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Statement from HSC: The Right for Hindus in North America to Define Ourselves

It has come to our attention that a graphic, which falsely claims that Hindu Students Council (HSC) is organizationally tied to and puppeteered by groups in the United States and abroad, has been circulated on social media. We would like to clarify several matters:

  1. HSC is an independent 501(c)(3) organization of Hindu students and youth across North America from diverse backgrounds. The decisions made within our organization are not made in consultation with or under the influence of any other entity. To suggest otherwise is to deny Hindu American youth our agency.
  2. HSC is a non-partisan organization and is not affiliated to any party or political ideology, whether in North America or abroad.
  3. The graphic equates HSC with a foreign organization without any substantiation. False, xenophobic claims like these are used to silence students from discussing their lived experiences as Hindus in the U.S., while enabling bigotry against a religious micro-minority.

Founded in 1990, Hindu Students Council is North America’s largest Hindu youth organization, with students from diverse traditions and nationalities. We are an independent non-profit providing a welcoming space for Hindus and non-Hindus alike to learn about and celebrate our traditions on college and high school campuses. HSC provides a platform for young Hindu leaders to grow and carry their Hindu heritage with confidence.

Suggestions that we are operated by other groups or are the agents of a foreign entity are malicious. They are made with a motive to gaslight and silence Hindu youth from participating in the process of defining what our traditions are, and what they mean to us, here in the West. The impact is to otherize Hindu students within school and university settings, particularly when our lived experiences do not conform to narratives about our traditions. False, ad hominem claims of HSC being linked with foreign, political entities– when taken seriously– de-legitimize our voice in the U.S. and Canadian public consciousness. This is textbook Hinduphobia.[1]

Our youth leaders, who come from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities, are the backbone of HSC’s rich history. Among countless other achievements, our students have gone on to become NASA engineers, White House staff, start-up CEOs, educators, scientists, inventors, actors, social justice champions, and even Miss America– carrying their Hindu values wherever they go. To suggest we are a “feeder group” for anything but American excellence is as dangerous as it is laughable.

We have and will always remain committed to our guiding principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam, “the whole world is one family.” The diversity of North American campus communities is uniquely beautiful, and our Hindu students both benefit from and contribute to this mosaic. We simultaneously embrace the principle of “Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya,” or leading those benighted by ignorance to the light, through education and genuine, mutual learning. In this spirit, we invite all – including our skeptics – to attend our events, learn more about Hindu dharma, and join us in celebrating the unity in diversity that is the cornerstone of Hindu traditions.


[1] See Viswanathan, et al. “Working Definition of Hinduphobia,” 2021. “Making unsubstantiated claims about the political agendas of people who are simply practicing Hinduism” and “accusing those who organize around or speak about Hinduphobia (including the persecution of Hindus) of being agents or pawns of violent, oppressive political agendas” are prominent examples of Hinduphobia.

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