‘Republican supporters funding Hindutva parties’

Published - January 23, 2019 01:28 am IST - Kozhikode

Hindu Republican supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump are funding the Hindutva parties in India, claims Sunita Viswanath, one of the 12 faith leaders honoured by the White House as ‘Champions of Change’ a couple of years ago.

The co-founder of U.S.-based progressive Hindu organisation ‘Sadhana’ told the media here on Tuesday that the democracies in the U.S. and India were facing a crisis similar in nature. While in the U.S. it was the white supremacists who had launched an assault on democracy, in India it was led by right-wing supremacists. Ms. Viswanath claimed that the campuses in the U.S. had been completely dominated by Hindu Students Council, a Hindu right-wing outfit . “They have brainwashed all Hindu students. We have faced stiff opposition from members of the council when we tried to engage with the Hindu students,” she said.

Ms. Viswanath is here to participate in an interaction session organised by the Kerala Samskritha Sangham, a cultural group aligned to the CPI(M), on Wednesday. According to its members, ‘Sadhana’, founded in 2011, works to build a spiritual community and bring contemporary issues of social justice into dialogue with faith.

Ms. Viswanath claimed she was on a mission to build a Hinduism that “we are not ashamed of” and Hinduism should not be equated with Hindutva. Hindus had a religious and moral obligation to eradicate the atrocities being perpetrated in the name of religion. Pointing out the practice of untouchability that she had come across in Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, she said that it was high time internal reform started in Hindu religion. Asked if her attempts could be misconstrued as a soft version of Hindutva, she said that her effort was to build a reform movement with a spiritual face that would not discriminate on the basis of caste, religion, or sex.

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