This is the first part of a series on ACRPR.
A Report from Hell
In October 2015, a project focused on India titled, Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights (ACRPR), housed at Center for Social Sector Leadership in Haas School of Business, University of Berkeley, California published a report co-authored and edited by Indian and Western scholars. The report focused on ‘State cruelty’ and India’s ‘human rights violations’ against ‘combatants’ and ‘minority groups’.
The Project minces no words about its hostility against the Indian Government, the Indian State, the BJP, Narendra Modi and the larger Hindu community as a whole. It quite openly accuses them of genocide.
The Project focuses on Gujarat riots of 2002, Odisha violence involving Christian missionaries in 2007-08, the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and the Kashmir problem. The report “indicts” the Indian government, state, the current ruling party, the Prime Minister and the entire Hindu community in the most severe and hostile terms.
The report will be discussed later in this series, but in short, here is how it depicts India where:
- every street corner is littered with the raped and mutilated bodies of Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims;
- every second Hindu male is a rapist and murderer;
- the primary occupation of the Indian Army is to kill Muslims and bury them in mass graves, Nazi style;
- every Hindu organization is genocide-machine, out to execute a ‘final solution’ for the Muslims;
- the State terrorizes, tortures and murders its citizens relentlessly.
The report portrays an India which will put Hell to shame.
But the report does not stop merely at analysis. It recommends a ‘positive course of action’, to prevent ‘future mishaps’. The recommendations are so radical in nature that if implemented, they will cause massive riots in India, resulting in great bloodshed and violence. These recommendations are capable of pitting entire communities against each other, baying for blood.
And so the initial questions one needs to ask are these:
- Can such a report be born out of genuine interest in scholarship and service?
- Who are the sponsors behind these projects?
- What are the agendas of the people and institutions involved?
- What is the need for such penetrative ‘intervention’ of a Western university in Indian domestic affairs?
- What were the origins of such Western interventions in Indian affairs?
Before we go into the details of the primary questions, it is imperative to look at the origins of such Western interventions in Indian affairs.
Divisive Colonial Theories
When the British colonized India they were basking in their new-found pride of racial superiority, a spurious theory promoted as “scientific” by academicians. White was good; every other color was bad. This ‘pride’ of Europe and Europeans soon evolved into full-blooded, violent racism. How it culminated in the Holocaust is common knowledge.
In India, racism never reached the low it did elsewhere; but the British targeted and destroyed the Indian education system, supplanting it with English education. In the famous words of Macaulay, it made Indians more British than the British themselves.
However, every ideology is bound to hit the roadblock of reality sooner or later, and the Eurocentric ideology of cultural superiority ran into a problem when the discovery of ancient civilizations, particularly in India, contradicted their version of history. European scholars responded to this challenge by distorting facts, and fitting them to suit their ideology.
In India, these scholars started misinterpreting Hindu scriptures to suit the colonial narrative. The Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) was the result of one such colonial initiative. Its aim was to prove that civilization was Europe’s gift to the world, one way or the other. Hindu scriptures, such as the Rig Veda, were ‘studied’ by European scholars and ‘evidence’ was found of white-skinned Aryans invading from outside and subjugating the dark-skinned Dravidians.
The AIT also served the purpose of dividing India into north and south by positing the imaginary line between the north Indian “Aryans” and south Indian “Dravidians.” Many such ‘invasion theories’ were created all over the colonized world.
The invasion theories, in general, resulted in a lot of violence between various native groups whose identities were a creation of the European colonialists. The worst example of this was the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. In India the AIT caused much bitterness between north Indians and south Indians. It has also given birth to secessionist movements.
Interventions: Colonialism Continued
After independence the former colonies of Europe started decolonizing their academic and cultural institutions. As a result, the Western academia in Europe and the United States also changed their stance, softening their colonial narrative in some cases and completely abandoning it in some others.
India under Nehru, instead of decolonization, reinforced it. Colonialist theories continued to be propagated as it suited the purpose of the new ruling class.
Under Indira Gandhi these colonialist ideologies morphed into institutional Hinduphobia. The colonial narrative continued untouched, in a slightly different guise of Hinduphobia.
As a consequence, Hindus lost the capability of looking at the world and themselves through their own cultural lens. They borrowed these same European ideas and started interpreting their own civilization through the eyes of the colonizer. The Hindu view of the world almost completely disappeared in the academia. The Hindu mind had become colonized and in many ways, still continues to do so.
As anti-Hinduism gained ground, these theories found new strength. Consequently, the Western academia also continued to look at Hindu civilization through the colonial lens. Racialization and trivialization of Hindu culture and civilization continued apace.
If anything, the exoticization and trivialization of Hindu culture quickened pace in the modern era, with the advent of ‘scholars’ like Wendy Doniger who see only two ‘values’ in Hinduism: exotica and erotica.
India, in their view, is still that backwater of snake-charmers and naked fakirs walking on water, maybe worthy of a shelf in a western museum, but useless otherwise.
A second group of scholars, led by Michael Witzel, studying ‘ancient India’ is not more than a group of Aryan Invasionists/ Migrationists, who, despite all the evidence in the world, keep propagating the myth in American academia and keep denying India its rightful place in history.
A third group of scholars are the Orientalist sensationalists like William Dalrymple who are only interested in India for its ‘Islam value’. For them India is just a synonym of the Mughal Empire: India attained greatness only under the Mughals, the Islamic silver-lining in an otherwise Hindu disaster.
The interest of another group of ‘political scientists’ and ‘anthropologists’ represented by Christophe Jaffrelot is only piqued by the ‘rise of majoritarianism in India’, ‘Hindu extremism’, ‘Hindu fundamentalism’ ‘minoritization’ and other such imaginary political problems. For them, anything happening in India is bad and everything bad is a consequence of the rise of Hindu fundamentalism.
Gradually these academics and their theories have become a tool through which, some ‘interventions’ are made in Indian society and State by foreign agents.
Academia: A Tool of Western Interventions
The academia became the most favorite tool of these interventions. This was achieved by setting up research institutes, research grants, academic chairs and scholarships in prestigious Western universities such as Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Berkeley, Oxford etc. with the sole aim of finding faults with Hindu culture and civilization.
‘Atrocity literature’ is produced based on the ‘findings’ of these research projects, detailing the ‘crimes’ of Hindu society; portraying how ‘cruel’ Hindu customs are; how ‘evil’ and ‘primitive’ Hinduism is; and how individuals are suffering in India.
India is gauged on the ‘human rights scale’; and so, the literature of such fact-finding missions, details how women are abused in India; howthe girl child is killed; how feticide is a rampant problem; how people are poor; how Dalits and Adivasis are mistreated; and how minorities are threatened.
No account of the indigenous culture and civilization is taken under consideration. No other way of looking at the indigenous society is admitted.
The Western way, now represented by the human rights lobby, becomes the only moral paradigm. The West has a theory of what constitutes a healthy and fulfilling life and any individual or society which does not fit in that paradigm is diagnosed as sick. Like Dr. Kapil Kapoor says, ‘West is theory, rest is data.’ The citizens of the Third World countries are just statistics in these theories.
The Goal of Research Projects on India
The goal of these interventions, as Rajiv Malhotra has explained, is to misappropriate and digest indigenous cultures into the dominant Western culture.
Ultimately, the goal is to discredit the indigenous majority culture of a region and to prepare it for consumption by Christian and Islamic groups through conversion.
First the ‘plight’ of the ‘humans of India’ is depicted, and then on the basis of international ‘human rights’, interventions are made. Many such research institutes are exclusively dedicated to ‘redeem’ India and its ‘marginalized people’.
Columbia University is a hotbed of this activity. Many contemporary anti-Hindus including at least one generation of journalists have been trained here.
The Harvard University has created ‘The Kumbh Mela Project’. Rajiv Malhotra warns us that this is an effort to appropriate and digest another Hindu institution and phenomenon into the Judeo-Christian paradigm.
A primary goal of these research projects is to focus on how Hindu fundamentalism and Hindu majoritarianism are becoming a ‘threat’ for the nation’s minorities; how India is fast becoming Nazi Germany with Muslims as the new Jews.
The Gujarat riots of 2002 is the compulsory course for any such project. With Narendra Modi now at the helm of the country, the number and intensity of these research projects meant to intervene in Indian society and culture have increased manifold.
The Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights, housed at the Center for Social Sector Leadership in the Haas School of Business, University of Berkeley, California is one such project. It does not stop at research and analysis. It recommends ‘procedures’ with necessary implementation, supervised by ‘international agencies’.
[The next part will analyze the mechanism of the Project; how it is funded by powerful corporate players; and how it plans to intervene in Indian affairs.]
Notes and References-
 Minute by the Hon’ble T. B. Macaulay, dated the 2nd February 1835. <http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00generallinks/macaulay/txt_minute_education_1835.html>
 Frawley, David. The Myth of Aryan Invasion in India. New Delhi: Voice of India, 1997.
 The Rwandan Genocide. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13431486>
 Malhotra, Rajiv. “Why the Kumbh Mela is at Risk.” Swarajya Magazine. 25 Nov, 2015.
Pankaj Saxena is a scholar of History, Hindu Architecture and Literature. He has visited more than 400 sites of ancient Hindu temples and has photographed the evidence. He’s also writes articles, research papers and reviews in various print and online newspapers and magazines and is the author of three books.