Gurpreet Singh: Hinduphobia is a construct to silence critics of Hindu Right in India

This term is also being used to discredit supporters of the farmers protests outside the national capital

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      A protest against NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Burnaby and attempts to stop a conference on Hindutva are nothing but pressure tactics by supporters of the ruling right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP government in New Delhi to suppress voices of opposition internationally.

      The self-styled defenders of the Hindu religion have come together in Canada and the U.S. to make everyone believe that the community is under threat of growing “Hinduphobia”. This is a term coined as a counterweight to Islamophobia, which is real and represents a deeply entrenched racism against followers of Islam, especially in the post-9/11 scenario.

      What precipitated the ongoing protests is a February incident involving Singh’s close relative in Ontario and the proposed Dismantling Hindutva Conference being cosponsored by more than 50 universities.

      Singh’s brother-in-law assaulted a Hindu and used offensive language against his religion. The video has already gone viral. This happened during a Tiranga (Tricolour) car rally held by the pro India activists infuriating the supporters of the agitating farmers in India.

      This video shows a man believed to be a relative of Jagmeet Singh pushing another man to the ground.

      The organizers of the rally were celebrating Indian nationalism by fluttering the country’s flag in the face of those outraged over the mistreatment of farmers camping near New Delhi since last November against unjust farming laws that are going to affect the livelihood of people living in rural India.

      Canada has witnessed countrywide demonstrations in solidarity with Indian farmers. As a result, Singh and other political leaders were pressured to make statements denouncing the undemocratic ways of the BJP government.

      Those who held protests outside Singh’s constituency office in Burnaby complained that he has remained indifferent to the shoving incident, thus inciting hatred against Hindus.

      Though Singh often talks about Love and Courage and has confronted white supremacists without losing temper, he somehow failed to address this issue effectively. That said, the people who are going after him have never challenged the outright racist white political figures in Canada, yet they accuse Singh of being a bigot.

      While Singh should be held accountable for his response to what his relative uttered and did, there is also a need to look at the broader picture. These Tiranga rallies were offensive in the first place as they were clearly aimed at discrediting supporters of Indian farmers and instigate them. There are grounds to suspect that they are being supported by Indian diplomats who are upset over the bad press the BJP government has received in this part of the world.

      It's probably not difficult to discover any connections if Canadian intelligence looks into the situation.

      Singh faced barriers from the Indian government during his ascendance to national prominence. He was denied an Indian visa for raising the issue of the Sikh genocide of 1984. People were discouraged from signing up members during his run for the NDP leadership by those owing loyalty to the Indian state.

      Secondly, calling Singh Hinduphobic is itself problematic as there is no such trend suggesting ongoing persecution of Hindus in Canada. It is just a figment of someone's imagination and an attempt to divert people’s attention from what has been going on with Muslims in India.

      The attacks on Muslims and other religious minorities have grown in that country ever since the BJP came to power with a majority in 2014. The BJP’s Islamophobia remains undeniable and has become more apparent with the constant growth of its supporters around the world.

      It is for this reason that the Dismantling Global Hindutva conference is being planned from September 10 to 12. However, supporters of the BJP in Canada are calling it anti-Hindu and Hinduphobic as well.

      It is necessary to make it clear that Hindutva is political Hinduism and it's based on the philosophy of an exclusionist Hindu state. It must not be confused with Hinduism. 

      Hindutva is advocated by the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, of which the BJP is its political arm. So naturally, Hindutva is the bedrock of the BJP’s brand of religion and politics.

      To challenge this political ideology does not make one anti-Hindu. But those in power in New Delhi and their agents and apologists in Canada are trying to shun any dialogue on this menace, which has made the lives of minorities in India difficult.

      In fact, the founders of Hindutva were racists who glorified Hitler and justified the Jewish Holocaust. So on what basis are Hindutva proponents calling others bigots and Hinduphobic?

      These incidents only indicate the sheer desperation of the BJP's most zealous followers in North America and they must not be given any legitimacy. Rather, they need to be exposed for spreading hatred, lies, and misinformation.