Napoleon supposedly said ‘Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake’. The ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ conference figured that it had been a while since Napoleon marched his army to the fateful Battle of Waterloo, and it fell upon their broad shoulders to show the world how to walk proudly towards your own annihilation. A whistling, jovial, strolling Tom (from Tom and Jerry), walking blissfully unaware as a bowling ball is about to fall on his head.
Where to begin? For one, picking the date 9/11 to hold this ‘conference’. On a side note, a children’s zoom class has more attendees (and more sensible quotes) than this conference. I suppose they were trying to play some kind of Jedi mind trick by picking this date and transferring the real threat and fears of Islamism, onto ‘Global Hindutva’. Speaking of which, it’s funny how these crackpots believe that there’s some kind of a coordinated global Hindutva movement. The first and last time Hindus around the globe solidified into a movement was in the 90s when NRIs combined powers with their brethren from the mother country to make sure Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan became a success.
The 9/11 date this year was also unfortunate for the DGH klan because their brothers-in-arm of the Taliban couldn’t wait a few more days to declare the Islamic Emirate 2.0. And despite many whitewashers from the media telling us that these comeback Talibs were new and improved, it turns out their idea of Make Afghanistan Great Again was very much like the original. The history of Islamism along with a very stark current day example put to bed any chance of gaining new converts to the Hindu hate cause. To the uninitiated, the DGH conference participants sound like they are sitting on the Titanic, complaining about the quality of the lunch buffet while the ship goes down.
Secondly, Aurangzeb fangirl ‘professors’ kept telling us that this conference was about combating Hindutva which is not equivalent to bashing Hinduism. I put professor in quotes but then again, Professor Dolores Umbridge was tenured at Hogwarts so I guess the title can apply to modern-day practitioners of the dark arts. And just like Professor Dolores hated muggles, these professors simply hate Hindus but had to keep using word salad combinations to avoid stating it plainly. Unfortunately for them, a brave soul (who apparently didn’t get the toolkit or just couldn’t stop herself when she was frothing at the mouth with hatred) named ‘Professor’ Akanksha Mehta made it clear that the fundamental issue is Hinduism itself. Other speakers also indicated clearly enough that attacking Hindutva is just the start to dismantling Hinduism itself.
Thirdly, the DGH tried to give a sheen of academic credibility by using the logos and names of colleges where these so-called professors operate. It was a nice try – slap on the name of an Ivy League college is like dumping a bottle of perfume on a box filled with poop. From far away, the box seems like a wonderful gift but when you closely examine the arguments, you end up with crap all over you.
The organizers had to quickly backtrack and remove all logos and references to the colleges and universities.
Most importantly, this conference woke up many sections of the NRI Hindu community that have been in a mental slumber when it comes to being politically, and not just culturally active as Hindus. A proverbial deer munching on the sweet grass (Dollars and Euros) while the anaconda silently wraps itself around them. This awakening would not have taken place until perhaps it was too late. The next step for the community would be to use their time, energy, money, and connections to proactively tell the Hinduism AND Hindutva story.
The organizers of the conference ended up spitting with the wind in their faces. However, the hard work of establishing the narrative begins now.
In closing, this episode also revealed the importance of giving bad faith actors space to articulate and act. Rather than trying to silence such voices, there should be attempts to roll out the red carpet and engage them on even terms versus working in the shadows.