VHP and United Way

Rajender Razdan razdan at ntd.comsat.com
Thu Nov 3 19:28:28 UTC 1994

     While I quite agree that Indology might not be a suitable forum for
debate over VHP and VHP-A activities; since the issue has been raised; 
before it is closed I'd like to add my voice to present a different
picture than the one that was presented by Shri Lance Nelson. 

     I personally have contributed in the past (and still continue to
contribute) my own money to VHP-A under the auspicies of the United Way
program and have been very pleased with the work they have performed.
Hindu society has often been criticized for its lack of social welfare
programs- in this regard the VHP-A is one of the few Hindu organizations
which has worked tirelessly for the cause of the needy in India. Whether
it be helping the victims of earthquakes, as in Maharashtra last year; or
in providing relief for the displaced Kashmiri Pandit families languishing
in the camps in Jammu or for its numerous literacy programs all across
India, the VHP-A has performed outstandingly. 

    It is, therefore, quite shocking to see the vehemency with which VHP
and the VHP-A organizations have been attacked; and this type of attack
points to a polarization within the Hindu society. There is a new breed of
increasingly *Westernized* Hindus (many of whom dabble in the Indology
forum) that seems to have come up; a breed which seems to be sadly out of
touch with the reality of Hindu society. The Hinduism that this breed of
self-alienated Hindus would like to deal with is that of a sanitized or
dead society. But the truth is that Hindu society is neither dead nor yet
extinct; though many on this forum seemingly would like it to be so. Hindu
society is, instead, in the process of redefining and reshaping itself.
The vicious anti-VHP and anti-VHP-A tirade orchestrated by these
self-appointed judges of morality is aimed directly at Hindu society. We
are told that since VHP supported the building of the Rama mandir at
Ayodhya at the very spot where the Babri Masjid stands; and that because
some of their supporters actually took part in tearing down the Babri
structure, that as a consequence the VHP should be deemed a most rabid 
militant and fundamentalist organization. 

     What is left unspoken by these Westernized self-alienated Hindus is
that the Babri Masjid has been a disputed site for over a century; that no
muslim ever went there for prayers or offered Namaz there for over 40
years and that Hindus have claimed it as the birthplace of Lord Rama for
centuries.  To add to this, the Babri structure, to Hindus, is a symbol of
one of the most oppressive periods in Indian history; i.e. the Mohammedan
conquest of India typified by Babar who is supposed to have laid this
structure over an existing temple. 

    I mention all this, because there has been very little analysis and
discussion of the Babri Masjid issue in the Western press; except to paint
a caricature of Hindus as being militant or fundamentalist (whatever that
may be). And it is the educated, soft-spoken, Westernized Hindu who has
generally shown the greatest degree of vehemence against his own Hindu
society by choosing to remain silent on all the details of the Babri
Masjid episode. 

   Hindus are grappling with numerous issues today; those of identity, how
to interact with the myriad of cultures and religions that make up the
great melting-pot of civilization which we call India, etc. It is in-
evitable that these issues, though essentially religious and personal,
will be played out on the political stage. VHP of India does both politi-
cal and cultural work, and gets a large amount of criticism from its
detractors.  Some of the criticism is fair, but a large amount of the
criticism is quite patently unfair.  Being a political entity, this is not
something that can be avoided. The same is not true of VHP of America
(VHP-A) which is ONLY a religious and cultural entity and not a political
entity.  The VHP-A has taken great pains to show that it is in no way
connected with the VHP-I. It has kept up-to-date records to prove that not
a single cent obtained by VHP-A has been passed on to VHP-I. It, there-
fore, is incumbent upon the accusers of VHP-A to provide proof of its
connection with VHP-I; beyond just pure innuendo. 

     Meanwhile, the people engaged in trying to pull down the VHP-A are
guilty of the worst form of character assasination towards an organization
which has selflessly devoted its time, efforts and energy to some of the
most worthy causes. 

Rajender Razdan

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list