Understanding Dismantling Global Hindutva with Mat McDermott of Hindu American Foundation

Mat McDermott of Hindu American Foundation spoke to Thought Habitat on Dismantling Global Hindutva Conference and reveals some interesting details.

Dismantling Global Hindutva event sponsored by universities globally is now the talking point in various forums. But, such events are real time examples of the hatred spread against a religion. Most importantly, of all other religions, why would they question the concept of Hindutva? Is it an initiative to conduct a silent genocide on the longest surviving religion?

Organizations such as Hindu American Foundation are boycotting this event and its organizers. With their efforts, some of the universities who were initially supporting the event have now pulled out their support. However, the hatred still remains.

Mat McDermott, Senior Director – Communications at Hindu American Foundation spoke to Thought Habitat on Dismantling Global Hindutva conference. He reveals some interesting information on the same.

Edited Excerpts:

First of all, why is this conference of Dismantling Global Hindutva taking place now?

The timing of the conference has no doubt been planned to coordinate with both the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States as well as the start of Ganesh Chaturthi. As for why ’now’, opponents of the current Government of India and the BJP have been vocal in the Indian/South Asian diaspora in the US for some time, organizing protests, events, and attempting to influence US policy.

Who are behind this initiative?

The ad hoc organizing committee of the conference is: Sahar Aziz (Rutgers University), Ben C Baer (Princeton University), Shruti Bala (University of Amsterdam), Laura Brueck (Northwestern University), Ananya Chakravarti (Georgetown University), Zahid R Chaudhary (Princeton University), Rohit Chopra (Santa Clara University), Ashley Cohen (University of Southern California), Meena Dhanda (University of Wolverhampton), John Esposito (Georgetown University), Shubhra Gururani (York University), Jyotsna Kapur (South Illinois University, Carbondale), David Ludden (New York University), Radhika Mongia (York University), Meera Nanda (IISER Pune), Gyan Prakash (Princeton University), Sharmila Rudrappa (South Asia Institute, University of Texas-Austin), Lotika Singha (University of Wolverhampton), Suchitra Vijayan, and the Feminist Critical Hindu Studies Collective. However, the primary organizers from this list remains an open question.

Of the reported 45 universities, we hear some have pulled out their support to this initiative. But they were ware this it is a hatred campaign. Does it mean they are threatened to agree? Or is there a nexus within each of these universities that attempts to spread hatred?

After our outreach to universities, what we understand is that the universities that had their logos removed from the site did so because it was individual professors or departments within the university that are involved in the conference, but the conference made it look like an entire university was backing it.

This is commonplace, a department sponsoring a conference not a full university, but normally the logo or specific name of that department is what is used to promote the event. I don’t believe there was any threatening involved, nor any nexus of hatred, as you put it.

Rather, the conference organizers and/or the departments/professors involved overstepped in using the logos of the entire university — if I had to speculate, to make it seem like the conference has greater institutional support than it does.

Wrap Up

Such developments are quite disheartening and it does question if humanity exists in the world. Ironically, academician who indulge in instill knowledge in students are rather spreading hatred. With organizations like Hindu American Foundation, not only does the Hindu culture, but humanity as well will flourish.

Read more on religious hatred

1 comment
  1. If a Hindu student at one of the universities sponsoring this conference is persecuted and even injured by ignorant mobs, will the universities be liable? Specifically, since many of these universities have huge endowments, can they be sued by Hindu students who experience persecution/violence on campus?

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