‘Holi Against Hindutva’ campaign reorganized by a coalition of South Asian diaspora



A group of South Asian diaspora came together to organize a Hindu-phobic event ‘Holi against Hindutva’ which first took place at colleges and universities across the US in March 2020, was organized again on Friday, March 18.

A poster calling ‘Holi against Hindutva 2022’ was posted by groups ‘Hindus for Human Rights’ (HfHR), ‘SAHI – Students against Hindutva Ideology’ and ‘Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus’ who were earlier seen taking part in anti-India activities while stationed in foreign campuses.

The organization ‘Holi against Hindutva’ was formed in December 2019, to organize agitations in the US against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the Central Government in the same year.

Founded by Shreya Singh from Yale University, with a social media account based in the United States of America, India and Pakistan, the group was renamed ‘Students against Hindutva Ideology’ or SAHI later.

Organizations including SAHI, HfHR and Sadhna collectively organized protests against CAA and NRC in American University Campuses including Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Wellesley, Michigan State, Duke and Rutgers.

The 2020 edition of ‘Holi against Hindutva’ saw the politicization of the Hindu festival with an intent to target Hindu students on US campuses and peddle anti-India rhetoric. Diaspora Hindu organization ‘Hindu on Campus’ alleged that Holi, which has been one the most popular Hindu festivals on U.S. college campuses, was been highjacked to target students from the same Hindu community.

While the activist groups claimed at the outset that they are not against ‘Holi’, they engaged in a crude appropriation of the festival by wearing ‘black clothes’ as opposed to white and played only with white colored powder to further a political

“This is not a celebration, but a condemnation,” the poster read. Going beyond protesting against the CAA or the NRC, the protest became a platform to spread hateful propaganda against India and Hinduism.

Some of the posters held by the members read ‘Stop the Genocide in India’, ‘Stop State Sanctioned violence in India’.

At Harvard University, Dalit activist Suraj Yengde attacked that the Men in Uniform (Police and the Army) and those not in the uniform (Civilians) both needed to be struck against.

Under the banner ‘Holi against Hindutva’ the organization with the support of 44 South Asian, Muslim, Sikh and Democratic student groups, wrote an open letter to the US Congress for attracting sanctions against Indian government officials.

Appropriating Holi as a ‘multicultural’ festival (though celebrated commonly in India by all faiths), organizer Vedant Behl said, “The celebrations won’t be the same in India this year. The festival that previously brought together Hindus, Muslims, Christians and people from all castes and backgrounds — or at least was imagined to be such — is not going to be that in these months of communal hatred and open polarization. We are reclaiming Holi from the forces of Hindutva that have broken it down.”

The invite for the current webinar registration describes, “As we honor the 2nd anniversary of the historic #HoliAgainstHindutva protesters, join us for this special webinar event featuring student activists from India, USA, Canada, and the UK who will be speaking about the history of student activism and resistance against Hindutva ideology!”

The same was shared by Rutgers University professor Audrey Truschke on Twitter who is infamous for misappropriating Indology, glorifying Islamic genociders like Aurangazeb and targeting students from the Hindu community on her campus.

Hindu Academics, Activists and Professionals have earlier raised their voice against the groups misappropriating the festival of Holi for their political gains.

Talking about one such incident, Suhag Shukla, founder of the Hindu American Foundation wrote, “A Holi Against Hindutva hashtag was created, protesters of various religious backgrounds wore black on Holi, and a story alleging a casteist conspiracy in the burning of Holika was disseminated to shame any Hindu student who sought to celebrate on campus.”

The ‘Holi Against Hindutva’ continues to remain an active conspiracy hatched against the Hindu diaspora by Liberal fundamentalism which has garnered support from South Asian Islamists, Radical Dalit activists and shreds of the Indian Left. By appropriating a Hindu Festival for protest it not only targets Hindus worldwide but also meddles in India’s sovereign interests.