And there we have it, the Hindutva American Foundation defending the RSS, a paramilitary organization that advocates Hindu supremacy, attacks minorities, and repeatedly uses violence to achieve its aims.

A short #THREAD on the RSS
The RSS, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is a paramilitary group founded in 1925.

What was going on in 1925? In India, independence movements, which the RSS largely sat out. The RSS had its eyes trained on Europe and imitated fascist movements, especially in Italy.
Hedgewar was the first head of the RSS. He called the group "Rashtriya", national, because he wanted to make Indian = Hindu. No room for religious minorities or other ways of being Indian. And it gets worse...
The second head of the RSS, Golwalkar, wrote in 1939 admiring Hitler's treatment of the Jews in Germany. He was especially impressed by the Nazi emphasis on singular cultural identity and considered it a good example for how Hindus should treat Indian Muslims.

Think about this.
In the 1940s, Indian independent movements were gaining steam. The RSS sat it out, largely because they were busy imitating the British rather than opposing them (down to the khaki pants).

But Mahatma Gandhi proved an issue...
An RSS man, Nathuram Godse, assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. Why? Godse gave an impassioned speech at court on the subject, in which he was quite clear that Gandhi's inclusion of Muslims was what merited his murder.

The RSS is on point here: anti-Muslim and violent.
After Godse murdered Gandhi, the RSS was temporarily banned. It was deemed a threat to the new nation of India.

It was banned a few more times subsequently too. It remains a threat to the constitutionally secular state of India.
To emphasize: For the vast majority of its history, the RSS has opposed the interests of the Indian nation.
Since 2014, things are more complicated because Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a lifelong RSS man. It is unsurprising that we've seen a rise in anti-Muslim violence in India since 2014.
Despite messy connections, the RSS remains a non-state entity that does arms training, spews anti-minority hatred, and uses violence.

Think this is an exaggeration? Take it from the horse's mouth. Here's the RSS on its ability to deploy an army:…
By the way, the RSS also sometimes does training camps for foreigners. One of them was attended by Mihir Meghani, who founded HAF (the right-wing Hindutva American Foundation), in the 1990s.…
The Hindu American Foundation often tries to sweep ties between its board members / founders under the rug, sometimes saying "Oh, it was long ago."

The 1990s were yesterday from a historian's perspective, but also note the following:
HAF doesn't condemn Hindutva / Hindu nationalism.
HAF doesn't call out human rights abuses in India.
HAF's leadership has been relatively consistent, with little turnover since its founding.

HAF's supporters should really ask their leaders some hard questions about these things.

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More from @AudreyTruschke

17 Sep
One of the true joys in teaching overview classes is that I get to hit some of the highlights of South Asian history every year. Next week is #Mahabharata week.

How do historians teach this epic? Well, it depends on our subject. Short #pedagogy thread --
Starting point -- I can't teach the entire epic. I wish I could. I think about it every year before I come to my senses, again.

So, I teach select portions. Always a bit of the Gita, and then I tend to change-up the other part. This year, I'm doing Draupadi's disrobing.
The Mahabharata is not a straightforward historical text. It is mythology. But it tells us about things we want to know in the Indian past. Here's where I divide up by class.
Read 6 tweets
5 Sep
We are watching as right-wing Hindu American groups harass, intimidate, and endanger academics, including students.

What you're doing is beyond unacceptable. It is unethical, hate mongering, and very, very dangerous. Stop. Now. #Hindutva
Folks, if you are Hindu American and you think: "my goodness, that's not me! I like diversity. I value critical thought. Hindutva is not Hinduism." I hear you.

Know that right-wing groups are promoting intolerance and hate in your name. You have my condolences about that.
If you're wondering what a group who actually advocated on behalf of Hindu Americans would do right now, they would:

Reiterate the right to criticize political ideologies, including Hindutva.
Call for an end to threats and retaliations against all academics.
Read 5 tweets
3 Sep
Periodic reminder —

There are US-based Hindutva proponents that are attacking and smearing scholars, conferences, and even students.

They do not represent Hindu Americans as a group. They’re using this broad-based, diverse community as a smokescreen to promote hate. #Hindutva
We see this, by the way, with other groups also. In the US context, Christian nationalists have done something similar, advocating extreme political views under the guise of religion.

(Oh, the irony of Hindu supremacists borrowing a playbook from a group they rail against).
Birds of a feather flock together.

Hindu supremacists are closest too, not most Hindus, but rather advocates of other supremacist ideologies. They overlap in tone and methods; in some cases, we know of alliances.

Hindutva’s bedfellows are terrifying.
Read 4 tweets
19 Aug
The US Hindutva machine--part of the Global Right--has mobilized to target sponsors of the upcoming Dismantling Hindutva conference.

This is a #THREAD of resources--from the Hindu Right's current favorite academic to hate--for those who find themselves in #Hindutva crosshairs.
First of all, understand Hindutva, which is a hateful a political ideology. Some scholars describe it as authoritarian or populist; others as fascist.

We all agree that it is right-wing, trends towards violence, and is intolerant.…
Terms often used as rough synonyms -- Hindutva, Hindu nationalism, Hindu supremacy, Hindu Right.

Defining Hindutva:…

Guide on Hindutva from a Hindu perspective:
Read 11 tweets
19 Aug
This could be fun —

I have a Yudhishthira joke but it’s kind of a gamble.
I have a Karna joke but I forgot it.
I have a Parikshit joke but it has a bite to it.
Read 9 tweets
17 Aug
Snapshots of #Hindutva culture --

abuse, dehumanization, misogyny oh misogyny, and foul language. Why?

Because I'm a scholar.
Because I work on Indo-Persian history.
Because I work on the Hindu Right.
Because I'm a woman.

Above all, because they hate.…
For anyone just joining us, please note that Hindutva is not Hinduism.

Hindutva is a narrow political ideology and Hinduism is a broad-based religious tradition. It is offensive to conflate the two. Many Hindus oppose Hindutva, and thus become targets of Hindutva hate.
Sometimes people ask how I know that those attacking me support Hindutva. There are a thousand ways. One is that they proudly claim it sometimes -- This is a type of hate in the open these days.
Read 5 tweets

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