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

Nirma varsity demand for higher fees 'illegal', violates Article 14: Letter to Gujarat HC

Counterview Desk
Students of Gujarat’s top private institute, Nirma University, situated in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, in a letter to the Chief Justice the state High Court, have complained that the authorities are demanding “full fees” from students, without taking into account the “disproportionate impact” the lockdown has on the livelihood of students and families.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

Vulnerable to Covid-19, sharp rise in murder of Indian journalists during pandemic

By Nava Thakuria*
Vulnerability of working journalists in India is no way an alien issue as the populous country loses a number of working journalists to assailants as also medical emergencies. Even though there was only one casualty in the Indian media fraternity during the first half of 2020, who was targeted for journalistic work, India has begun witnessing an alarming number of media casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Govt 'assures' Gujarat HC no action against MBBS students defying corona sahayak order

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government has assured the High Court that no action would be taken against Part-I and Part-II MBBS students of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)-controlled NHL Medical College and LG Hospital and Medical College. The assurance follows the direction by Justice SH Vora to the State government not to prosecute or initiate action against the students who were defying the college authorities’ order to work as corona sahayaks (helpers).

Renounced US citizenship to serve workers, tribals, Sudha Bharadwaj 'odiously' in jail

By Atul, Sandeep Pandey*
Professor Sudha Bharadwaj has been in jail since August 2018. She was taken into police custody on August 26, 2018 on suspicion of being involved in Maoist terror activities after Republic TV claimed that she had allegedly written a letter to Maoists and was conspiring to create public disorder and unrest in India.

Cruel legacy of Green Revolution? Covid-19 underscores 'risky, fragile' food system

By Moin Qazi*  The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the risks of an unhealthy diet and the extreme fragility of food systems. The economic reconstruction that will follow the pandemic is the perfect opportunity to provide better nutrition and health to all. The pandemic should spur us to redefine how we feed ourselves, and agricultural research can play a vital role in making our food systems more sustainable and resilient.

Plant organic, eat fresh: Emlen Bage's journey from migrant labour to agri-entrepreneur

By Chandrashekar and Kriti*
Who is a farmer? Type this question in the google search and check out the images? You can see men thronging the screen. This is the popular perception around the globe. Well one can understand how difficult it would be for a woman to defy this perception.

High youth unemployment: India 'fails' to take advantage of demographic dividend

By Varun Kumar
As coronavirus pandemic continues amplifying challenges among youth with regard to employment opportunities, government policies have further resulted in economic slowdown, leading to mass unemployment and loss jobs. According to the International Labour Organisation report “Covid-19 and the World of Work” (May 27, 2020), around 94 percent of the world’s workers are living in countries with some sort of workplace closure measures in place.

Dichotomy? US Hindutva groups oppose racism, mum on Modi's 'anti-minority' stance

By Our Representative
The Hindus for Human Rights (HHR), a US-based advocacy group, has noticed a major dichotomy between the stance taken by RSS’ US arm, Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh (HSS), expressing “shock” at the “painful killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others”, all of which suggest “the tragic tale of racial injustice” in US, and HSS’ “hatred” for India’s religious minorities and Dalits.