Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Ultimate Reality Check

Namaste readers!

Hot on the heels of my article for Hinduism Today going online, an article that appeared on the Huffington Post about two weeks prior goes somewhat viral. This article, by professor Deepak Sarma at Case Western University, is pretty much the polar opposite in message and tone to my Hinduism Today article: it makes the case that whites, such as myself, who try to convert to Hinduism inevitably mock and insult it by virtue of their historical baggage, the fact that whites colonized India and plundered not only its physical but mental wealth. If I'm reading it right, it sounds like in his article that it's impossible for whites to redeem themselves via conversion to Hinduism because of their white skin privilege.

Um...yeah. This pretty much torpedoes everything I've worked for. Those readers that know me probably know what my reaction to this article would be right away...I don't think I have to explain what my objections are. And yes, when I initially read the article I was devastated...but then after thinking about it some more, I think I have nothing to fear from this piece. The reason being that he is someone I've only read about on the Internet, while I've got plenty of backup for my position in my real life! And I have everyone in my real life to thank for that. :-)

Mr. Sarma says in that article that Indian Hindus who welcome whites into their fold aren't really genuine, that they suffer from a "post-traumatic, post-colonial servile disorder." There are several problems with that statement, from my experience - the first being that it sounds like Mr. Sarma doesn't even trust his fellow Hindus/Indians with their own decisions. If the local Rochester Hindu community really felt that way about me, then they most certainly would've said so by now! It sounds like Mr. Sarma is putting words in their mouths.

I guess my encountering this article on the Internet is a reality check for me in the sense that I shouldn't believe everything I read on the internet, and that I should take my real life experience more seriously than what someone I've never met in person says about people like me. That was the test, it seems to me - and I hope to every Hindu I've met in real life, that I've passed that test. :-)


  1. This was reply by Dr. Koenraad Elst to Deepak Sarma. Check out you will enjoy and will also gain an authentic polemic view to Deepak Sarma.
    - Praveen

  2. This is quite late as I realize you wrote this a couple of years ago. As a "born" hindu, I find Deepak Sarma's article to be repulsive, leave alone the fact that it is historically totally inaccurate. The largest Hindu temple in the world, interestingly, is hundreds of miles from India, built by people who were not ethnically Indians (Ankor Wat). A friend of mine told me that as an academic in the USA, Deepak Sarma probably has a better chance of getting funding through such articles.