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CPWR announces separate event to celebrate Swami Vivekananda's anniversary
CAG welcomes CPWR's reaffirmation of its dissociation with "World Without Borders" event


Friday, September 27, 2013

Coalition Against Genocide (CAG - http://coalitionagainstgenocide.org/ ), a broad alliance dedicated to justice and accountability for the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, and for continued violations of human rights in Gujarat, today welcomed the resolution adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR), reaffirming its position on the "World Without Borders" event organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHP-A) to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda [1].

In a letter to CPWR Executive Director Dr. Mary Nelson, CAG spokesperson Dr. Raja Swamy congratulated the CPWR on advancing the cause of interfaith harmony by organizing its own event to celebrate Swami Vivekananda's birth anniversary and the 120th anniversary of the Parliament on November 16, 2013, while decisively dissociating from elements espousing divisive ideologies [2]. VHP-A's undeniable links to the VHP, an organization indicted for much of the hate-based sectarian violence in India, are in the public domain and available for anybody to assess [3]. The VHP itself, on its website lists the VHP-A as an affiliate [4].

"CAG is a broad alliance of over 40 organizations, representing a diverse cross section of the religious and political spectrum of the Indian diaspora, including several Hindu organizations. CAG spokespersons speak on behalf of the entire coalition, and not in their individual capacity or on behalf of a subset of constituent organizations. Any attempt to couch the controversy as a Hindu-Muslim issue is a serious mistake," wrote Dr. Raja Swamy.

"The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has come out with an incredible defense of the VHP-A, with some absurd claims about how this issue has unfolded. It is perhaps necessary to set the record straight about the HAF itself. We reject the HAF positioning itself as an organization that represents the worldview of most Hindus in the United States. Although HAF projects itself as a lobby group working within a human rights framework, it has existential links to extremist and violent Hindutva supremacist organizations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

An HAF co-founder has a long-standing relationship with the VHP-A, having served as Volunteer Coordinator for the VHPA, and founder of the University of Michigan Chapter of the Hindu Students Council (HSC), itself a project of the VHP-A. His article titled "Hindutva the Great Nationalist Ideology" considered the ideological manifesto of the BJP [5], is revealing in its hostility towards minorities and its marked lack of respect for the rule of law. He takes great pride, in this article, in the destruction of the Babri Mosque, including praise for the mob as they 'took the law into their own hands.'"

"CPWR is a widely respected and independent 120-year old organization with its own decision making body. Portraying CPWR's decision as an outcome of anti-Hindu biases on the part of some individuals is a reflection of the shallowness of the discourse adopted by those who are unable or unwilling to take off their own sectarian lenses. Their moral standing to speak on behalf of all Hindus should be seriously questioned," added Dr. Swamy.

The partisan nature of the Chicago event is further evidenced by the fact that the organizers have added as a keynote speaker, Dr. Subramanian Swamy who has gone on record to call for the disenfranchisement of minorities who do not accept his version of Indian history, and other steps to declare India a Hindu nation. Dr. Subramanian's courses were dropped from Harvard University precisely because of his open espousal of hateful ideas [6].

Dr. Subramanian Swamy and his brand of virulent politics is antithetical to the ideas of inclusiveness and pluralism that Swami Vivekananda espoused. Having him as a keynote speaker is an affront to interfaith harmony and amounts to defiling the legacy of Swami Vivekananda.

The Coalition Against Genocide is composed of a diverse group of organizations and individuals in the United States and Canada that have come together in response to the Gujarat genocide to demand accountability and justice.


1. An Important Resolution of the Parliament Board about Celebrating Vivekananda

2. State Department Reports with references to VHP-instigated violence
3. Inter-faith group stands by Vivekananda event decision

4. VHP Website reference to VHP-A as VHP's worldwide progress

5. HAF co-founder article on Hindutva

6. Harvard snubs Subramanian Swamy, drops courses taught by him


Coalition Against Genocide
Phone/Fax: (443) 927-9039
Email: media@coalitionagainstgenocide.org
  1. Mr. Raja Swamy
    Phone: 864-804-0216

  2. Mr. Shaik Ubaid
    Phone: 516-567-0783

  3. Anu Mandavilli
    Phone: 408-480-5805

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