5 min read.Updated: 03 Nov 2022, 10:30 AM ISTManu Joseph
As a group, Hindus of Indian origin in the West are good ambassadors of India, usually, but not of modern Hinduism.
Probably for the first time since the birth of global perceptions, the image of Hinduism, like that of Islam, can be said to have suffered on account of the actions of its followers. Indians claiming to act on behalf of Hindus have acquired the reputation of tormenting people from other communities and even their own from other castes. Frequently, Hindus are wrongly seen as conducting “a genocide" against Muslims and correctly perceived as rewarding politicians who have made India a minor hell for that minority group. Once, the meandering cow on Indian streets was merely material for foreign correspondents who wanted to be amusing, but today the cow is a brooding foreshadow of lynchings. Modern India appears to the world as a place where Hindus have a low bar for quality of life but very specific views about the school uniforms of Muslim girls and what others should eat; a place where even a progressive politician like Arvind Kejriwal, whose schooling policy is celebrated in The New York Times, demands images of deities on currency notes. And where people spend a lot of energy on claims that an old mosque was once a temple.