Skip to main content

Indian students in 21 US campuses protest, 'reclaim' Holi as festival of unity in diversity

By Our Representative
In a unique event, Indian students studying across the United States held a nationwide campaign called Holi Against Hindutva. Standing with placards against the Government of India's move to amend citizenship laws, protests took place as many as 21 U.S. university campuses, including Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Wellesley, Michigan State, Duke and Rutgers.
According to a report of the protests from Cambridge at Massachusetts, college students said they were seeking to reclaim the spirit of Holi, which around the world, is known as Hinduism’s festival of colors, a joyful celebration of spring in which people take to the streets to shower one another in colorful powders.
Celebrating as symbolising celebration of unity and diversity, the students in Harvard Yard reached the steps of Memorial Church to mark the festival, shouting “Azaadi!” while holding slogans such as "No one is illegal," "Boycott NRC (National Register for Citizens)," and "Stop genocide in India!”
“The power of Holi is that it is a festival of colors, celebrating unity and diversity,” said Vedant Bahl, who serves as the Harvard coordinator for the group Students Against Hindutva, which arranged the campaign. “Unfortunately, notions of unity and diversity have been stripped away by the Indian government’s recent actions,” he added.
Founded late last year, Students Against Hindutva is led by Shreeya Singh, a junior at Yale University, the report said, adding, last month, the group published an open letter to Congress urging sanctions against Indian government officials, signed by 44 South Asian student groups at a slew of prominent universities.
Bahl
“We stand in solidarity with those who have faced the brunt of horrific state brutality and police violence, particularly the student protesters at Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University,” the letter states. “... as those in the diaspora or those who may be unaffected by the implications of the NRC and CAA, we believe that it is our responsibility to stand behind those who are fighting for secularism and democracy.”
“The celebrations won't be the same in India this year,” said Bahl, a senior majoring in economics. “The festival that previously brought together Hindus, Muslims, Christians and people from all castes and backgrounds — or at least was imagined to be such — is not going to be that in these months of communal hatred and open polarization. We are reclaiming Holi from the forces of Hindutva that have broken it down.”
The event has been criticized by pro-Hindutva groups as “Hindu-phobic” and flouting the sanctity of a Hindu religious festival. The Hindu American Foundation’s director, Suhag Shukla, called the campaign an “anti-Hindu project” that demeans religious traditions by “importing caste wars onto our college campuses.”
However, New York City’s Sadhana said that speaking up against injustice in such a way is part of Hinduism’s core teaching and hosted its own Holi satsangh during which they prayed for those who died in Delhi. The U.S.-based organization Hindus for Human Rights applauded the group’s “creative use of Holi to subvert the bigoted and anti-Hindu agenda” of Modi’s party.

Comments

Unknown said…
There is a major mistake in the very first para of your report. You talk of "....Government of India's move to amend citizenship laws ... " giving the impression that something bad or illegal was being attempted. The fact is that the CAA bill does not address any Indian Citizen at all , nor does it in any way impinge on their rights - minorities and all. This bill only concerns the giving of Indian Citizenship to approximately 31,000 refugees from non-muslim minorities in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. who were persecuted in these ISLAMIC states because of their religion. It is quite clear from your report that even you are totally mis-informed about this bill. Sadly your report just gives credence to the propaganda by the Leftists, Congress and Muslim blocks that the CAA bill is somehow anti Muslim, or anti Indian constitution.
Jag Jivan said…
Mr Unknown is refusing to reveal his identity lest his communal bullshit would get exposed. CAA is about giving about citizenship to foreigners of selected Islamic countries; why not Tamil Hindus or Buddhist Tibetans?
Pankaj Shah said…

First of all I did not hide my identity. I am 75 years old and not too familiar with these new fangled sites to know how to create an ID. My Name is Pankaj Shah and I am from Mumbai. The simple question I want to ask is .."Does India really need more people ?" Do we not already have too big a population to manage? What the CAA bill does is grant citizenship to refugees who were PERSECUTED due to their religion in Islamic states and who are ALREADY IN THE COUNTRY since many years and are finding it hard to make a living without the basic documents. You have a good point , why not Tamil Hindus or Tibetans. I am not sure if you are aware that tens of thousands of Tibetans have already received refuge in India and 135,000 Sri Lankan Tamils had been granted citizenship some years ago. And finally,if you want, agitate PEACEFULLY and demand that others be included. But why oppose the CAA with violence? You claim you have a RIGHT given by the Indian Constitution to protest, but what about the rights of other citizens that you are taking away by creating violence and shutting down shops for 3 - 4 months? What about their right to a livelihood? The same constitution has created the parliament and CAA After all is a law passed by India's parliament. It is not fair that you only choose those parts of the Constitution that you like or that favour your cause. Violence is wrong and it should not be resorted to no matter how just the cause.

TRENDING

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Whither Govt of India strategy to reduce import dependence on crude oil, natural gas?

By NS Venkataraman*  India presently imports around 80% of it’s crude oil requirement and around 50% of its natural gas requirements . As the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas are virtually stagnant and the domestic demand is increasing at around 7% per annum, India’s steadily increasing dependence on import of the vital energy source is a matter of high energy security concern. This is particularly so, since the price of crude oil and natural gas are considerably fluctuating / increasing in the global market due to geo political factors, which are beyond the control of India. India has promised to achieve zero emission by the year 2070, which mean that the level of emission has to start declining at slow and steady rate from now onwards. It is now well recognized that global emission is caused largely due to use of coal as fuel and natural gas as fuel and feedstock. While burning of coal as fuel cause emission of global warming carbon dioxide gas and sulphur

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Muslim intellectuals met Bhagwat, extra-constitutional authority 'like Sanjay Gandhi'

By Shamsul Islam*  In a significant development a delegation of five Muslim intellectuals namely former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi; former senior bureaucrat Najeeb Jung; former AMU vice-chancellor and Lt Gen (retd) Zameer U Shah; politician-cum-journalist Shahid Siddiqui (presently with RLD); and businessman Saeed Shervani [Samajvadi Party] met RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat at RSS Delhi headquarters. The meeting was kept secret for reasons known to the participants and was held in August. According to the Muslim intellectuals the meeting held in “a very cordial” atmosphere continued for 75 minutes whereas time allotted was 30 minutes! In a post-meeting justification of the parleys Quraishi stated that their main concern was “the insecurity being increasingly felt by the Muslim community in the wake of recurring incidents of lynching of innocents, calls by Hindutva hotheads for genocide and the marginalisation of the community in almost every sphere”. This delegation consistin

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Why Bose's India Gate statue suggests RSS, BJP need violence-loving ‘Hindu’ Netaji

By Prem Singh*  In a TV channel debate, a BJP spokesperson and anchor shared and served a lie that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's daughter in her letter to the Prime Minister has alleged that the Congress kept devaluing Netaji to further Gandhi's non-violence; because Netaji had taken the path of liberating the country through violence mode by forming the Azad Hind Fauj (INA). They also praised the Bombay Royal Naval Mutiny of 1946 to confirm that the country got its independence through a violent route. I stated that I have read the letter of Netaji's daughter, and there is no such allegation in it. But a lie told in the intoxication of power is bound to be blatant. Netaji's daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, even in the past, has already requested some earlier prime ministers of the country to bring back the mortal remains of her father from Japan to India. In none of the letters she has spoken about devaluation of her father’s role in the freedom movement on the basis of Gandh

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Is coal import dependence of more than 50% by 2047 of any relevance to India?

By Shankar Sharma*  I have read the article " Building Resilience in India’s Power Sector " by N Vedachalam, released by the Observer Research Foundation, with a lot of interest. I expected it to provide few useful recommendations to our authorities in charting out a sustainable pathway to green energy transition much before the climate catastrophe push our communities to the precipice. But I am sorry to say that the overall discussions or the message implied in the article disappointed me. I was expecting the article, coming from an engineer with past experience in the power sector, to discuss the much needed recommendations to put the power sector on a sustainable developmental pathway. But I could notice mostly technical jargon and a lot of statistical information, which may already be available in the public domain.   The article also seems to have simply accepted what some of the official agencies seem to have indicated as inevitable for the power sector in our country;

'True decolonisation move': Demand to name new Parliament building after Ambedkar

By Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd*  In recent weeks, there has been a demand for the new Parliament building being constructed on the revamped Central Vista in New Delhi to be named after the architect of the Constitution and anti-caste leader BR Ambedkar. On September 14, the Telangana Assembly passed a resolution urging the Centre to name the new Parliament building after Ambedkar. The Bharatiya Janata Party was absent during the debate about the resolution. The next day, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi-led government declared that the new secretariat in the centre of Hyderabad would be named after Ambedkar. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao added that he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to name the new Parliament building in Delhi “Ambedkar Parliament”. The demand is finding resonance among civil society groups too and has led to social media discussions as well as public mobilisation.  But two questions arise: Should a Parliament that makes laws for a nation over a

Government 'fails to take up' Indian migrants' unpaid wages issue with other countries

By Rafeek Ravuther, Chandan Kumar, Dharmendra Kumar*  The migrant workers were one of the most vulnerable sections during the pandemic. India experiences large-scale movement of migrants internally and internationally. After the outbreak of the pandemic, migrant workers continued to face injustice especially in getting wages in expedited manner. In the international context, India, the home of 9 million cross-border temporary labour migrants, carried out the largest repatriation exercise ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. Even though the Indian government addressed the immediate requirement of repatriation, it failed to understand and recognise their post-arrival grievances, like back wages, social protection etc. Recently many workers were deported from the middle- east region. Amidst the establishment of grievance mechanisms such as Consular Services Management System (MADAD) and helplines in Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK), the unresolved grievances remain high. The number of unresolv