Friday, October 09, 2020

NPR's Hindu hatred: a letter to the Rough Translation podcast

To: roughtranslation@npr.org,

cc: kmcbride@poynter.org

subject: NPR's Hindu hatred

National Public Radio (NPR) has a problem with Hindu hatred.  Rough Translation’s podcast How to Be Anti-Casteist, https://www.npr.org/transcripts/915299467, Season 4, Episode 2, September 30, 2020 5:30 PM ET is the latest example of NPR’s Hindu hatred.

Mauktik Kulkarni (left) and Suraj Yengde (right) as children.

Talking points:

  • Greg Warner said, “So there is a caste for priests. That's the Brahmins. But there's also a caste for the warriors, the caste for merchants, another caste for manual laborers.”  He did not identify the other castes by name as it would undermine the trope of Brahmin oppression of Dalits. Breaking India forces (for example, Christian and Muslim proselytizers) use this trope to alienate Dalits from their Hindu identity.
  • Could “Sam Cornelius” be reading something into someone patting his back or going for a swim that is not really there?  Not all Brahmins wear the sacred thread.  My husband, who is from a nominally Brahmin family, chose not to wear the sacred thread.  Traditionally, going overseas meant a loss of caste for Brahmins.  BTW I am NOT Indian, so I do not know how our marriage affects his caste. 😃
  • Warner said, “There's no uncontroversial way to talk about caste, and even the words we use are fraught. So, you're going to hear people in this story talk about upper caste and lower caste. We're going to try to avoid those hierarchies and say dominant caste and oppressed caste.” This is ridiculous.  By “dominant caste” and “oppressed caste,” he introduced another hierarchy.
  • Many Hindus have protested NPR’s anti-Hindu prejudice to the NPR Public Editor and NPR leadership.  Indu Vishwanathan started a petition Greater Journalistic Integrity in Reporting on Hinduism @NPR, https://www.change.org/p/national-public-radio-journalistic-integrity-in-reporting-on-hinduism-npr, which garnered over nine thousand signatures.  Ultimately, she liaised with Nancy Barnes, Senior VP of News at NPR. Ms. Barnes replied that she and her team will look closely at the petition, its demands, and all of the data sent to NPR and review Lauren Frayer’s anti-Hindu articles. Ms. Barnes said that it would take some time, but they would definitely get back to us, and that they take this seriously. However, NPR never followed up with Ms. Vishwanathan.
  • When someone says that he is from Mumbai or Delhi and it is apparent that he has a name that belongs to a particular geographic area in India, I ask him where his family is from.  There is no casteist subtext.
  • I appreciate that Suraj Yengde rose above his Dalit origins.  I am no fan of Kamala Harris - she is a rank opportunist with no moral core - but Yengde is reading “casteist privilege” into the video of Harris cooking masala dosa with Mindy Kaling.  Harris and Kaling are likely innocent of their “casteist privilege.”
  • Warner interviewed Thenmozhi Soundararajan of Equality Labs, an anti-Hindu organization.  Read the profile of Equality Labs, https://stophinduhate.org/hindu-haters-2/organisations/equality-labs/, on the Stop Hindu Hate Advocacy Network (SHHAN) website.  Equality Labs’s goal is to make caste a protected category in the United States: in other words, it wants to perpetuate caste divisions in the United States.
  • SHHAN also profiled scroll.in on its website: https://stophinduhate.org/hindu-haters-2/media/scroll-in/
  • Suraj Yengde tells Mauktik Kulkarni, “You got to be a cultural suicide bomber. You have to utilize your cultural privilege and blow that up by challenging all of the other people who are sitting there comfortably into the chairs without even questioning.”  By telling Mauktik Kulkarni that he should be a “cultural suicide bomber,” Yengde wants to destroy Hinduism.
  • I looked up Suraj Yengde on the Harvard website.  No surprise, he collaborates with race baiter Cornel West.  Interesting how these professional victimologists get positions at elite universities!
  • Warner said, “Suraj [Yengde] holds out the hope that activism in America might spark change in India, where caste has its source. But in a time of nationalism in India and around the world, there is also a backlash to this approach.” Is this a reference to the “Hindu Nationalist” BJP that leads the Government of India? 🙄 Gimme a break.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi is from what is classified as an Other Backward Caste, while President Ram Nath Kovind is a Dalit.

I can't envision NPR abusing Islam in the way it abuses Hinduism: NPR would be too afraid.

Yours sincerely,




Saturday, August 29, 2020

No thanks Re: South Asian Women in Leadership Event Featuring Audio Remarks by Sen. Kamala Harris

On Saturday, August 29, 2020, South Asians for Biden held a South Asian Women in Leadership virtual event.  VP nominee Senator Kamala Harris will provide audio remarks at the event.  South Asians for Biden launched  the Indians for Biden National Council (likewise, SAB has launched National Councils for Afghans, Bangladeshis, Bhutanese, Nepalis, Pakistanis, and Sri Lankans). 

The Indian American Impact Fund co-sponsored this event. It has endorsed Pramila Jayapal (US WA-07) and Ro Khanna (US CA-17), along with the Biden-Harris ticket.



No thanks, South Asians for Biden. 

  • Kamala Harris never played up her "South Asian" heritage until she was named VP nominee. She identified herself as African American.
  • Kamala Harris is an opportunist who only recently started identifying with her Indian roots. She now brandishes her Indian heritage, as the Indian American community is one of the largest, wealthiest, and most politically driven groups.
  • Kamala Harris condemned Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the Minister of External Affairs for the Government of India, for refusing to meet with the anti-India Rep. Promila Jayapal (D-WA).  
  • Kamala Harris has repeatedly opposed India's national interest in matters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and the revocation of Article 370. 
  • Somanjana Chatterjee, a political strategist in the US, alleged that while serving as California's Attorney General, Kamala Harris was 'non-cooperative' when approached for intervention in California public schools regarding revision of depiction of Hinduism in textbooks.
  • Kamala Harris and the Democratic Party are silent on Chinese LAC violations and border incursions and Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attacks in the Kashmir Valley and apathetic towards the mistreatment of minorities in Kashmir.
South Asia comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The term "South Asian" subsumes Indian identity and ultimately erases it.  

Yours sincerely,

Sources:
Republic World. (2020, August 20). Kamala Harris' views on Kashmir and 5 things to know about Biden's running mate . Retrieved August 29, 2020, from https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/us-news/kamala-harris-views-on-kashmir-and-5-things-to-know-about-biden.html

Why The Hell Are Indians So Excited About Kamala Harris? [Video file]. (2020, August 24). Retrieved August 29, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gk2peJeC9A&t=59s

Friday, June 12, 2020

Letter to Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning

A Burning: #ReadWithJenna pick of the month for June 2020

A Burning

6:07 PM (1 minute ago)

Dear Ms. Majumdar,

I have finished reading A Burning - thanks to Knopf for making it available through NetGalley.

You have received many accolades, through the New York Times, Time, and the New Yorker.  A Burning was selected as the #ReadWithJenna pick of the month for June 2020 on the Today Show  (I have copied Today on this message).  From the web page Jenna Bush Hager announces June 2020 book club pick, https://www.today.com/shop/jenna-bush-hager-june-2020-book-club-pick-t182874:
I started writing from a place of alarm and anger," Majumdar told TODAY about her inspiration for the book. "India has been changing in frightening ways and growing more intolerant of minority communities, more extremist. I definitely hope that readers will see resonances in the U.S. as well.
Indeed, the only victims in your book were Muslim: Jivan, the girl who was falsely accused of torching the train, and the Muslim family that was slaughtered on the suspicion that they slaughtered a cow.

Your Jana Kalyan Party is plainly modeled after the BJP, yet you know that the BJP has next to no influence in Bengal - never mind that its predecessor Bharatiya Jana Sangh was founded by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, and the BJP honors Mukherjee as its founder! 

It was also strange that the Muslim girl was named Jivan.  Jivan, or Jeevan, is a boy's name and moreover, a Hindu name.

I am convinced that the train burning was inspired by the 2002 burning of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, in which 59 people, including 27 women and 10 children, were burnt to death, and 48 others were injured, at the rail station in Godhra, Gujarat.  Unlike poor Jivan, none of the perpetrators received a death sentence.

Do BJP rallies necessarily end with slaughter of Muslims?  I don't think so.  A friend told me that in UP, lynchings for cow slaughter might have more to do with cattle rustling, rather than Hindu-on-Muslim violence (really, the reverse doesn't happen?).

In A Burning, you said that textbooks were being rewritten to serve the Jana Kalyan Party's agenda.  Yet IRL textbooks serve other parties' agenda.  I see rewriting textbooks in India similar to rewriting textbooks in the United States to include discussion of atrocities toward blacks and Native Americans.

Lastly, I invite to join #HinduUnitedAgainstTerror to protest the murder of Ajay Pandita in Anantnag, J&K.  You have over 8600 followers on Twitter.  By calling for justice for Ajay Pandita and including the hashtag #HinduUnitedAgainstTerror, you can create a lot of visibility for this cause.

Yours sincerely,

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Comments on Sameer Yasir's April 22 article India is Scapegoating Muslims

from: thebahuofbengal@gmail.com

to: jonathan.tepperman@foreignpolicy.com, reply@foreignpolicy.com

cc: yasirshi@gmail.com

date: Apr 22, 2020, 8:09 PM

subject:Comments on Sameer Yasir's April 22 article India is Scapegoating Muslims Re:

mailed-by:gmail.com

I would like to comment on the anti-Hindu bias in Sameer Yasir’s article India Is Scapegoating Muslims for the Spread of the Coronavirus https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/04/22/india-muslims-coronavirus-scapegoat-modi-hindu-nationalism/. Mr. Yasir is copied on this message.

My comments are in bullet form (and many are italicized) so that I could send them in a timely manner.

Mr. Yasir’s report contained a lot of loaded words:

  • "Hindu nationalist"
  • "Amit Malviya, who heads the BJP’s information technology cell and serves as its chief propagandist.” It would have been sufficient to say “Amit Malviya, who heads the BJP’s information technology cell.” Let your readers decide if Amit Malviya is a propagandist.
  • “India’s television news channels, already notorious for spreading hatred against Muslims, were quick to attack” As far as I know, the only TV reporter to call out the gathering in Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz is Arnab Goswami.
  • "Some warn the endgame may be even worse, with threats that amount to incitement to genocide."
  • Mr. Yasir wrote, “Many Muslims fear that the democratic India embraced by their ancestors in 1947 is on the path to becoming a majoritarian Hindu nation.”
I support making Jammu and Kashmir Union Territories. Moreover, the Government of India spun off Ladakh from Jammu & Kashmir, as Ladakh has a culture of its own. Revoking J&K’s semi-autonomous status might allow the Hindus whom Muslims ethnically cleansed 30 years to return to their homes.
Mr. Yasir wrote, “In India’s troubled northeastern region of Assam, Modi last year introduced a controversial National Register of Citizens to identify Indian nationals among so-called foreigners from neighboring Bangladesh. The register has put some 1.9 million citizens—the majority of them Muslims who have lived there for generations but lack documentation—at the risk of becoming stateless.”

One of the successes of the BJP government was to conclude a peace treaty with Bodo guerillas in Assam.

Rather, the point of the NRC is to identify Bangladeshi infiltrators – a recent phenomenon. It is wrong to say that the majority of Muslims have lived in Assam for generations.

Mr. Yasir made a comment about “deadly anti-Muslim violence in Delhi”.

PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have disillusioned many of their supporters by not taking decisive action at Shaheen Bagh, Jamia Millia Islamia, and the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Nizamuddin Markaz. I will not be surprised if the home countries to which the Tablighi Jamaat missionaries return are harsher on them than India.

Mr. Yasir wrote, “Many Muslims see the latest scapegoating as part of a larger ploy by Hindu nationalists to demonize them and ultimately deny them even the basic rights guaranteed to all citizens of India under the constitution, regardless of religion.”

While the Constitution of India explicitly protects minority institutions from government seizure, it does not extend that protection to Hindu institutions. Therefore, it is wrong to say that the Constitution of India guarantees basic rights, regardless of religion.

Mr. Yasir wrote, “The Star of Mysore ran an editorial (since removed) referring to Muslims with the following advice: “An ideal solution to the problem created by bad apples is to get rid of them.”

I would like to read The Star of Mysore’s editorial for context so that I can decide. Maybe the writer was not intimating genocide.

All in all, Mr. Yasir’s article was emotional and not the dispassionate reporting that I would expect from a prestigious journal like Foreign Policy.

Yours sincerely,


Comments on New York Times article Gandhi’s Killer Evokes Admiration as Never Before

And here is yet another letter of complaint that I wrote concerning an article in the New York Times, as written by Sameer Yasir:

from: thebahuofbengal@gmail.com  
to: yasirshi@gmail.com 
date: Feb 5, 2020, 5:21 PM 
subject: Comments on Gandhi’s Killer Evokes Admiration as Never Before

Dear Mr. Yasir,

This message concerns your article Gandhi’s Killer Evokes Admiration as Never Before, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/04/world/asia/india-gandhi-nathuram-godse.html.  I have also posted my comments on Twitter and Facebook.


A statue for Nathuram Vinayak Godse, who assassinated Mohandas K. Gandhi, at the office of Hindu Mahasabha, a group that espouses militant Hindu nationalism, in Meerut, India, last week on the anniversary of Gandhi’s death.
A statue for Nathuram Vinayak Godse, who assassinated Mohandas K. Gandhi death.Credit: Smita Sharma for The New York Times
Comments:
  • I don't condone Godse's action, but Gandhi was a disaster for India
  • Thanks to Gandhi, people think that India should be passive and not fight back.
  • Sometimes it's necessary to take up arms against the forces of adharma: that's what the Mahabharata taught us.
  • Gandhi recommended collective suicide to Jews, Brits, and Hindus in the face of evil.  Read Repudiating Gandhian pacifism in the face of mass murder, https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Repudiating-Gandhian-pacifism-in-the-face-of-mass-murder-449885.
  • You missed that Gandhi was on a fast to the death concerning giving Pakistan 55 crores. He was working on the behalf on the British
  • You wrote "Gandhi walked slowly across a stately lawn in New Delhi, India’s capital, leaning on the shoulders of two young women." Those young women were his grandnieces.
  • Gandhi slept naked with these grandnieces to test his sexual abstinence.
Your sincerely,
[The Bahu of Bengal]
xxx-xxx-xxxx

HT Anantanand Rambachan