“Understanding Hindutva and Hinduphobia”, a conference organised by the India Knowledge Consortium (INK), brought together academics and experts in the field of history and religious studies to explore the true facets of Hindutva and counter what they fear are misleading distortions of history that malign to perpetuate Hinduphobia.
INK, a consortium of leading UK and European academics working across various fields, was founded last year with an objective to share research-based scholarship to showcase India's contributions to the world. This virtual conference over the weekend brought together Bangalore-based historian Dr Vikram Sampath, New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Professor Makarand Paranjape and Ohio-based Professor Lavanya Vemsani from Shawnee State University.
The experts sought to highlight how Hindutva is rooted in principles of universal acceptance and tolerance of all beliefs and faiths. But misunderstanding about the concept has cause much harm in perpetuating .
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Dr Sampath said: “Those who criticise Hindutva neither understand its historical evolution nor its progressive qualities. Hindutva is the application of universal principles of Hinduism.”
Hinduphobia is classed as a set of prejudiced and derogatory attitudes and actions directed towards Hindus. Reflecting on the origins of Hinduphobia and exploring the main causes behind its propagation, Prof. Paranjape noted: “Scholars who demonise Hindutva are not ‘historians’, they are ‘distortians’! anywhere in the world should stop and more resources should be put to improve the linguistic skills to enable reading of historical texts in different languages to educate the younger generation.”
Prof. Vemsani added: “Anyone who questions the false narratives about India and Hinduism is vilified. It does not stop with academia and has become fashionable to talk about Hindu extremism while in reality there is no Hindu violence anywhere in the world.”
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INK said its global conference attracted a viewership of over 2,500 from 50+ countries, which was organised with the hope that academics across the world would revisit the “current biased framework” being promoted while analysing Hindutva.
“Such an effort would contribute to developing humane interpretations that would add to the knowledge about Hindutva and Hinduism,” INK said.