Resistance to hate does not bloom overnight but is nurtured and sustained by the spirit of activists who constantly question and disrupt the narratives of supremacy crafted by the brokers of that hate. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the Hindutva ideology has been challenged on an ongoing basis by activists, who have continually shone a light on their agendas of divisiveness. In 2007, the Hindu Council, an organisation attached to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a militant Hindu religious entity, held an inaugural event, titled “Contribution of Hindu community to the national life of New Zealand.” The event, with funding from the Asia:NZ Foundation, was attended by then Prime Minister Helen Clark and mayor of Manukau City Barry Curtis. We are re-publishing a blog post written by one of the co-founders of AAPI, Dr. Sapna Samant, after attending this event in 2007. It was published on the site sikhcentre.wordpress.com in 2008. The blog post and the ensuing exchange show how concerns were raised over a decade ago about the agenda of the Hindu Council to impose a monolithic agenda and the project seeking to speak for all Hindus in Aotearoa.
We must remember and document this history of resistance challenging Hindutva especially as Crown structures have deliberately ignored evidence confirming the fascism of this ideology, perhaps to accommodate conveniently the vote bank politics of the ruling parties
The current campaign organized by the Hindu Council targeting Professor Dutta, CARE, and Massey University is reflective of this hate ideology of the Hindu Council Dr. Samant had presciently warned against. The Hindu Council does not speak for Hindus in Aotearoa New Zealand but propagates a supremacist upper caste idea of India. Therefore it certainly does not speak for Indians in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We reject its divisive politics and urge the Crown to actually stand behind its rhetoric of social cohesion. It is not enough for Minister Radhakrishnan to just give statements acknowledging their presence while not actively renouncing the fascism and supremacy.
"Saffron flags emblazoned with Aum fluttered in the afternoon sunlight as I made my way towards the venue of 1st Hindu Conference in New Zealand on 12 May. The alarm bells in my head rang loud and clear. This was fundamentalist territory. The Hindu Conference was organised by The Hindu Council. A sophisticated arm of the Hindu extremist parties like the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad). Its cousins being the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the militant Bajrang Dal. The alarm bells had triggered off ever since I got the press release that invited participants and said that this was not a religious or philosophical conference. Delegates would be vetted and allowed only if they had any contributions to make (read no troublemakers). ...."