Skip to main content

Militant, extremist? VHP's religious education in Aussie schools 'alien' to Hindu values

Counterview Desk

Australian arm of the Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), a Washington DC-based nonprofit organization founded in 2019, which claims to advocate for pluralism as "rooted" in the values of Hindu faith, has taken strong objection to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of Australia (VHPA) partnering with schools in New South Wales as an approved provider of Special Religious Education, stating, the values VHPA seeks to propagate are contrary to the Hindu view of shanti (peace), nyaya (justice) and satya (truth).
Formed early this year in order to provide "a Hindu voice of resistance to caste, Hindutva (Hindu majoritarianism), and all forms of bigotry and oppression", HfHR Australia said in a statement, "Our children should have the opportunity to learn about different faith traditions and cultures -- but not from organizations which perpetuate hate. Hindu Australians, and indeed all Australians, deserve better."

Text:

On March 5, 2021, New South Wales (NSW) State Senator David Shoebridge asked a brave question during a meeting with State Senator Geoff Lee, the Acting Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans:
“How did Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which is a right-wing Hindu organisation that is considered a military extremist religious organisation by the CIA, find themselves in New South Wales public schools?”
For the past 23 years, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of Australia (VHPA) has partnered with schools in New South Wales as an approved provider of Special Religious Education. This is unacceptable. Although the VHPA claims to represent all Australian Hindus, billing itself as “Australia’s largest Hindu organization,” a closer look at the VHPA’s ideology reveals that this is not the case.
VHPA is the Australian affiliate of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), one of India's largest Hindu nationalist organizations. In contrast to Hinduism, which is a diverse group of religious traditions practiced worldwide, Hindu nationalism is a modern political ideology that argues that only Hindus are “true” Indians. In a country where one-fifth of the population is not Hindu, Hindu nationalists believe that Muslims, Christians, and other minorities in India should be relegated to the status of second-class citizens. The VHP’s founders include such figures such as MS Golwalkar, who was more inspired by Nazi Germany than by Hindu teachings:
“To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races — the Jews … a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.” (MS Golwalkar, "We, or Our Nationhood Defined", 1939)
The implication of Golwalkar’s quote above is that Indian Muslims should be dealt with just as German Jews were in the Holocaust. Golwalkar deeply believed that it was impossible for Hindus and Muslims to live peacefully together -- an idea that is in complete contradiction to the ideals of a multicultural country such as Australia:
“Whatever we [Hindus] believed in, the Muslim was wholly hostile to it. If we worship in the temple, he would desecrate it. If we carry on bhajans and car festivals, that would irritate him. If we worship cow, he would like to eat it. If we glorify woman as a symbol of sacred motherhood, he would like to molest her.” (MS Golwalkar, "Bunch of Thoughts", 1966)
Will Subramanian Ramamoorthi, VHPA president, publicly condemn these hateful statements? The VHPA may say that they are separate from the Indian VHP, and are registered as a nonprofit. Yet, their logo is the same, and they publicly advertise events that are being organized by the Indian VHP, such as the World Hindu Congress.
VHPA does not belong in New South Wales schools as a provider of Special Religious Education. Australian children deserve better
For decades, Hindu nationalist organizations have been able to successfully embed themselves in civil society by claiming that they represent a specific religious community. However, the recent attacks on Sikh Australians committed by Hindu extremists are clear signs of what happens when this hateful ideology is allowed to flourish under the guise of multiculturalism.
The VHP’s international affiliates have been spreading this ideology worldwide. Members of the VHP’s American affiliate participated in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. However, progressive Hindu Americans have been speaking out against the VHP’s ideology. Just a few days ago, a public awareness campaign led by Hindus for Human Rights succeeded in forcing VHP’s American affiliate to cancel a virtual event series featuring Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, a hate-mongering and Islamophobic Hindu extremist leader in India who has called for the “eradication” of Islam and Muslims.
If VHPA wants its fellow Australians to believe that it is truly a benign community organization working to serve Hindu Australian families, then it must disavow its hateful ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) and reject all hate perpetuated in the name of religion.
We are Hindu Australians who reject the VHPA’s ideology of Hindu supremacy. VHPA does not belong in New South Wales schools as a provider of Special Religious Education. Our children should have the opportunity to learn about different faith traditions and cultures -- but not from organizations which perpetuate hate. Hindu Australians, and indeed all Australians, deserve better.

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

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".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen