State of Georgia deplores academic attacks on Hinduism, condemns Hinduphobia

Georgia State house chamber. Photo: Facebook

Georgia’s state legislature in the US has deplored the attacks on Hinduism emanating from certain sections of academia and condemned all forms of “Hinduphobia, anti-Hindu bigotry and intolerance”.

The resolution adopted unanimously by the State House of Representatives of the southeastern US state on Monday, said, “Hinduphobia is exacerbated and institutionalised by some in academia who support the dismantling of Hinduism and accuse its sacred texts and cultural practices of violence and oppression”.

While bigotry directed against other religions has been condemned by state and city legislatures across the US, they have refrained from condemning Hinduphobia, making Georgia the first to do so.

The resolution sponsored by five State Representatives acknowledged the contributions of the Hindu religion as well as Hindus to the world and the US while condemning “Hinduphobia, anti-Hindu bigotry, and intolerance”.

It declared the state’s Forsyth County “as a place that welcomes the diversity brought by Hindu Americans and all those who work hard, follow our laws, upholds family values, and contribute to our economic and social well-being”.

More than 40 universities, including elite institutions, cosponsored a conference in 2021 on “Dismantling Global Hindutva”, which was seen by many Hindu organisations as a semantically veiled attack on Hinduism.

The universities that were involved included the University of California Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton and Stanford, according to Berkeley’s South Asia Studies Institute.

The resolution said that “there have been documented instances of hate crimes against Hindu Americans over the last few decades in many parts of the country”.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s report on bias crimes released last month covering 2021 said there were 16 anti-Hindu crimes with 18 victims, an increase from the 11 reported the previous year.

The Georgia resolution cited a report by Rutger’s University’s Network Contagion lab that tracks disinformation and hate on the internet, “Anti-Hindu Disinformation: A Case Study of Hinduphobia on Social Media”.

According to the university, the report “found evidence of a sharp rise and evolving patterns of hate speech directed toward the Hindu community across numerous social media platforms”.

The university also is home to academics who are harsh critics of Hinduism.

The resolution extolled the US as “a beacon of hope, progress, and innovation, attracting people from around the world to create and live a better and fulfilling life” which has “welcomed more than four million Hindus from all corners of the world and given them better 8 opportunities and the freedom to practice Hinduism, also known as ‘Sanatana Dharma’”.

On the contribution of Hinduism, the resolution said, “Yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, food, music, arts, and more have enriched the cultural fabric and have been widely adopted in American society and enriched the lives of millions”.

“The American Hindu community has been a major contributor to diverse sectors such as medicine, science and engineering, information technology, hospitality, finance, academia, manufacturing, energy, retail trade, and so much more”, the resolution said.

(This article appeared on April 1, 2023, in South Asia Monitor. Used with permission)



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