Activist Games

Game's Up! Hindu American Foundation

July 13, 2016

The Hindu American Foundation(HAF) has been making pretenses about pluralism and human rights for years now. They've been championing deep seated biases and agendas of "upper" caste Hindus in America. They've been pushing for Hindu supremacy over other religious and social communities, particularly Dalitbahujans and Islam while working with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America and HSS USA, both groups who have clear ties to their counterparts in India.

Recently, in a blow to a fair and balanced representation of South Asian history in California textbooks, HAF explicitly erased the very mention of "Dalit" from 6th & 7th grade history curriculum. "Dalit" is the self chosen name of those formerly known as "Untouchables" that was borne out of resistance to caste apartheid and used to denote struggle and assertion. Facing pressure in the media and from the South Asian Histories For All coalition, they falsely denied ever having erased "Dalit" in their edits.

Instead of recognizing and addressing their caste privileged actions, the HAF then promptly attempted to buy out Dalit organizations in order to rehabilitate their image vis-à-vis the caste system. They posted on their blog that they had given a grant to a Dalit organization when in fact they had done no such thing. The Dalit organization issued a statement denying accepting money from HAF and after continued harassment, finally issued a cease and desist to HAF.

Hindu American Foundation, it's Game Over.

The only way forward for you is to first acknowledge your fundamentalist roots, your biases, and your privilege. Call out your funder, the Uberoi Foundation, for its casteist positions that disparage the Dalit identity and frame caste as an institution for social stability! Work to accurately represent caste in our textbooks, making sure to not erase or morph inconvenient truths. Do not rename caste as class. Recognize caste as the rigid, oppressive, hierarchical system that it is. Recognize that caste is embedded in Hinduism. Recognize that like Hinduism, caste exists in South Asia and the diaspora. Money alone, unfortunately, cannot bail you out of your morass of casteism and religious discrimination.