In recent years, the Indian police and press have started to pay attention to certain groups with ‘peace,’ ‘civil liberties’ and ‘human rights’ identities.
Often, the scholars’/activists’ assistance is by legitimizing a radical group through endorsement, such as when the Communist Party of India, Marxist Leninist Liberation honored the kin of about 1,000 ‘comrade martyrs’, i e terrorists, at an event graced by several prominent ‘social activists, environmentalists, and writers-turned-activists.’
There are various cross-ideological alliances for activism in India where separatists of various kinds, Islamists, Christian fundamentalists and Leftists converge for collaborations. They blame Indian culture and Hinduism in particular as the fabric that holds India together, and wish to see it dismantled.
US-based Indian intellectuals
What has not been investigated adequately is the role of US-based intellectuals. Often, such ‘activism’ to champion the ‘downtrodden’ brings together well-known South Asian Studies scholars from powerful institutions, journalists and individuals linked to various Washington, DC based groups. There are numerous campus seminars and conferences promoting the ‘human rights’ face of these alliances. The funding mechanisms are complex and tough to unravel, because of dual-purpose
work of individuals and groups.
A well-established coterie of Indian-Americans has been actively filing one-sided complaints against India’s alleged human rights violations to US authorities, with varying degrees of authenticity. Such activism has led to the recent blacklisting of India by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. This Commission itself exists largely to protect the
freedom of Christian evangelists to convert internationally. Rarely, if ever, has it condemned Christian countries over freedom of religion or investigated allegations against the proselytizers’ practices.
The US State Department declared in a recent report that India is a flawed democracy. Certain Indian Americans have played a pivotal role over the past decade in bringing about such condemnation, and they see this as the mere tip of the iceberg of what they wish to achieve in ‘exposing’ India, and in intellectually undermining India as a nation-state. Indeed, some of them insist that India is nothing more than an undesirable collection of conflicting groups.
In the reverse direction, these US-based scholars supply academic ‘theories’ and ‘strategies’ that feed the ground campaigns in India via Indian intellectuals and NGOs. Many of them are also members of political parties back in India, and hence their work tends to be dual-purpose. Yet, the potential violations of US laws that prevent funding of foreign political parties by US citizens have apparently not been looked into.
Ironically, many of these intellectuals are also aggressively raising millions of dollars from wealthy Indians in USA and India for these South Asian Studies programmes.
In critical geopolitical moments, these Indian Americans against India have diluted the USA’s pressure against Pakistan, by making the average American hyphenate India and Pakistan as ‘equal and same’ in socio-political respects. The recent Outlook article by Seema Sirohi gives a concrete example to illustrate how this is happening.
The reason for the lack of introspection by those involved is that many ‘enlightened NGOs’ see themselves as a fellowship of different kinds of rings of the heroic, wise and powerful. This ‘association for a new humanity’ is today’s equivalent of mythical Arthurian roundtables, secret societies (such as Freemasons and esoteric groups) and councils of the wise. But these forged alliances, no matter how well intended initially, tend to attract disparate tricksters who corrupt other minions into becoming ‘behind the scenes’ power mongers. The ethics of deceit and treachery becomes the collective shadow and feeds ‘structural violence,’ i e destabilisation.
The real challenge facing the ‘save the world’ movement is the problem of recognising and dealing with the shadowy subversive ties of such fellowships.
Finally, every monopolistic fellowship develops both defensive and offensive strategies and tends to overreact when threatened in unanticipated ways: Hence, whistleblowers are often vilified, and their reputations and persons attacked to keep the wall of silence intact in the world of Human Rights Laundering.
I leave the reader to ponder the following questions:
1. Is there a need to investigate the potential existence of a transnational axis to undermine India, involving certain South Asian Studies scholar-activists in America, Indian NGOs and major US funding institutions, potentially with complicity or lack of knowledge of the full consequences?
2. Should there be a US Congressional hearing into the use of US taxpayer money to favor and spread one religion out of the many American religions in foreign lands?
3. Should there be a conflict-of-interest policy and code of ethics that will focus attention on ‘dual use’ human rights activities, and also prevent abuses of the power that givers have over receivers? Should there be restrictions against co-mingling of funds, people or other resources between secular apolitical philanthropy on the one hand, and either religious activity or political activity on the other? As in the case of airport security and in the case of policing money-laundering, the inconveniences caused by adopting measures of transparency in human rights work would be outweighed by the benefits to society.
4. Should there be voluntary disclosure by all individuals and organisations in the human rights and charity fields, concerning their transnational funding and links, such that the public and other organisations have the information to be able to make their own evaluations?
5. Are the numerous instances of US originated anti-Hinduism and anti-India scholarship merely random cases of the individual prejudices and personal bigotry of scholars, or are they a part of entrenched systemic biases?
Picture Credit: tlaststand.wikia.com
Author Rajiv Malhotra Born in 1950, Rajiv Malhotra is an Indian American researcher, writer, speaker and public intellectual on current affairs as they relate to civilizations, cross-cultural encounters, religion and science. He studied physics at St. Stephens College in Delhi and went for post-graduate studies in physics and then computer science to the USA.
Rajiv served in multiple careers, including: software development executive, Fortune 100 senior corporate executive, strategic consultant, and successful entrepreneur in the information technology and media industries. At the peak of his career when he owned 20 companies in several countries, he took early retirement at age 44 to pursue philanthropy, research and public service. He established Infinity Foundation for this purpose in 1994.
Rajiv has conducted original research in a variety of fields and has influenced many other thinkers in India and the West. He has disrupted the mainstream thought process among academic and non-academic intellectuals alike, by providing fresh provocative positions on Dharma and on India. Some of the focal points of his work are: Interpretation of Dharma for the current times; comparative religion, globalization, and India’s contributions to the world.
He has authored hundreds of articles, provided strategic guidance to numerous organizations and has over 300 video lectures available online. To best understand Rajiv’s thoughts and contributions, his books are a good resource. Besides Invading the Sacred, in which Rajiv is the main protagonist, he has authored the following game changing books:
Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism
Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines; and
Indra’s Net: Defending Hinduism’s Philosophical Unity
The Battle for Sanskrit: Is Sanskrit Political or Sacred, Oppressive or Liberating, Dead or Alive?
Academic Hinduphobia: A Critique of Wendy Doniger’s Erotic School of Indology
Currently, Rajiv Malhotra is the full-time founder-director of Infinity Foundation in Princeton, NJ. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Center for Indic Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and is adviser to various organizations.
Infinity Foundation has given more than 400 grants for research, education and community work. It has provided strategic grants to major universities in support of pioneering programs including: visiting professorships in Indic studies at Harvard University, Yoga and Hindi classes at Rutgers University, research and teaching of nondualistic philosophies at University of Hawaii, Global Renaissance Institute and a Center for Buddhist studies at Columbia University, a program in religion and science at University of California, endowment for the Center for Advanced Study of India at University of Pennsylvania, lectures at the Center for Consciousness Studies at University of Arizona.
Rajiv Malhotra inspired the idea of Swadeshi Indology Conference. The first ever Swadeshi Indology Conference was held at IIT, Chennai from July 6 to July 8, 2016. This conference hosted well-researched papers that highlighted the discrepancies and mistranslations in the studies of Indology done by Prof. Sheldon Pollock. This conference is the first of a series of conferences that have been planned to address multiple issues raised by Western Indologists requiring astute examination, analyses and rejoinders, culminating in a published volume with a selection of papers.
Another major initiative of the Infinity Foundation is the HIST series. The HIST (History of Indian Science and Technology) series is a compilation of multi-Volume History of Indian Science and Technology based only on solid academic scholarship, and not on wild extrapolations. To accomplish this, each volume was subjected to rigorous peer reviews. The following volumes have already been published and printed as part of this IF project:
- Marvels of Indian Iron Through the Ages
- Indian Zinc Technology in Global Perspective
- Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering in India
- History of Metals in Eastern India and Bangladesh
- Harappan Architecture and Civil Engineering
- Beginning of Agriculture and Domestication in India
- History of Iron Technology in India
- Indian Beads History and Technology
- Himalayan Traditional Architecture
- Animal Husbandry and Allied Technologies in Ancient India
- Harappan Technology and Its Legacy
- Reflection on The History of Indian Science and Technology
- Chalcolithic South Asia: Aspects of Crafts and Technologies
- Traditional Water Management
Rajiv Malhotra has an active Facebook following with about 8 hundred thousand followers.
He also has an online discussion group. He can be followed at:
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