Tuesday 12 July 2022

Justin Trudeau needs to escape the Hinduphobia snare (The Sunday Guardian)


For reasons of his own, Trudeau has on multiple occasions shown himself to be not just Hinduphobic but Indiaphobic.

The different standard followed by the government headed by Justin Trudeau in Canada on issues affecting the Hindu community as well as India as a whole is clear from its silence over the attempt by individuals involved in a Toronto cultural festival to pander to those who exhibit frank Hinduphobia. This was the phobia evident in a poster featuring a documentary film touching religious issues which was somehow exhibited on the website of the prestigious Aga Khan Foundation. The documentary picturises in a distorted way the Mother Goddess revered within the Hindu faith. Followers of the Aga Khan are known not just for their spirit of enterprise but for their tolerance, so it was a surprise to see such a documentary being scheduled for screening in a cultural festival run by his foundation. The incident illustrates the manner in which infiltration of elements of the Sino-Wahhabi lobby into key institutions has been taking place. Another example may be the fact that soon after the Taliban were handed over Afghanistan on 15 August 2021 by President Joe Biden, YouTube removed a Center for Security Analysis (CSA) video in which the present writer had pointed out that the Taliban had not changed since 2001, and that only US policy towards it had. Some of the platform’s filtration algorithms appear to have been covertly designed through infiltration by certain elements to provide traction to Sino-Wahhabi views while smothering views of those who opposed this axis, which is waging an overt and covert war to subvert major democracies. Whether in YouTube, Twitter or in other global social media platforms headquartered in the US, those in sync with the interests and ideology of the Sino-Wahhabi alliance have managed to embed themselves. In the process, they work against the very principles that such platforms take pride in championing. Fortunately, the biases created by such algo warriors became too apparent to ignore by the senior managers in such online platforms. As a consequence, there has been a reduction in algorithms deliberately introduced that in effect favour extremists and authoritarians. The Aga Khan Foundation needs to find out who initially took the initiative to get approved for public viewing a documentary film apparently reeking of Hinduphobia. The US is not Pakistan, where in schools and homes the Hindu community is openly the subject of unflattering epithets. Screening by a reputed platform of a documentary distorting the truth about the Mother Goddess would have strengthened such ignorant and often irrational prejudices against the Hindu faith. Instead, what is needed is to break down rather than build barriers between individuals who belong to different faiths.
Efforts through infiltration at feeding the flames of Hinduphobia indicate the need for institutions respected by the public to ensure that closet extremists who are intolerant of the followers and beliefs of other faiths are kept out of positions of responsibility in such institutions. The Aga Khan Foundation acted swiftly once the attention of its top tier was draw to this documentary. However, expecting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada to join them in battling phobia against a faith may be a vain hope. For reasons of his own, Trudeau has on multiple occasions shown himself to be not just Hinduphobic but Indiaphobic. Under him, Canada has become a shelter for declared Indiaphobes, especially those who are Hinduphobes. It has become a country where Hindus are in some places sought to be made to feel as unwelcome as they are in many parts of Pakistan. Fortunately, in Canada the community meets with consequences far less deadly than what they have contended with in Pakistan over the decades. This country, which is the favourite of groups such as SFJ, has almost totally rid itself of its minorities, including Sikhs. Which is why it is unfortunate that more than a few ministers and MPs in Canada have close links with it. Teaching the truth about India would diminish the risk of Indiaphobia. Explaining the essentials of Sanatan Dharma would prevent many unwary minds from falling prey to Hinduphobia. The episode involving that documentary has shown the need for those who are cognizant of the essentialities of Sanatan Dharma to ensure that its teachings get much more widely disseminated. Especially in India, national epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, philosophical treatises such as the Upanishads, stories useful in the development of character among the young such as those in the Panchatantra or the Hitopadesha should no longer remain outside school curricula. In contrast to India, the epics in countries with an ancient cultural lineage such as Greece and Italy are widely taught to the young.
Even Justin Trudeau may change his approach, once the fog of prejudice is dispelled in the Canadian PM’s mind by explaining to him the meaning of Shakti, the force which the Mother Goddess embodies. Who knows, even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may someday understand the importance of having a strong and prosperous India as a partner, and appreciate the contribution the people of India, of which more than a billion are Hindus, make not just in Canada but in the US, the UK and in other countries where they settle.

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