Sangh Samachar

HSC pays homage to Guruji

I just found that the Organiser carried the Hindu Students Council‘s second press release (laden with ad hominems). Besides the content, perhaps the style was also to its liking 🙂 The PR as such doesn’t merit a detailed response, but it was nice to see an official publication of the RSS ganging up with the National HSC. (Interestingly, the Stanford chapter of the HSC has called on the National HSC to retract this PR)

Just for the heck of it, I googled for other mentions of HSC in the Organiser. And sure enough, there was one more.

Last October, the HSC participated in a Grand Hindu Sangam in Silicon Valley. The Hindu Sangam was organised by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh with the support from over 40 SF Bay Area organisations including Sunnyvale Hindu Temple as one of the grand sponsors … to celebrate the birth centenary of Shri Guruji, the second Sarsanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

RSS Sarkaryavah Mohan Bhagwat was the chief guest. Keenly aware of his new ambience, he deviated from the Indianise/Hinduise Islam & Christianity mantra and extolled diversity:

Diversity is to be accepted, not just tolerated. This is what Bharat stands for seeing diversity as the expression of unity.

On terrorism, he toed the USINPAC line. Here’s what the Organiser report says:

He further said the world has been shaken by religious intolerance and the resulting effects of terrorism. The answer to this problem can be given to the world by the two great nations—India and America, together. “They have to come together, stay together and work together to address this issue,” he added.

N.V. Raghuram of SVYASA, one of the ideologues on board HinduYuva’s Speaker on Campus project, was the keynote speaker at the yoga track. HinduYuva, by the way, is a HSS project. Its homepage exhorts the reader to join a shakha and become a swayamsevak:

Shakha is the place where we practice our traditions, values, connect with the past, present and work for a better future. Join us in this sacred mission of ennobling the world through the traditions, values of SANATANA DHARMA. So, all you have to do is – just attend Shakha, because once a Swayamsevak, always a Swayamsevak!

It’s all in the family, eh? Wait, I’m not done yet. The Sunnyvale Hindu Temple, one of the grand sponsors, has hosted Sangh Parivar dignitaries in the past (Ashok Singhal in October 2004) and has held at least one joint event with the VHPA and HSS. Sri Sri’s Art of Living was also a participant in the Hindu Sangam, and so was the VHPA (which along with the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple and a local restaurant ensured a never-ending supply of food and water). Most interestingly:

Hindu Students Council (HSC) from UC-Berkeley and UC-San Diego chapters and Hindu Awareness Club (HAC) of Monta Vista High School presented some of the issues faced by Hindu students and the importance of maintaining ones Hindu identity.

What were these HSC members doing in a function organized by the Sangh Paivar to celebrate the birth centenary of Shri Guruji, the second Sarsanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)? What exactly in Golwalkar do they find laudable? Or, were/are they not aware of his antecedents? Did they know the antecedents of those they were rubbing shoulders with (in the Hindu Sangam)? It’s questions like these that Lying Religiously seeks to pose.

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The myth of the rapacious Muslim

The Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) and the National Hindu Students Forum (NHSF) organized a Hindu Security Conference on Feb 21, 2007, and the British media promptly took note of the rapacious Muslim.

Daily Mail: The Hindu Forum of Britain claims hundreds of mostly Sikh and Hindu girls have been intimidated by Muslim men who take them out on dates before terrorising them until they convert. Ramesh Kallidai, of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said: “Some girls are petrified because they are constantly being phoned up, having their door knocked. … One girl was beaten up on the street and others have been forced to leave university.

Metro: Ramesh Kallidai, from the Hindu Forum of Britain, said: Extremist Muslims make life miserable for Hindu girls. Some are petrified; they feel these men have complete hold on them. One girl was beaten up in the street and others have been forced to leave university. Mr Kallidai estimated hundreds of girls had been targeted, with some reports of Muslim boys being offered £5,000 commissions.

Guardian: When the Guardian contacted Mr Kallidai he said had been misquoted in Metro. But in a press release by the Hindu Forum of Britain he repeats many of the claims, saying that few in positions of power understand the “high levels of resentment building up in the Hindu and Sikh communities over aggressive conversion techniques and intimidation by radical Islamist groups on campuses.”

About eight weeks after being misquoted in the Metro, Kallidai still didn’t know about it until queried by the Guardian! Was he also misquoted in the Daily Mail (probably by a different reporter, as the Metro and Daily Mail articles have quite different content despite some similarities)? Even now, the HFB has only toned down its rhetoric a bit, but the stereotyping of Muslims males continues. The HFB’s concern about mistaken identities leading to Islamophobic attacks on Hindus suggests that it’s pretty well aware of the painful manifestations of Islamophobia, so its broadside against Muslim males can only be interpreted as a malicious act intended to whip up more Islamophobia. Having done their bit, the HFB and the NHSF are perhaps hoping for the British National Party to take it on from here.

So much for the Hindu Forum of Britain. Consider these:

  • One side-issue of the Muslim religious aggression, which caused a continuous drain on the numerical superiority of the Hindus was the diabolical Muslim faith that it was a religious duty of every Muslim to kidnap and force into their own religion non-Muslim women. This incited their sensuality and lust for carnage and, while it enormously increased their number, it affected the Hindu population in an inverse proportion … The religious fanaticism of the Muslims was not madness at all; it was an effective method of increasing the Muslim population with special regard to the unavoidable laws of nature.
  • With this same shameless religious fanaticism, the aggressive Muslims of those times considered it their highly religious duty to carry away forcibly the women of the enemy side, as if they were commonplace property, to ravish them, to pollute them, and to distribute them to all and sundry, from the Sultan to the common soldier and to absorb them completely in their fold. This was considered a noble act which increased their number.

If you think it’s the British National Party that has gotten into the act, rewind back to a few decades ago, when Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar jotted down these scholarly observations in his book, Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History. And no, I’m not about to claim that the HFB and the NHSF have a lot in common with the loony Savarkar, and so all their claims are to be dismissed outrightly. I would much rather go with Awaaz’s view, excerpted below:

Awaaz strongly condemns any attempt to intimidate or threaten students into religious conversion or religious conformity and believes that this must be tackled by university authorities. We condemn, for example, some reported incidents of Islamist groups trying to coerce Muslim women into wearing the hijab. But we believe that the National Hindu Students Forum is grossly exaggerating the issue of ‘aggressive conversions’ as part of its own political agenda. It is indulging in dangerous and divisive scare-mongering.

The National Hindu Student’s Forum is an organisation closely allied to Indian Hindu supremacist groups, such as the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). The RSS, once banned in India because of its fascist and violent history, has a virulent anti-Muslim agenda and pursues this effectively through its sister organisations abroad. Indian groups with links to the RSS are often also anti-Christian (more information on these groups is available here). Neither the British organisations nor the Indian ones represent the majority of Hindus in either country.

Awaaz believes that the NHSF in Britain is trying to turn any kind of conversion — whether coercive or not — into a matter involving the police and criminal justice system. This agenda has been imported directly from Hindu supremacist groups in India, such as the violent Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an organisation that the Hindu Forum of Britain has defended. A number of anti-conversion laws have been introduced in some Indian states after successful lobbying by these groups. These are part of an anti-Muslim and anti-Christian communal politics which has led to restrictions on religious freedom in India.

Hindu supremacist organisations in Britain have long targeted campuses in order to promote their divisive ideology.

Awaaz’s note focusses primarily on the NHSF, probably because its links with the Sangh have been well documented in its report, In Bad Faith. As for the HFB’s connections with the RSS, here’s the latest from the Sangh mouthpiece Organiser where Kallidai is effusive in his praise of MS Golwalkar (Guruji):

Shri Ramesh Kallidai, general secretary and vice president of Hindu Forum of Britain and Hindu Aid respectively said, “Trying to pay homage to Shri Guruji was like holding a candle to the Sun”. He sighted the expansion of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as one of Shri Guruji’s greatest achievements because he felt that RSS’s promotion of the Hinduvad (doctine/theory) was the only way of making true vision of our sacred seers and saints of ennobling the universe and uniting it.

Shri Kallidai went on to say that the phenomenon of the RSS and Shri Guruji was so exemplary that even some of its opponents praised it. He cited the example of Smt. Indira Gandhi who on the passing away of Shri Guruji had said, “We have lost in Guru Golwalker a famous personality who was not a Member of Parliament but who held a respected position in the nation by his personality and the intensity of his convictions”.

Now it all makes sense, doesn’t it? Stay tuned for more.

Sangh indoctrination in Kanyakumari

After the tsunami, when the Sangh fundraising effort was in full gear ( 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:

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.