A Letter To Concerned Hindu Indian American Parents
February 29, 2020
Dearest concerned Hindu Indian American parent,
I hear stories of anguish that your American-born children have suddenly turned against you — worse, against Hinduism itself — after spending a semester or two in college. They are making stunning accusations about you and about Hinduism that leave you speechless. Afraid. Where did this come from? The colleges are corrupted, you commiserate with other Hindu parents; the South Asian studies and Indology departments are filled with professors peddling anti-Hindu half-truths. And, of course, all around us, every kind of media — social media, news media, entertainment media — proclaims horrible and degrading things about Hinduism to your neighbors and coworkers. Politicians and entertainers repeat these messages — that India has become a dangerous, Islamophobic place because of Hindu nationalism. All of these concerns and critiques are valid; these are realities we have to face (and battle) as Hindu Americans.
But you thought that because you had raised your children in Hindu homes, immersed in bhakti and itihasa, with weekly Bala Vihar classes and annual trips to India, that the sincerity of your offering would inoculate them from taking any of those lies seriously.
You never thought they would turn on Hinduism. On you.
You were wrong.
My friends, it’s time for a conversation.
Perhaps you immigrated here from India to pursue your own studies, to follow career opportunities. Perhaps you had dreams of giving your children a world-class education. You were thrilled when your children succeeded academically and got into well-respected colleges. You had raised them with good values, steeped in Sanatana Dharma, and sent them off to pursue their higher education with a contented sigh. After all, what else does a parent want other than for their children to thrive?
But, dear Hindu Indian American parents, if you were not paying close attention, you might have missed some crucial details. I understand how easily that could happen, especially if you were not educated here. The American school is not simply committed to teaching skills and knowledge. From the start, the goal of…