Controversial Statements

Given these activities, it is time to strike a blow for freedom by suspending all American aid to India until it respects all human rights for all people and by supporting an internationally monitored vote on independence for Christian Nagaland, for Punjab, Khalistan, for Kashmir (which it promised in 1948), and for all the other nations seeking their freedom. These are very moderate measures, Mr. Speaker, but they are measures that can go a long way to help promote real freedom and democracy in South Asia. – Congressman Edolphus Towns in his 2002 testimony to the US Congress, based on information provided by FIACONA advisors John Dayal and Joseph D’Souza

If the Indian Church seeks to save her life at this time by not coming out into the open and struggle with the Dalits she will lose it. If she loses her life for the Dalits because of Christ she will inherit the soul and heart of India. We have to understand that the 750 million Dalits and Shudras are struggling intensely to create a caste-free society. What spiritual ideology will replace the one that they presently have? – Joseph D’Souza, Co-Founder and President of All India Christian Council, December 6, 2002  

The Ramayana argues for the colonization of the peoples of the subcontinent while the Ramcaritmanas argues for the worship of an iconic figure rather than, for instance, a consideration of the Upanishads’ metaphysics. – Vijay Prashad, Chair of South Asian History and Professor of International Studies, Trinity College, and founding member, FOIL.

Hindu ‘dharma’ is caste-based; Hinduism is casteism; to be Hindu means to belong to a caste, and not as it is in most religions, to merely subscribe to a set body of beliefs. Hinduism has no universal religious requirements; therefore it is sufficiently open to interpretation along lines that are outrageously oppressive…To millions of Indians, Islam provided an egalitarian alternative to the terrible oppression of Hinduism. – Raja Harish Swamy, Visiting Assistant Professor of South Asian Anthropolgy at University of Arkansas, and member, FOIL

Hinduism is a religion of violence. All Hindu gods killed their enemies and became heroic images. This is the only religion in the world where the killer becomes god. Whom did they kill? From Brahma to Krishna, those who were killed were Dalit bahujans. Now these images and stories and narratives (….are) out there in the civil society. …because of this, the consciousness of worshipping the killer or worshipping violence did not give any space for human rights… for Hindu dharma, resolving of a conflict is only by killing. There is no other discourse. Debate is not there. You have to kill the enemy. – Kancha Ilaiah, author of Why I am Not a Hindu, in a prominent interview done by FOIL

Coming back to Samskara, we see that not surprisingly, humanist teachings in Hinduism arise not from our host of gods and goddesses whose life stories are many times filled with outrageous kinds of deceit, manipulations, selfishness and greed…Indeed, when one such God tried to play the role of a guru as seen in the Gita, the teachings are quite clearly non-humanistic. – Balmurli Natrajan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, William Paterson University, and member, FOIL

The Marxists have long subscribed to the view that Gandhi was a ‘romantic’, a hopeless idealist and even hypocrite; to this a chorus of voices added the thought that Gandhi was an insufferable ‘puritan.’ Vinay Lal, Associate Professor of History, UCLA, and member, FOIL

I just returned from Patna, India, and am sending this praise note from Calcutta, en route Chennai. But the spectacular baptismal event that has dwarfed the others took place in Patna, where we had in all two batches of 135 converts baptized in the river Ganges – in the very ‘Holy river’ where millions of the idol- and demon-worshipping pagans go every once in awhile to have a holy dip. – Bishop Ezra Sargunam, head of Evangelical Church of India

 [The NRIs’] ‘patriotism’ is simple: they are jingoistic for whomever will allow them the freedom to make money. Whether saffron or red/white/blue, these cats are heavily into the green…And what are issues that motivate desis? Things to do with the ‘homeland’ or things that have to do with the exploitation and oppression of desis and others in the US – Vijay Prashad, Chair of South Asian History and Professor of International Studies, Trinity College, and founding member, FOIL.

It is estimated that more than 5,000 Muslims were hacked to death, burnt alive or shot by police in the Gujarat ethnic cleansing and 2,000 women and little girls were raped – Statement in a 2002 brochure prepared by Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC; IMC-USA).

A country not only divided between Mohammedan and Hindoo, but between tribe and tribe, between caste and caste; a society whose framework was based on a sort of equilibrium, resulting from a general repulsion and constitutional exclusiveness between all its members. Such a country and such a society, were they not the predestined prey of conquest?…India, then, could not escape the fate of being conquered, and the whole of her past history, if anything, is the history of the successive conquests she has undergone. Indian society has no history at all, at least no known history. What we call its history, is but the history of the successive intruders who founded their empires on the basis of that unresisting and unchanging society. Karl Marx, The Future of Results of British Rule in India.  July 22, 1853