Prof. SP Kothari- Withdraw from Participating in World Hindu Congress 2018

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We, the undersigned, appeal to Prof. Sriprakash Kothari to withdraw from his role as Chair of  the World Hindu Congress 2018 (WHC). Prof. Kothari is the Gordon Y Billard Professor of Accounting and Finance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)-Sloan School of Management, and his participation in the WHC is not commensurate with the core values of MIT or with broader humanitarian values of inclusion, diversity and respect for life.

The World Hindu Congress is being organized in Chicago, September 7-9, 2018. The stated purpose of WHC 2018 is: “...a global platform for Hindus to connect, share ideas, inspire one another, and impact the common good”. The real objective of World Hindu Congress, however, is to legitimize and embolden the hate groups affiliated with India’s fearsome Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, to raise funds and to network internationally to further push their agenda of hate and violence.

Officially, the World Hindu Congress is being organized by the World Hindu Foundation (based in Gurgaon, India). But going through the names of WHC’s Organizing Committee, it becomes amply clear that the real organization behind the event is Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America or "VHPA" (World Hindu Council of America), along with the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh or HSS, the official U.S. arm of the RSS.

"VHPA" is the American arm of the nefarious Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an RSS affiliate organization whose role in various incidents of communal violence in India is very well documented. VHP is also officially classified as a “militant religious organization” by the U.S. administration. The parent organization of the VHP, the RSS, and its followers have been known to be ardent admirers of Nazis and especially of Hitler. The second chief of RSS, late M.S. Golwalkar wrote in his seminal book ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined’ - "...German race pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races - the Jews ... a good lesson for us in Hindustan for us to learn and profit by.".

The VHP and its sister organization, Bajrang Dal have a long track record of intimidation of minorities, incitement of hatred and violence, and are linked to many acts of terror in India which have been documented by the Indian and international media, as well as Indian and international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc. The political party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  is the political arm of the RSS. Since the BJP came to power in India in 2014, there have been 100+ mob lynchings of minorities, including members of Dalit and indigenous communities by these extremist organizations under the guise of “cow protection”. In most of these instances, the perpetrators are roaming free while the victims, if they survive the lynchings, are being harassed with trumped-up cases for consuming or transporting beef.

Commitment to diversity and inclusion are fundamental values of MIT and it’s disheartening to see an MIT faculty member not only associating with a divisive hate group but offering, inter alia, his leadership and MIT’s name recognition to an event meant to promote exact opposite of MIT’s values.  

We want to see a secular India and the world where every religion and community is treated with equal respect and we see Prof. Kothari's participation in WHC as a direct challenge to values of diversity and inclusion.

We appeal to Prof. Kothari and to all potential participants to withdraw from the World Hindu Congress 2018. Only by withdrawing from the event can Prof. Kothari send a clear and unequivocal message that the message of Hinduism and that of RSS's hate-filled propaganda are not the same, and that hate and bigotry cannot hide behind a façade of respectability.

Signed

Indian American Muslim Council

India Civil Watch

Organization for Minorities of India

Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus 

Sakhi for South Asian Women