Looney American Foundation threatens to sue the Nobel Committee

Background Information: Since last September, Hindutva (Hindu
supremacist) groups have attempted in vain to doctor sixth grade
social science textbooks in California [1]. With the solid backing of
their Indian allies, and aided by a battery of expensive lawyers and
the PR firm Ruder Finn, these groups sought to elide discussion of
caste and sex-based discrimination (in India) in the textbooks [2].
Their efforts were first opposed by a European-American scholar (Michael Witzel,
Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University), and the California State
Board of Education is predominantly European-American, so the Hindutva groups and
their supporters cynically assumed the mantle of an aggrieved minority
[3]. What follows is an (as yet) imaginary account of the developments
following the announcement of the Nobel Physics Prize in a Hindutva
community; the lack of context and critical information (in the
account below) is typical of how the mainstream press has covered
Hindutva-related issues in the U.S.

The Looney American Foundation (LAF), an advocacy group of Hindus,
today announced its intent to sue the Nobel committee for “gross
violations of due process” in awarding the 2006 Nobel Prize for
Physics to space scientists John Mather and George Smoot. Dismissing
the Nobel Committee’s judgment that the awardees’ work “looks back
into the infancy of the Universe and attempts to gain some
understanding of the origin of galaxies and stars”, LAF President
Pravin Singhal asserted that the origin of the universe never held any
mystery for true Hindus.

“The Puranas speak of the creation and destruction of the universe in
cycles of 8.64 billion years, which is quite close to the currently
accepted value [13.7 billion years] regarding the time of the big
bang, give or take a few billion years. We Hindus are never given our
due”, he said in a voice choked with emotion, and quoted Swami
Prakashanand Saraswati (spiritual leader of the Vedic Foundation) in
support: “Hindu scriptures reveal the scientific axioms that are
extremely helpful in the research and the development of science. But,
the intelligentsia of the world as well as the researchers of the
physical sciences, being skeptical of Hindu religion, never thought of
using the scientific knowledge of the Upnishads and the Puranas to
promote their study and researches in the right direction.”[4]

His voice now a rising crescendo of righteous indignation, Singhal
continued: “We have been silent way too long, but the latest affront
is one too many. We will not rest until the Christian West recognizes
the contributions of ancient Hindu sages who not only predicted the
creation but also the destruction of the universe (the latter still
beyond the grasp of modern science).”

“If only we had the means to file a suit, we would have done so
already”, a colleague ruefully reminded. “Our California effort has
all but emptied our coffers, and we are averse to dipping into our
pogrom funds [5] to finance what’s surely going to be a long-drawn
legal battle”, Singhal clarified, and appealed to “all Hindus and
defenders of minority rights to help us set the record straight, and
give credit where it is due (our ancient sages).” He concluded on a
promising note: “We already have endorsements from the Organization of
Upper Caste Hindus (OUCH), Parents for Equality of Stupidity in
Textbooks (PEST) and the Vishwa Looney Parishad (VLP or the World
Looney Council).

Meanwhile, a little known group calling itself the American Loonies
Against Discrimination (ALAD) threatened the Nobel Committee with a
suit of its own for legitimating what it called a “false” theory. Andy
Shah, President of ALAD, explained: “Swami Prakashanand Saraswati has
already proved that the big bang and the inflation of the universe
never happened, that our planetary system (along with all the
celestial abodes) was originally created by Brahma 155.5219719616
trillion years ago, and that our Hindu religion was first revealed
111.52 trillion years ago [6]. So, attributing a far more recent
origin to the universe (13.7 billion years) is a malicious attempt by
anti-Hindu forces to contradict the glorious antiquity of our
religion. This is a gross violation of minority rights and a grievous
assault on our tradition and the self-esteem of all Hindus,
particularly children.”

As an out-of-breath Shah paused to catch breath, one of his underlings
intervened: “Such willful disregard for the glorious traditions of
Hinduism can only give greater fillip to brazen assertions of equality
by the Dalits.”

Shah brusquely cut him off and continued: “What my friend meant to say
is that a society with no respect for tradition will slowly but surely
degenerate into anarchy. We are all for equal rights for everyone, we
most assuredly are not sectarian. In fact, every day we preach the
message of Jesus Christ to the Dalits: Blessed are the meek: for they
shall inherit the earth. We also agree with Pope John Paul II that we
mortals ‘should not inquire into the beginning itself because that was
the moment of creation and the work of God’. We do hope to work with
the Vatican to halt the march of godless science and its cheerleaders
(like the Nobel Committee).”


1. The groups involved are the Hindu American Foundation, the Hindu
Education Foundation and the Vedic Foundation, all of them with
demonstrable links to the Sangh Parivar (family of Hindutva groups) in
India. For details, see the amicus brief filed by the Friends of South
Asia and its allies here [pdf].

2. For a short list of such edits, see this.

3. The irony was not lost on those familiar with the workings of the
Sangh Parivar; see “Indian Jim Crow in Victim Garb”.

4. All quotes attributed to Swami Prakashanand Saraswati are from his
book, “The true history and the religion of India”. For more on his
scholarship, see “Move Over Intelligent Design, Here Comes Bhartiya

5. The Sangh Parivar’s work in India is partly (but significantly)
financed by its foreign fronts masquerading as charities. See “The
Foreign Exchange of Hate: IDRF and the American Funding of Hindutva”
and “In Bad Faith? British
Charity & Hindu Extremism”

6. The Vedic Foundation used to proudly display this “fact”. When
challenged in public, it quickly cleaned up its website but not fast
enough to vanish without a trace. For your amusement, an archived copy
is available here.

Ra Ravishankar is a contributor to the Campaign to Stop Funding

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