This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Akhil Kumar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Here”s Why Internet Hinduism Can Be Dangerous

More from Akhil Kumar

By Akhil Kumar:

Internet Hinduism is a term coined by Journalist Sagarika Ghosh who was ambushed on Twitter by right-wing fanatics on almost every post where she mentioned anything to hurt the sentiments of the passionate self-appointed guardians of ‘Virat Bharat’. They are people who surf the internet and social media to propagate Hindutva; the social and cultural nationalism in India. They hunt for posts of ‘pseudo-secularists’ (a term they use to address anyone who disagrees with them, Remember Mamata and the Maoists?) and ‘debate’ about their opinions on various issues, which often develops into spamming the post with a lot of comments and ends with the other person being too irritated to reply. Though this is no news but it definitely needs to be addressed at the earliest as this propaganda seems to have spread like a communicable virus affecting even those who have never analyzed anything with communal prejudices.

internet hinduism

One of the most shocking instances where it manifested itself in the ugliest way possible is the one where Meena Kandasamy (a Dalit poet and activist) was attacked by some right wing fanatics for her Twitter post on the beef-eating festival at Osmania University, Hyderabad, on 15 April 2012 and the ensuing clashes between groups of students. She was threatened with various forms of violence, including gang rape and acid attacks; a certain Siddharth Shankar went on to suggest the barbaric idea of raping her on live television. I am not trying to lead the debate in anyone’s favor, but the exact hate speech needed to be reproduced to understand the consequences of the misuse of such movements by hate mongers.

It’s not that they are an uneducated group of sworn hooligans of the RSS or any other nationalist party; many of them who have revealed their identities confess that they are free thinkers who have taken to the internet after being victims of constant media bias. The majority of them who replied to an online survey claim to be graduate, postgraduate and even PhD students. The problem is, as with most other movements, it being hijacked by sly wolves who lurk around to taste blood. Not all of them are Islamophobes, Pakistan haters and Modi worshippers as has been the popular opinion. Some of them try to engage in discussions and propagate a rational approach to Hinduism without being vulgar or hateful. The problem; however is that they are a minority amongst the innumerable hooligans frothing at the mouth with the most horrendous expletives.

I would now like to analyze the concept with a more critical approach, so let me start by sharing a personal experience. I have been similarly ambushed on social media numerous times but what is worth noting is that this action is not exclusive to Hindus. Once I posted an image criticizing the derogatory nature of Surah Nisa, Quran 4:34, I was threatened and the post flooded with comments justifying the verse in every way imaginable. The same happened when I criticized 1 Samuel 15:3(The Bible) apart from the time I quoted “Ravan was nobler than Ram” or the numerous times I suggested we burn a copy of ‘Manusmriti’ each to show mass disapproval. So, stereotyping extremism and hate speech to a particular community is not the wisest of ways to solve the issue and that is why I am not very happy with the media borrowing the term Sagarika used and publicizing it. All kinds of hate speech from any community or individual should be condemned equivocally, yes I am equally outraged by the likes of Yo Yo Honey Singh, Akbaruddin Owaisi and Mohan Bhagwat (those who have begun to dismiss me as another Brahmanical Hindu sympathizer, please read on).

Let us now talk about the effects of Internet Hinduism on the common people and the consequences it might have on our society. The general population in this country is very emotionally driven and that is the fodder on which hate mongers survive. In some decision making processes we tend to go with our emotions rather than logic, especially if it involves religious sentiments; these crusaders of our religion then start gaining sympathy as they cleverly play with people’s sentiments. I will not generalize everyone here but most of them seem to be part of a large network of propagandists the ‘Sangh Pariwar’ relies on to facilitate their HR and PR departments. The term ‘Internet Hindu’ has in fact brought a bad name on even those who have no such agenda in mind, people who just want to debate, discuss and learn. Anyone who tries to question the secularism and criticizes the Left politics is automatically seen with a doubtful eye, much like the protesters in Delhi who were brutally beaten up and termed as anti-social because certain students backed by the BJP and even the government tried to incite the crowd for their own respective interests. This is really dangerous as they will continue shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ to manipulate little parts of nationalism in every individual and make them blind to reason and logic.

It questions the whole idea of India being the largest democratic secular nation; how are we secular when we cannot even express our thoughts on religion without being subjected to abuse and hate speech? How are we secular when the majority of us have no tolerance for other religions? How are we secular when we are so busy in stereotyping other communities that we can’t find the time to sit back and understand their views? The ‘Internet Hindu’ reveals a lot about the general Indian psychology and has put a big question mark on our secularism.

I personally feel Indian secularism is a farce, we are essentially a Hindu dominated country; how else do you explain the Owaisis being arrested but Thackerays receiving full state honors? How else do you explain Togadia walking free and Owaisi in jail? In fact, we are fooling ourselves if we believe that those who run this country (not the government for sure) have anything to do with religion and communalism; it is just a matter of class domination. They put different masks at different times to fool the people and gain influence, the Congress does not give a damn about secularism and the BJP feels nothing about religious and cultural pride. It’s all an image building exercise to maintain class domination and keep fooling the common people.

It’s time we wake up and free our minds of all prejudices, it’s time we start thinking for ourselves. It’s very essential to keep debating about everything and we should question everything to expand the horizons of our knowledge. There’s no harm in propagating what we feel is right, we have every right to say what we believe in but we need to stay very alert and watchful lest we should be used and manipulated for personal vested interests.

You must be to comment.
  1. Bhavika Sicka

    I used to respect and look up to Meena Kandasamy for her being the vocal, liberated and empowered woman that I thought she was.

    But after reading about the beef eating festival at Osmania, quite frankly, I’m disgusted and I’ve lost every ounce of respect for her. (I haven’t bothered to read further).

    I’m saying this as an ethical human being and a vegan animal lover first. According to me, it’s hypocrisy for a ‘feminist’ to be espousing freedom and attacking sexism if she is so openly practicing speciesism. Both sexism and speciesism need to be done away with. Threatening a woman of rape is as grave a crime in the eyes of many like me, as is celebrating the death of an animal, more so infront of a majority community of people who hold the animal sacrosanct.

    Dalits need to realize that our society, today, is very accommodating and just. To the extent that people whose rights had been compromised in the past, people who were peripheralised and marginalised, are being given fair advantages and headstarts in almost every sector and sphere. That should not mean that freedom is taken advantage of.

    We will not tolerate our sentiments to be offended in this or any other manner.

  2. Sriram

    I agree with you on all points but we do have to face the truth that its not just the politics and politicians that are to be blamed. The news media and the fourth estate are not above playing the same game for TRPs such that they get more eyeballs and more money from advertisers.

    The truth is the news media cares a hoot about the rational and prefers the loud. Most of the rational people understand that and either change the channel or sigh and get on with their daily lives.

More from Akhil Kumar

Similar Posts

By Debarati Sen

By The Bleed Eco Project

By Youth Action Hub- India (Delhi)

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below