On June 13, 2023, community advocates and organizations held a National Teach-In on Modi’s visit to the U.S. The panelists discussed anti-democracy efforts underway in India; discrimination and violence against minority communities including Muslims; human rights abuses; caste oppression; and other issues. More than a dozen U.S. based advocacy organizations sponsored the conversation and more than 175 people attended. If you weren’t able to attend, here is an article from Ethnic Media Services about the key points made.
Calls to action related to the Modi visit
Attend and support events protesting the visit and Hindutva ideology:
DC: Press Conference at The National Press Club, June 21 (press release)
NYC: City Winery, June 21 (buy tickets here)
DC: Rally at Black Lives Matter Plaza, June 22 (flier)
Learn about India’s human rights record and combat disinformation:
- Watch the BBC documentary with family and friends
- Read and share reports from governmental entities and human rights groups that document the targeting of minority groups (below)
- Share your concerns via an op ed, letter to the editor, blog post, or social media, based on the following message: “We must oppose anti-democracy efforts and targeting of vulnerable groups everywhere, including in India.”
- Join a letter (for individuals and organizations) from Hindus for Human Rights to President Biden.
Begin courageous conversations on Hindu supremacy/Hindutva ideology now and beyond:
- Read primers to understand the spread of Hindutva ideology and caste oppression (see below)
- Discuss ways to recognize and eliminate caste bias within our own communities, families, faith groups, and workplaces
- Create local networks of concerned people and groups to combat Hindutva ideology
- Ask your organization, workplace, and academic institution to include language against caste oppression in their policies
Ask elected officials to speak up during Modi’s visit:
- Contact your Member of Congress: ask them to (1) join statements and letters that express concerns about India’s record, and (2) to not attend the joint address.
- Contact the White House and ask POTUS to publicly raise concerns about India’s record during upcoming events with Modi.
- Ask your local city council members to pass resolutions and legislation against caste bias; read about similar efforts in Seattle and California.
1. The caste system and caste discrimination in the U.S.
- “The Specter of Caste in Silicon Valley: Indian immigrants from Dalit backgrounds are rising up against caste discrimination at their workplaces in the United States” By Yashica Dutt, The New York Times, July 14, 2020
- “Caste in the US: Lawmakers try to tackle discrimination”, By Shabnam Surita, Deutsche Welle, April 2023
- “Seattle becomes first U.S. city to ban caste discrimination” By Niha Masiha, The Washington Post, Feb. 2023
- “Caste Discrimination Exists in the U.S., Too — But a Movement to Outlaw It Is Growing” By Rohit Chopra and Ajantha Subramanian, Time, Feb. 2022
- “How To Be An Anti-Casteist,” NPR, Rough Translation, Sept. 2020
- “Unlearning Caste Supremacy” A reading list from Equality Labs
- Caste Equity Legal Task Force, a nation-wide coalition of litigators, law professors, legal advocates and law school students committed to ending caste-based discrimination
- “The Struggle Against Caste Oppression Is a Vital Battleground for Indian Democracy” By Prachi Patankar, Jacobin, June 2022
- “Writer-Journalist Yashica Dutt Talks About The Historic Seattle Legislation, Caste-Based Oppression And Being A Dalit Woman In The USA”, By Rohini Menon, Feminism in India, March 2023
- “Coming Out as Dalit: A Memoir of Surviving India’s Caste System,” By Yashica Dutt, 2024
- “Dismantling Caste” A reading list from Sadhana progressive Hindu association.
2. The global Hindu supremacist movement
- “The Hindu supremacist movement is a growing threat in the U.S.: Masquerading as South Asian representation, Hindu supremacists are attempting to codify Hindutva within U.S. legislation” Prism Reports, May 2023
- “The Hindu Nationalist Campaign to Promote Yoga”, The Nation, By Deeksha Udupa and Raqib Hameed Naik, April 6, 2023
- “Fact Sheet: Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA)”, The Bridge Initiative, Georgetown University
- “Hindu nationalism: A roundup of reporting and resources,” Religion Link, Ken Chitwood
- “Gandhi’s Killer Evokes Admiration as Never Before,” The New York Times, Feb. 2020
- Stop Hindutva in America: A comprehensive resource on Hindu Supremacist groups in the US
- “How suburban influence defeated a resolution to condemn the Indian government,” The Chicago Reader, April 2021.
- Hindus for Human Rights, “Prema Yatra: Pilgrimage of love”, Apr. 2023
- “Why Is India’s Government Celebrating an Antisemitic, Pro-genocide Hitler Devotee?” Haaretz, March 2021
- “Why white supremacists and Hindu nationalists are so alike: White supremacy and Hindu nationalism have common roots going back to the 19th-century idea of the ‘Aryan race’” Al Jazeera, 2018
- Justice for All, “ The Nazification of India”, Feb. 2023.
3. The chilling of speech, press & forced internet shutdowns
- Hindutva Harassment Field Manual: “Whether you are the target or a witness to a Hindu Right assault, this Field Manual offers resources for how to defend those attacked and how to educate others,” The South Asia Scholar Activist Collective.
- “India, World’s Largest Democracy, Leads Global List of Internet Shutdowns,” By Rhea Mogul, March 2023
- “Sharp Downslide: India Slips 11 Ranks in Press Freedom Index, Now 161 of 180 Countries,” May 2023
- “India Tightens Grip on Social Media Platforms,” By Mark Frary, April 2023
- “UN Body Demands Immediate Release of Khurram Parvez,” International Federation for Human Rights, June 2023
- Human Rights Watch, “India: Media Freedom Under Threat,” May 2022
- “At Rutgers, and Beyond, Scholars Are Under Attack For Their Critique of India’s Far-Right Government” By Arun Venugopal, July 2021
- “Suchitra Vijayan Talks About Marginalisation, Institutional Violence & Political Imagination”, By Ananya Pathak, Feminism in India, Dec. 2022
- “Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India,” By Suchitra Vijayan, 2021
4. Human rights abuses in India
- Amnesty International, Human Rights in India reports
- United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), India reports
- Americans for Kashmir, “Key Policy Recommendations”
- Ensaaf, “Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive houses video narratives collected as part of Ensaaf‘s Crimes Against Humanity Data Project
- “Human Rights Groups Blast White House for Modi Visit,” By Rowaida Abdelaziz, Huffington Post, June 18, 2023
- “India’s Modi is a Right Wing Despot — Not a Rock Star Like Springsteen,” By Rummana Hussain, Chicago Sun Times, June 17, 2023
- IAMC, Indian American Muslim Council’s (IAMC) monthly reports on human rights violations in India
- ENSAAF, See reports and photo essays on forced disappearances
- The Polis Project, “Profiles of Dissent, a series centered on remarkable voices of dissent and courage across the world. They are writers, poets, activists, human rights defenders and those who have been incarcerated for speaking truth to power.”
- “India’s Hindu extremists are calling for genocide against Muslims. Why is little being done to stop them?” CNN, By Rhea Mogul and Swati Gupta, January 14, 2022
- “India government opposes recognising same-sex marriage”, By Arpan Chaturvedi, Reuters, March 12, 2023
- “How Long Will Joe Biden Pretend Narendra Modi’s India Is a Democratic Ally?” Time, by Debasish Roy Chowdhury, Feb. 2021
- The BBC documentary banned in India, “India: The Modi Question” BBC (Two part)
- Human Rights Watch, “Kashmir”
- Solidarity Is This (podcast): “Not In Our Name, Resisting Hindu Fascism” The podcast features Nouf Bazaz (Kashmiri activist and professor) and Yashica Dutt (Dalit writer and journalist) in conversation with Deepa Iyer
- “Christian groups, alarmed by church attacks in Manipur, urge Centre to start talks”, By Ziya Us Salam, The Hindu, May 2023
- IAMC, “Indian American Muslim Council’s Human Rights Monitor news archives, which serves as a daily compilation of hate crimes”
- Ensaaf, “Mapping Crimes Against Humanity Enforced Disappearances & Extrajudicial Executions in Punjab, India”
- Ensaaf, “Data on hundreds of police officials named by survivors as directly involved in unlawfully killing 2,003 individuals.”