Hinduphobia in North America – Sources and Solutions

We reproduce below an interview of Nikunj Trivedi conducted by Madhu Kishwar for Manushi India on July 15, 2022. The video version of the interview is available at https://youtu.be/iTR-R0cLqbM

The US Census does not collect religious data so it is impossible to find precise figures on the Hindu population. But one estimate suggests there are more than 3 million Hindu Americans, constituting approximately 1% of the country’s population. New Jersey is the state with the largest Hindu population by percentage, with Hindus constituting an estimated 3% of the population. In July 1987, a group of anti-Hindu activists published a letter in the Jersey Journal, advocating violence to drive Hindus out of New Jersey. Shortly after the publishing of the letter, an Indian Parsi man, Navroze Mody was beaten to death in Hoboken. A few days later, an Indian Hindu Kaushal Saran, was beaten into a coma in Jersey City Heights. Unfortunately, laws in the states did not end the targeting of Hindus for hate crimes.

Because they are frequently located in rural locations with little security, and due to their visibility and unique architecture, Hindu houses of worship are frequently targets of vandalism, trespassing, and sometimes, of burglary. Other temples have faced hostility and harassment from their neighbors as well. For instance, on September 12, 2001, a Hindu temple in Matawan, New Jersey was firebombed with a molotov cocktail. On the same day, a Hindu temple in Medinah, Illinois was also attacked.

Even as the Hindu American community grows its numbers, Hinduism remains poorly understood in the American public sphere. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2014, only 22% of Americans knew a practitioner of the Hindu faith, compared to 38% for Muslims and 61% for Jews. Americans in general also held a neutral or negative view of Hindus compared to other religions in the United States. Given a lack of familiarity with Hindu practitioners, many Americans are influenced by the portrayal of Hinduism offered in the mainstream media, by public officials, and by their own community and religious leaders. Unfortunately, much of the coverage of Hindus, Hindu Americans, and Hinduism in these outlets is flawed, relying on stereotypes and inaccurate information.

To provide more insights on these issues and offer a first hand account of the Hinduphobia in North America, Nikunj Trivedi joins this interview with Madhu Kishwar. Nikunj Trivedi is the President of CoHNA, a grassroots Hindu advocacy organization promoting a better understanding of Hinduism and India in North America. He is passionate about advocacy, community organizing and youth engagement and enjoys presenting on Hindu history and socio-cultural issues.

Madhu Kishwar: Today we have with us Nikunj from North America. He belongs to the organization ‘Coalition of Hindus of North America’, CoHNA for short. 

We would like to know how you are fighting this battle in America and there has been a drastic change in the situation there. The Anti-Hindu culture was at an all time high in the 80s there, especially in the universities and South Asian studies. It seems like the entire American establishment has decided to surrender to Islam just like many Governments have done.

Nikunj Trivedi: The history of Hinduphobia is maybe 100 to 150 years old. When the first Hindu immigrants came to India, they were considered inferior. The way Hindu Dharma was portrayed was very negative. Earlier, it was believed that the Hindus are bad people, and it’s a weird religion. That still continues because of vested interests. Now, there is a different trend and the reason we have started to use the word Hinduphobia is because people say they don’t fear Hindus. It’s not about fearing Hindus, it’s about creating the idea that Hindus are bad people and creating the idea that they should fear Hindus.

So, Hinduphobia is a very important idea. It starts with the hatred of Hindus. Through this intense hatred, comes fear. The fear is that some Hindu is going to take their job. But what they are trying to show is Hindu people are very bad because they are suppressing minorities, they are raping people. They say that the religious scriptures of Hindus legitimizes such things like rape.

For example, professors like Audrey Truschke say that there is a scene like Draupadi’s cheer-haran in Mahabharata, and it is going on for 2000-5000 years in India. And that this kind of mentality comes from the Mahabharata or some Rig Vedic scriptures. So, they try to trace the bad Hindus all the way to their religion and the scriptures. That’s how the phenomenon is being created. It’s being given institutional and academic backing. It’s not being created by a common man but it is coming from academic institutions.  It starts from the sixth grade here in America. The first thing they teach in Hinduism is a caste system.  

They teach that there are four castes and always the Brahmin is the guy who is suppressing Dalits and then they actually do role play. There is a school in LA. They divided the whole class into four castes and they said that they will play a game in which Brahmins will have the least things first and the lower castes will have the most. But ultimately the end result was that Brahmins had more of everything. So by doing this they teach the same to the children. And now in every school this happens. But the caste system idea and this idea that Hinduism has a lot of backward things. It’s a foreign religion coming from the Aryans. This idea has been going on for a long time. So, it starts from the beginning. 

This starts from the 6th grade itself. The understanding that Hinduism is a caste system, it is a backward religion. Media comes in and they always show Hinduism through the Temple of Doom. There is a movie of Indiana Jones called Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. 

There is a newspaper from New Jersey called The Trentonian. In America, if you are growing up in the 1980s and 90s, they show a film where Amrish Puri is portrayed as a crazy Kali worshiper who is eating brains and taking out hearts of people. This gory graphic imagery is how many times Hinduism is depicted. And finally in popular culture, we will talk about the recent Kali poster controversy that started in Canada. They tried to show that Hinduism can be used in any way. So, you can use Hindu deities on slippers, you can use Hindu deities on underwear, You can use Hindu deities in fireplace decorative items. For them Hinduism is an exotic, erotic religion. This is how Hinduphobia is prevalent or perpetuated as we go in the society. They connect this whole idea that today’s Indian regime is connected to that ancient religion and as a matter of fact is hellbent on destroying every other religion. And this idea is continuously planted by people in North America. Somehow, the people who are born and raised here are responsible for the actions of BJP or some Hindu in some village in India. Somehow people sitting in America are responsible for this. 

If you look at Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or any other Europeans, Russians, Ukrainians, they are never held responsible for the actions by governments in those countries. But, somehow Hindus are responsible for every action taken by BJP or every action taken by some group in India. And that is Hinduphobia. 

Madhu Kishwar: Are Hindus singled out or there are other groups too who go through the negative profiling, or negative stereotyping? Are we the only privileged ones?

Nikunj Trivedi: So, it happens to everyone who are minorities in America, also in Canada. One of the things that is important that we need to understand is whether they are Muslims, Jews or Sikhs, their communities have the support, resources and institutional backing. Their community has created such institutions from which they can defend themselves. Unfortunately, because we have more divisions, the strategy is lacking, so what happens is that we are not able to counter. The problem exists for everybody, but they have the solutions. They have created institutions, and they have created academic backing. Unfortunately for the Hindus, that support does not exist. We make a lot of money. Google’s CEO, Twitter’s CEO are all Hindus, but none of them come out with courage to talk about Hindus.

If they don’t want to speak up, they can at least donate money, support other people and can extend their network. Jewish community gets a lot of hatred. But, they have a lot of good resources that they can actually put together and put to use. So, that’s why there is counter information that exists to protect their community. It is not that they do not face attacks.

Madhu Kishwar: There is still prejudice against the Jews. There is no doubt about it, because Christians do not forget. If you are even a half believing Christian, that negative stereotyping has happened because of which there was a genocide of Jews. I don’t think Americans have really gotten over that prejudice. But, you are right that Jews have organized themselves as a powerful lobby and they don’t take any nonsense lying low.  

What would you say about Mexicans or Latinos, what is the attitude towards them? Is it because they are Christians so it will not be so negative? 

Nikunj Trivedi: The problem for them is immigration and the idea that ​​these are inferior people. They deserve to be thrown out of the country. So, it’s for them. Religious bias usually does not happen for them. Catholics and protestants in America have issues between them too because a lot of the protestants may feel superior to the Catholics. This has been the problem, and here the Mexicans are Catholics. This happens occasionally but generally it’s more of an immigrant bias issue. So, for us we face multiple religious bias as well as immigration bias and it’s a combination of the two. 

Madhu Kishwar: And is there racial bias too? We are brown, closer to blacks than to whites. Mexicans can be closer to the whites. We are completely different colors, hair colors are different, eyes are different, so racial bias is strong.

Nikunj Trivedi: An interesting phenomenon is going on in America. We are facing racial bias, which is a reality. What’s happening on the other side is that there is already a kind of social justice movement which tries to portray us as ‘White adjacent’, which shows that because of the wealth and the privilege we have, we should be considered closer to the white people than to any other minorities. 

So, as a result of which they want to essentially label us as whites. They say that Hindus are rich and privileged people who have a lot of money, a lot of resources. By doing this they want to whitewash the oppression or the biases that we face. 

Madhu Kishwar: For one, it is very clear that the western and white races who have come under the lap of overall Christianity, whatever they do, their secularism also goes against us and against our religion. Their secularism is also not benevolent towards us and the only intention of Islam is to destroy it, the same as Christianity. And would you also not consider the role of missionaries in funding Churches, and in funding universities. Because many universities in America, as you know, have strong links with churches. So, a lot of money is also exchanged between these two universities and especially those which are academic. They are very active and they bring the worst form of Christianity to countries like India. But, even in universities, they have a lot of talk because all the Hindu bashers from India go there from here. Like Kancha Ilaiah or Teesta Setalvad whose university lectures keep happening and they get paid a lot. They load them with money, they load them with awards. It’s not so much the universities but the Churches that are organizing their lecture tours through their diverse hydra headed organizations. Do I have it right?

Madhu Kishwar: Yes, if you have seen Rajiv Malhotra Ji in breaking India, then he gives a great map of this. Connections are there in American universities and missionaries and institutional backing is available, so you are definitely 100% correct.

Each university has different departments, funding comes in the departments sometimes from these people. And then those departments, especially the South Asian studies department, are not funded by Christians, but there is a big influence of some of these missionaries. And, then they start to teach caste. Caste is taught in a way to make sure that Hinduism cannot be looked at in a positive way. As if they have put a blot that this is why Hinduism cannot be cured because you have caste. 

Any bizarre practice, or any minority practice in Hinduism, going somewhere in the village, those people will do research on it that some woman here had done this. Some priests did this and this is Hinduism. By doing this they make a paper and come here after making the paper and give a presentation. So, that’s one side of it. In 2020, there was a conference at the University of California, Davis. If you look at the agenda of the whole conference, you will be shocked. This was a virtual conference because there was a pandemic going on. So, the entire conference had a very anti-Hindu agenda. And, it’s an academic conference. The agenda was actually institutionalized in the academic conference. I have that information which I can share. 

In 2019, there was a caste symposium at the University of Michigan by Kancha Ilaiah and he said that Hinduism must be destroyed. These are his words. Now, imagine this as Islam, or Christianity or Judaism and someone makes a statement that this religion must be destroyed. What do you think will happen to that person? Will he ever be called back to the university? But, this happens to Hindus.

Madhu Kishwar: But see, this is also the fault of our government. Kancha Illiah has been saying this since the 80s and his formal conversion which has taken place has happened during OBC reservation. He started gravitating towards Christianity and I personally tracked his journey. Now, the point that I am trying to make is this. He went there and spread lies, bullshit, deceit and became a soldier of Christianity. If he had been taken straight from the airport to Tihar Jail, and had his job been taken away. Because there are many strong laws against spreading hatred. If they had been used against him, maybe American universities would also get a sense and others would also talk carefully.

Our government does not take any action, he has become a professor today. The man who is not fit to be a peon, he roams around the university as a professor. He travels all over the world and our Indian government, our prime time TV channels, give him so much time. A couple of times I even told some TV channels that do you know how much poison he spews? Do you hear him ? Or do you need to do that at somebody’s behest ?  

Who is it that operates the key from behind? Because neither he can talk about any intelligence nor does he have any scholarship, hatred is going to spread and somebody writes the script for him. The churches that he belongs to. The point is our media does not boycott such people. If I had the power honestly, I would seize their passports and put them in Tihar Jail. These are serious offenses against a whole civilization. It’s not just to defame you or me. They are asking for defamation, and asking for genocide of a whole community, religion, and faith tradition, the oldest surviving civilization in the world, and this is a serious crime. 

I think more NRIs should run the baton on the government of India than fighting the governments there. The lack of action of the Indian government towards such hate mongers actually endangers all Hindus anywhere in the world. 

Nikunj Trivedi: You are right, I believe in freedom of expression, freedom of religion. But, the problem with freedom of religion and freedom of expression is that it has to go both ways. Whatever Kancha Ilaih will speak, we have the right to say something also without being called fascist. 

There is power in capitalism. The Government of India can say that the universities which are going to peddle hatred against any religion, like Hinduism, do not have a right to operate in India. So many students come to America from India. I asked someone in the Indian government when there was a meeting going on. I said do you have a database of all the Indian students that come from India and the answer was no. If the Indian government had this database, they would send an SOS basically saying that this is what goes on in campuses. So, when you show up, please be ready to accept that you would be considered a casteist, and your religion would be targeted. And, you being an international student, will have multiple issues. So, that is something very important that needs to be done from Bharat itself. 

But, unfortunately we can’t do anything from here because we are American citizens and we have to make sure that we protect our people here. So many children from India come here, who gives them protection here? No one. It comes to us then. 

Madhu Kishwar: I have seen and I have suffered and there is so much hatred for the kind of orientation American universities give especially to Hindu students. No one else is made a target of hatred like this. If I had the power or if somebody would listen to me, I would just declare that no Indian student would go to any of these universities at all. We will not send, we will not let them go from here and we will not recognize the degree of the students who go and study there. We should blacklist those universities where Hinduphobia and India bashing takes place.

Firstly, they do it through genocidal acts, cultural genocide, physical genocide. In how many countries has America committed genocidal violence, whether it is Syria, Iraq, Vietnam, or Afghanistan. They are genocidal, their policies are genocidal. And in India too, they are engaged in doing cultural genocide and the way they are spreading conversion. American churches do this through foul play and you and I as Hindus are victimized. 

It’s not freedom of expression which is at play. What is at play is genocidal violence, cultural violence and psychological violence and actually also a physical decimation of whole cultures where Christianity has actually gotten a foothold. So such mild demands will not work.

Nikunj Trivedi: I agree. It’s a battle of civilizations. The Indian government can do something but what will happen in America? They can have some diplomacy, all those things going on. 

Madhu Kishwar: If we stop sending students from here, and if they are blacklisted, what can they do about that? What I am saying is that the American government is not going to listen to you. Why doesn’t CoHNA put pressure on the Indian government to revise its ways to put pressure on American universities, clamp down on them. So much money is going from this country and the children of our homes come out as Hindu bashing Sikhs from there. What is the advantage for us? Then they spread poison in all the universities.

Nikunj, I want to know your experience of being in America. What led you to choose to go there? What has been your experience that brought you to CoHNA, whereas most Hindus tend to stay away from the civilizational issues. They are content that they are making progress, their kids are getting good jobs, so the world can go to hell. 

Nikunj Trivedi: I came to the US 29 years ago. My father immigrated here in the 80s. When I came from America I faced a lot of racial hatred and unfortunate Hinduphobia when I was growing up. So, when I was in class 10th people used to say to me that you are a cow worshiper, you eat monkey brains, they always used to tease me. Then I realized there is a lot of misconception, a lot of negativity here and if I don’t do something for myself, in the future the things will not be good. So, I decided to join an organization called Hindu Students Council. Hindu Students Council is an organization for Hindu students in different universities. So, I decided to join that. 

Once I joined the Hindu Students Organization, I got in touch with people like Rajiv Malhotra Ji and others who were looking at the civilizational aspects, the different challenges we were facing and things like that. I got more and more inspired and I continued this journey. Two years ago we started CoHNA as a grassroots advocacy and civil rights organization because we thought that people needed to read and learn about what the challenges are. Because most people are busy with Bollywood and cricket. Go home, spend time with some family, watch a TV serial and go to sleep until their kid gets attacked, until they get attacked in the workplace or something happens. And then all of a sudden they want to wake up.

But, it’s too late sometimes. So, we need to get more people organized. You will know in 2019 because of Article 370, CAA, there was a big anti-Hindu atmosphere prevalent in America.

Madhu Kishwar: Give me examples of what happened. What is your profession? 

Nikunj Trivedi: I am in Finance, Banking. I will give you three examples. Number one – I was in a meeting and this guy said to me that my wife is into all this mumbo-jumbo stuff and it’s all kind of weird, cultish behavior. That is how the idea of Hinduism is being portrayed right in front of my eyes. So, I asked the guy, “do you know what you are talking about? Have you ever been to a yoga center? That’s my culture that you are referring to.” So, he said “I am sorry, I didn’t mean it in that way.” Of course, he meant it in that way. 

The second example is when in a school in Canada, when Article 370 happened, one Hindu girl was friends with a Sikh girl. The Sikh girl was talking about Kashmir and what’s going on and how Muslims were being targeted. So, the Hindu girl replied that, ‘Hindus have been butchered, Kashmiri Pandits have been thrown out. What about that?’ What the Sikh girl did is that she broke friendship with the Hindu girl. She told the Hindu girl that I am not going to be friends with you anymore because you are a Modi supporter, you are a fascist. Just for saying that Hindus are being genocided against. 

And, the third example is that there was a group called ‘Students against Hindutva Ideology’. It was started as a group called ‘Holi against Hindutva’. On campus, they started saying that on Holi we are going to wear black clothes. We are protesting the Indian government’s decision to have CAA. And they did this in 20 universities. But, not only did they start to use Holi, which is a sacred Hindu festival to malign it. They also used this false idea to say that Holi is an oppressive festival where women are molested and semen is thrown at them. I am not kidding you. This is actually on their website. 

Madhu Kishwar: I know the women who started this campaign in Delhi. It came from these Maoists, they did it. It came out to be a total lie. But, they obviously were paid to enact this drama because it’s needed by others to back up.

Nikunj Trivedi: These are the things because of which we started CoHNA. We said enough is enough. We need to start organizing people on the ground to challenge this. After that, we successfully started to fight back on the ground. There were a lot of anti-India policies that were being looked at from the CAA perspective. One big fight happened in Chicago. The policy of CAA was in India, those people were passing anti-India policies in America, like in Washington DC, and in California. There was a fight here in Chicago, in Minnesota, at different places they were passing anti-CAA policies in the City councils, Mayor’s office and on state level. So, CoHNA and different organizations together challenged that such policies should not be passed here because there is friendship in India and America. Our community is good and this CAA is meant to be for minority protection. These policies have been passed to protect the persecuted Hindus, Jains, Buddhists. 

We gathered in Chicago to defeat the bill that was there. But we could not beat the bills in California or Minnesota because the strength they had was more than ours. But sometimes we lose and sometimes we win. CoHNA started two years ago and now slowly we are doing more work on the ground. There are many Indian organizations here, around 500. We are challenging all these policies by coordinating with them. This policy is Hinduphobic. Here we are challenging the atmosphere of Hinduphobia on the ground.

Madhu Kishwar: Tell me this, you have worked with Rajiv Malhotra. He constantly talks about reversing the gaze, interrogating them on their record. Why are we not producing enough intellectuals who will hold a mirror to the Bible, or to Christian history. Talk to them about them because instead of answering the racist history they have, they talk about caste. Will they teach us equality, who have done genocides around the world.

Islamists never defend themselves, they go on the offensive side, which is why they are successful. Christians do the same. I think we are very defensive. If someone abuses our religion, we ask them to read Manusmriti. They give the answer by beheading. The Christian world’s answer is that you will be decimated from Academia, from all key positions. You will not get a scholarship or entry anywhere, they can destroy your career. That’s how the Christian West behaves. Islamists do not have any university where anyone wants to go, so the head is separated from the body to terrorise others.

Now what do we have, to counter these two? We cannot simply defend ourselves saying we are not like that. Do hell with it, they are not interested. These liars are not interested in the facts. Otherwise, why keep such professors in universities who serve them lies, and fraud. That clearly shows that they are knowing the facts, and truth is not their agenda. To my mind the moves have to be offensive. 

Nikunj Trivedi: Your point is absolutely right and slowly it is getting offensive. For example, Rajiv Ji is creating a new initiative to push forward new scholars who are challenging such people with Hindu perspectives. Like you say that there is a caste system in us, but what is there in them?

Madhu Kishwar: I am thinking aloud. I am saying do you think an Islamist ever bothers to ask why we question what age the Prophet was married at? They don’t do that. They threaten to kill straight. That’s what shuts the whole world. 

The point I am trying to make is that they made the caste narrative with great effort, they are not so naive that they do not know the difference between caste and Varna. And when India was actually inside the caste system, we were the wealthiest nation, the most glorious knowledge tradition, the whole world came to us to learn. 

They have trouble with the caste system because conversion cannot happen. If the caste system had remained in place, if your Brahmin society had remained as a Brahman or whatever society I belong to, then conversion could not have taken place. They don’t attack because they want equality, or they want justice. That’s not their agenda. Decimation and genocide is their agenda. How do we reply to them? I am saying just constantly start talking about Christianity and its history. If our children know the history, they will not stray from the path.

What are we doing in our schools? Hindu groups are giving information about their religion in America, taking them on weekends, or camps, and teaching a little bit of Gita, which are very good things. I am not saying don’t do that, it’s for our inner nourishment. Now we will not achieve anything by reciting the Gita to those who have to fight, nothing will be done by telling them the virtues of yoga. I don’t think that’s the level at which we can actually win any battle. It has to be that we need to hold a mirror to them. But, our children should hold that mirror. They should know what that mirror is, what is the history of Islam, what is the history of Christianity, what are the doctrines. More than just reading Mahabharata and Ramayana, it is more important to understand their doctrines, understand their history. That’s the conclusion I am coming to. 

Nikunj Trivedi: I agree, as Rajiv has said ‘Reversing the Gaze’, we have to read their religions and their doctrines. A war is going on there. There is a church in Atlanta, I have a booklet of it, in which they have taught Hinduism. What is Hinduism? If you look at the doctrine, it clearly says Hinduism has caste, Hinduism has poor people so we should pray for them. One such document has been made so that it is given to all the seminary teachers and seminary students. So, if those people make such a doctrine, we can also show the facts of Christianity or any religion. We should see what they have done in their 2,000 years of history. What they did to the native Americans here for the past 100 years or more, what is their condition, what is the condition of the Blacks? So, we have to showcase that. I agree with you.

Madhu Kishwar: I think that those who start missionary propaganda from schools against Hinduism, maybe we need a combined effort to say that please stop studying us. We find our children abused in class, we don’t want you to. Let people who want to learn about Hinduism learn it, otherwise remove us from the school curriculum, we do not want you to know anything about our religion. It doesn’t fit in your mindset, you teach your Christianity, teach Islam but spare us. We don’t want to be a part of the school curriculum. If we opt out of a system, that in itself makes a statement. I know how much effort was spent by the NRI brothers and sisters. But, it made no difference. The things have actually gotten worse because we went piecemeal. Now we need to say that either we would be allowed to write about Hinduism or we don’t wish to be studied. If that is the slogan, we don’t trust you and therefore we wish to be left alone. 

Nikunj Trivedi: There are two points, one you say we wish to be left alone. Unfortunately, no matter what you say, whatever you do now, raise a slogan, that cannot happen because the policies that are here, the rules and regulations that are there, it is there. We have a division in CoHNA called a Hindu parents network, because the voices of parents are very important in the school system here. So, parents have to go and say that you have implemented this curriculum, this is completely Hinduphobic and we will be against this curriculum until you change it. We will be against this curriculum until the change comes. 

The problem now comes when they tell us that they are willing to work with us. There is a school in California which is ready to show Hinduism in a good light and for what it truly is. The problem is that we do not have resources, we have not created resources. If the school asks the Hindu people to give the curriculum, so they can teach Hinduism, we do not even have such resources.

Madhu Kishwar: How can you say that? What does it take to create a school curriculum ? I tell you If I were given the job, I will prepare the complete curriculum in one year and give it to you. What does it take? Nothing. In that case we don’t deserve any better. If after living in America for so many years, by accumulating so much wealth, you are not able to make a Curriculum for your children, then it is okay to suffer. I am shocked by this statement. 

Nikunj Trivedi: I have been here for 29 years. Only one curriculum has been prepared. Hinduism today is made by the Himalayan Academy. 

Madhu Kishwar: They are also run by Americans. It’s not run by Indians. Americans are running, Americans are orienting Hinduism. Americans are making a curriculum for our children by becoming a monk, wearing saffron. How can we have this? It doesn’t cost much. You have to sit on the computer, you have so much knowledge, you will take existing books, you know what is bad and what is right. This is not rocket science and Indians have gone a long way in rocket science.

Nikunj Trivedi: This is not their problem. This is our problem. 

Madhu Kishwar: Why can’t CoHNA do it?

Nikunj Trivedi: We are working on it. The solution is to basically look at the standards. The curriculum has to be designed keeping in mind the standards of any state. Like New Jersey has standards, so there you have to sit down and hire a teacher and then you get a Hindu expert and then you create the curriculum. It’s not that we can’t do that. The community has a lot of resources, the problem is that we do not get those resources. 

Madhu Kishwar: How many resources are needed now? If someone tells me that they want these textbooks, I can do it without taking ten rupees from anyone. And I am not saying that I am a very intelligent person. I am an average intelligent person. I am not even the best scholar on Hindu Dharma.

America has given this mindset all over the world that if you want to do even a small task, make a project, and make a budget. And if the budget is not multi-million, then it does not work without it. With this mindset, even Hindus have started working, the work of religion here is not done according to the money. You don’t put any monetary value on any Dharmic work because it was in the spirit of giving. What money do you need I say? All you need is half a dozen smart people who know their Dharma, who know history.

Nikunj Trivedi: There is no need to make a book, there is a need to make a small booklet which adheres to the standards. That’s it. They don’t teach it for 100-200 pages, the entire course is 20-30 pages about India. 

Madhu Kishwar: You have to have a backup literature which can also be used in the colleges. It can be part of the university curriculum and that should be taught to our children. The point that I am trying to make is that the material is widely available and without spending money, it can be done. If we know what knowledge we want to give to children in school and university, it is obvious that people will take us seriously.
Nikunj Trivedi: Our community is not giving us the right information because there are Americans and many of them are well meaning. They also want to respect everyone. But when they come to our community and ask us what do you want to teach about Hinduism, then we go blank. We do not know what to teach, then we will say teach this, teach that, then we cannot teach 50 things. So, we have to adhere to the standards they have. We have to learn this game. 

And we have a lot of experience, but we are not using it right now. 

Madhu Kishwar: Sitting in America, even after earning so much money, they are not able to do it. One of the twitter heads becomes a Kashmiri Muslim from South-Asia and he dominates twitter and starts promoting different types of people and shadow banning others and harassing them. Our people are also working in Facebook and in Google, yet no one makes any effort to use their position for our religion and country. And the basic reason for that is that no one knows our religion. We are so goody goody. 

The fact of the matter is people hate those they exploit most. Hindus have the longest history of brutal exploitation and no retaliatory measures. Many fought, there was Rana Pratap, there was Guru Gobind Singh and there were many people in the freedom movement too. Overall the society, even after 1947, is licking the entire legacy of the British and sitting here. The point I am trying to make is this is elementary work, and what is the second job.

Nikunj Trivedi: Madhu Ji, this is the challenge. And there is no other challenge. If this problem is solved, many things will be solved.

Madhu Kishwar: Don’t you know three or four people who are willing to give the time without getting a 2 million dollar project?

Nikunj Trivedi: It’s not about a 2 million dollars project. This is one of the reasons why we started. It’s one of the things which we are working on. We are working on it. It will take some time, but by next year we will have some information. This is why we started the Hindu parents network. These are the reasons why we have to set up on the ground. We have to follow the rules and regulations. 

The Muslim organizations, or Jewish organizations or even Sikh organizations have learned the game. We haven’t learnt it yet. This is why we started. Our community is very wealthy, very resourceful. We have studied rocket science but not social science, this is the problem. Everyone has to learn rocket science, everyone has to learn engineering, but no one wants to bother about social science. 

Madhu Kishwar: What does CoHNA do? I am sorry that I got down at what CoHNA doesn’t do. Let’s now talk about what CoHNA does?

Nikunj Trivedi: Over the last few years we have had some very positive developments. We have worked with fifteen to twenty different high schools to challenge them on these curriculum issues and we have provided good material. It’s not organized yet, but we are working on it. 

In 2020, there was a big issue regarding Swastika, still running. In New York state they were going to declare Swastika as a symbol of hate in schools. So, our organization and other Hindu organizations together challenged that Swastika is not a symbol of hate. What Hitler used was not the Swastika. So, this campaign is going on and the fight is going on in California right now. There are many success stories. We have also produced materials to teach people the right perspective even on what is going on in caste. About the policies of CAA or Kashmir, we make sure the people who are here should know that these policies are not anti-minority policies. It’s actually for people who have been genocided against. So, these are some of the campaigns we are running.

And finally the ‘Hindu parents network’ is there to promote our civic engagement. We do not get involved in local policies and local politics like there are parent-teacher organizations here, everyone is involved in this but our Hindu people are not involved in this. So, we work to change this. Hindu Parents network is working to encourage people to run for office. There should be parents in City councils or boards of education. If you have a voice in it only people will listen, if you are not there then no one will say anything.

There’s a saying here ‘if you are not on the table, you are on the menu’. Our situation is the same but now we are changing it. Right now, sitting on the parents’ table, they say that we have to do this too. Like we have three towns in New Jersey, our people sit there in New Jersey and say “Look Hinduism is being taught in the wrong way”. Now we are challenging that and they are saying we will work with you to change that. So this is still going on. And, finally youth empowerment. At the end of the day how to inspire youth in colleges and in high schools, we are also working on that. We are partnering with students in partnership with Hindu student councils or in our own initiative. Because ultimately those people who will be in high schools, the same people will be in colleges and if they protest that this professor is teaching us the wrong way then universities will have to give in and listen.

Madhu Kishwar: Fair enough. My last question to you is How have the Islamic groups managed to take charge and control of their minds and hearts and institutions? How did they do it because the face of Islam itself is scary, their words, their actions, their whole global atmosphere can frighten anybody. How have they managed to present themselves worth defending by the entire American establishment ?

Nikunj Trivedi: The Islamist organizations which are involved, they have done a great job for the past 30-40 years. They set up institutions in college campuses and carry out funding of university departments. For example Routledge University gets $5 million from foreign governments, Harvard has similarly received funding from foreign governments. The point is that there is funding and when funding comes then you control the narrative. 

The third thing is constant engagement with the communities. I will give you an example. When 9/11 happened in America, there was a Sikh community, and they went to every town hall, every city council meeting, wherever they were, and they stood up. And they started to talk about themselves to show that they are Sikhs. 

The first attack, which was in 1991, was followed in 2001. And continuously they have been engaging. So, that’s how they control the narrative and control the influence. So, the Islamist groups have done a great job creating this idea that everytime you criticize something related to their community, it is Islamophobia. It doesn’t matter what it is. Like if something is happening in Pakistan, and Pakistani extremist groups are killing minority Hindu girls. If you bring that here, you will be considered Islamophobic. What is happening in Kashmir, if you bring it here you will be considered Islamophobic. Because they have created an environment which is conducive to this. There are certain Islamist groups which are working really hard to make sure that the narrative is only one side of it. 

Madhu Kishwar: I think it’s time that we Hindus understand this basic difference, why do our DNA get separated? Every child of Islam is inspired by this vision that they have to do global domination. They do not think of today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow. They think from birth that they have to conquer the whole world and they have to bring the whole world under Islam, so they have 500-1000 years of preparation. They therefore never get upset by minor defeats or setbacks. 

If we ask Hindus what their vision is, what do they want. Atmost, our Hindu brothers will say that please stop attacking us, we do not want to harm anyone, then why do you hate us. And my American friends told me that the one most salient characteristic of Hindus when people come to India, or most of the foreigners who come, is that Hindu families ask the same question. Do you like India? Do you like Indian food? Do you like Hinduism? The desire to be liked is prevalent because we have been so spat upon that we need approval. Our Prime Minister also has the same addiction that people should like him. Instead of scaring his colleagues in the party, he should scare where there is a need to scare. He doesn’t do that because he also wants to be liked. They are all desperate to be liked. 

So, we are always cautious. We always want to say goodie, goodie things. The point I am trying to say is this, both Christianity and Islam talk about global domination but we do not have that large brain, large vision. Once upon a time, many people used to talk about Hindu Rashtra, they used to talk about Akhand Bharat, now no one can even hear from anyone’s mouth about Akhand Bharat. Akhand India started from Afghanistan, Iran and went till the far east. If not the far East, then at least Burma, Tibet was all part of India. It is not our courage to say that we want to work towards that. We should give that vision to our children, the vision of a conduct and what that represents, what that civilization meant. Why that Akhand bharat is a good thing for the whole world, not in a way that Islam says it is good for the whole world because that is genocidal. But in the way that there wasn’t this kind of hatred in the pre-Christian, pre-Islamic world. This kind of genocidal violence was not there.

And what has been talked about ecology in our Vedas, in our scriptures, towards the earth, towards nature, worshipfulness, let’s start environmentalism by taking a small version of it. So, the point I am trying to make is that unless people are fired with the larger goal and larger vision of their future, not their individual future but the collective future, things will not change. That’s why I think that the key is working towards Hindu Rashtra, and throwing secularism in the trash can. Now VHP has done a big function and organized a rally and celebrated Sankalp Diwas. Very well meaning and I respect them for it. They said this country will run by constitution, not by Sharia. It is through the Constitution that Sharia has taken control. It gives freedom to subvert the whole country, subvert all Hindu civilization, that is what our constitution has allowed. 

If Hindu Rashtra comes out of our mouth then we become fascist. If they talk about Ghazwa-e-Hind, then that agenda is absolutely legitimate. The point that I am trying to make is that when you are talking of mobilizing a large community, it has to be around that large vision and goal.  

Nikunj Trivedi: Every civilization and community has a collective vision. We are lacking that collective vision. 

I will share what my vision is. My vision and I am speaking specially for North America, is that I don’t need to be liked by anybody. It’s not that I want someone to like me. I want equal footing and equal sitting at tables for negotiations about world culture and religions. Every civilization has the right to have an equal footing. Now, if you decide that you don’t like me because you are a Hindu, that’s your problem, not mine. I will demand an equal seat at the table. It’s your problem, not my problem. And, I will make sure that we demand that across the board  and organize the community to say that we want to demand an equal right to be a civilization and go back to the glory we had. 

When we are working together, having this collective vision is critical. 

Madhu Kishwar: What are you talking about Nikunj? I really don’t know. Please study Islam and Christianity. There is no concept of equality in Islam and Christianity. There can be no equality between a goat and a wolf. Please understand, I don’t want equality with people whose entire worldview, whose entire religious training has no place for equality. I don’t want to live under the shadow of genocidal religions. I want a safe territory for my culture, my civilization. I don’t want to live in the shadow of genocidal cults. Because there is no definition of equality, there is thousands of years of history only of genocide. 

Islam’s vocabulary is full of gimmicks. Islamists use this equality mongering very well. Give them equality in Islam, right to vote, constitutional rights, but they will not give up the right to behead. Their real rights come from separating heads from bodies, so to whom are you asking for equality? Can they disown the Quran for you? No. Can they disown their Hadith for you? No. So, who are you asking equality from? Isn’t it laughable? We really need to think this through. We fall into a trap. They are spitting on us and we are saying we will be asking for equality. They answer in their own language. And you get caught in that trap of equality. 

We have given cultist religions more than equality because they are minorities and they do not want to give us more rights than to live. Don’t we need to revise our goal post and our vision of our future if we want to survive? Our constitution will also have to be thrown into the rubbish because it has given them more than equal rights and today they use our constitution against us to abuse us. They have taken over just as they have done it in America. I don’t understand why we want to be so modest in our demands. I honestly think that Hindus have to seriously rethink their positions in the comity of nations, within this global one world that is emerging and which is targeting us collectively. 

Think big in the way Muhammad thought. He got a great imagination of world domination by leaving a hamlet in the desert. Their goal is clear, destroying all temples, can we ask them to leave that agenda. Not leaving our country, not leaving America. Wherever you are, you are not giving up, you will have to rethink a little.

(SuperChat) Tapan:- Madhu ji, please start conducting workshops to train intellectual warriors. 

Madhu Kishwar: Tapan Ji, you are right but this has to be planned. Before we become intellectual warriors, it’s very important that we think through what our collective goal is. And, for me this conversation has made it very clear. Somehow, you have cleared many pockets from my head. The minimal agenda should be Hindu Rashtra and the next step should be Akhand Bharat. Lets be prepared to get extinct if we think less than this. That is also not a bad thing, when a community becomes a coward, it does not matter if it is boycotted. I would rather be extinct than accept the domination of these genocidal cults over my life. 

Nikunj Trivedi: I understand the frustration and the concerns. In the United States, there is a different dynamic. The things you said are mostly connected to India and there is a lot of power that the Indian government has that needs to be thought of at the Indian level. In India the communities locally do not think about these topics. 

In North America, the dynamics are a little different because here we are in the minority and need to know how to navigate in it. Considering the rules and regulations here, how is it possible to navigate in the methods here, that is something that we are first figuring out. From there you have to start and then you can think big. We don’t even think small. If you come here, you will see, we don’t even think about the small things, forget about the big things. So, first you have to start from there, then after that you will see what happens. At the ground level if we can’t face them, then shame on us. 

Madhu Kishwar: You have reached there again. You are saying that we are a minority, we have to see the ecosystem here as well. Islam is also in minority there. What is the percentage of Hindus in North America? 

Nikunj Trivedi: 3%.

Madhu Kishwar: And Islam?

Nikunj Trivedi: That I am not sure. Maybe 5 to 7%

Madhu Kishwar: Till ten to fifteen years ago, they were very few in number as compared to Hindus.

Nikunj Trivedi: Actually in America, you have to understand that there are different types of Muslim groups. It’s not like they are Indian Muslims or Pakistani Muslims. They come here from different places.

Madhu Kishwar: Let’s say 5% or 7% is also correct. If they are minorities, even if they are 2%, they do not leave Pan-Islamic goals, goal of Ummah, goal of world domination, only then do they expand. Their policy including how many children to have is guided by this large interest of the global Islamic ummah. They come out only in terms of domination and wherever they are, then they keep on spreading. Why do we keep shrinking? I am not saying that you can make a Hindu Rashtra in America. But, give that vision to your children. ‘Please don’t hate us! Please don’t hate us! We don’t hate you, why do you hate us?’ This is what NRIs are mostly doing, fighting a defensive battle. There is no large goal. 

Even if it’s 0.5% where Muslims live, and if they stick to that large goal, small Christian missionaries came with the British and joined that large goal, see how Christianity has dominated the entire globe. If you don’t have a large vision to counter it, not necessarily that we have made the whole world a Hindu nation, but at least what was ours has to be recovered. It has to be identified. It is not recognized in our children, or in our elders. We learn rocket science but do not have self-knowledge, even the knowledge of our ancestors. So, I think if we talk about the big goal then we get inspiration, otherwise ‘please don’t hate us’ is not a sufficiently inspirational agenda. Because then people tend to fall in line with all the rules of conduct that are demanded of you. Be modest, don’t ever be offensive. While doing this, nothing happens. But, I Know that the battles you are fighting are serious. 

We must continue this dialogue. The conversation turned very different from what I had initially planned for. We must join hands together under all circumstances and you can count on our support anytime. I am always there for you. So, with these words, we conclude today.

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