Persecution of Hindus around the world

Like any other religious community, Hindus are widely targeted since hundreds of years. Been targeted and discriminated in their own homelands to getting forced out of their homes.

Here are some major events against Hindus which took place in different countries which we should be aware of:

  1. Afghanistan

Historically, Hinduism is the oldest surviving religion in Afghanistan dating back to more than 5,000 years ago when Indus Valley Civilization (one of the oldest civilizations on Earth) extended to North-Eastern region of today’s Afghanistan. With the arrival of the Dictator, Mahmud Ghaznavi (founder of Ghaznavid Dynasty) and his conquer over today’s Afghanistan as well as regions from today’s Pakistan and India, since then, Hindus are being persecuted brutally. The condition has been so horrific that even the great Moroccan Muslim Scholar, Ibn Battuta, who is known for his travelling, remarked a range of mountains spanning in Afghanistan as ‘Hindu Kush’ which means ‘Slayer of Hindus’ to indicate how Hindus (who were used as slaves by the dictators) died while crossing the snowy and extreme mountains. Fast forwarding to the modern era, the situation was quite good under ‘Kingdom of Afghanistan (1919-1928)’ and some other empires too but later with the fall of ‘Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (1978-1992)’, the condition worsened to the disastrous level when the new country, ‘Islamic State of Afghanistan (1992-1996)’. Hindu population dropped significantly where Hindus were forcibly converted, killed, assaulted or tortured to leave their homeland. With the formation of ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (1997-2001 and 2021-present) under Taliban, Hindus were systematically butchered and genocides were conducted against them where they were forced to wear yellow badges so that they can be differentiated from Muslims. Taliban tried their best (and is still trying) to wipe off Hindus and Hinduism from Afghanistan. From approximately more than 200,000 Hindus during 1970s-1980s to less than 40 Hindus in 2022.

2. Bangladesh

Bangladesh, a country which was supposed to be a part of ‘Republic of India’ if dirty politics didn’t hit so hard. Similar to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, this country is also blessed to have Hinduism as the oldest surviving religion in the country. There were certain clashes between Hindus and Buddhists long ago in the region of Bengal, Bihar and North-Eastern India but it was on a relatively really small scale. The persecution of Hindus commenced with the Ghurid dynasty (estimated 1126-1215) where the Dictator Muhammad Ghori (Ghur-born) invaded the Indian subcontinent defeating the Hindu Ruler King Prithviraj Chauhan. King Chauhan always promoted religious harmony unlike Ghori. Soon with the invasion, Ghori is accused of attacking the Hindu pilgrimage sites in Varanasi and desecrating several Hindu temples. He is known for conducting genocides against Hindus in order to make them weak. More of such rules resulted in the persecution of Hindus which included Mughal Empire and British Empire where assaults, killings, forced conversions, loots and so on targeting Hindus were quite common. We would know the fact that today’s Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan until it got liberated in 1971. During Operation Searchlight (a terrorized operation by Pakistani Army to butcher Bengalis and non-Muslims), many Hindus faced brutality where cases of assaults, mass killings and lootings were seen targeting the Hindus. After the formation of Bangladesh in 1971, the condition of Hindus became quite better as they got recognition in their homeland but the persecution was never scrapped based on the constant anti-Hindu attacks in the country either in the form of riots or general hate crimes. Bangladesh has been declared as an Islamic republic twice in the history harming the secularism which after all affected the Hindus deeply.

3. Bhutan

Bhutan is usually seen as a peaceful kingdom with great philosophies but sadly this country faced dark events too. Being under a right-wing monarch, the rule is biased towards Buddhism as majority of Bhutanese are Buddhists. Hindus count quite significant presence in Bhutan having a share of more than 22% in the population as of 2022. Hindus and Hinduism has been existing since thousands of years now but unfortunately faced persecution in their homeland. Hindus have been facing discrimination and lack of recognition in the country since decades where the government is accused of implementing biased laws against them. Bhutanese Government is often accused of not providing support to Hindu temples and events like they do for Buddhists where the development of Hindus is not a concern for the government. Despite been the second-largest religious group, no Hindu festival was recognized only until 2015 when the Bhutanese King recognized Dashain (also known as Dusshera) in 2015 as the only recognized Hindu festival. During 1990s, several Bhutanese Hindus were forced out of their homeland. During 2007 and later, the government planned systematic ethnic cleansing against Hindus (targeting Lhotshampa community) where Bhutanese Hindus lost their lands, home and everything behind becoming refugees in India and Nepal. Even in 2022, most of the Hindus are still living in camps under poverty dreaming to see their homeland.

4. Canada

Canada, often regarded as one of the safest country in the world with positive secularism offering religious freedom. This is undoubtedly true but every country has a dark side which cannot be ignored. Anti-Hindu sentiments are escalating in the country. Hinduism came to Canada more than a century ago through Hindu immigrants and merchants during 1900s. Anti-Hindu sentiments arose as soon as the immigrants were settling during 1900s where many white supremacists were not welcoming South Asians. With the time, when everything was sorting out and people were becoming comfortable with each other, the anti-Hindu sentiments arose again because of political reasons. Many Khalistani (a separatist ideology in India) started targeting Hindus for no reason. For example, some Hindus in Canada were attacked by rioters during ‘Anti-Sikh Movement’ of 1984 held in India, which had no link with the Hindus in Canada, and more attacks were reported when during ‘Farmers’ Protest of 2021′ in India. During the Freedom Convoy of Canada, ‘Swastika (a Hindu symbol)’ was cunningly linked with Nazi Party’s symbol (a fascist political party) where a ban on Swastika was about to be imposed. There are many such cases where Hindus in Canada were stereotyped or linked by fascists with the Hindutva extremist events happening in India for political gains. In September 2022, BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir located in Toronto was vandalized by Khalistani extremists. Hindus in Canada have been facing verbal discriminations a lot, both from Khalistani extremists as well as white supremacists.

5. Fiji

Fiji is an island country compromising of more than 28% of Hindus as of 2022. This makes them the second-largest religious group in the country. Fijian Hindus have been contributing a lot to their homeland. Hinduism was introduced to Fiji in 1879 with the Hindu settlers and immigrants who continue to immigrate to the country. Mahendra Chaudhry, the first Fijian Hindu appointed as the Prime Minister was kidnapped and held hostage by a terrorist group headed by the opposition coming from a Christian background. There are many Fijian extremists who don’t accept Fijian Hindus as the part of their society attacking and harassing them. Hindus were often tagged as ‘outsiders’ or ‘anti-nationalists’ just because of their religion. In 2000, more than 100 shops in Suva, Fiji were attacked and set on fire by extremists because they were owned by Hindus. Between 2001 to 2005, more than hundred attacks on Hindu temples has been reported to Fijian Police which is a shame. Regular attack over Hindus made many migrate to Australia and New Zealand. Religious institutions like Methodist Church of Fiji is accused of many anti-Hindu remarks, hate speeches and funding terrorist attacks.

6. India

India is the largest contributor of Hindus in the world where Hindus make up the majority of the country with more than 79% of the population as of 2022 (predicted). Currently, India is under a Hindu right-wing party, BJP which is often accused of discrimination. Even with the majority and biased government, the country continues to witness anti-Hindu propagandas and Hindu persecution. There were certain clashes between Hindus and Buddhists long ago in the region of Bengal, Bihar and North-Eastern India but it was on a relatively really small scale. The persecution of Hindus commenced with the Ghurid dynasty (estimated 1126-1215) where the Dictator Muhammad Ghori (Ghur-born) invaded the Indian subcontinent defeating the Hindu Ruler King Prithviraj Chauhan. King Chauhan always promoted religious harmony unlike Ghori. Soon with the invasion, Ghori is accused of attacking the Hindu pilgrimage sites in Varanasi and desecrating several Hindu temples. He is known for conducting genocides against Hindus in order to make them weak. More of such rules resulted in the persecution of Hindus which included Mughal Empire and British Empire where assaults, killings, forced conversions, loots and so on targeting Hindus were quite common. Further, a big event, ‘Goa Inquisition’ took place from 1560 after Portuguese General, Afonso de Albuquerque entered the Indian subcontinent invading today’s Goa making it a part of Portuguese Empire and naming it ‘The Portuguese State of India’ in 1510. In Goa Inquisition, genocides against Hindus were planned and forced conversion into Catholic Christianity took place. Further special high tax was placed against non-Christians, known as ‘Xenddi’. Several Hindu temples were razed and severe punishments were made for reverting to Hinduism or following Hindu customs/rituals. According to  Andrew Spicer’s book, ‘Parish Churches in the Early Modern World’, more than 300 Hindu temples were demolished or converted to churches in Salcete (a district in today’s Goa) alone. Even after the formation of ‘Republic of India’, Hindus have been suffering hard. For example, Kashmiri Hindus Genocide of 1990s, Muzzafarnagar Riots 2013, Anti-Hindu Attacks 1984 and so on.

7. Pakistan

Pakistan, a country which was supposed to be a part of ‘Republic of India’ if dirty politics didn’t hit so hard. Similar to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, this country is also blessed to have Hinduism as the oldest surviving religion in the country. The persecution of Hindus commenced with the Ghurid dynasty (estimated 1126-1215) where the Dictator Muhammad Ghori (Ghur-born) invaded the Indian subcontinent defeating the Hindu Ruler King Prithviraj Chauhan. King Chauhan always promoted religious harmony unlike Ghori. Soon with the invasion, Ghori is accused of attacking the Hindu pilgrimage sites in Varanasi and desecrating several Hindu temples. He is known for conducting genocides against Hindus in order to make them weak. More of such rules resulted in the persecution of Hindus which included Mughal Empire and British Empire where assaults, killings, forced conversions, loots and so on targeting Hindus were quite common. We would know the fact that today’s Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan until it got liberated in 1971. During Operation Searchlight (a terrorized operation by Pakistani Army to butcher Bengalis and non-Muslims), many Hindus faced brutality where cases of assaults, mass killings and lootings were seen targeting the Hindus. Pakistani Government is often criticized to be the world’s worst country in terms of treating their minority. Hindu marriages were not recognized in Pakistan until 2017 when Hindu Marriage Act was passed. Forced marriages, forced conversions, vandalizing temples etc. continue in Pakistan till date where Pakistani Hindus are living under great poverty.

8. Sri Lanka

9. USA

United States of America, the country with Hindu population touching 1% of share did not miss the opportunity of persecuting Hindus. It is believed that Anandibai Joshi was the first Hindu to become a resident of USA in 1883 when she came to study medicine. Hinduism started spreading in the country around 1893 when the Hindu Scholar, Swami Vivekananda visited USA for summits and preached Hinduism. By the end of the 19th century, the rate of Hindus in the country started to increase with the immigrants and Americans converting by their own will. After a period of time, persecution of Hindus escalated quite much after 1970s. A shameful example of this can be from New Jersey when a group named as ‘Dotbusters’ was formed to target Hindus. The word “dotbusters” come from binndi (a Hindu dot worn by Hindu women on their foreheads). More incidents are seen like an American Zoroastrian was killed because he was mistakened to be a Hindu by extremists. Many incidents of killing of Hindus are still reported. There are cases of Hindu temples been attacked like in 2012 when a Hindu temple was firebombed, Swaminarayan Temple in Louisville been vandalized in 2019 and so on.

10. Malaysia

About 6% of the population in Malaysia is Hindu. Hinduism begin in Malaysia about 2,000 years ago with the Hindu traders and merchants coming from Indian subcontinent and because of Chola Empire which was a Hindu empire which ruled certain regions of today’s Malaysia in the past. There are hardly any events of persecution of Hindus in the region in the history until 1980s. In 2000s, the government is accused of demolishing multiple Hindu temples in the country and falsely tagging them as ‘illegal constructions. Thousands of Hindus were harmed because of this. Hindus face discrimination frequently in their homeland. Some Malaysian extremists (Muslims) are found involved in blasphemy.

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