Anti-Hindu idolatry is not a good wedge issue in 2011

If this was 2004 (when this website was first created), the incident described below wouldn’t surprise me at all.  But in 2011?  Really?  Via TPM:

Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) is heavily favored to win re-election in a vote next Tuesday, with leads of roughly 2-1 in all the publicly released polls. Now his Republican opponent, state Senate President David Williams, is launching an attack against Beshear on a new front: Beshear participated in a Hindu religious ceremony!

This past Friday, Beshear attended a groundbreaking ceremony in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, for a new factory run by FlexFilm, a company based in India that makes materials for packaging, printing, insulation and other purposes. The plant represents a $180 million investment, and is expected to create 250 jobs in Kentucky.

As the local newspaper the News-Enterprise reports, the groundbreaking included a Hindu ceremony, the bhoomi poojan

What exactly did Williams utter?  It was pretty clearly bigoted:

“He’s there participating with Hindu priests, participating in a religious ceremony,” Williams said during a campaign stop in Shelbyville. “He’s sitting down there with his legs crossed, participating in Hindu prayers with a dot on his forehead with incense burning around him. I don’t know what the man was thinking.”

Beshear’s campaign spokesman called Williams’ remarks “pathetic and desperate.”

“Gov. Beshear is proud that 250 new jobs are coming to Elizabethtown,” campaign spokesman Matt Erwin said in a statement.


You know the main difference between 2004 and now though?  I am not so outraged by this.  I just see it as a pathetic last act.  Early last decade the feeling you got was that there weren’t enough people that would fight back and that hate speech would be accepted, vaulting a Williams-like politician to the top of the polls.    Not the case here. Williams, according to some polls, is 25 percentage points down.  The way we fight back is to vote and to form close ties to the communities we live in.  The way we fight back is to build more businesses in communities that need jobs.  We should not wait for self-appointed “National Hindu spokesman” (like the ubiquitous Rajan Zed claims to be) to come to the collective defense of Hindus.

Bigoted politicians, take note.


13 thoughts on “Anti-Hindu idolatry is not a good wedge issue in 2011

  1. But! At the same time, how come all the Indian politicians have to be all Christiany to get elected? (And by “all” I mean “the few I know of in my highly limited knowledge of politics and please don’t correct me because I don’t really know anything about politics” way).

    • Why do you expect America polity to be more tolerant towards Hindus than Indian polity?

      Manmohan Singh (presumably Sikh) whose daughter is married to an American (Christian). Sonia Gandhi (Christian), Jean Dreze (Christian) who architected current Indian economic policy & responsible for rolling back whatever progress by Indians and put it on 7-15% inflation rout, Chidambaram the strongest supporter of missionary activity in India, Ambika Soni (Christian) erstwhile of the broadcasting ministry, the list goes on.

      Digvijay Singh who said the Mumbai attacks are a Hindu plot, after American Christian David Headley (suddenly converted to Islam by the media) was discovered as the planner, and not having a shred of evidence for Pakistani involvement. Didn’t stop them from spending taxpayer billions buying weapons though.

      I’ve not even come to the Indian media, Press Trust of India and various other unions under the leadership of atheists, Christians or non-Hindus. Some of them are flat out rabidly anti-Hindu, like Leela Samson (head of the Censor board) & director of the Kalakshetra under whom the Hindu elements of it and worship such as lighting “aarti” were removed because idolatry was offensive!

      Let’s not leave out Arundathi Roy (another Christian) who calls India a “Hindu State” oppressing minorities. Laughable.

      • I think the problems you describe are bigger in South India than in the North, as well as at the national level. There are quite a bit of anti-Hindu or anti-Brahmin views among folks in Kerala or Tamil Nadu. But if you go to places like Bihar, the opposite is the case, and non-Hindus and lower castes get discriminated against. It’s a bit like the USA in that places like New York City, you’re more likely to get discriminated as a WASP than anything else, but if you go to Alabama, there’s still a lot of discrimination against “colored folks”.

        I think when people read news stories in India about a Brahmin beating up a Muslim, they view it as a nationwide problem and don’t realize that location matters. An alabaman white is not the same as a new york city white. I actually feel sorry for NYC whites and think reverse-discrimination is real there (it is FAR more likely for a white person to get beat up by a “minority” person in NYC than vice-versa), but simultaneously think there are lots of white supremacists in Alabama who need to be dealt with. Similarly, I feel sorry for Hindus in South India, but simultaneously think that in places like Bihar they need be seriously dealt with.

        At the national level, I think all the politicians are corrupt and godless, so whatever they proclaim to be, christian or sikh, is just to play votebank politics. The only functioning arm of the Indian govt. is the supreme court, which has consistently ruled that socio-economic status is more important than caste or religion. The supreme court ruled that the filthy rich can’t be given preferential treatment just because they belong to a lower caste or minority religion. They called this the ‘creamy layer’ and I think it was on 2007 or so that they finally excluded such people from affirmative action. Slowly the laws are changing are programs are targeting those of lower economic status rather than arbitrary caste or religious affiliation. But it needs to be parliament and not just the courts that stops passing laws favoring particular lower castes or minority religions and instead favoring everyone below the poverty line, regardless of caste or religion. Only when the laws are re-written to focus on the financial situation of a family rather than caste or religion can India truly be considered secular.

        I also think that here in the US any race-based or gender-based affirmative action system should be ditched in favor of finance-based affirmative action. I don’t think Michael Jordan’s billionaire son should have better chances of getting into Harvard than a homeless white person’s child. The per-capita of blacks is much lower than the per-capita of whites, so on average, blacks would benefit more than whites from affirmative action targeting the poor. But by making low-income the requirement for affirmative action, you can exclude the billionaires and millionaires, of all races and creeds, from getting even more perks. I have friends who grew up poor and white, and lived in nearly all-black neighborhoods and went to nearly all-black schools, and they would get beat up everyday, because in their life, they as a white kid were the minority, and yet the govt. would not help them at all but would go out of their way to put money in the pockets of the same black kids who were beating them up. I think those of us on the ‘left’ are sometimes as guilty of racism and stereotyping as we accuse those on the ‘right’ to be. We sometimes assume every white kid was affluent and every black kid grew up poor and therefore advocate laws based on those faulty assumptions. Everyone can be a minority. A white kid, a brahmin kid, whomever. If you’re poor and picked on, you should be eligible for govt. help, no matter who you are.

        • What the heck do reservations have to do with mine or Abhi’s post? Don’t change the subject!

          Your “analysis” is nonsense, but I must respond since it is full of misleading information.

          First of all, Christians institutions like St. Xaviers, St. Stephens etc. (built using colonial loot) do not come under the purview of the Supreme Court as they are “minority” institutions. Which means they set their own admission rules that don’t have to take merit into account and reserve up to 50% of places for Christians (BESIDES the usual quota) including categories specifically for converts! Hindus are forbidden to setup their own institutions without subscribing to central government (Congress Party) quotas, so this initiative to make it “irrespective of caste/religion” is only a way to further deny Hindus their right to education. You also left out the fact that primary and secondary schools – funded by the Church – can and do discriminate against Hindu children as they please, including the best ones still living off the monopoly in colonial times. They can all have Bible study, but Hindus can’t teach Hinduism in schools.

          The “creamy layer” is of the same community as the less fortunate, and through arranged marriage they uplift the community as a whole – that is the theory. Whipping up hysteria over it is a red herring, besides it was the same Congress Party that is responsible for screwing over poor Hindus in the first place with it and using that to convert a sufficient number of them. True discrimination comes from giving Christian institutions a right to set their own curriculum and student body, but denying it to Hindus.

          On Bihar, it’s very clear why you slyly brought it up – it’s one of India’s better run states, a BJP governed state, after decades of looting under the Congress Party and their allies like the RJD. Trying to slander Biharis now, by calling them Hindu right-wing and bringing up “caste” is textbook Congress propaganda and playing on the plight of impoverished Muslims there.

          And more thing, Brahmins & other Hindus are not the analogue of “white people” in America. Brahmins are about 3% of the population AND the poorest. Overall in most parts of India Hindus are the poorest and historically subjugated people after British, Portugese, Dutch, French and now American colonialism.

          Even Hindu temples in India are government property by law! The priests there are paid the equivalent of a cup of rice everyday, live entirely off private services like house poojas, and the contributions given to it are owned by political administrators under the temples Ministries.

  2. “What’s happened to SM. Such a piquant topic and no one is talking?”

    Some people find it ‘humorous’ – I think its a travesty. Some one called Aseem Shukla and his wife Suhag have responded to this on some other forums and people have talked about it there. People are not talking this on SM because people who care about this don’t care much for the SM.

    Another flotilla to Gaza was blocked by Israel, expect another post on SM about that with a contrived desi angle – there will be a lot of talking then.

  3. @jyotsana,Maybe because the only people who could be found dominating this kind of story are Hindu bigots like you and your ilks at SM. Oh wait, Hindus can’t be bigots, only victims of bigotry.

    @sulabh,Don’t worry. There will be official statements from HAF whenever “Muslim’s terrorism” is involved.

    @others,If Subramian Swamy faced no consequences for his rabid words against Muslims, why is the double standard and sheer hypocrisy when it comes to a Christian pulling a Swamy?

    Most reasonable people would be angry with the comment made by Williams but after reading Tunku Varadarajan and Swamy bigotries, there’s little sympathy left for this kind of statement. It’s almost like you want to say: eat your own medicine.

    • Oooh are you doing this really clever Christian thing where you allege anyone Hindu is anti-Muslim? Give it a rest will you. And while you’re at it stop bombing Muslim countries.

      Tunku Vardarajan is an American socialist set to take over readership of The Hindu, a historically left-wing Congress loyalist publication. This has created a storm in India about the Christian takeover of the media under Sonia Gandhi. Nice try passing him off as a Hindu.

  4. I don’t find Williams remotely bigoted, at the very least recognized Hindus and Hinduism as having their own identity as a people and a religion. For that I thank him, it’s more than the Fabian socialists afforded us. Participation in pagan rituals is forbidden in Christianity, he’s just being true to his faith.

    As an actual Hindu (you know the kind that worships Hindu Gods and follows Hinduism) what is incredibly bigoted is the effort of the Left-wing to assume political leadership calling us “Brown”, “Desi”, “South Asian” and what not, reducing our individual identities and rich culture to a skin colour. Presumably the next step is to scream oppression oppression at the hands of The White Man! BTW Abhi, am eagerly looking forward to a piece on how Indian males are not considered “masculine” due to said oppression.

    Even in this supposed in-support-of-Hindus piece you couldn’t resist taking a swipe at Hindu American leaders who speak for themselves could you?

  5. “but after reading Tunku Varadarajan and Swamy bigotries, there’s little sympathy left for this kind of statement. It’s almost like you want to say: eat your own medicine.”

    Terrible analogy. Swamy( and no doubt Varadarajan) have made their comments and assessments in the light of a huge number of Islamist terrorist attacks against India, and of Islamic separatism in Kashmir. Now, if Hindus do the same thing in America that Moslems have done on the subcontinent, then you could make a just comparison.

    • Tunku is an American married to British Christian and Swamy isn’t married to a Hindu. You can’t be a Hindu unless you marry a Hindu (moreover of your own specific community). It’s really THAT simple. As clear as night and day.

      So how come their rants against Muslims are described as that of Hindus? Irresponsible nonsense which actual Hindus, who just want a right to peacefully practice their way of life with full economic freedom to do so, have to take the fall for and be painted as right-wing zealots when we’re the ones whose culture is being destroyed by the same American globalists like Tunku and their Christian allies. All of them turned a blind eye and supplied aid while Hindus were ethnically cleansed/raped in their thousands in Pakistan and Bangladesh, yet kicked up a full media row during the Asia Bibi saga because she was a Christian.

      Islamic separatism? Kashmiris are a proud people with a desire to make it on their own. Indians are constitutionally forbidden from buying land or taking up jobs in Kashmir so why isn’t it separate already? It’s just an excuse to park $11bn of American/European bought weaponry there, while needing $2bn from American/European missionaries. Individual Kashmiris are net-subsidized by Delhi while Hindus in the rest of country deal with 10-15% inflation, 60-70% taxes, yet somehow it’s “Hindu oppression” (courtesy Arundathi Roy)?

      Frankly I don’t care about Kashmir, in fact take West Bengal, Orissa, Kerala and the Northeast too. Give us Hindus our own land, with no minorities or other cultural practice allowed, like European Christians, Israelis and Arabs have enjoyed.

  6. I agree, it’s a desperate mudsling by a bigot who has no concept of comparative theology, much less Hinduism itself. This ritual is culturally (though not religiously) on par with many Feng Shui practices, numerology, and astrology (helloooo, Reagan much?). I think most Americans are rightfully more concerned with the economy and jobs situation than they are with trifling attacks like this…and seeing how FlexFilm is actually improving the jobs problem, there’s not much to hate or be scared of.