The Hindu University of America (HUA) was founded in 1989 and granted authorization in 1993 to give students a special academic setting in which to study the knowledge systems derived from Vedic thought and those that have since emerged—that is, the philosophies, customs, cultures, and civilizations that have come to be known as Hinduism in the public imagination.

Why is there a sense of apathy towards Hindu Dharma? Is there a need to fight for it or are we too small to take on that fight? Do we engage with and respond to its relentless critics or should we ignore them? How did we allow centuries of damage to its various aspects? How do we take adequate steps to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself? These are just a few of the questions that Ms. Neena Narumanchi attempts to answer as she discovers the importance of Hindu Studies.

Current State

Till I attended a Hindu University of America’s (HUA) webinar on what HUA’s vision and mission are, I had no idea that a parallel world was in existence in the academia.

Once I graduated out of college and entered the work world, I never really paid any attention to what was happening in Colleges, Universities, what was being said and published by Professors, authors, students – in any area for that matter, not just in the area of Hindu studies. And I will not be way off mark if I say that it is true for about 75% to 80% of college-educated Hindus.

Once we fall into the drudgery of making a living, raising a family and building a career, they become all-consuming tasks. Or at least that is what we say to convince ourselves. We refuse to engage our minds in any other task, we refuse to allow us to gain more knowledge unless it has to do with one of the above tasks that I mentioned – and we let the ‘activist’ in us die.

I firmly believe that everyone is born with an activist cell. But most of us let it die un-nourished. When we see something wrong happening, we turn the other way, retreat into our tiny lives convincing ourselves with the following rationale – “This is not my fight.” “This is too large a fight, I cannot possibly win it.” “Why does everything have to be a fight?” “My primary responsibility is towards my family.” “They are just exercising their freedom of speech.” “Hindu or Sanatana Dharma is too great to be affected by a few uninformed or even evil people.” “A fruit bearing tree is the one that gets attacked most, we are a great civilization, that is why we get attacked.” The reasons are endless.

We will reason our inaction till it removes our guilt, so that we can continue to live remorselessly. If this is how educated Hindus are living, then what of the less educated or uneducated Hindus who are further removed from the college campuses? The chances of them knowing about the negative narratives being propagated in academia are even slimmer.

What we never realize is that inactivity sets a precedent very easily. Not raising a voice when something is wrong leads to the wrong becoming the status quo. Our Hindu civilization is one of the greatest, oldest civilizations in existence. I feel just its sheer resilience should awake feelings of wonder, awe, respect and admiration. But instead, we see hatred, fear, anger and ugliness.  


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