We Hindu Americans are hardly exempt from attacks on our religion and culture. Sadly, we are only too aware of the anti-Hindu hate disinformation, and false narratives in some Western media. Rampant anti-Hindu hate articles by the Western media make my blood boil and my heart aches in agony.  It hurts like a dagger blows through the curtain of propaganda of the dishonest Western media. Most importantly, we must correct this journalistic malpractice by the Western media. 

 

Hindu American Foundation defined Hinduphobia as a set of antagonistic, destructive, and derogatory attitudes and behaviors towards Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism/ Hindutva) and towards Hindus that may manifest as prejudice, fear, or hatred. 

 

The complete range of Hinduphobic acts extends from microaggressions to attempts at genocide. Hinduphobic projects include the destruction and desecration of Hindu sacred spaces; aggressive and forced proselytization of Hindu populations; targeted violence towards Hindu people, community institutions, and organizations; and, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

 

Hinduphobia rhetoric reduces the entirety of Sanatana Dharma to a rigid, oppressive, and regressive tradition. Prosocial and reflexive aspects of Hindu traditions are ignored or attributed to outside, non-Hindu influences. This discourse actively erases and denies the persecution of Hindus while disproportionately painting Hindus as violent. These stereotypes are used to justify the dissolution, external reformation, and demonization of the range of indigenous Indic knowledge traditions known as Sanatana Dharma.

 

What are the consequences if we Hindu Americans do not refute the anti-Hindu hate rhetoric published by the media?

 

To underscore, anti-Hindu hate articles propagate and perpetuate more Hinduphobia. A track record of 33 Hinduphobic articles were published by the Times over the past three to four years (2019-present). I submitted my rebuttals to each article at letters@latimes.com. Unfortunately, all of the 33 letters were not published suggesting that the LA Times articles are written by agenda-driven Hinduphobia activists in the garb of journalists which cannot be refuted.  Any portrayal to the contrary is considered total fiction by the Times. 

 

Some of my exchanges with the LA Times are published in the Voice Of Hindus.

 

No surprise that more recently anti-Hindu hate crimes, ranging from temple desecration to acts of physical violence have been on the rise in the United States! The Hindu American Foundation requests help in tracking incidents of identity-based and bias-motivated intimidation, harassment, and violence in our communities by filling out the Anti-Hindu Hate and Hinduphobia Incident Form if they or someone they know has experienced or witnessed an incident. Hindu American Foundation encourages all Americans to review our Know Your Rights Guide

 

Worse yet, the existence of Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu hatred is often denied, which itself is a form of the same. Hinduphobia leads to conversion and conversion leads to secession as we have seen in the tragedy that was the partition of India in 1947. 

 

Have you wondered how you can refute these anti-Hindu hate narratives?

 

Let’s look at an example from the recent barrage of false narratives spun by the media around the rebuilding and consecration of Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, India on January 22nd, 2024. The Western media overtly and covertly baked their stories with half-truths.  One article “Grand Temple promised by Modi to open before the election” appeared in the Los Angeles Times, January 19th, 2024, Page A2 by Sheikh Saaliq and Biswajeet Banerjee (Associated Press). In this article, the authors omitted to tell the correct history. What did they omit?  

 

They covertly omitted to tell that prior to the Babri mosque, a major Hindu Temple, Shri Ram Mandir, was destroyed by the Islamists to build the Babri structure. I wrote This article illustrates the failure of the media, by allowing the intellectual poison against Hindus to go unchecked. The authors failed to point out that archaeological evidence shows a Hindu Mandir (temple) existed in Ayodhya prior to the mosque since the 2nd millennium, dating back to the 12th century. 

 

How to write to the media? Three steps…

  1. Check their submission guidelines for letters to the editor for a word limit and a time window for submission of your rebuttal to their articles. 
  2. As you write, always list the links to the source of your information. 
  3. Review and submit.

Helpful rules when writing to the media:

  • Do not state anything that you cannot substantiate or provide an authoritative reference. Provide hot links. 
  • In the Ram Mandir case, the rulings of courts, reports of the Archeological Survey of India, and publications of travelers are authoritative sources. 
  • Check the grammar and punctuation. If you are not sure, use sites like Grammarly to improve the grammar and language)
  • Engage with the media constructively and respectfully.
  • You may reach out to experienced authors to review your draft. Sometimes, we get reader fatigue with our work. Fresh and experienced eyes are always helpful.

What happens if we respond to the anti-Hindu hate articles published in the media?

 

Silence is violence. Our silence will be interpreted as acceptance of their propaganda. Thus, we must submit our rebuttals regardless of whether they get published or not. At the very least, they are entered in their database. For me, after submitting my rebuttals backed by evidence, my agonized heart gets relieved because I took action. I performed my karma for my dharma. And so will yours. I did not accept the media’s false narratives just sitting down. 

 

A successful experience and a disappointment with the Los Angeles Times

 

Success story:  The Times published an anti-Hindu hate comic/cartoon mocking a Hindu Goddess on September 2nd, 2023 (exhibit A). I complained (exhibit B) to the Readers’ Representative and asked to meet with the upper management of the Times team. The Times responded and we met with John Canalis on October 11th, 2023. We were encouraged by John’s verbal apology on behalf of the Times. We had educated the Times team on Hinduphobia. We offered resources such as access to reliable information to fight Hinduphobia. We also offered access to Hindu scholars to contribute to the Times Op-ed pages and for fact-checking. 

 

Disappointment with the Times: 

Of note, the LA Times continued to publish Hinduphobia articles with false narratives (exhibit C & D). We remain deeply disappointed with the Times attributed to its journalistic malpractice. To date, it has not taken action against the barrage of anti-Hindu hate articles that we discussed with the Times team at our meeting on October 11th, 2023 led by John Canalis.

 

Exhibit A: Comic/cartoon with mockery of a Hindu Goddess published in LA Times on September 2nd, 2023.

 

 

Exhibit B: My rebuttal to LA Times regarding the above comic/cartoon

 

Dear Editor

We American Hindus are enraged by Coverly’s callous and flagrant disregard for Hinduism. He has shown a Hinduphobic Comic in your newspaper. He depicts a Hindu Goddess with ten arms elbowing her fellow passenger on a flight.  Was this an overt or a covert attempt to insult our Hindu religion? Is the Times going to offer an apology to its Hindu readers? Is the Times going to fire its cartoonist Dave Crowley? Hindus are facing an increasing assault on their very existence along with an unprecedented Hindu hatred. Does the ethics committee of the LA Times permit the Times to stoop so low as to attack Hinduism and its deities?  I hope not. Or is this the beginning of the cultural genocide of Hindus?

 

Geeta 

 

 

See Exhibits C and D below.

 

Exhibit C: My letter to Patrick Soon-Shiong (Owner of Los Angeles Times)

Dear Patrick 

 

I have been following the recent articles by Meg James about the turmoil at the LA Times. Who am I? I am a Hindu American, an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California Irvine School of Medicine.  And  a 30 year reader of the LA Times. 

Patrick, you are truly an agent of goodness when you said “The LA Times mission is to be a Pillar of Democracy.” Unfortunately, my experience with the LA Times has been to the contrary. 

 

Patrick, I beseech you to read my article about my dissappointing  journey with the LA Times, published only yesterday in the voiceofhindus.org 

https://voiceofhindus.org/hindu-american-professor-responds-to-hinduphobic-reporting-by-the-los-angeles-times/

This article is my story. It is the experience of me (a Hindu-American Professor) about how the LA Times has been perpetuating and propagating hinduphobia, placing the lives of Hindus at risk. Six Hindu Mandirs (temples) have been attacked in California alone over the past six weeks. A bill targeting Hindu-Americans was passed in the CA Senate and Assembly last year. Thankfully, it was vetoed by the Governor. We reached out to the LA Times to be our voice. Our voices were silenced by the Times with arrogance and condescension.

Action requested: The LA Times must promptly put a stop to its propagation of Hinduphobia. 

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest. 

 

Warm regards

 

Geeta 

 

Exhibit D: Letters to the Associated Press and to the Los Angeles Times

 

Below is an example of my correspondence with the LA Times (Times) and with the Associated Press (AP). I wrote to the Times and the AP because the LA Times published this anti-Hindu hate article provided by the AP. When I complained, the LA Times said it did not fact-check the article by AP. This is so shameful! 

 

Subject: “Grand temple promised by Modi to open before election” Page A2 by Sheikh Saliq and Biswajeet Banerjee January 19th 2024 from Associated Press.

 

Dear Editor

This article illustrates the failure of the media, by allowing the intellectual poison against Hindus to go unchecked. The authors failed to point out that archaeological evidence shows a Hindu Mandir (temple) existed in Ayodhya prior to the mosque since the 2nd millennium, dating back to the 12th century. 

https://www.hinduamerican.org/issues/ram-janmabhoomi-ayodhya-faq

Destroyed by Muslims in the sixteenth century, its foundation was used to erect the Mosque. Thus, the site was disputed by Hindus and Muslims for the last 500 years. In 2019 the Indian Supreme Court verdict allowed the Hindus to “rebuild” their temple and set aside five acres nearby for the Muslims to build the largest mosque in India. https://www.hinduamerican.org/issues/ram-janmabhoomi-ayodhya-faq

Could this “Cultivated Ignorance” stop? It is defined as deliberately projecting Hindus as “Oppressors” while subverting the findings from respected organizations like the Pew Research Center “Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation” which showed all minorities in India feel free to practice their religion. 

Geeta 

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It’s up to each of us to reflect and to vigorously protect our Dharma. We must protest any assaults on Hindutva/Hinduism. We must not stop at writing rebuttals. We must also take the initiative to write first. We must not wait to respond to those who do not like us and take the lead to write their one-sided stance first. On the contrary, we must take the initiative to write articles upfront in defense of our faith, culture, country, and our way of life as in “Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah.” It means, that just as our Dharma protects us, we must protect our Dharma from the assaults of those who seek to destroy it such as South Asia Citizens Web: Another Spate of Hinduphobia Exposed.  

 

All I can say is this: I think it would be ill-advised if we did not stand up to the ongoing onslaught of Hinduphobia in the Western media. The flagrant disregard for Hinduism/Hindutva by some Western media must be stopped. Let’s come together to perform our karma for our dharma! We are stronger together!

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