Angry! Hindu! Community! Leaders!


by Sunny
5th February, 2008 at 3:47 am    

This is really, really funny. I got forwarded an email yesterday from “the angry Hindu community”. See if you can figure out what is actually annoying them.

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Community tells PM: Government has failed British Hindus

3 February 2008 – Hindu leaders from scores of organisations have collectively told Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the ‘Government has failed the British Hindu community’. The strong message was unanimously adopted as a resolution by outraged Hindu leaders on Sunday 3 February at the ground-breaking ceremony of Europe’s largest cow protection farm, built in memory of Gangotri, the temple cow killed in a despicable manner by the RSPCA.

“This Government has no regard for the needs of communities that do not shout,” commented Sudarshan Bhatia, President of the National Council of Hindu Temples. “Hindu leaders wrote to the Prime Minister 45 days ago, and there is not even an acknowledgement. If this had been some other community, the Government would have rushed to find a solution. Just because Hindus are quite, we are ignored, isolated and sidelined.”

“The impression we get is that those who shout the loudest or cause problems get immediate attention from this Government, while those who work actively to make community cohesion a reality get ignored,” explained Ishwer Tailor, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain. “There has been a catalogue of issues that we have raised with the Government and they have ignored our concerns. Of course, there is a lot of lip-service, tokenistic meetings and assurances, but very little practical action follows. Having spoken to several stakeholders, I know that our community is becoming increasingly restless with this Government and wondering whether it is even worth continuing to engage with them.”

“The lethargy from this Government is unacceptable,” said Gauri Dasa, President of Bhaktivedanta Manor. “A DEFRA minister wrote a letter to us taking the RSPCA stand and telling us that we were wrong. Who in their right mind will believe that the Government is actually serious about talking to faith communities when they do not even pick up the phone to talk to us before writing judgemental letters like these?”

“Representatives from scores of Hindu organisations passed a resolution declaring the failure of the Government to engage purposefully with Hindus and asking for immediate dialogue,” reported Kapil Dudakia, Trustee of the Milton Keynes Hindu Association and a member of the Justice for Gangotri Taskforce. “We hope this Government will sit up, take note, and stop ignoring our genuine concerns.”

Organisations that supported the reolution include the Hindu Forum of Britain, National Council of Hindu Temples, Hindu Council UK, Vishwa Hindu Parishad UK, and several regional Hindu organisations and temples. Hindu leaders had travelled from all over the country to take part in the ground-breaking ceremony that included chanting of 10,000 year old Sanskrit prayers, ancient costumes, traditional dances, and devotional singing to the accompaniment of Indian drums and cymbals. It culminated in four simultaneous yajnas, with priests pouring sanctified offerings of clarified butter into a large sacred fire.

Plans for building Europe’s largest Cow Protection Centre, called ‘New Gokul’ were approved by Hertsmere Borough Council after numerous planning applications and a pubic enquiry. Many councilors had indicated that they were impressed with the design and the sustainable character of the proposed farm buildings.

“In Britain, 3.38 million cows and bulls are killed every year. Nearly all young bulls die before they reach their third birthday,” concluded Gauri Dasa, President of Bhaktivedanta Manor and Spiritual Commissioner of the Hindu Forum of Britain. “But at New Gokul, the new cow protection farm, we will demonstrate new ways of ethical, compassionate and sustainable farming.”

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Amusingly, this is only months after the same bunch of publicity seeking self-styled leaders hosted a launch attended by Labour party members and decided to name the PM – Govardhan Brown.

Maybe Gordon – oops, I meant Govardhan didn’t like his new name and decided to ignore these Hindu ‘leaders’. Or, they’re screaming and shouting about nothing.

What’s the controversy? The RSPCA decided to put down a cow! We’re talking about the RSPCA here, not bloody McDonald’s. It looks like they opened this facility and decided to attract some attention by making a big statement. So the government has betrayed Hindus because it took the RSPCA’s side over theirs. Boo hoo. Pathetic.

Updated – stupid MSM coverage
Times – Government accused of failing British Hindus
Indy blog – Britain’s ‘quietist’ Hindus say it’s time to speak out


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Filed in: Culture,Hindu,Organisations






96 Comments below   |  

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  1. Sunny — on 5th February, 2008 at 3:55 am  

    And it goes on….

    Hindu leaders expressed their outrage and frustration, considering the killing to be not only an entirely unnecessary waste of life, but also a symbolic attack on Hinduism itself, a religion of non-violence.

    “Never before have I seen such anger and solidarity in our community,” said Rickie Sehgal of the Hindu Forum of Britain. “We want answers and retribution and we will not stop until we get them.”

    Raj Joshi, the vice-chairman of The Society of Black Lawyers, angrily commented: “This action is showing complete disregard for the sensitivities of the third largest religion in this country. It is astonishing that the authorities seem to have disregarded all customary tolerance and understanding, and certainly the relevant legislation, in carrying out this unwarranted and inhumane destruction of an animal.”

    This is pure comedy material. If they’re so anti-violence and pro-life, why not demonstrate against the war in Iraq? One cow! They’re obsessing about one cow!

  2. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 6:17 am  

    “Hindu leaders from scores of organisations have collectively told Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the ‘Government has failed the British Hindu community’.”

    Can you blame them, with all of the “British Muslim community” stuff going on?! Hindus was a piece of that action, too!

    On a serious note, we see the same things on Hindus in the US.

  3. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 6:18 am  

    We need to do an investigative piece on Hindu politics in the UK.

  4. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 6:20 am  

    “Never before have I seen such anger and solidarity in our community,” said Rickie Sehgal of the Hindu Forum of Britain. “We want answers and retribution and we will not stop until we get them.””

    Ricky (O! What an unHindu name! Infidel!) should speak for himself and his ilk, not the entire “community.”

  5. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 6:20 am  

    “If they’re so anti-violence and pro-life, why not demonstrate against the war in Iraq? One cow! They’re obsessing about one cow!”

    Calm down, Sunny :)

    It’s kind of cute when you get worked up.

  6. Poitiers — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:48 am  

    Sunny

    If you are so anti-violence and pro-life, why not demonstrate against the violations of human rights against Sikhs in India and the injustice at the 1984 pogroms? Instead of chronically masturbating over the MCB and the Hindu Forum.

    I’ve never seen you outside the Indian High Commission demonstrating about anything. But to be sure, you were there when the Left was shouting: “we are all Hezbollah now.”

    You really are pathetic.

  7. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:05 am  

    Poitiers:

    “Sunny

    If you are so anti-violence and pro-life, why not demonstrate against the violations of human rights against Sikhs in India and the injustice at the 1984 pogroms?”

    Actually, if you do a search on the PP site, you’ll see that Sunny has written about the 1984 pogrom.

  8. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:08 am  

    Grimbits:

    Don’t be a redundant, lame troll like extolling Hitler for every topic. At least be a funny one with fresh new material for every post.

  9. Poitiers — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:58 am  

    Desi

    I wasn’t talking to you.

    Stick to picking fruit for your mafioso overlords in Verona.

  10. Leon — on 5th February, 2008 at 10:52 am  

    The RSPCA decided to put down a cow! We’re talking about the RSPCA here, not bloody McDonald’s.

    What does it matter who put it down? Why should any religious group hold sway in matters like this?

  11. lost — on 5th February, 2008 at 11:09 am  

    Look you all,

    If you want atention there is two ways of doing it. You either cry or you laugh.

    By blowing up people or blast your way to get attention you make alot of people cry. Or make a mockery out of nothing and everyone laugh. At least its humour and alot of anti-bodies to make you feel hmmmmmmmm!

  12. Ros — on 5th February, 2008 at 11:36 am  

    How right Desi Italiana is – the Hindu leaders always focus on divisive religious issues (cows, Muslims etc) but will never challenge the establishment on the hard issues – race, immigration, media representation.

    Generally a cowardly lot – unprincipled and opportunistic. Back in Bombay, the Marathas want to kick out the northerners. Always creating divisions – how about building public toilets and cleaning the drains there?

  13. Arif — on 5th February, 2008 at 1:19 pm  

    I’m not very knowledgeable about Hindu philosophy, but I think it makes sense from a religious point of view to take symbols seriously. This can be a dangerous thing in some contexts, but in the context of say – taking the attitude of the community to one life as a symbol of its ideal attitude to all life – protecting one life can become all-important.

    Sure, other communities which do not invest their sense of identity and ideals in the same symbol might not understand it and not make the effort of imagination to understand it. And that does not have to matter to Hindus. But if those other communities take away that source of identity, it becomes important to try to make others understand. If they do not understand, that is sad and I can understand people getting angry. If the anger is met with ridicule, well, then I can understand the kind of despair that makes people wonder if there is any basic respect for them at all.

    If they write a letter to express their feelings or not, it is all the same – people will not care. But at least they can let off steam and express to fellow believers that, regardless of how other communities patronise or ridicule you, they can still have self respect. That’s how I see it.

  14. platinum786 — on 5th February, 2008 at 1:45 pm  

    Maybe they just feel ignored?

  15. Avi Cohen — on 5th February, 2008 at 2:06 pm  

    No doubt the Hindu Community deserve to be heard but this is simply a naive approach to a genuinely serious issue.

    Clearly the digs at other faiths are unwelcome.

    However a better approach would have been to launch a report outlining where the community feels its needs are not being met.

    They should have met with other community leaders and also gathered support from the wider community.

    In this respect I think the Jewish Community can offer other immigrant/minority communities valuable support, advice and guidance as they have experience in numerous areas; being one of the oldest immigrant/minority communities. In the USA the Jewish Community is helping other immigrant communities and one feels that here the imigrant communities can benefit from asking for this help and experience. I think the MCB, Hindu Counbcil etc. can all benefit from learning from the experiences of the Jewish community.

    What immigrant communities need to do is be clever in how they apporach and present their issues.

    Communities are ignored when they are unable to articulate their needs and visions.

  16. Ros — on 5th February, 2008 at 6:38 pm  

    Avi Cohen, I am afraid Jewish good intentions elsewhere lose their force – they are tainted and overshadowed by the unspeakable horrors the Israelis (= East Euro Jews) have inflicted on the Palestinians.

    By what logic can European people descend on Arab land, dispossess the locals and settle there? And then quote the Bible in justification – it would be laughable if not so tragic.
    If you cared to read the first 6 books of the Bible, you will see there was no uninhabited promised land – what ‘God’ had promised was the forcible grab of indigenous land (Canaanites, Hitties etc). And today’s Israelis have done just that – grabbed the land of others.
    Real tragic. I’d welcome your views.

  17. Avi Cohen — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:03 pm  

    Ros – we are talking about two seperate issues.

    Immigrant and minority communities need help in advocating and presenting their views to Government and seeing those actioned. Here the Jewish Community can offer advice and help on these issues to assist immigrant communities as they have been able to build channels of avocacy into Govt.

    As regards the Israel/Palestinian issue I regard even this as solvable if each side stopped focussing on the others actions. However the issue of helping communities in Europe and the Palestinian issue are two seperate issues.

    The discussion here is about how immigrant and minority communities can better present their needs.

    If I digress to discuss Israel/Palestine then I’ll be accused again of derailing the thread.

    It is also worth bearing in mind that even within the Jewish Community people are uncomfortable about events in the Middle East.

    Surely then we should focus on helping to solve both issues for the betterment of humanity.

  18. Ros — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:24 pm  

    Avi, thanks for a gracious response.
    I agree that my comment would mean opening up another thread.

    I do hope the Palestinian issue will surface some day on this blog.

  19. Desi Italiana — on 5th February, 2008 at 7:48 pm  

    Ros:

    “How right Desi Italiana is – the Hindu leaders always focus on divisive religious issues (cows, Muslims etc) but will never challenge the establishment on the hard issues – race, immigration, media representation.”

    I didn’t say that, hon. It was Sunny.

  20. Rohin — on 5th February, 2008 at 9:13 pm  

    What dorks. Pretty funny though, Hindus are carving a niche for themselves as joke protesters. I find it hilarious the things that rile them and the things they’re not overly concerned about. And that email is poorly written.

    However, I can’t argue with:

    “The impression we get is that those who shout the loudest or cause problems get immediate attention from this Government”

    I read a piece a while ago, perhaps even on PP, by a British Hindu who took a humorous look at this phenomenon saying that as he was brown, but not Muslim, he wasn’t topical or cool anymore.

  21. Nyrone — on 5th February, 2008 at 11:31 pm  

    Holy Cow!

  22. Sandra — on 5th February, 2008 at 11:54 pm  

    Could I suggest the readers of this column do a bit of research into the incident which triggered the hindu protest. Given the reputation of the RSPCA for trampling on the rights of animal owners and valuing death over life, it would seem to this reader that the RSPCA have taken the law into their own hands yet again. The link below is a good place to start.
    http://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/mostpopular.var.1904001.mostcommented.rspca_accused_of_religious_sacrilege_after_cow_killed_at_hindu_temple.php

  23. Sunny — on 6th February, 2008 at 1:17 am  

    Sandra are you on drugs??

    Read the fucking article properly. It says:

    An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “This cow has been in constant pain and suffering for some time, and we understand the animal had been unable to stand up for more than a year.

    “We know the cow has been suffering from painful and infected sores, her limbs had become wasted and her breathing difficult.

    It also quotes a PC saying the RSPCA carried out a legal warrant. Taken law into their own hands? Yeah right.

  24. Rohin — on 6th February, 2008 at 1:36 am  

    I would never doubt the high standards of The Borehamwood Times, esteemed publication that it is, but it’s a lop-sided piece and the comments are hi-larious, they’re all so extreme. They’re practically declaring war on the RSPCA, which is odd because I’m always amazed that a charity like the RSPCA even exists – I forget some human beings actually care about animals – and secondly, I can think of maybe…oohh…a thousand things more dedicating of the vitriol those commenters had. Let’s ignore all the good this organisation does because of one or two bad experiences. Otherwise, by that reckoning, the NHS is the most evil thing in the world and must be stopped instantly.

    But one of the comments was priceless: “I knew this cow personally” Haha!

  25. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 8:55 am  

    Arif #13,

    That’s one of the least dogmatic, judgmental, and humble comments I’ve read here :) And I see your point of view.

    But on the other hand, my personal feeling is that it’s somewhat ridiculous, this cow thing.

  26. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 9:00 am  

    If you ask me, this cow thing is an excuse for other pent up frustrations, real or imagined. The indignation expressed in the excerpts above isn’t solely having to do with the cow. I seriously think it’s the feeling that the “Hindu community” is wrong/victimized/overlooked/not vociferous and demanding enough as the ‘Muslim community’” type of inferiority complex. I’m sure that’s not hard to feel given the extent and weight of media coverage of the “Muslim community.”

  27. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 9:20 am  

    Arif:

    “I’m not very knowledgeable about Hindu philosophy”

    Re: the symbolism of the cow and Hindusim, it originally started with the idea that the cow provides five essential elements: milk, butter, yogurt, dung, and urine. Getting rid of a cow is getting rid of some pretty requisite things that people use on a daily basis. But prohibition of eating beef/killing cows is not an “ancient” practice– apparently, there is evidence that earlier in Hinduism, beef was in fact consumed.

    This idea of sacredness, IMO, has taken a life of its own and has spiralled into an almost hysterical emotional stance in some quarters. Strangely, Hindu nationalists in India have pounced on the cow protection issue with a vivacity and ferocity that you only wish they’d display for causes like providing basic necessities to India’s people. But I digress.

    It is debated how much cows figure into Hinduism. The book “Holy Cow: Beef in Indian Dietary Traditions” by Dwijendra Narayan Jha, looks at old Sanskrit texts and argues that historically, beef was consumed, etc. It was banned in Hyderabad (later overturned). It caused an uproar in India:

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9503E7D8153DF934A2575BC0A9649C8B63

    I’m of the opinion that in India, it is easier to wage a war on symbols than on real hard issues that actually require hard thinking, long term strategies, logic, etc like how to provide basic sanitation for millions of people, how to put food in people’s stomachs, lack of housing, and so on.

    This empty rhetoric, indignation, blowing a lot of hot air, and feeling victimized and dissed by others takes on a much more passionate tone in the diaspora. Add in what I mentioned in comment #26 and it’s a boiling brew.

  28. douglas clark — on 6th February, 2008 at 9:21 am  

    Desi @ 26,

    You might well be right. However we are too busy taking on the Muslims, one or two of whom seem to think the UK is just begging for Sharia Law, when no-one actually seems to want it. This is an issue for UK electors to sort out. I’d doubt that a dead cow, here or there, is likely to make much a difference.

  29. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 9:29 am  

    This is not strictly related, but here in the US, the Hindu American Foundation (whom I loathe for several reasons) lobbied hard to get Diwali recognized as a holiday because the “Hindu American Community” feels that it’s absolutely imperative.

    My question is: WTF cares?! Are they seriously lobbying Capitol Hill for something this stupid? Do they really need some pathetic stamp of approval from the American Congress to enjoy Diwali? Go the the mandhir, have yourself some guulaab jamun, exchange presents with folks, and be off.

    But then again, given their stands on a variety of issues which they ALSO lobby for (Kashmir, Bangladeshi “fundamentalists” infiltrating India, and conjured up claims that scary Muslim extremists who are poised to take over India and annihilate Hinduism off of the face of this globe, etc), I wish they’d spend more of their time scurrying about the corridors of Capitol Hill for inane issues such as recognizing Diwali and its “significance” to Hindus and Sikhs rather than misinforming Congress members about serious issues which the HAF represents a totally skewed perspective.

  30. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 9:31 am  

    ^^ Excuse above rant, should have just written a freaking post about the HAF on my own blog… :)

  31. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 9:34 am  

    Re: my comment #27:

    “It is debated how much cows figure into Hinduism”

    Clarification: it is debated how much cows figurED into Hinduism.

  32. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 9:48 am  

    And really, it’s obvious that this ridiculous “cause” is one of a middle class diasporan preoccupation. I’m going to hazard a guess based on the things I’ve read (so I could be wrong in terms of what the fact on the ground are) that Brits who identity themselves as Hindu are relatively well off, especially those who are “community leaders”. Only people who don’t feel the brunt basic rights being revoked, violated, etc have time to twiddle their thumbs and chant slokas while wearing “ancient costumes” (BTW, what would an “ancient costume” be here?).

    But then to play devil’s advocate against my own comment, the anger that the Mohammed cartoons sparked in various countries included folks who were not so well off. But I think the key difference here is the fact that the former is diasporan, the latter is not, which has differing dynamics in terms of identity, where and how they sees themselves fitting in, and what the gov’t is doing/not doing.

  33. Ravi Naik — on 6th February, 2008 at 10:24 am  

    I’m of the opinion that in India, it is easier to wage a war on symbols than on real hard issues that actually require hard thinking, long term strategies, logic, etc like how to provide basic sanitation for millions of people, how to put food in people’s stomachs, lack of housing, and so on

    I totally agree. To me that is the same narrative that lead to the uproar on the cartoons.

    I am not entirely sure what is going on with the hindu leaders. Are the genuinely shocked, or is it a cry for attention? In any case, there seems to be a total disconnect between their beliefs and the majority of the UK populace.

    Something that has always puzzled me, is that in my home state in India (Goa), you can buy and eat beef freely. Does that happen in other states as well?

  34. riazat butt — on 6th February, 2008 at 10:47 am  

    @Sunny “Sandra are you on drugs?” very funny

  35. sonia — on 6th February, 2008 at 11:09 am  

    I’m of the opinion that in India, it is easier to wage a war on symbols than on real hard issues that actually require hard thinking, long term strategies, logic, etc like how to provide basic sanitation for millions of people, how to put food in people’s stomachs, lack of housing, and so on

    I totally agree as well and i think this is really important. Too many of us are wasting too much time on symbolism – and i think there is a conscious effort on the part of leaders to try and get people to focus on these things – instead of concrete things, which is very convenient for political types, and as always, the threat of a common enemy – look – they are insulting US! – is always very useful as a political tool to control people. The cartoons i feel fell into that category. Whip some collective indignation, etc.

    Perhaps the Hindu leaders just want some attention and a guardian Hinduphonic podcast might do the trick? perhaps it can discuss the most auspicious day to cut your fingernails etc. ( I do remember listening to islamophonic and hearing people discuss fatwas on plucking eyebrows – how inane is that?!)

  36. sonia — on 6th February, 2008 at 11:11 am  

    25 – good comment desi – i agree with your sentiments re: arif’s comments – they’re always by far the most loveliest on PP ( the rest of us often look like intolerant fanatics compared to arif!) but i think you’ve got a thing about the cow thing being a red herring..

  37. sonia — on 6th February, 2008 at 11:17 am  

    no insults for the RSPCA please, if the animal was in such a horrible state as described, it was far more kind to it to have it put down gently than be forced to live. ( i wish euthanasia for us humans were a bit more straightforward) if people are upset about nasty cow killing, im sure they could find plenty more vicious examples to focus on. (like eid al-adha or something.) ooh now that would be a bust up and a half..!

  38. Sofia — on 6th February, 2008 at 11:53 am  

    I agree that it is a bit of a red herring…mayber the hindu council are a bit peeved at being left out, with more focus going to muslims etc..but hey..if they want some of the limelight plzzzzzzzz take it..i’m sick of seeing programmes discussing the muslim diaspora blah blah…bring back the days when they ignored us en masse…

  39. sonia — on 6th February, 2008 at 12:07 pm  

    ha ha good one Sofia.

  40. Ros — on 6th February, 2008 at 12:25 pm  

    Lord Parekh’s address “Exploring India’s Identity” in 2006 criticising the Hindu middle classes may be relevant here:
    “Unlike most western middle classes that have been contributed in social and cultural revolutions, the Indian counterpart remain intellectually superficial with limited interest in ideas;

    “Recent surveys show that their reading habits are shallow. Few read serious literature, even in their own language, or patronise the arts; many find even newspaper editorials and the columnists (a declining group) intellectually challenging.

    “Few have a strong social conscience, they are politically apathetic to the plight of their underprivileged countrymen.
    “But they love to indulge in vulgar displays of wealth:

    “Examples: 450 Kg of pure sandalwood were used for Dhirubhai Ambani’s funeral pyre. Crores of rupees were spent on Sharad Pawar’s 60th birthday. Amitabh Bachan’s birthday celebrations were just as lavish. ”

    [Note: how poverty of intellect is substituted by the vulgar displays of material fripperies]
    Back in the UK, note how weeklies like Eastern Eye nothing intellectual to offer – no debates or discussion, just Bolly fare, cricket, wedding fashions and curry (cuisine).

  41. Jai — on 6th February, 2008 at 1:33 pm  

    Re: #40

    Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to provide a suitable online reference for those quotes by Lord Parekh, Ros, so that everyone else can read his speech in its entirety and gain a proper understanding of the context. Particularly as the first paragraph you’ve quoted refers to Indians in general and does not single out Hindus.

    [Note: how poverty of intellect is substituted by the vulgar displays of material fripperies]
    Back in the UK, note how weeklies like Eastern Eye nothing intellectual to offer – no debates or discussion, just Bolly fare, cricket, wedding fashions and curry (cuisine).

    None of which is exclusive to Hindus in the UK. It’s also a massive generalisation.

    I see that a discussion about the behaviour of some so-called “Hindu leaders” — which is by no means necessarily an accurate reflection of the stance of the majority of other Hindus in the UK, as Ravi has already mentioned — is now being used as an excuse to make sweeping disparaging comments about Hindus en masse. I wonder what the reaction would be if someone attempted to pull a similar stunt on a thread focusing on the (mis)behaviour of Islamic religious leaders, and exploited it to make off-topic remarks about the alleged “poverty of intellect” of the rest of the Muslim population.

    Actually, cancel that — we already know what would happen. They’d be rapidly admonished by PP’s moderators and many other commenters and, if they persisted, banned completely.

  42. Sofia — on 6th February, 2008 at 2:02 pm  

    Jai..agree with you to a point…muslims are already held under scrutiny for what their so called leaders do/say/ or how they behave.
    As for generalisations about hindu people, totally with you on that one, the hindu council et al can only be representative of a “community” if they can prove they are there at the behest of that “community”…

    I must say though, that I do find many of the middle class attitudes in India quite frightening, especially amongst those who educate their kids in the “West”…i also find the lack of knowledge of history shocking..but that is a global phenomena..and not wanting to point the finger at those who are assisting in this dumbing down(*cough* *cough* hollywood)…I do think that all religions have been hijacked by those who have a dogmatic, static, and rather black and white view of the world.

  43. Ravi Naik — on 6th February, 2008 at 2:27 pm  

    Since everyone is in sync here in that we think that the Hindu leaders are making arses of themselves, let me be the Devil’s advocate…

    It might be that our Hindu leaders are just way ahead of their time. If they consider a cow’s life as sacred as human life, then it is understandable that they feel upset and angry that it was put to sleep. Euthanasia is still a taboo in many countries.

    I always wonder what our descendents will think about our times. I mean, we look down at our ancestors for their narrow views and attitudes on women, homosexuals and peoples of other races/castes (slavery, etc.). Could it be that our descendents will ever think that we were bloody barbarians? That we killed animals for our pleasure and for eating them?

    Advances in science and technology can accelerate this view: first it is almost certain that our meat will be synthesised in labs and grown in farms, without having to breed or kill livestock. Secondly, studies that show that animals are more similar to humans than previously thought.

    Anyhow, I am getting hungry. Time for this barbarian to get some steak.

  44. Jai — on 6th February, 2008 at 2:41 pm  

    Sofia, thank you for your response re: #42. I do agree with most of your own remarks there too.

    Could it be that our descendents will ever think that we were bloody barbarians?

    Ravi, I wouldn’t be surprised if our descendents think people from our era were wildly misguided on any number of issues. Hazarding a guess, I expect that some of our descendants’ ideas would be viewed by us as huge advancements in human social/cultural/ethical evolution, and others might be regarded as very politically-incorrect indeed.

    Such has always been the course of human history. The wheel continues to turn….. ;)

  45. Ekta — on 6th February, 2008 at 3:12 pm  

    Poitiers:

    “Sunny

    If you are so anti-violence and pro-life, why not demonstrate against the violations of human rights against Sikhs in India and the injustice at the 1984 pogroms?”

    Desi Italian: ‘Actually, if you do a search on the PP site, you’ll see that Sunny has written about the 1984 pogrom.’

    Actually, it was someone else who wrote that piece, not sunny.

  46. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 8:03 pm  

    Ekta:

    “Actually, it was someone else who wrote that piece, not sunny.”

    Thanks for the correction!

    –Desi ItalianA

  47. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 8:07 pm  

    Ravi:

    “Something that has always puzzled me, is that in my home state in India (Goa), you can buy and eat beef freely. Does that happen in other states as well?”

    Cow slaughter is banned in MOST states, and I do not know which ones. I am not sure if prohibiting cow slaughter precludes consumption of the sacred cow.

    As someone who hails from a Swaminarayan family whereby eating any kind of meat is strictly prohibited, I must say that I love me a big ass hamburger. But the gourmet ones, mind you. Not any of that cheap McDonald’s crap.

  48. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 8:08 pm  

    I’m hungry

  49. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 8:44 pm  

    Sonia:

    “perhaps it can discuss the most auspicious day to cut your fingernails etc.”

    NEVER at night.

    Hair should not be combed at night.

    Black shoes should be thrown away on Saturday, ie Hanuman’s Chalissa.

    NEVER walk over a person, it brings bad luck.

    Do not swing your legs, this also brings bad luck.

    Stop yourself from sneezing at a shaadi, it brings bad luck.

    Shame on you, Sonia. How could you not know this? I am going to contact the Hindu leaders in the UK and tell them that British society has disrespected the Hindu community by doing all of the above on days and time where they are prohibited. Lack of knowledge is NO excuse.

    Maybe this is why things are not looking so good in the UK, with all of you people sinning by cutting your nails at night. Don’t worry—Hindu leaders to the rescue!

  50. Sid — on 6th February, 2008 at 8:48 pm  

    The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is no more.

  51. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 8:53 pm  
  52. Sid — on 6th February, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

    Maharishi Mahesh Yogi copped off with Mia Farrow *and* he could levitate.

  53. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 9:54 pm  

    That is very unHindu of Yogi. Whatever happened to no abstinence?

    Fatwa, please!

  54. Rohin — on 6th February, 2008 at 10:05 pm  

    “Cow slaughter is banned in MOST states, and I do not know which ones. I am not sure if prohibiting cow slaughter precludes consumption of the sacred cow.”

    Hmm…I’ve never known a problem getting beef in India. It’s quite cheap in comparison to other meats.

    Italiana (calling you Desi seems a bit nonspecific on a blog like this), you have impressed me with your knowledge in this thread :)

  55. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 10:30 pm  

    Rohin, take note of comment #49, or else I will sic the Hindu community leaders on you.

  56. sonia — on 6th February, 2008 at 11:26 pm  

    as you say Rohin! i’m very impressed too – brilliant desi i’m taking notes right now!

  57. Rohin — on 6th February, 2008 at 11:40 pm  

    I routinely comb my hair at night. In fact I am a paid-up member of the nocturnal follicle combing club (NFCC) and we regularly meet to exchange lighting tips and play with static electricity. I was tempted to run for President, but I’ve got too many other commitments, what with all the standing on people that I do. Gosh my legs get so tired I have to dangle off a table top and swing my legs for hours. Anyway, I have to chuck some black shoes away before this wedding tomorrow, so I’m off.

    But good GOD I would never sneeze at a wedding, tauba tauba.

  58. Desi Italiana — on 6th February, 2008 at 11:43 pm  

    “I routinely comb my hair at night. In fact I am a paid-up member of the nocturnal follicle combing club (NFCC) and we regularly meet to exchange lighting tips and play with static electricity”

    You are the reason the UK is in Iraq right now. Bringing bad luck and whatnot with your nighttime preening.

  59. Rohin — on 6th February, 2008 at 11:49 pm  

    Can’t hear you, I’ve just combed my locks over my ears. Now I’m passing money to someone with my left hand (I’m holding my comb in my right).

  60. Desi Italiana — on 7th February, 2008 at 12:17 am  

    Have you no sharam, Rohin?

    I have already notified the pertinent Hindu community leaders of your sinful ways. And no doubt that millions of Brits are engaging in this sacrilegious behavior, thus multiplying the sins million-fold.

    No respect for the Hindu community in the UK. The government has neglected them. Peaceful protests will bear no fruit. It is time to take more forceful action, for that is what it will take for the voices to be heard.

  61. Ros — on 7th February, 2008 at 11:47 am  

    Jai #41 is right to ask for Lord Parekh’s full speech delivered in 2006 in India as a Singhvi lecture. That’s what I read in an unusual print mag called ‘Confluence’ (a bimonthly) published in South London – editor is Joe Nathan (anglicised from the Tamil). An online version appeared in 2007 – http://www.confluence.org.uk but earlier issues are not archived unfortunately.

    I agree with you, Jai that it is unfair to blame Indian failings just on Hindus but sadly it is the fundamentalist Hindus who are stuck with obscurantist ideas – vedia maths, cow protection, Khumbh Mela – which gives hinduism a bad name. I recall an Asian Voice article by a Hindu Forum member U Mistry who wrote in 2002:
    “Channel 4′s programme on the Khumbh Mela is not helpful and makes Hinudism look primitive… Somehow the concept of one God through numerous gods and goddesses does not stick well. It baffles a layperson…”

    Yesterday the same Lord Parekh spoke at the Nehru Centre on India’s identity in the 21th century. It was a masterly address – wide-ranging and balanced.
    He warned that inequalities are so great that by 2020 the eastern half of India may secede into a separate state.

  62. Ifi — on 7th February, 2008 at 4:18 pm  

    kill the cow, throw the fat away and cook some steak n burgers to go with chips, very delicous….

  63. Bindu — on 8th February, 2008 at 4:48 am  

    Cows are sacred in Hinduism. It’s disheartening to see so many posters make fun of Hinduism, which is a pretty benign religion as religions go. This is an important issue to Hindu Brits. Why is is so difficult to show some understanding towards their feelings. I think this is why so many Indian Hindus in the U.S. support the BJP.

  64. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 4:54 am  

    Bindu:

    “Cows are sacred in Hinduism. It’s disheartening to see so many posters make fun of Hinduism,”

    It’s disheartening to see that you can’t separate satirical jabs taken at “Hindu community leaders” vs. denigrating Hinduism. No one is disparaging Hinduism, but rather the community wallahs.

    “Cows are sacred in Hinduism.”

    Speak for yourself, please.

  65. Bindu — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:04 am  

    Desi writes:
    “This is not strictly related, but here in the US, the Hindu American Foundation (whom I loathe for several reasons) lobbied hard to get Diwali recognized as a holiday because the “Hindu American Community” feels that it’s absolutely imperative.

    My question is: WTF cares?! Are they seriously lobbying Capitol Hill for something this stupid? Do they really need some pathetic stamp of approval from the American Congress to enjoy Diwali? Go the the mandhir, have yourself some guulaab jamun, exchange presents with folks, and be off.

    But then again, given their stands on a variety of issues which they ALSO lobby for (Kashmir, Bangladeshi “fundamentalists” infiltrating India, and conjured up claims that scary Muslim extremists who are poised to take over India and annihilate Hinduism off of the face of this globe, etc), I wish they’d spend more of their time scurrying about the corridors of Capitol Hill for inane issues such as recognizing Diwali and its “significance” to Hindus and Sikhs rather than misinforming Congress members about serious issues which the HAF represents a totally skewed perspective.”

    That’s your opinion. Just because you disagree with the HAF doesn’t mean they don’t represent the opinion of many Hindus in America. Your condescending attitude towards the concerns of many Hindu NRIs doesn’t persuade me.

  66. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:08 am  

    Bindu:

    “That’s your opinion. Just because you disagree with the HAF doesn’t mean they don’t represent the opinion of many Hindus in America. Your condescending attitude towards the concerns of many Hindu NRIs doesn’t persuade me.”

    How many are “many Hindus in America” that the HAF represents?

  67. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:09 am  

    “Your condescending attitude towards the concerns of many Hindu NRIs doesn’t persuade me.”

    Your claim that the HAF “represents many Hindus in America” doesn’t convince this Indian American.

    Suggestion for future debates: come up with some actual arguments instead of using unfounded claims as an argument. No need to pull crap out to be an apologist for HAF.

  68. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:11 am  

    “Your condescending attitude towards the concerns of many Hindu NRIs doesn’t persuade me.”

    Give me a fucking break. My condescending attitude has to do with the HAF, not “many of the Hindu NRIS.” Don’t you know how to read, Bindu?

  69. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:18 am  

    FYI, not all Hindus in the US are “NRI’s”

    Come on, you’re defending the HAF and you are not even aware of their “global Hindu” spiel in which they take up causes of Hindus who are not NRI’s nor Indians?

  70. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:20 am  

    Awaiting a long, Saffron Jawan manifesto replete with “we are victims, too!!!!!!!!!” and incoherent “arguments” which are actually just a bunch of ill-informed, contradictory claims that are more ideological than based on facts.

    Not belittling the fact that Hindus and Christians have been the target of hate crimes in Pakistan, or mandhirs being demolished in Malaysia. But I am belittling the Hindutva ideology.

  71. Bindu — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:23 am  

    Desi writes: “It’s disheartening to see that you can’t separate satirical jabs taken at “Hindu community leaders” vs. denigrating Hinduism. No one is disparaging Hinduism, but rather the community wallahs.”
    and “”Cows are sacred in Hinduism.”

    Speak for yourself, please.”

    Please don’t set yourself up as an expert on Hinduism. I don’t find jokes about eating cows in this context satirical. Would you be so blase if it concerned in an issue close to your heart?

  72. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:31 am  

    “Please don’t set yourself up as an expert on Hinduism.”

    I didn’t, and you shouldn’t speak as an expert on Hindus, Hindus in the US, and what is sacred to Hinduism and not.
    OK?

  73. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:33 am  

    “Would you be so blase if it concerned in an issue close to your heart?”

    As a person whose parents are strict vegetarians, and yours truly was a vegetarian for years, I concede, eating hamburgers is not an issue that is close to my heart. But why don’t you lock up those of us who said that we would like to eat a hamburger (myself, Ravi).

    But that’s not even the freaking issue. Why are you circumventing the obvious one? Most of the comments here have to do with the ridiculousness of Hindu “community leaders.”

  74. Bindu — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:36 am  

    Desi writes:
    “How many are “many Hindus in America” that the HAF represents?”
    Apparently enough.

    Desi:
    “Give me a fucking break. My condescending attitude has to do with the HAF, not “many of the Hindu NRIS.” Don’t you know how to read, Bindu?”
    “FYI, not all Hindus in the US are “NRI’s”
    Come on, you’re defending the HAF and you are not even aware of their “global Hindu” spiel in which they take up causes of Hindus who are not NRI’s nor Indians?”

    I’m not an NRI either. Have you ever wondered why Hindutva is popular with American Hindus and NRIs? They obviously are tapping into strong feelings. If liberals want to stop Hindutva, this should be explored. Instead, so many writers disparage the religious and nationalistic emotions of Hindu Indians. It just shuts off the debate. American Hindus don’t like to rock the boat, but they are unhappy with what is happening in India and the BJP and other similar organizations are the only ones addressing this.

  75. Bindu — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:44 am  

    Desi writes: “I didn’t, and you shouldn’t speak as an expert on Hindus, Hindus in the US, and what is sacred to Hinduism and not.
    OK?”
    OK

    Desi: “As a person whose parents are strict vegetarians, and yours truly was a vegetarian for years, I concede, eating hamburgers is not an issue that is close to my heart. But why don’t you lock up those of us who said that we would like to eat a hamburger (myself, Ravi).”
    and
    “But that’s not even the freaking issue. Why are you circumventing the obvious one? Most of the comments here have to do with the ridiculousness of Hindu “community leaders.”

    I am not stating that we should lock up anyone. I don’t find them ridiculous. I have heard way too many jokes about eating cows from non-Hindus. It is generally a subtle form of denigration.

  76. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:46 am  

    Bindu:

    “They obviously are tapping into strong feelings. If liberals want to stop Hindutva, this should be explored.”

    Now, you’re talking some sense. And I definitely agree with you here.

    “Instead, so many writers disparage the religious and nationalistic emotions of Hindu Indians”

    Now I part ways with you. “Nationalistic emotions?” What on earth are you talking about. What ARE they? Can you define them? (Also, please be aware that it is extremely difficult to generalize the emotions of close to 800 million Hindus in India, let alone all of Hindus worldwide).

    Again, you seem to not be reading any of the comments above. It is clear that issue with Hindu “community leaders” and those who follow them are the issue, not Hindus the world over.

  77. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:51 am  

    “I have heard way too many jokes about eating cows from non-Hindus. It is generally a subtle form of denigration.”

    Bindu, I am not a non-Hindu.

    Also, do you think it is a requirement that NRI’s of a Hindu background who were born and raised in a place outside of India (obviously, as the moniker NRI denotes) should prohibit themselves from making jokes about eating hamburgers? ( which is different from a seriously insulting thing, like force feeding beef to someone who finds it wrong, telling someone that their belief about eating cows is “wrong,” etc)? An honest question.

  78. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:55 am  

    ““I have heard way too many jokes about eating cows from non-Hindus. It is generally a subtle form of denigration.””

    Which comment here jokes about eating cows? My own comment about eating hamburgers is not a joke. I happen to love Barney’s Burgers; every time someone wants to go out to dinner, I suggest Barney’s.

  79. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 5:59 am  

    And yes, my family knows that I like a Guacamole hamburger from Barney’s. Their attitude is, “each unto his/her own.” As long as I am not bringing beef into the house and disrespecting them, they see no reason to make me adhere to something that has no bearing on their own practices.

  80. Bindu — on 8th February, 2008 at 6:01 am  

    Desi: Now I part ways with you. “Nationalistic emotions?” What on earth are you talking about. What ARE they? Can you define them? (Also, please be aware that it is extremely difficult to generalize the emotions of close to 800 million Hindus in India, let alone all of Hindus worldwide).”

    The concept of India is precious to the Hindu diaspora. It is the homeland for Hindus, a place where they can be safe. I don’t mean to generalize, but there is something going on with Hindus both abroad and in India. Why is Hinhtuva rising? Maybe, it’s just the middle class as you say. But, that’s still a significant number of people who are educated and have some wealth.

    Desi:
    “Again, you seem to not be reading any of the comments above. It is clear that issue with Hindu “community leaders” and those who follow them are the issue, not Hindus the world over.”

    I disagree with you here. These Hindu “community leaders” are representing Hindus in the U.S. and U.K. as far as I can tell. There are no rival organizations that have as much political clout as they do. They are getting donations, sustaining themselves, and lobbying Congress. They are obviously doing something right because there is no other group with a different vision to rival them.

  81. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 6:06 am  

    “They obviously are tapping into strong feelings. If liberals want to stop Hindutva, this should be explored. Instead, so many writers disparage the religious and nationalistic emotions of Hindu Indians.”

    Do you seriously think that HAF and their supporters feel the urge to mobilize because they feel vicitimized by beef eating jokes? Or do you think that has to do with complex factors, such as a wealthy diaspora who is utilizing the ideology of “multiculturalism” to display a narrow minded nationalism, taking up political causes that either vibe with the US congress or Congressmembers who do not know much about, say, Kashmir and Indian-Bangladeshi politics but have congressional power? Their own location in American society, in the sense that there are African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, etc who each have their own history and interaction with American society? The stereotypes of Indian Americans as a “model minority,” the orientalization of Hindus and Hinduism in popular American culture and the American market thereby making folks more receptive to the HAF’s deceptive agendas?

    I am sorry, I don’t agree with your characterization that it’s “nationalist feelings” that have been offended. It is way more than that.

  82. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 6:09 am  

    “There are no rival organizations that have as much political clout as they do. They are getting donations, sustaining themselves, and lobbying Congress. They are obviously doing something right because there is no other group with a different vision to rival them.”

    WRONG. They have money, NOT mass community backing. Two different things, esp in America. Do not confuse HAF’s political power or, say, AIPAC’s with the amount of community representation they recieve, or support. AIPAC is not powerful because they receive support from the majority of American Jews; likewise, the same for HAF.

  83. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 6:12 am  

    Bindu, please answer my question. How many Hindus in the US is the HAF representing? What percentage is that of the total number of self identifying Hindus in the US? If you cannot answer this, than most of your comments have no backing. The only thing that both you and I can say is that the HAF “represents” people who agree with their views and agendas; we can’t say how many that is (even if the HAF claims that they “represent” the voice of “Hindu Americans,” whatever the hell that means.)

  84. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 6:13 am  

    “The concept of India is precious to the Hindu diaspora. It is the homeland for Hindus, a place where they can be safe.”

    What in the world does this mean? Your assertion says absolutely nothing.

  85. Bindu — on 8th February, 2008 at 6:15 am  

    Desi: “Which comment here jokes about eating cows? My own comment about eating hamburgers is not a joke. I happen to love Barney’s Burgers; every time someone wants to go out to dinner, I suggest Barney’s.”
    and
    “Also, do you think it is a requirement that NRI’s of a Hindu background who were born and raised in a place outside of India (obviously, as the moniker NRI denotes) should prohibit themselves from making jokes about eating hamburgers? ( which is different from a seriously insulting thing, like force feeding beef to someone who finds it wrong, telling someone that their belief about eating cows is “wrong,” etc)? An honest question.”

    In the context of this article about British Hindus trying to save a cow, yeah, talking about eating hamburgers is mean, in my opinion. I don’t have anything against people eating beef. The larger issue is that I find it disconcerting that so many Hindus don’t support or are not more proud of their religion. JMO. I grew up in the midwest and it is tiring to pretend that it doesn’t hurt when so many white Americans make jokes about the basic tenets of Hinduism such as reincarnation. It’s beyond the pale because it is a pagan religion.

  86. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 6:15 am  

    “These Hindu “community leaders” are representing Hindus in the U.S. and U.K. as far as I can tell. There are no rival organizations that have as much political clout as they do.”

    Again, see my comment above. This is assertion is really flawed. Just because they have financial clout which translates into political clout, does not mean that they have mass backing. Absolutely not. A handful of individuals (out of a population of over a million) can give huge donations which enable political activism.

  87. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 6:16 am  

    It’s not good to confuse loud vocality and high visibility with “community” support in large numbers. Surely you know that in the US this is not how it works?

  88. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 6:29 am  

    Bindu, to prove my point about not mistaking media coverage and high profileness as a sign that the “community” is backing a particular agenda in majority numbers, go to the FEC page and check out the number of donors and how much each individual gives to the USINPAC, a lobby which claims to “represent the Indian American community”:

    http://www.fec.gov/

    USINPAC’s claims: http://www.usinpac.com/

    They represent a CERTAIN STRAND of the “Indian American” community, one that’s wealthy, professional, anti-Pakistan, pro nuclear India, and aggressive realpolitiking posture.

    Contrast the number of donors, of whom we can absolutely say that they support the USINPAC because they gave money, to the actual number of Indian Americans which some say run around 2 million max.

  89. Bindu — on 8th February, 2008 at 6:39 am  

    Desi: “Bindu, please answer my question. How many Hindus in the US is the HAF representing? What percentage is that of the total number of self identifying Hindus in the US? If you cannot answer this, than most of your comments have no backing. The only thing that both you and I can say is that the HAF “represents” people who agree with their views and agendas; we can’t say how many that is (even if the HAF claims that they “represent” the voice of “Hindu Americans,” whatever the hell that means.)” and

    I don’t know how many Hindus they represent. I guess it could be like AIPAC.

    Desi:”"The concept of India is precious to the Hindu diaspora. It is the homeland for Hindus, a place where they can be safe.”

    What in the world does this mean? Your assertion says absolutely nothing.”

    India has an emotional resonance for Hindus because that is heartland for Hinduism. It is where Hindus are the majority and the culture is infused with Hinduism. There is a terrible fear that India is cracking up from the problems of terrorism and rampant capitalism.

    Desi: “Do you seriously think that HAF and their supporters feel the urge to mobilize because they feel vicitimized by beef eating jokes? Or do you think that has to do with complex factors, such as a wealthy diaspora who is utilizing the ideology of “multiculturalism” to display a narrow minded nationalism, taking up political causes that either vibe with the US congress or Congressmembers who do not know much about, say, Kashmir and Indian-Bangladeshi politics but have congressional power? Their own location in American society, in the sense that there are African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, etc who each have their own history and interaction with American society? The stereotypes of Indian Americans as a “model minority,” the orientalization of Hindus and Hinduism in popular American culture and the American market thereby making folks more receptive to the HAF’s deceptive agendas? ”

    It is just that narrow-minded nationalism that has resonance with a lot of Hindus I know. Being a minority, even a “model minority”, is difficult and I suppose this is an outlet for their feelings. Unfortunately, there is generally no discussion about these issues in the community I live in.

  90. Bindu — on 8th February, 2008 at 7:16 am  

    Desi, I had written up a set of responses, but they seem to have disappeared. I see your point about HAF not representing the Hindu community in the U.S. IMO, India has a deep emotional resonance for most Hindus in the diaspora (or at least to the many Hindus I know) because it the heartland and the culture is infused with Hinduism despite claims that the country is secular. Being a minority, even a “model minority” is difficult and India is the one place in the world where Hindus form the majority. As a liberal, I am very afraid for India and feel that it may be cracking up because of terrorism and rampant capitalism. My general point is that, at least in my experience, the attitudes of Hindus are hardening because of this feeling of insecurity. The pro-nuclear, anti-Pakistan, realpolitik stances are accepted because liberals have not offered an alternative that addresses this fear. We need a vision of social justice as well as pride in Hinduism. Being a Hindu as part of social identity, doesn’t have to mean rightwing policies.

    I’m signing off for the night. Thanks for the discussion.

  91. Desi Italiana — on 8th February, 2008 at 7:32 pm  

    Bindu:

    “I don’t know how many Hindus they represent. I guess it could be like AIPAC.”

    “I see your point about HAF not representing the Hindu community in the U.S.”

    Ok, so now that we have established that, this is good. Which means that HAF and its supporters support a certain STRAND of Hindus in the US and a certain kind of politics and by no means is it the majority. So as long as we understand this.

    “It is just that narrow-minded nationalism that has resonance with a lot of Hindus I know. Being a minority, even a “model minority”, is difficult and I suppose this is an outlet for their feelings. Unfortunately, there is generally no discussion about these issues in the community I live in.”

    Bindu, come back to discuss these issues…!

  92. Desi Italiana — on 9th February, 2008 at 2:51 am  

    So if these Hindu groups are really just a vocal minority with donors that are miniscule to the actual population, should everyone be held hostage to their demands and views?

    That is the crux of the matter.

  93. Desi Italiana — on 9th February, 2008 at 2:53 am  

    And I might add that given the fact that they represent a minority’s views, and therefore by no means representative of the community at large (I hate using the word “community”) should everyone else, including the government, listen to them and their requests?

  94. Desi Italiana — on 9th February, 2008 at 2:56 am  

    “Unfortunately, there is generally no discussion about these issues in the community I live in.”

    Not sure where you live, but for me, there are a handful of South Asian American groups that speak about these issues and the myraid complexities of the diaspora in every sense– socio-economic status, model minority stereotype, nationalisms, political mobilization, equality and justice, and so on. And South Asian American academics DO discuss these issues. Granted, it’s not suffused with the entire community at large (or it may be, difficult to assess), but there’s not a lack of people who discuss topics that you alluded to.

  95. DJ Drrrty Poonjabi — on 9th February, 2008 at 12:42 pm  

    Delurking to implore the refined readers of PP but one request: do not let Desi Italiana’s grand proclamations fool you! The last time we dined, I had to finish the tri-tip with green olives and cilantro sauce sandwich she ordered from a world famous local sidewalk stand. “Too beefy,” she complained, doubled over. Ha! The Drrrty Poonjabi laughed in her face. Throw me a live heifer with a bun and a slice of American Cheddar and I won’t even ask you for a plate.

    Which comment here jokes about eating cows? My own comment about eating hamburgers is not a joke. I happen to love Barney’s Burgers; every time someone wants to go out to dinner, I suggest Barney’s.

    Barney’s it is. I’ve been hankering for one of their gutbombs and I feel a beef-and-guacamole-induced coma would be the perfect send-off before consigning oneself to the world’s last Hindu kingdom. Does Saturday night work? And, most importantly, can you handle it?

  96. Desi Italiana — on 9th February, 2008 at 7:11 pm  

    DJ Poonjabi:

    “do not let Desi Italiana’s grand proclamations fool you! The last time we dined, I had to finish the tri-tip with green olives and cilantro sauce sandwich she ordered from a world famous local sidewalk stand. “Too beefy,” she complained, doubled over. Ha! The Drrrty Poonjabi laughed in her face.”

    So many lies, lies, lies. I had just a hamburger when I went out to lunch yesterday, FYI. Ha.

    We NEVER had a tri-trip. No, we didn’t.

    “Does Saturday night work?”

    Don’t tease me like that; I have spent many an evening pining for you to show up as planned, only to then turn to “Friends” on TV.

    Badmaash!

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