By Tara C. | Anant Kumar

 

Holi is one of the most significant and popular Hindu festivals celebrated across the world as the Festival of Colors, Love, and the arrival of Spring. An alarming trend is emerging where some fictitious groups like “Hindus for Human Rights” are appropriating the auspicious Holi festival to target the minority Hindu American community with events like “Holi Against Hindutva”.

 

What is Holi

Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, is a vibrant celebration held annually by Hindus worldwide. It marks the triumph of good over evil, the arrival of spring, and a chance to mend broken bonds.

 

The festivities typically last a few days. People gather for Holika Dahan, a bonfire symbolizing the burning of an evil demon. Then comes the main event: throwing colored powder (gulal) at each other! This playful chaos breaks down social barriers and fosters forgiveness. Delicious sweets and savory treats are shared, and everyone dances and sings, celebrating life and new beginnings.

 

Holi transcends religion and is enjoyed by people of all backgrounds. It’s a reminder to embrace joy, let go of negativity, and spread happiness – a message that resonates across cultures.

 

The 7th chapter of ancient Hindu scripture Bhagavata Purana, narrates the legend of Prahlada, a devotee of Vishnu, and his demon king father, Hiranyakashipu. The chapter details how Vishnu saves Prahlada from a fire, marking the symbolic victory of good over evil that Holi celebrates. References to Holi celebrations appear in various ancient Indian texts. Poems describe Holi festivities in scriptures like Jaimini’s Purva Mimamsa Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras. King Harsha’s 7th-century work, Ratnavali, also references “Holikotsav”, another name for the Holi celebration.

 

Holi Celebrations in the U.S.

 

The Festival of Holi is celebrated all over the U.S. with participation from people across communities. The Largest Holi festival in the US takes place yearly in Spanish Fork in Utah, where nearly 100 thousand people participate. Large-scale celebrations take place in many other parts of the U.S. including Los Angeles, CA. These community celebrations with everyone immersed in colors with no discrimination are great examples of reinforcing diversity & inclusion.

 

(Celebrating Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork in Utah. Photo by: festivalofcolorsusa.com)

 

What is Hindutva

 

Hindutva is a combination of two words, ‘Hindu’ and the Sanskrit word tattva (‘thatness’ or ‘essence’). Based on this, Hindutva is popularly translated as ‘Hindu-ness’ and Hindus simply think of Hindutva as the idea and practice of living a life according to Hindu teachings or even just a descriptor of being Hindu.

 

Just like how motherhood is related to the essence of mother in English, in the Sanskrit language Hindutva encompasses the essence of being Hindu. The term Hindutva has been used for centuries to represent the Hindu Culture.

 

The Vicious Campaign of “Holi Against Hindutva”

 

Since we’ve come to understand the significance of Holi for Hindus around the world, it’s hard to believe that someone would use the festival to attack the very culture it celebrates. For the past few years, there’s been a hate campaign against Hindu Americans called “Holi Against Hindutva” spreading across various platforms. The hate events are about demeaning and mocking Hindu traditions and celebrations. The name itself literally translates to “Holi against Hinduism” or “Holi against Hindu-ness”.

 

In the latest development, with a sinister objective to hijack Hindu festivals, hardcore leftists, and Islamists at the Oberlin College in Ohio state of the United States had organized an event dubbed ‘Holi Against Hindutva’ on April 21, 2024.

 

This anti-Hindu hate program was held jointly by the ‘Asian American Alliance (AAA)’ and ‘Muslim Students Association (MSA)’ at the Hallock Auditorium of the private liberal arts college. “Hindus for Human Rights” Director of Research Pranay Somayajula was a featured speaker for this event.

 

(Holi Against Hindutva 2024 event flyer)

 

Similar events were organized on Mar 18, 2022, at several university campuses in the U.S. These were jointly hosted by ‘Hindus for Human Rights’ (HfHR), ‘SAHI – Students against Hindutva Ideology’ and ‘Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus’ with the  evil    intention of defaming Hindu culture and dividing Hindu American society.

 

(Holi Against Hindutva 2022 event flyer)

 

On March 5, 2020, the first Holi Against Hindutva event was hosted by AARC (Asian American Resource Center) along with the committee for South Asian Voices & Students Against Hindutva. They requested participants to dress in black against the colorful spirit of the Holi festival. 

 

Concerns of Hindu Americans

 

The “Holi Against Hindutva” continues to remain an active conspiracy hatched against the Hindu diaspora by hate groups which has garnered support from South Asian Islamists and hardcore leftists. By the way, Holi is not the only Hindu festival that has been weaponized by the hate groups. Diwali (Deepavali) is another festival that has been weaponized as well. 

Using a Hindu festival as a platform for protest is a malicious plan that targets Hindus all over the world and contributes to the disturbing increase in anti-Hindu sentiments. Such Hinduphobic acts result in anti-Hindu hate crimes that doubled in a year as the FBI reports.

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