America’s caste wars against the Hindu-American community continue unabated. The Hindu community was taken aback when giants like Apple and the California State University system adopted policies about caste-based discrimination (“CBD”); it was shell-shocked when the state of California rammed its SB-403 resolution through the Senate with a 34-1 vote. When a 2016 report by Equality Labs (“EL”) led by Thenmozhi Soundararajan (“TS”) claimed grave and rampant CBD against Dalits in America, it was widely hailed as a pathbreaker. No one pointed out that there were no reported cases of caste-based discrimination – in news media, police reports, or court cases. In short, the caste libel against the Hindu American community was accepted by all with NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER!
This webinar focuses on this very subject: The evidence gap regarding the representation of Hinduism in the Western world and the consequent challenges for the Hindu community.
The session began with an introduction to the Hindudvesha.org initiative, which aims to address these challenges. The initiative involves research, analysis, education, and responses to counteract the misrepresentation of Hinduism.
Dr. Subhash Garg then highlighted the evidence gap in America’s Caste Wars, emphasizing the discrepancies between the self-perceived Hindu community’s perspective and the portrayal of Hinduism in the West. He discussed the power status gap, academic peer-review processes, and the evidence gap as critical challenges that need to be addressed. Dr. Garg argued that narratives often hold more power than evidence, which can influence perceptions and attitudes.
The discussion continued with Dr. Garg exploring the issue of evidence in shaping narratives. He noted that there is often a lack of evidence in the assertions made against Hinduism, leading to misconceptions and misrepresentations. He also highlighted the need for the Hindu community to build strong, well-articulated narratives to challenge existing narratives. Initiatives such as revising textbooks to present a more accurate historical account of India can help shift the narrative.
The discussion also touched on the conflation between internal critiques within the Hindu community and external attacks on Hindu Dharma. The need to distinguish these debates from external criticisms was emphasized.
The speakers discussed the power status gap, highlighting the lack of influence in mainstream academic and media institutions for the Hindu community. The academic peer-review process was also criticized for hindering the publication of narratives challenging the colonial narrative.
The evidence gap was identified as a significant issue, with claims against the Hindu community being made without providing adequate evidence while the Hindu community is held to a higher standard. This discrepancy allows assertions against Hindus to go unchallenged, perpetuating misrepresentations.
Overall, the webinar stressed the importance of addressing these evidence gaps and narratives to ensure a fair and accurate portrayal of Hinduism and India on the global stage. It was noted that with time and concerted effort, it is possible to shift the narrative and establish a more balanced and accurate representation of Hinduism and India. The speakers encouraged the Hindu community to take organized steps to challenge existing narratives and build more accurate and well-supported narratives.