|Freedom of religion|
Anti-Hinduism is a negative perception or religious intolerance against the practice and practitioners of Hinduism. Anti-Hindu sentiments have been expressed by Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia, leading to significant persecution of Hindus in those regions.
There are also allegations of Anti-Hinduism voiced by members of the Hindu diaspora in the West against their host societies, notably in the United States, where these form part of the so-called "culture wars", with cases such as the California textbook controversy over Hindu history.
- 1 Stereotypes used by Anti-Hindus
- 2 Historical instances of anti-Hindu views
- 3 In the West
- 4 In South Asia
- 5 Other countries
- 6 Anti-Hindu crimes
- 7 Further reading
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 External links
Stereotypes used by Anti-Hindus
Individuals in the Indian diaspora have begun to protest that Western scholars "distort their religion and perpetuate negative stereotypes". Historically, such stereotypes were promulgated during the British Raj by several Indophobes in South Asia as a means to aggrandize sectarian divisions in Indian society, part of the divide and rule strategy employed by the British. Such allegations have seen a rise with the Hindu right using them for politics.
The Indian Caste System, a social stratification system in South Asia which has been criticized for its discriminatory problems, is uniquely blamed on Hindus and the religion of Hinduism. This is a common stereotype, as adherents of other religions such as Islam and Christianity have kept the practice of caste segregation in India (for details, see Caste system among South Asian Muslims). Some in India regard it as a social issue, rather than a religious one. Several organizations in India and abroad have been criticized by Hindu advocacy groups for these types of attacks.
The devotion to bovine animals (regarded as holy in Hinduism) is also used as a pretext to mock the Hindu people by many in the west. In addition, the Hindu tradition of cremating their dead is used to mock the people.
Anti-Hindu attacks often accuse Hindus of being "Blasphemers" for committing "idolatry" and "polytheism" (Hinduism is more accurately described as monistic or henotheistic than polytheistic depending on the sect or school of belief involved). Some Anti-Hindus insist on an interpretation of Hinduism, relating to ancient polytheistic religions as opposed to one that relates to enlightenment or moksha. This accusation is prevalent among adherents of monotheistic religions like Islam and Christianity. Many Christian missionaries, particularly those of Fundamentalist Christianity, denigrate Hindu deities as "evil" or "demonic". Francis Xavier, a Catholic saint referred to Hindus as devil-worshipers and spiritually blind, Hindu teachings as repulsive and grotesque, Vishnu's transformation as foulest shapes, Shiva as shameless, Kali as clamoring for sacrifices, many-headed and many-armed gods and goddesses in temples as hideous forms and temples and altars as place of degrading rites. Advocacy groups in the west, such as the Hindu American Foundation and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have spoken against anti-Hindu bigotry and prejudice.
Historical instances of anti-Hindu views
During Islamic Rule in the Indian Subcontinent
Parts of India have historically been subject to Islamic rulers from the period of Muhammad bin Qasim to the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire, as well as smaller kingdoms like the Bahmani Sultanate and Tipu Sultans kingdom of Mysore. In almost all of those regimes, Hindus have had an inherently inferior status to the Muslim overlords. Islamic law demands that when under Muslim rule "polytheists" or "infidels" be treated as dhimmis (from the Arab term) ahl-al-dhimma.
Under the reign of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the Muslim cleric Ziauddin Barrani wrote several works, such as the Fatwa-i-Jahandari, which gave him a reputation as a "fanatical protagonist of Islam" and wrote that there should be "an all-out struggle against Hinduism", advocating a militant and dogmatic religiosity. He developed a system of religious elitism to that effect.
In the first part of his reign in particular he was a religious bigot destroying many temples within his own kingdom-proper and many more in the invasion of Malabar. Mass forced conversions took place during the invasion of Malabar, outnumbered Nair warriors were given choice of Islam or death and Tippu is said to get great pleasure by converting Namboodhiri Brahmins.
- In battle
After being defeated in the first Anglo-Mysore war he started dealing cordially with the Hindus in his kingdom so as to avoid insurrection and get support in the face of the British power. Malayalam writer V.V.K. Valath has claimed In 1780 CE he declared himself to be the Padishah or Emperor of Mysore and H. D. Sharma writes that in his correspondence with other Islamic rulers such as Shah Zaman of Afghanistan, Tippu Sultan used this title and declared that he intended to establish an Islamic Empire in the entire country, along the lines of the Mughal Empire which was at its nadir during the period in question. C. K. Kareem notes that Tippu Sultan issued an edict for the destruction of Hindu temples in Kerala. The archaeological survey of India has listed three temples which were destroyed during the reign of Tipu Sultan. These were the Harihareshwar Temple at Harihar which was converted into a mosque, the Varahswami Temple in Srirangapatnam and the Odakaraya Temple in Hospet. The list is incomplete and has not considered temples such as in Keladi, Ikkeri and Sagara, and many more in Malabar, like Tirunavaya, .......
Tipu got Runmust Khan, the Nawab of Kurool, to launch a surprise attack upon the Kodava Hindus (also called Coorgs or Coorgis) who were besieged by the invading Muslim army. 500 were killed and over 40,000 Kodavas fled to the woods and concealed themselves in the mountains. Thousands of Kodava Hindus were seized along with the Raja and held captive at Seringapatam (Srirangapatna). They were also subjected to forcible conversions to Islam, death, and torture.
In Seringapatam, the young men who were forcibly circumcised were incorporated into the Ahmedy Corps, and they formed eight Risalas or regiments. The actual number of Kodavas that were captured in the operation is unclear. The British administrator Mark Wilks gives it as 70,000, Historian Lewis Rice arrives at the figure of 85,000, while Mir Kirmani's score for the Coorg campaign is 80,000 men, women and child prisoners. In a letter to Runmust Khan, Tipu himself stated:
"We proceeded with the utmost speed, and, at once, made prisoners of 40,000 occasion-seeking and sedition-exciting Coorgis, who alarmed at the approach of our victorious army, had slunk into woods, and concealed themselves in lofty mountains, inaccessible even to birds. Then carrying them away from their native country (the native place of sedition) we raised them to the honour of Islam, and incorporated them into our Ahmedy corps."
The following is a translation of an inscription on the stone found at Seringapatam, which was situated in a conspicuous place in the fort:
"Oh Almighty God! dispose the whole body of infidels! Scatter their tribe, cause their feet to stagger! Overthrow their councils, change their state, destroy their very root! Cause death to be near them, cut off from them the means of sustenance! Shorten their days! Be their bodies the constant object of their cares (i.e., infest them with diseases), deprive their eyes of sight, make black their faces (i.e., bring shame)."
In 1788, Tipu ordered his governor in Calicut Sher Khan to begin the process of converting Hindus to Islam, and in July of that year, 200 Brahmins were forcibly converted and made to eat beef. Mohibbul Hasan, Prof. Sheikh Ali, and other historians cast great doubt on the scale of the deportations and forced conversions in Coorg in particular, and Hasan says that the British versions of what happened were intended to malign Tipu Sultan, and to be used as propaganda against him. He argues that little reliance can be placed in Muslim accounts such as Kirmani's Nishan-e Haidari; in their anxiety to represent the Sultan as a champion of Islam, they had a tendency to exaggerate and distort the facts: Kirmani claims that 70,000 Coorgis were converted, when forty years later the entire population of Coorg was still less than that number. According to Ramchandra Rao Punganuri the true number of converts was about 500. The portrayal of Tipu Sultan as a religious bigot is disputed, and some sources suggest that he in fact often embraced religious pluralism.
Tipu sent a letter on 19 January 1790 to the Governor of Bekal, Budruz Zuman Khan. It says:
"Don't you know I have achieved a great victory recently in Malabar and over four lakh Hindus were converted to Islam? I am determined to march against that cursed Rama Varma (Rajah of Travancore) very soon. Since I am overjoyed at the prospect of converting him and his subjects to Islam, I have happily abandoned the idea of going back to Srirangapatanam now."
After such atrocities, Tipu's view towards Hinduism changed and its recorded his seeking reverential advice from the then Sringeri pontiff Sri Sacchidananda Bharati III (1770–1814). The Sringeri Sarada Peetam has in its safe possession some 24 letters written by the Sultan who also sent a silver palanquin and a pair of silver chauris to the Sarada Temple as well. Tipu had donated many silver vessels and gold ornaments to Sri Ranganatha swamy at Seringaptnam which is at stone's throw from his palace.
Whilst no scholar has denied that, in common with most rulers of his period, Tippu’s campaigns were often characterized by great brutality, some historians claim that this was not exclusively religiously motivated, and did not amount to a consistent anti-Hindu policy. Brittlebank, Hasan, Chetty, Habib and Saletare amongst others argue that stories of Tippu's religious persecution of Hindus and Christians are largely derived from the work of early British authors such as Kirkpatrick and Wilks, whom they do not consider to be entirely reliable. A. S. Chetty argues that Wilks’ account in particular cannot be trusted.
Although the attitudes of Muslim ruler Tippu Sultan have been criticized as being anti-Hindu by Indian historians, left-wing historians note that he had an egalitarian attitude towards Hindus and was harsh towards them only when politically expedient. Former IAS Officer, Praxy Fernandes has mentioned in his book that Tipu Sultan displayed reverence to the head of the Hindu Shringeri Mutt, by
Irfan Habib and Mohibbul Hasan argue that these early British authors had a strong vested interest in presenting Tippu Sultan as a tyrant from whom the British had "liberated" Mysore. This assessment is echoed by Brittlebank in her recent work
S. Chandrasekar, Travel writer & Photographer, 2010, records from his family genealogy (Visanasola, Kuthsa gothra, Telugu Konaseema Dravidlu):
"One of my anscestors, Someswara Iyer was mistakenly imprisoned by Tipu in 1789. He was a pure saivite and an innocent Brahmin. He refused to eat or drink in prison due to shame and humiliation. Soon he dropped and fell unconscious. That night Lord appeared in the dream of Tipu and ordered him to release the poor Brahmin. Tipu apologized and repented for the sin committed. Someswaran was too fragile and couldn't move. Tipu asked his court physician to smear battered curd-rice paste throughout the body twice a day. His skin pores absorbed them. On the third day it was said that he regained energy to speak. Tipu granted few villages and an emerald Shivalinga to Someswaran Iyer as a token of respect. The lands and lingam have vanished over the centuries. Henceforth Someswara Iyer was called Nawab Somayajulu (wife Subbulakshmi). They belonged to the Konaseema Telugu speaking kuthsa-gothra Brahmin family of south India Konaseema dravidlu, kuthsa gothram, Visanasola telugu brahmins. Someswaran was the 8th descendent from Madhyarjunam Subbarao who was a minister at the court of King Sri Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara Empire c.1500AD (approx.)"
Historian C. Hayavadana Rao wrote about Tippu in his encyclopaedic work on the History of Mysore. He asserted that Tippu's "religious fanaticism and the excesses committed in the name of religion, both in Mysore and in the provinces, stand condemned for all time. His bigotry, indeed, was so great that it precluded all ideas of toleration". He further asserts that the acts of Tippu that were constructive towards Hindus were largely political and ostentatious rather than an indication of genuine tolerance.
During Portuguese rule in Goa
During the Portuguese rule in Goa, thousands of Hindus were coerced into accepting Christianity by passing laws that made it difficult to practice their faith, harassing them under false pretences or petty complaints and giving favourable status to converts and mestiços in terms of laws and jobs. It is alleged that during the Goa Inquisition, thousands of Goan Hindus were massacred by Portuguese rulers, starting in the year 1560. The inquisition was proposed by St. Francis Xavier
During the British Raj
During the British rule of the Indian subcontinent, several evangelical Christian missionaries spread anti-Hindu propaganda as a means to convert Hindus to Christianity. Examples include missionaries like Abbe J.A. Dubois, who wrote "Once the devadasis' temple duties are over, they open their cells of infamy, and frequently convert the temple itself into a stew. A religion more shameful or indecent has never existed amongst a civilized people"
In Charles Grant's highly influential "Observations on the ...Asiatic subjects of Great Britain" (1796), Grant criticized the Orientalists for being too respectful to Indian culture and religion. His work tried to determine the Hindu's "true place in the moral scale", and he alleged that the Hindus are "a people exceedingly depraved".
In the West
By the late 19th century, fear had already begun in North America over Chinese immigration supplying cheap labor to lay railroad tracks, mostly in California and elsewhere in the West Coast. In xenophobic jargon common in the day, ordinary workers, newspapers, and politicians uniformly opposed this "Yellow Peril". The common cause to eradicate Asians from the workforce gave rise to the Asiatic Exclusion League. When the fledging Indian community of mostly Punjabi Sikhs settled in California, the xenophobia expanded to combat not only the East Asian Yellow Peril, but now the immigrants from British India, the Turban Tide, equally referred to as the Hindoo Invasion (sic).
The rise of the Indian American community in the United States has brought about some isolated incidences of attacks on them, as has been the case with many minority groups in the United States. Attacks specific to Hindus in the United States stem from what is often referred to as the "racialization of religion" among Americans, a process that begins when certain phenotypical features associated with a group and attached to race in popular discourse become associated with a particular religion or religions.The racialization of Hinduism in American perception has led to perceiving Hindus as a separate group and contributes to prejudices against them.
In addition, there have been anti-Hindu views that are specific to the religion of Hinduism as well as mistaken racial perceptions. Pat Robertson in the United States has made remarks denouncing Hinduism as "demonic," believing that Hindus, when they "feel any sort of inspiration, whether it's by a river or under a tree, on top of a hill, they figure that some God or spirit is responsible for that. And so they'll worship that tree, they'll worship that hill or they'll worship anything." These remarks were widely condemned and rebutted by Indian Americans and many non-partisan advocacy groups. Evangelical leader Albert Mohler defended Robertson's remarks, saying "any belief system, any world view, whether it's Zen Buddhism or Hinduism or dialectical materialism for that matter, Marxism, that keeps persons captive and keeps them from coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, yes, is a demonstration of satanic power."
In 2001, an American talk show host Tony Brown, made several derogatory anti-Hindu remarks in his talk show on WLS 890 AM that began with the concern among American workers about the influx of software engineers from India. He evoked anti-Hindu canards such as exaggerating the importance of the Caste System in Hinduism, and made patent falsehoods about Human Rights in India. Protests by Indian-American community leaders led to the radio host publicly apologizing for his remarks against Hindus and Hinduism. In his apology, Brown said:
|“||The statements I made were derived from either books or articles that I read. Still, I had not considered the possibility of bigots using the information to persecute the Hindu minority in this country.That does not excuse me from the pain that I have caused by not being more circumspect.||”|
After his apology, Brown also invited Swami Atmajnanananda of the Washington branch of the Ramakrishna Mission and an Indian journalist based in Chicago, J V Lakshmana Rao, to participate in the talk show. Atmajnanananda said one must draw a distinction between caste and casteism. He said:
|“||The assumption that Hindus are inherently racists is dangerous.Caste does not play a role in one's occupation any more. One should not use the pitfalls of the Indian culture to attack Hinduism.||”|
Refuting Brown's statement that lower castes were being persecuted in India, Rao spoke of affirmative actions in favor of the lower castes by the Government of India.
On April 28, 2004, an article on the Denver Post, authored by thoracic and general surgeons and a commentator on National Public Radio in USA Pius Kamau, portrayed the entire Indian community and the Hindus with "bigoted views". Widespread letter-writing and protests from the Indian American community, the Denver post responded by conveying the writer and editor's apologies.
On May 6 of that year, Denver Post also published a strong rebuttal to the original article By P.K. Vedanthan titled "Healing ethnic wounds".
Hindu American Foundation
The Hindu American Foundation, together with organizations like the American Jewish Committee, have worked to counter perceived biases against Hindus and Jews in college campuses like Stanford University. Both groups claim to have identified cases of academic hostility against both minorities.
In 2005, The Hindu American Foundation protested against the defamation of Hinduism in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle alleging the false anti-Hindu canard of rape being a "just punishment for criminal behavior". The author removed the statement following the protest.
In July, 2007, The United States Senate conducted its morning prayer services with a Hindu prayer, a historical first. During the service, three disruptors, named Ante Nedlko Pavkovic, Katherine Lynn Pavkovic and Christian Renee Sugar, from the Fundamentalist Christian activist group Operation Save America protested that the Hindu prayer was "an abomination", and that they were "Christians and Patriots". They were swiftly arrested and charged with disrupting Congress.
The event generated a storm of protest from Fundamentalist Christian groups in the country, with the American Family Association ("AFA") posting lengthy anti-Hindu diatribes on their website. Their representative attacked the proceedings as "gross idolatry" The AFA sent out an "Action Alert" to its members to e-mail, write letters, or call their Senators to oppose the Hindu prayer, stating it is "seeking the invocation of a non-monotheistic god." The "alert" stated that "since Hindus worship multiple gods, the prayer will be completely outside the American paradigm, flying in the face of the American motto One Nation Under God." The convocation by Zed was in fact disrupted by three protesters in the gallery reportedly shouting "this is an abomination" and other complaints.
The chairman of the United States and India Political Action Committee, Sanjay Puri, has circulated a letter to the organization protesting the move as an act of bigotry. He writes:
|“||It is our hope and goal that we can open up this dialogue because we were dismayed to see the communication made to your members that was blatantly offensive and factually erroneous. As a United States organization representing the Indian American community, which includes diverse groups from various religious backgrounds, we hope that you will make efforts to bring people together.||”|
Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who had invited Zed to conduct the service, responded to the protest by defending his actions. He said:
|“||If people have any misunderstanding about Indians and Hindus," Reid said, "all they have to do is think of Gandhi," a man "who gave his life for peace. I think it speaks well of our country that someone representing the faith of about a billion people comes here and can speak in communication with our heavenly Father regarding peace.||”|
Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the protest "shows the intolerance of many religious right activists. They say they want more religion in the public square, but it’s clear they mean only their religion."
In South Asia
Ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits
In the Kashmir region, approximately 300 Kashmiri Pandits were killed between September 1989 to 1990 in various incidents. In early 1990, local Urdu newspapers Aftab and Al Safa called upon Kashmiris to wage jihad against India and ordered the expulsion of all Hindus choosing to remain in Kashmir. In the following days masked men ran in the streets with AK-47 shooting to kill Hindus who would not leave. Notices were placed on the houses of all Hindus, telling them to leave within 24 hours or die.
Since March 1990, estimates of between 250,000 to 300,000 pandits have migrated outside Kashmir due to persecution by Islamic fundamentalists in the largest case of ethnic cleansing since the partition of India. The proportion of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir valley has declined from about 15% in 1947 to, by some estimates, less than 0.1% since the insurgency in Kashmir took on a religious and sectarian flavor.
Many Kashmiri Pandits have been killed by Islamist militants in incidents such as the Wandhama massacre and the 2000 Amarnath pilgrimage massacre. The incidents of massacring and forced eviction have been termed ethnic cleansing by some observers.
The Taliban regime in Afghanistan was known for its extremist attitudes and views on Islam, including their strict enforcement of Islamic sharia law in the society. The Taliban regime declared that Hindus would be required to wear badges in public identifying themselves as Hindus, ostensibly to "protect them". This was part of the Taliban's plan to segregate "un-Islamic" and "idolatrous" communities from Islamic ones.
The decree was regarded as an anti-Hindu one by several lawmakers and congressmen in the United States, as well as by the Indian Government. There were widespread protests against this decree in both India and the United States. In the United States, chairman of the Anti-Defamation League Abraham Foxman compared the decree to the practices of Nazi Germany, where Jews were required to wear labels identifying them as such. In the United States, congressmen wore yellow badges on the floor of the Senate during the debate as a demonstration of their solidarity with the Hindu minority in Afghanistan.
It is said that there is persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan.
In July 2010, around 60 members of the minority Hindu community in Karachi were attacked and evicted from their homes following an incident of a Hindu youth drinking water from a tap near an Islamic mosque. A leader of the Karachi Hindu community, Amarnath Motumal, states that at least 20 to 25 girls are abducted and converted to Islam against their will every single month. In January 2014, a policeman standing guard outside a Hindu temple at Peshawar was gunned down. Pakistan's Supreme Court has sought a report from the government on its efforts to ensure access for the minority Hindu community to temples - the Karachi bench of the apex court was hearing applications against the alleged denial of access to the members of the minority community.
In Pakistan, anti-Hindu sentiments and beliefs are widely held among many sections of the population. There is a general stereotype against Hindus in Pakistan. Hindus are regarded as "miserly". Also, Hindus are often regarded as "Kaffirs" (lit. "unbelievers") and blamed for "causing all the problems in Pakistan". Islamic fundamentalist groups operating within Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan have broadcast or disseminated anti-Hindu propaganda among the masses, referring to Hindus as "Hanood" ('Hindu' is singular and Hanood is plural form in Urdu) blaming them for "collaborating with the foreigners" against the people of the region.
The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), a coalition of Islamist political parties in Pakistan, calls for the increased Islamization of the government and society, specifically taking an anti-Hindu stance. The MMA leads the opposition in the national assembly, held a majority in the NWFP Provincial Assembly, and was part of the ruling coalition in Balochistan. However, some members of the MMA made efforts to eliminate their rhetoric against Hindus.
The public school curriculum in Pakistan was Islamized during the 1980s. The government of Pakistan claims to undertake a major revision to eliminate such teachings and to remove Islamic teaching from secular subjects. The bias in Pakistani textbooks was also documented by Y. Rosser (2003). She wrote that
|“||in the past few decades, social studies textbooks in Pakistan have been used as locations to articulate the hatred that Pakistani policy makers have attempted to inculcate towards their Hindu neighbours”, and that as a result "in the minds of generations of Pakistanis, indoctrinated by the 'Ideology of Pakistan' are lodged fragments of hatred and suspicion.||”|
A study by Nayyar & Salim (2003) that was conducted with 30 experts of Pakistan's education system, found that the textbooks contain statements that seek to create hate against Hindus. There was also an emphasis on Jihad, Shahadat, wars and military heroes. The study reported that the textbooks also had a lot of gender-biased stereotypes. Some of the problems in Pakistani textbooks cited in the report were:
|“||Insensitivity to the existing religious diversity of the nation”; "Incitement to militancy and violence, including encouragement of Jihad and Shahadat”; a “glorification of war and the use of force”; "Inaccuracies of fact and omissions that serve to substantially distort the nature and significance of actual events in our history"; “Perspectives that encourage prejudice, bigotry and discrimination towards fellow citizens, especially women and religious minorities, and other towards nations” and “Omission of concepts ... that could encourage critical self awareness among students”. (Nayyar & Salim 2003). The Pakistani Curriculum document for classes K-V stated in 1995 that "at the completion of Class-V, the child should be able to "Understand Hindu-Muslim differences and the resultant need for Pakistan.||”|
A more recent textbook published in Pakistan titled "A Short History of Pakistan" edited by Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi has been heavily criticized by academic peer-reviewers for anti-Hindu biases and prejudices that are consistent with Pakistani nationalism, where Hindus are portrayed as "villains" and Muslims as "victims" living under the "disastrous Hindu rule" and "betraying the Muslims to the British", characterizations that academic reviewers fond "disquieting" and having a "warped subjectivity".
Ameer Hamza, a leader of the banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba, wrote a highly derogatory book about Hinduism in 1999 called "Hindu Ki Haqeeqat" ("Reality of (a) Hindu"); he was not prosecuted by the Government.
The Bangladesh Liberation War (1971) resulted in one of the largest genocides of the 20th century. While estimates of the number of casualties was 3,000,000, it is reasonably certain that Hindus bore a disproportionate brunt of the Pakistan Army's onslaught against the Bengali population of what was East Pakistan. An article in Time magazine dated 2 August 1971, stated "The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Muslim military hatred." Senator Edward Kennedy wrote in a report that was part of United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations testimony dated 1 November 1971, "Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, painted with yellow patches marked "H". All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad". In the same report, Senator Kennedy reported that 80% of the refugees in India were Hindus and according to numerous international relief agencies such as UNESCO and World Health Organization the number of East Pakistani refugees at their peak in India was close to 10 million. Given that the Hindu population in East Pakistan was around 11 million in 1971, this suggests that up to 8 million, or more than 70% of the Hindu population had fled the country.The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sydney Schanberg covered the start of the war and wrote extensively on the suffering of the East Bengalis, including the Hindus both during and after the conflict. In a syndicated column "The Pakistani Slaughter That Nixon Ignored", he wrote about his return to liberated Bangladesh in 1972. "Other reminders were the yellow "H"s the Pakistanis had painted on the homes of Hindus, particular targets of the Muslim army" (by "Muslim army", meaning the Pakistan Army, which had targeted Bengali Muslims as well), (Newsday, 29 April 1994).
Pakistan Studies curriculum issues
According to the Sustainable Development Policy Institute report 'Associated with the insistence on the Ideology of Pakistan has been an essential component of hate against India and the Hindus. For the upholders of the Ideology of Pakistan, the existence of Pakistan is defined only in relation to Hindus, and hence the Hindus have to be painted as negatively as possible' A 2005 report by the National Commission for Justice and Peace a non profit organization in Pakistan, found that Pakistan Studies textbooks in Pakistan have been used to articulate the hatred that Pakistani policy-makers have attempted to inculcate towards the Hindus. 'Vituperative animosities legitimise military and autocratic rule, nurturing a siege mentality. Pakistan Studies textbooks are an active site to represent India as a hostile neighbour' the report stated. 'The story of Pakistan’s past is intentionally written to be distinct from, and often in direct contrast with, interpretations of history found in India. From the government-issued textbooks, students are taught that Hindus are backward and superstitious.' Further the report stated 'Textbooks reflect intentional obfuscation. Today’s students, citizens of Pakistan and its future leaders are the victims of these partial truths'.
An editorial in Pakistan's oldest newspaper Dawn commenting on a report in The Guardian on Pakistani Textbooks noted 'By propagating concepts such as jihad, the inferiority of non-Muslims, India’s ingrained enmity with Pakistan, etc., the textbook board publications used by all government schools promote a mindset that is bigoted and obscurantist. Since there are more children studying in these schools than in madrassahs the damage done is greater. ' According to the historian Professor Mubarak Ali, textbook reform in Pakistan began with the introduction of Pakistan Studies and Islamic studies by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1971 into the national curriculum as compulsory subject. Former military dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq under a general drive towards Islamization, started the process of historical revisionism in earnest and exploited this initiative. 'The Pakistani establishment taught their children right from the beginning that this state was built on the basis of religion – that's why they don't have tolerance for other religions and want to wipe-out all of them.'
According to Pervez Hoodbhoy, a physics professor at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, the "Islamizing" of Pakistan's schools began in 1976 when an act of parliament required all government and private schools (except those teaching the British O-levels from Grade 9) to follow a curriculum that includes learning outcomes for the federally approved Grade 5 social studies class such as: 'Acknowledge and identify forces that may be working against Pakistan,' 'Make speeches on Jihad,' 'Collect pictures of policemen, soldiers, and national guards,' and 'India's evil designs against Pakistan.'
In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh National Party is regarded as an anti-Hindu party, and reportedly encourages anti-Hindu views and sentiments among the Muslim majority. Prominent political leaders frequently fall back on "Hindu bashing" in an attempt to appeal to extremist sentiment and to stir up communal passions. In one of the most notorious utterances of a mainstream Bangladeshi figure, the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, while leader of the opposition in 1996, declared that the country was at risk of hearing "uludhhwani" (a Bengali Hindu custom involving women's ululation) from mosques, replacing the azaan (Muslim call to prayer) (e.g., see Agence-France Press report of 18 November 1996, "Bangladesh opposition leader accused of hurting religious sentiment").
Even the supposedly secular Awami League is not immune from this kind of scare-mongering. The current prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, was alleged to have accused Bangladeshi Hindu leaders in New York of having divided loyalties with "one foot in India and one in Bangladesh". Successive events such as this have contributed to a feeling of tremendous insecurity among the Hindu minority.
The fundamentalists and right-wing parties such as the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jatiya Party often portray Hindus as being sympathetic to India, making accusations of dual loyalty and allegations of transferring economic resources to India, contributing to a widespread perception that Bangladeshi Hindus are disloyal to the state. Also, the right wing parties claim the Hindus to be backing the Awami League.
As widely documented in international media, Bangladesh authorities have had to increase security to enable Bangladeshi Hindus to worship freely following widespread attacks on places of worship and devotees.
On 28 February 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, the Vice President of the Jamaat-e-Islami to death for the war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Following the sentence, activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked the Hindus in different parts of the country. Hindu properties were looted, Hindu houses were burnt into ashes and Hindu temples were desecrated and set on fire. While the government has held the Jamaat-e-Islami responsible for the attacks on the minorities, the Jamaat-e-Islami leadership has denied any involvement. The minority leaders have protested the attacks and appealed for justice. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has directed the law enforcement to start suo motu investigation into the attacks. US Ambassador to Bangladesh express concern about attack of Jamaat on Bengali Hindu community. The violence included the looting of Hindu properties and businesses, the burning of Hindu homes, rape of Hindu women and desecration and destruction of Hindu temples. According to community leaders, more than 50 Hindu temples and 1,500 Hindu homes were destroyed in 20 districts. On May 5, 2014, A mob of almost 3,000 attacked Hindu households and a temple in eastern Bangladesh after two youths from the community allegedly insulted Prophet Muhammad on Facebook.
Hindu immigrants constitute approximately 0.5% of the total population of the United States. They are also the second most affluent religious group after the Jews. Hindus in the US enjoy both de jure and de facto legal equality. However, a series of attacks were made on people Indian origin by a street gang called the "Dotbusters" in New Jersey in 1987, the dot signifying the Bindi dot sticker worn on the forehead by Indian women. The lackadaisical attitude of the local police prompted the South Asian community to arrange small groups all across the state to fight back against the street gang. The perpetrators have been put to trial. On 2 January 2012, a Hindu worship center in New York City was firebombed.
The Dotbusters was a hate group in Jersey City, New Jersey, that attacked and threatened South Asians in the fall of 1987. The name originated from the fact that traditional Hindu women and girls wear a bindi on their forehead. In July 1987, they had a letter published in the Jersey Journal stating that they would take any means necessary to drive the Indians out of Jersey City:
"I'm writing about your article during July about the abuse of Indian People. Well I'm here to state the other side. I hate them, if you had to live near them you would also. We are an organization called dot busters. We have been around for 2 years. We will go to any extreme to get Indians to move out of Jersey City. If I'm walking down the street and I see a Hindu and the setting is right, I will hit him or her. We plan some of our most extreme attacks such as breaking windows, breaking car windows, and crashing family parties. We use the phone books and look up the name Patel. Have you seen how many of them there are? Do you even live in Jersey City? Do you walk down Central avenue and experience what its like to be near them: we have and we just don't want it anymore. You said that they will have to start protecting themselves because the police cannot always be there. They will never do anything. They are a week [sic] race Physically and mentally. We are going to continue our way. We will never be stopped."
Later that month, a group of youths attacked Navroze Mody, an Indian man of Parsi (Persian) origin, who was mistaken for a Hindu, after he had left the Gold Coast Cafe with his friend who fell into a coma. Mody died four days later. The four convicted of the attack were Luis Acevedo, Ralph Gonzalez and Luis Padilla - who were convicted of aggravated assault; and William Acevedo - who was convicted of simple assault. The attack was with fists and feet and with an unknown object that was described as either a baseball bat or a brick, and occurred after members of the group, which was estimated as being between ten and twelve youths, had surrounded Mr. Mody and taunted him for his baldness as either "Kojak" or "baldie". Mody's father, Jamshid Mody, later brought charges against the city and police force of Hoboken, New Jersey, claiming that "the Hoboken police's indifference to acts of violence perpetrated against Asian Indians violated Navroze Mody's equal protection rights" under the Fourteenth Amendment. Mody lost the case; the court ruled that the attack had not been proven a hate crime, nor had there been proven any malfeasance by the police or prosecutors of the city.
A few days after the attack on Mody, another Indian was beaten into a coma; this time on a busy street corner in Jersey City Heights. The victim, Kaushal Saran, was found unconscious at Central and Ferry Avenues, near a city park and firehouse, according to police reports. Saran, a licensed physician in India who was awaiting licensing in the United States, was discharged later from University Hospital in Newark. The unprovoked attack left Saran in a partial coma for over a week with severe damage to his skull and brain. In September 1992, Thomas Kozak, Martin Ricciardi, and Mark Evangelista were brought to trial on federal civil rights charges in connection with the attack on Saran. However, the three were acquitted of the charges in two separate trials in 1993. Saran testified at both trials that he could not remember the incident.
The Dotbusters were primarily based in New York and New Jersey and committed most of their crimes in Jersey City. A number of perpetrators have been brought to trial for these assaults. Although tougher anti-hate crime laws were passed by the New Jersey legislature in 1990, the attacks continued, with 58 cases of hate crimes against Indians in New Jersey reported in 1991.
Approximately ten percent of the population of Malaysia are Tamil Indians, of whom nearly 90 percent are practicing Hindus. Indian settlers came to Malaysia from Tamil Nadu in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
After a violent conflict in Penang between Hindus and Muslims in March 1998, the government announced a nationwide review of unlicensed Hindu temples and shrines. However, implementation was not vigorous and the program was not a subject of public debate. In April 2006, local authorities demolished several Hindu temples to make way for developmental projects. Their excuse was that these temples were unlicensed and squatting on government land.
Between April to May 2006, several Hindu temples were demolished by city hall authorities in the country, accompanied by violence against Hindus. On April 21, 2006, the Malaimel Sri Selva Kaliamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur was reduced to rubble after the city hall sent in bulldozers.
The president of the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam in Selangor had been helping to organise efforts to stop the local authorities in the Muslim dominated city of Shah Alam from demolishing a 107-year-old Hindu temple. The growing Islamization in Malaysia is a cause for concern to many Malaysians who follow minority religions such as Hinduism.
On May 11, 2006, armed city hall officers from Kuala Lumpur forcefully demolished part of a 60-year-old suburban temple that serves more than 1,000 Hindus. The "Hindu Rights Action Force", a coalition of several NGO's, have protested these demolitions by lodging complaints with the Malaysian Prime Minister. Many Hindu advocacy groups have protested what they allege is a systematic plan of temple cleansing in Malaysia. The official reason given by the Malaysian government has been that the temples were built "illegally". However, several of the temples are centuries old. According to a lawyer for the Hindu Rights Action Task Force, a Hindu temple is demolished in Malaysia once every three weeks.
Malaysian Muslims have also grown more anti-Hindu over the years. In response to the proposed construction of a temple in Selangor, Muslims chopped off the head of a cow to protest, with leaders saying there would be blood if a temple was constructed in Shah Alam.
Laws in the country, especially those concerning religious identity, are generally slanted towards compulsion into converting to Islam
South Africa is home to a small Hindu minority. In 2006, the son of an Islamic cleric named Ahmed Deedat, circulated a DVD that denounced South African Hindus. The elder Deedat, former head of the Arab funded "Islamic Propagation Centre International" (IPCI), had previously circulated an anti-Hindu video in the 80's where he said that Indian Muslims were 'fortunate' that their Hindu forefathers 'saw the light' and converted to Islam when Muslim rulers dominated some areas of India. His video was widely criticized. While Hindus in South Africa have largely ignored the new anti-Hindu DVD circulated by Deedat Junior, he has been severely criticized by local Muslims, including other members of the IPCI.The IPCI said in a statement that Yusuf Deedat did not represent the organisation in any way. Deedat Junior, undeterred by the opposition from his own brethren, continues to circulate the material.He has placed advertisements in newspapers inviting anyone to collect a free copy from his residence to see for themselves "what the controversy is about".
Hindus consist of 1% of the Canadian population. In 2013 a Hindu Temple in Surrey had 3 windows smashed. A baseball bat found at there after the attack had Sikh markings.
Hate crime statistics against Hindus in North American countries are unavailable. However, it is believed that sporadic bouts of communal and institutional hatred against Hindus have occurred, though their frequency may have decreased in recent years. In the late 1980s a Jersey City street gang calling themselves the "Dotbusters" targeted, threatened and attacked South Asians, specifically Hindus.
On July 20, 2006, The Hindu American Foundation represented Hindus as a part of a coalition of civil rights, educational and religious submitting comments to the Department of Justice on its implementation of the Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA). Enacted by Congress in 1990, the HCSA requires the Justice Department to acquire data on crimes which "manifest prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity" from law enforcement agencies across the country and to publish an annual report of its the findings.
Recent anti-Hindu violence
There have been a number of more recent attacks on Hindu temples and Hindus by Muslim militants. Prominent among them are the 1998 Chamba massacre, the 2002 fidayeen attacks on Raghunath temple, the 2002 Akshardham Temple attack allegedly perpetrated by Islamic terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba, and the 2006 Varanasi bombings (supposedly perpetrated by Lashkar-e-Toiba), resulting in many deaths and injuries.
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