP, and a star campaigner for the BJP in the recent elections in Uttar Pradesh (where it suffered a humiliating defeat).
- Surya Nambudiri (also spelled Namboodiri) is apparently famous for making prophecies — what’s a godman without the power to prophecy — and after a tough bargain, agrees to turn 100 million of black money into white money for a 15% commission. Not surprisingly, he couldn’t foretell his own future.
- Kapil Advait is a former wing commander-turned-godman, engaged in money laundering for commissions ranging from 20% to 50%.
As expected, the Sangh Parivar jumped to the godmen’s defense. The BJP spokesperson said:
The names that your channel has discussed are all respectable people. I am not sure how authentic this sting operation is.
And the VHP Vice-President Giriraj Kishore said:
What is the purpose behind a sting operation? And why are Hindus always maligned?
Confused? Here’s the train of thought: VHP (and the Sangh Parivar) represents all Hindus, the exposed godmen are sympathetic to the Sangh Parivar, so an expose of their fraudulent activities is equivalent to maligning all Hindus. Besides, as Swami Nirliptananda, Secretary of the London Sevashram Sangha and a member of the Hindu Forum of Britain’s Spiritual Body Commission, recently observed:
Even among human beings, saintly people occupy a different status from others.
According to former income tax commissioner Vishwabandhu Gupta:
[This is] a fit case for criminal proceedings. Two of the biggest religion mafias are the Ram Janmanbhoomi Nyas and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad amongst the Hindus. They have 10 bogus trusts floated from the same address. The names are there (in our record) and so are the addresses. They are getting money from 50 countries abroad and are also getting tax exemptions. There are no accounts as well. You see, this is a big menace. We have calculated and found that religious leaders annually earn $3 billion which is about Rs 10,000 crore -Rs 15,000 crore worth of money. What they do is they get land at throwaway prices. During the last government, 11 including that Sadhvi Ritambhara – whatever her qualifications are – got a fantastic (sic) piece of land at a throwaway price for the services that she heads today. There have fraudulent names, addresses, existences and expenditures. They use it for spreading communal hatred. Money has been used by Bajrang Dal cadres in Gujarat to purchase Motorola, we have got receipts for that.
For instance, the RSS does not have FCRA clearance and cannot directly accept foreign donations, so has created service wings like the Sewa International and Sewa Bharati which have FCRA clearance. The RSS’s fundraising fronts abroad — IDRF, SewaUSA, VHP of America, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Sewa International UK, Hindu Forum of Britain etc. — divert funds to the RSS through Sewa Bharati and Sewa International. Given the Sangh Parivar’s access to state power and propensity to violence, its brand of fundamentalism poses the biggest danger to a pluralistic India, but the role of Christian fundamentalist groups like World Vision (which apparently disbursed 95 crores in India last year) cannot be glossed over either.
After the tsunami, when the Sangh fundraising effort was in full gear (Sewausa.org came into being a couple of days after the tsunami), CSFH sent out cautionary notes advising against donating to Sangh organizations such as IDRF, HSS, VHPA and Sewa International.
If donors are interested in ensuring that (a) all people affected by the tsunami receive relief and rehabilitation support, irrespective of their particular caste, religion or cultural affiliation, and that (b) relief and rehabilitation work is not used to create long-term divisions and animosity by manipulating communities already made vulnerable by this catastrophe, THEN giving money to sectarian organizations such as the RSS would indeed be a very bad idea.
The latest issue of the Sangh mouthpiece Organiser provides an instance of the Sangh peddling an ideology of hate in tsunami-affected Kanyakumari. The report is titled: Seva Bharathi new building in Kanyakumari inaugurated, but starts with: New building sponsored by Bharat Vikas Parishad. Confused? The title and the introductory line seem to contradict each other about the building’s sponsor, but not quite. Both Sewa Bharati and Bharat Vikas Parishad are members of the Sangh family:
- Sevadisha, the Sangh’s catalogue of its various service projects includes Bharat Vikas Parishad, and the RSS website lists BVP as a Sangh-inspired organization. IDRF also lists BVP as a sister organization.
- Sewa Bharati is the service wing of the Sangh and was inaugurated in 1979 by Balasaheb Deoras, the then supremo of the RSS (see p141, The Brotherhood in Saffron, by Walter Anderson and Shridhar Damle). For a short profile, see Sewa Bharati: Hindu Consolidation at Any Cost
At the local level, Sewa Bharati / Bharat Vikas Parishad and the Sangh merge into one. So, for all practical purposes, it’s the RSS that sponsored the building. Lets get back to the Organiser report:
New building sponsored by Bharat Vikas Parishad at Pazhathottam near Kanyakumari was inaugurated on 25-3-2007 at Guruji Nivas premises, Pazhathottam near Kanyakumari.
The Guruji referred to above is none other than MS Golwalkar, the second and longest ruling supremo of the RSS, and the man who made it acceptable for hate-filled bigots to kill in the name of Hinduism and the ‘purity’ of the so-called Hindu nation, while continually undermining India’s tradition of religious and cultural syncretism. Any RSS project includes an indoctrination component, and this project in Kanyakumari is no exception.
The inaugural function was held in the presence of Shri Surya Narayana Raoji.
An Organiser article dated May 4, 1997 refers to Surya Narayana Rao as a Seva Pramukh of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Rao also finds mention in more recent Sewa international newsletters (see here and here), so he is obviously an active RSS leader.
What do we have so far? An RSS project inaugurated in the presence of an RSS leader at a building named after an RSS supremo. The report then goes on to list several Sewa Bharati dignitaries that graced the occasion.
What’s most significant, but left unsaid in this report, is that a substantial portion of the money required for such projects is raised by the Sangh’s fundraising fronts abroad — IDRF & SewaUSA in the United States and Sewa International UK in Britain. When IDRF et al report back to their donors, don’t expect the same level of detail as the Organiser report; they would much rather have you believe that Sewa Bharati, Bharat Vikas Parishad etc. are independent NGOs (with no sectarian affiliations).
Stop Funding Hate! Spread the word about IDRF and SewaUSA.
The HSC press release of April 20, 2007 is a classic instance of shooting from the hip. Four days had passed since the release of the report, Lying Religiously: The Hindu Students Council and the Politics of Deception (LyR), and one could only remain silent for so long! But how do you react when the evidence is stacked against you? Shoot from the hip, seems to have been the advice from the VHPA head-honchos, for that’s what the HSC has done.
The HSC PR starts by misusing three adjectives: inaccurate, misleading, anonymous.
- If the LyR report was inaccurate/misleading, how about at least one refutation of the core claims?
- CSFH has been around since November 2002, I can’t see how this squares with the HSC’s understanding of anonymous.
Next, the PR asserts that LyR‘s claim that the HSC has been deceiving its members about its activities is erroneous, but don’t hold your breath for the HSC to substantiate its assertion. Proof by assertion, with a liberal dose of ad hominem, has served the Sangh well all these years, and the HSC has taken the same route.
The PR also claims that LyR is a mix of outdated information (some of which is 15 years old and presented as currently accurate) and inaccurate claims. LyR is a longitudinal study starting from the early 1990s and going all the way up to 2007.
By adopting this longitudinal strategy, two objectives are accomplished: (1) making it impossible for HSC to claim that the connections were merely in the past and not in the contemporary moment; and (2) making visible the specific nature of HSC strategy to cynically reveal or conceal its links to the Sangh Parivar as a way to expand its organizational base with incoming students on campus and to cement infrastructural connections with the Sangh.
Perhaps the Sanghis don’t know the difference between outdated information and a longitudinal study? However, as anyone that has dealt with them knows, such ignorance is willful.
After a banal paragraph comes this juicy bit, reproduced below in full:
HSC members are encouraged to reach out to a wide variety of organizations in the United States that share an interest in promoting a stronger, more educated Hindu community. Such organizations include the Art of Living, BAPS, Chinmaya Mission, Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, the Gayatri Parivar, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, International Society of Krishna Consciousness, the Vedanta Society, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, and various Hindu temples and ashrams.
The HSS acknowledges that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [is] the parent body of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the RSS acknowledges that [outside India], Sangh’s full name is Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh. As for the VHP of America, the VHP acknowledges that “[t]here are VHP Units, registered under its name according to the laws of the respective countries, in USA, U.K” and lists VHP of America as one such unit. In short, the evidentiary loop between the HSS, VHPA and the RSS is complete. As per its own press release, the HSC encourages its members to reach out to … the RSS! Now, the HSC could justifiably claim that the information here is dated (for it depends on an almost week-old HSC press release), but you get the point, don’t you?
As for the HSC’s rant about the timing of LyR’s release, LyR was released on April 15, a day before the tragic Virginia Tech shooting. I quote below CSFH’s fitting response to HSC’s hypocrisy.
The HSC National leadership accuses CSFH of insensitivity in launching such a campaign at a moment when they are busy offering solidarity to the Virginia Tech HSC chapter after the tragic events of April 16. We find this diversionary tactic most hypocritical, for the HSC has stood by in stony silence after each riot carried out by its sister organizations in India. In 1993, the HSC rationalized and celebrated the destruction of the Babri mosque (and the anti-Muslim violence that followed) as “the beginning of the new age of Hindu Renaissance, a new Hindu Revolution”. Again, after the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, the National HSC promptly (and rightly) called for apprehending the perpetrators of the Godhra carnage, but was understandably silent about justice for the families of the more than 2000 Muslims massacred in what was probably the worst carnage since 1947. In fact, in the post-genocide days, the National HSC was busy oiling the machinery of the Sangh’s global propaganda network (by maintaining the electronic infrastructure of the Sangh). Is the National HSC not complicit in the cover up that has ensued since 2002?
The Sangh is known to profit from disasters — natural or man-made — and the HSC’s attempt to hide behind the Virginia Tech shooting is just another manifestation of its crassly instrumental use of human tragedy. Will the HSC leadership dig its own grave and stand exposed to its rank-and-file? Only time can tell. But until then, lets do our bit and try get the individual HSC chapters dissociate from the national HSC (that’s under the supervision of the VHPA’s Youth Programs Coordinator).
On Sunday, April 15, 2007, the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH) released a 65-page new report titled Lying Religiously: The Hindu Students Council and the Politics of Deception, (LyR) that comprehensively documented the links between the North American campus based organization, the Hindu Student Council (HSC) and the ultra-right, violent, Hindu chauvinist network of organizations in India-the Sangh Parivar. The report was released at the “2007 Organizing Youth (OY!) Conference” held in NYC from April 13-15 and was enthusiastically received by South Asian American youth at the OY conference.
In its response to the report, the HSC press release of April 20, 2007 characterizes the CSFH report as a smear campaign that is based on inaccuracies and outdated information. Beyond these assertions the press release only repeats banal platitudes about itself and its vision without denying even one item of evidence presented in the LyR report.
The first charge is curious since almost all information presented in the CSFH report are drawn directly from official HSC or Sangh Parivar sources. This leaves no room for claiming that the sources are invalid or the representation is inaccurate since these are all the HSC’s own statements about itself, and various Sangh organizations’ official statements about the HSC (See our first press release and a summary power point presentation at for details of the report). The methodological emphasis on sources internal to the Sangh family is to ensure that the evidentiary basis of the conclusions drawn is of the highest standards. Given this, we can only conclude that the HSC leadership is in denial.
Nevertheless, CSFH would like to highlight a few pieces of the evidence that the National HSC leadership has chosen to avoid and invite the HSC to publicly comment on the same.
- The CSFH report documents that HSC maintains and hosts numerous Sangh websites (RSS, VHP, VHPS, ABVP, and others), thus playing the role of a mature partner in the Sangh family or parivar. This information is documented in detail with IP addresses in section 2.4.3, and Appendix A of the CSFH report. Does the HSC deny this?
- In 1993, the HSC claimed that it became fully independent of the Sangh. Yet, in December 1995, the HSC was an invited participant at the Vishva Sangh Shibir (Global Sangh Training Camp). According to the press release of the organizers of that camp, “all its delegates were from several affiliated organizations of RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh], which operate abroad as Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Sewa International, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Students Council, Friends of India Society International, etc.,” and the camp was “conducted on RSS ideology for NRI [non-resident Indians] workers.” CSFH challenges the National HSC leadership to comment on how it gained access to the sanctum sanctorum of an RSS shibir without being a member of the Sangh.
- Despite all disavowals by the HSC leadership about their relationship to the Sangh, the VHP of America, has repeatedly, and most recently in 2003, said that the HSC was its project. Here is an extract from an archived VHPA page from 2003: “The programs and projects are defined by the local community needs within the broad framework of the Parishad mission. The ongoing projects are: Hindu Student Council: It is the youth wing of VHP-A functioning in 50 universities and colleges in the USA.” Given the official HSC position that it severed all links with VHPA in 1993, this amounts to a minimum of ten years of deception. Does the HSC deny that this link existed at least until 2003 officially? The VHP-A website still lists the HSC as an Organizational Component that it facilitates and promotes. Is the VHP-A website also based on inaccuracies and outdated information?
There are many more such examples in our report. The fact is that M/s Bhutada and Trivedi of the HSC National (who issued the HSC’s press release) are still trying to hide the connections between the HSC and Sangh. “The National HSC’s inability to contest even a single piece of evidence outlined in the report is nothing but an attempt to cover up with a hope that the chapters will not ask too many questions” said Ashwini Rao, a CSFH coordinator. “The report” he continued, “is spot on!” The HSC National leadership does not owe the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate any explanation. It owes its members in all the universities across North America an explanation as to why these affiliations were not revealed to them and why their futures were being endangered by associating them with an extremist group of organizations. We would urge members of every HSC chapter across the US and Canada who was not aware of these links to demand an explanation of the National HSC. The members of HSC who were not told about these connections were certainly duped.
One other matter raised in the HSC press release deserves comment. The HSC National leadership accuses CSFH of insensitivity in launching such a campaign at a moment when they are busy offering solidarity to the Virginia Tech HSC chapter after the tragic events of April 16. We find this diversionary tactic most hypocritical, for the HSC has stood by in stony silence after each riot carried out by its sister organizations in India. In 1993, the HSC rationalized and celebrated the destruction of the Babri mosque (and the anti-Muslim violence that followed) as “the beginning of the new age of Hindu Renaissance, a new Hindu Revolution”. Again, after the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, the National HSC promptly (and rightly) called for apprehending the perpetrators of the Godhra carnage, but was understandably silent about justice for the families of the more than 2000 Muslims massacred in what was probably the worst carnage since 1947. In fact, in the post-genocide days, the National HSC was busy oiling the machinery of the Sangh’s global propaganda network (by maintaining the electronic infrastructure of the Sangh). Is the National HSC not complicit in the cover up that has ensued since 2002?
CSFH urges a public debate and discussion on this within the South Asian community, especially among Hindu-American youth, whose trust has been betrayed by the National HSC leadership. There could be no better starting point for a collective sorting out of the truth from the lies than with the HSC national leadership answering the challenges to the three very concrete and specific points we have raised above. The LyR report is replete with such evidence and if needed CSFH will break this down release-by-release for the benefit of the Indian-American community.
Greetings! The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate announces the launch of our new report on the Hindu Students Council (HSC): “Lying Religiously: The Hindu Students Council and the Politics of Deception“. The report brings together evidence from multiple sources to demonstrate a web of connections between the HSC and the violent, ultra-right Sangh family (the RSS family of organizations, also referred to as the Sangh Parivar), and exposes the deliberate efforts of the HSC leadership to conceal its links with the Sangh family in order to deceive Hindu-American college students. The report provides the first comprehensive documentation of the origins, methods and practices of the HSC.
The report, released at the 2007 Organizing Youth Conference held in New York City from April 13-15, was enthusiastically received by desi youth (second-generation youth of South Asian origin) at the conference. Some of them have joined us in our campaign to get the truth out about the HSCs.
The HSC was started as a project of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America in 1990. In the initial years, the HSC openly acknowledged (or at least, made no efforts to hide) its links with the VHP of America, supported the political projects of VHP in India, such as the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and backed the VHP’s Hindu nationalist stance on Kashmir. Today, however, acknowledgment of these explicit links has vanished, and HSC projects itself as a “tolerant, liberal” organization devoted largely to the religious/cultural cause of refashioning Hindu tradition to the contemporary situation of Hindus in the United States. However, the denial of explicit connections with the Sangh family is at best only a facade erected by the HSC, especially if we look at moments of crisis, planning and celebration in the Sangh family. Rather than the beginnings of a trajectory of separation from the Sangh family, we actually see an integration of the HSC into the Sangh family as a full and equal partner.
A note on methodology
Similar to The Foreign Exchange of Hate, the 2002 report documenting the flow of money from the United States into the coffers of the Sangh family in India, almost all of the documentation used to construct the current report comes from the archives of the HSC itself and from the publications of the Sangh family in North America and elsewhere. The report documents the rise of early HSC leaders into the ranks of Sangh family leadership in North America, the detailed family connections between a significant section of the HSC leadership and the Sangh family, and the central role played by the HSC in the creation and maintenance of the Sangh family’s internet infrastructure, including the web infrastructure of the Sangh family’s parent organization, the RSS. The electronic infrastructure of the Sangh family was unearthed using domaintools.com (formerly whois.sc), a domain name search tool. The methodological emphasis on neutral primary sources and those internal to the Sangh family is to ensure that the evidentiary basis of the conclusions drawn is of the highest standards.
The report is supplemented by three appendices.
- Appendix A describes the Global Hindu Electronic Network (GHEN) maintained by the HSC. The GHEN houses some of the most notabl Hindutva oriented organizational /activist / ideological websites o the web, including http://www.rss.org, http://www.organiser.org, http://www.Sewainternational.org and http://www.Idrf.org
- Appendix B is a primer on the RSS.
- Appendix C documents in brief the Sangh’s regressive views on caste, gender and sexuality — some of it also shared by the HSC, though expressed differently — and its contempt for the pluralistic traditions of Hinduism.
Over the last two decades, HSCs have worked to normalize a narrow brand of upper-caste Hinduism on university campuses across the US. A generation of Hindu and non-Hindu students (as well as university administrators) have come to think of HSCs as apolitical, cultural organizations that allow Hindu students to connect with their roots. But it is exactly this normalization of a certain type of Hinduism that allows for multiple expressions of Hindutva – on the one hand through seemingly benign organizations that claim to be service-oriented, such as Indicorps, and on the other it enables some within the HSC fold to become more open about their affiliation to Hindutva. As it gains confidence, it is possible that both HSC national, in as much as it is in charge of the electronic infrastructure for the entire Sangh, and local HSC chapters that are fully mature could openly associate with Hindutva (as done by the HSC at the University of Washington, which went from a Hindu Students Council to a student chapter of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh to Hindu Yuva — a project of the HSS).
The Collective urges you to forward the report widely, and write about it for your local newspaper or for a popular publication of your choice. We look forward to hearing back from you (at firstname.lastname@example.org).
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