Narendra Modi’s Silicon Valley visit – Motivated opposition by Faculty Members


We are reproducing here the alleged “Faculty Statement of Silicon Valley” on Indian Prime Minister’s proposed visit. We say it “alleged” because it is issued in the name of “Faculty” as if it is issued by the faculty unanimously, which is not the fact.  It is issued by a few motivated individuals in the name of the faculty.

We also wish to add our “comments” at the appropriate places to this statement.

Faculty Statement on Narendra Modi Visit to Silicon Valley:

(Statement =S) As faculty who engage South Asia in our research and teaching, we write to express our concerns about the uncritical fanfare being generated over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley to promote “Digital India” onSeptember 27, 2015.

(Comment=C): Most of the signatories have nothing to do with “digital or Internet” thing and many of them, like Wendy Doniger,  are known India-haters in general and Hindu-haters in particular of a shallow intellectual calibre.

S: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley highlights the role of a country that has contributed much to the growth and development of Silicon Valley industries, and builds on this legacy in extending American business collaboration and partnerships with India. However Indian entrepreneurial success also brings with it key responsibilities and obligations with regard to the forms of e-governance envisioned by “Digital India.”We are concerned that the project’s potential for increased transparency in bureaucratic dealings with people is threatened by its lack of safeguards about privacy of information, and thus its potential for abuse.

C: Do you feel concerned about “Prism” and its threat to the privacy of US citizens?

S: As it stands, “Digital India” seems to ignore key questions raised in India by critics concerned about the collection of personal information and the near certainty that such digital systems will be used to enhance surveillance and repress the constitutionally- protected rights of citizens.

C: Please don’t use the facade of the criticism of Indian citizens.  It is you and your ilk and your Indian sepoys in your pays.

S: These issues are being discussed energetically in public in India and abroad.

C: Are they not NGOs like Amnesty International funded by motivated money?

S: Those who live and work in Silicon Valley have a particular responsibility to demand that the government of India factor these critical concerns into its planning for digital futures.

C: Is it not a fact that first you – and not Indians – raise a supposed concern and then you  ask the Sillicon Valley  entrepreneurs to  demand GOI to comply the items of your agenda?

S: We acknowledge that Narendra Modi, as Prime Minister of a country that has contributed much to the growth and development of Silicon Valley industries, has the right to visit the United States, and to seek American business collaboration and partnerships with India.

C: The tenor of your statement betrays that you are grudgingly admitting the growth made by India under Modi.

S: However, as educators who pay particular attention to history, we remind Mr. Modi’s audiences of the powerful reasons for him being denied the right to enter the U.S. from2005-2014, for there is still an active case in Indian courts that questions his role in the Gujarat violence of 2002 when 1,000 died.

C: Sheldon Pollock Wendy Doniger and company,  please remember that you are telling a white lie.  No legal case is pending in Indian courts.  Even in an unheard of course – reopening of a finally decided court case – Modi was not found guilty by legal courts in India.

S: Modi’s first year in office as the Prime Minister of India includes well publicized episodes of censorship and harassment of those critical of his policies, bans and restrictions on NGOs leading to a constriction of the space of civic engagement, ongoing violations of religious freedom, and a steady impingement on the independence of the judiciary.

C: First you are silent on “Prism” that shows you are biased,  which is anathema to any intellectual.  Secondly,  the NGOs you are having in your mind – Green Peace et al – are engaged in and committed to fulfil your wish list: Not allowing India to progress and compete with your tribe. Thirdly,  please put your gaze on “Blacks” of your country and ask your audience to demand something at home rather than India.

S: Under Mr. Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister, academic freedom is also at risk: foreign scholars have been denied entry to India to attend international conferences, there has been interference with the governance of top Indian universities and academic institutions such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the Indian Institutes of Technology and Nalanda University; as well as underqualified or incompetent key appointments made to the Indian Council of Historical Research, the Film and Television Institute of India, and the National Book Trust. A proposed bill to bring the Indian Institutes of Management under direct control of government is also worrisome.

C: So far as the denial of entry to a person in a country is concerned,  it was not a part of old history that Mr Modi was denied a visa – an entry- to your country.  Denial of entry to India to some persons -dubbed by you as intellectuals – was done on evidence of their anti-India activities. But Modi did no anti-US activities and he has denied entry.

S: These alarming trends require that we, as educators, remain vigilant not only about modes of e-governance in India but about the political future of the country.

C: As educators – or propagandists – you are not worried about the political future of India but about the future of your imperialist designs against India: imperialism of the comprehensive kind – political,  cultural and economic kinds.

S: We urge those who lead Silicon Valley technology enterprises to be mindful of not violating their own codes of corporate responsibility when conducting business with a government which has, on several occasions already, demonstrated its disregard for human rights and civil liberties, as well as the autonomy of educational and cultural institutions.

C: Do we need to remind once again the callous apathy of Pollock Wendy and Company towards their own country men and women,  albeit black in color!

Signed,

Meena Alexander, Distinguished Professor of English, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New YorkArjun Appadurai, Paulette Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York UniversityAnjali Arondekar, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, UC Santa CruzFredrick Asher, Professor of Art History and South Asian Studies, University of MinnesotaPaola Bacchetta, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies University of California, BerkeleySarada Balagopalan, Associate Professor of Childhood Studies, Rutgers University, CamdenRadhika Balakrishnan, Prof of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers UniversityShahzad Bashir, Professor of Religious Studies, Stanford UniversityManu Bhagavan, Professor of History and Human Rights, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, The City University of New YorkMona Bhan Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology DePauw UniversitySrimati Basu, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of KentuckyPrashant Bharadwaj, Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, San DiegoNilanjana Bhattacharjya, Faculty Fellow, Barrett Honors College, Arizona State UniversityNandini Bhattacharya, Professor of English, Texas A &M University, College- StationTithi Bhattacharya, Associate Professor of South Asian History, Purdue UniversityAmit R. Baishya, Assistant Professor of English, University of OklahomaAkeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy and Director, South Asian Institute, Columbia UniversityPurnima Bose, Associate Professor, English and International Studies, Indiana University-BloomingtonChristopher Candland, Associate Professor of Political Science, Wellesley CollegePaula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, Gallatin School, Department of Media, Culture and Communication, New York UniversityShefali Chandra, Associate Professor of South Asian History Washington University, St. LouisS. Charusheela, Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, BothellPartha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies, Columbia UniversityIndrani Chatterjee Professor of History and South Asian Studies, University of Texas, AustinSwati Chattopadhyay Professor History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa BarbaraMarty Chen, School of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and Affiliated Professor, Harvard Graduate School of DesignRohit Chopra, Associate Professor of Communication, Santa Clara UniversityElora Chowdhury Associate Professor Chair, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Massachusetts, BostonE. Valentine Daniel, Professor of Anthropology, Colombia UniversityMonisha Das Gupta, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, University of Hawaii, ManoaJigna Desai, Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of MinnesotaPawan Dhingra, Professor of Sociology, Tufts UniversityWendy Doniger, Professor of the History of Religions, University of ChicagoRichard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton UniversityBishnupriya Ghosh, Professor of English University of California, Santa BarbaraHuma Ahmed-Ghosh, Professor and Chair of Women’s Studies, San Diego State UniversityDurba Ghosh, Associate Professor of History, Cornell UniversitySumanth Gopinath, Associate Professor of Music Theory, School of Music, University of MinnesotaNitin Govil, Associate Professor of Cinema Media Studies, University of Southern CaliforniaPaul Greenough, Professor of History and Community and Behavioral Health and Director, South Asian Studies Program, University of IowaInderpal Grewal, Professor of South Asian Studies, Yale UniversitySumit Guha, Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor of History, University of Texas, AustinThomas Blom Hansen, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for South Asia, Stanford UniversitySyed Akbar Hyder, Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Texas, AustinNalini Iyer, Professor of English, Seattle UniversityPriya Jaikumar, Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, University of Southern CaliforniaPranav Jani, Associate Professor of English, Ohio State UniversitySheila Jasanoff, Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of GovernmentArun W. Jones, Associate Professor, Candler School of Theology, Emory UniversityMay Joseph, Professor of Social Science, Pratt InstitutePriya Joshi, Associate Professor of English and Associate Director, Center for the Humanities, Temple UniversitySampath Kannan, Henry Salvatore Professor of Computer and Information Science, University of PennsylvaniaSuvir Kaul, A.M. Rosenthal Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania Waqas Khwaja, Professor of English, Agnes Scott CollegeNaveeda Khan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins UniversityNyla Ali Khan, Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Oklahoma, NormanSatish Kolluri, Associate Professor of Communications, Pace UniversityRuby Lal, Professor of Middle East and South Asian Studies, Emory UniversitySarah Lamb, Professor of Anthropology and Head of the Division of Social Sciences, Brandeis University; Co-Chair of South Asian StudiesKaren Leonard, Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, University of California, IrvineDavid Lelyveld, Professor of History, Emeritus, William Paterson UniversityJinee Lokaneeta, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Drew UniversityAnia Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor of English, University of PennsylvaniaDavid Ludden, Professor of History, New York UniversityRitty Lukose, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and South Asian Studies, the Gallatin School, New York UniversitySudhir Mahadevan Assistant Professor of Film Studies, Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media, University of Washington, SeattleTayyab Mahmud, Professor of Law and Director, Center for Global Justice Seattle University School of LawSunaina Maira, Professor of Asian American Studies, University of California, DavisBakirathi Mani, Associate Professor of English Literature, Swarthmore CollegeRebecca J. Manring, Associate Professor of India Studies and Religious Studies Indiana University-BloomingtonMonika Mehta, Associate Professor, Department of English, Binghamton UniversityJisha Menon, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies, Stanford UniversityKalyani Devaki Menon, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, DePaul UniversitySally Engle Merry, Silver Professor of Anthropology, New York UniversityRaza Mir, Professor of Management, Cotsakos College of Business, William Paterson UniversityDeepti Misri, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies University of Colorado, BoulderChandra Talpade Mohanty, Chair and Distinguished Professor of Women’s Gender Studies, and Dean’s Professor of Humanities, Syracuse UniversitySatya P. Mohanty, Professor of English, Cornell UniversityMegan Moodie, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa CruzProjit B. Mukharji, Martin Meyerson Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies, History Sociology of Science, University of PennsylvaniaMadhavi Murty, Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa CruzVijaya Nagarajan, Associate Professor of Theology Religious Studies, Program in Environmental Studies, University of San FranciscoGyanendra Pandey, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of History, Emory UniversityCarla Petievich, Visiting Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Texas, AustinSheldon Pollock, Professor of South Asian Studies, Columbia University Kavita Philip, Associate Professor of History, University of California, IrvineVijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History, Trinity CollegeJasbir K. Puar, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers UniversityBalakrishnan Rajagopal, Professor of Law and Development, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyR. Radhakrishnan, Chancellor’s Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of California, IrvineGloria Raheja, Professor of Anthropology, University of MinnesotaJunaid Rana, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, University of Illinois, Champaign-UrbanaAnupama Rao, Professor of Anthropology, Barnard CollegeVelcheru Narayana Rao, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, Emory UniversityKasturi Ray, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies/Co-Director, South Asian Studies, San Francisco State UniversityM.V. Ramana, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University Sumathi Ramaswamy, Professor of History, Duke UniversityChandan Reddy, Associate Professor of English, University of Washington, SeattleGayatri Reddy, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Illinois, ChicagoParama Roy, Professor of English, University of California, DavisSharmila Rudrappa, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at AustinG.S. Sahota, Assistant Professor of Literature, University of California, Santa CruzYasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies Professor of History, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State UniversityArun Saldanha, Associate Professor of Geography, Environment and Society University of MinnesotaJuned Shaikh, Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Santa CruzNitasha Tamar Sharma, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence and Associate Professor of African American Studies and Asian American Studies, Northwestern UniversityElora Shehabuddin, Associate Professor of Humanities and Political Science, Rice UniversityBhaskar Sarkar, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, University of California, Santa BarbaraPriya Satia, Associate Professor of History, Stanford UniversityAradhana Sharma, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Wesleyan UniversitySnehal Shinghavi, Associate Professor of English and South Asian Studies, University of Texas, AustinAjay Skaria, Professor of History, University of MinnesotaShalini Shankar, Chair and Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, Northwestern UniversityS. Shankar, Professor of English, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English, Ohio UniversityMytheli Sreenivas, Associate Professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Ohio State UniversityRajini Srikanth, Professor, English, University of Massachusetts Boston Nidhi Srinivas, Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management, The New SchoolAjantha Subramanian, Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies, Harvard UniversityBanu Subramaniam, Professor, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts, AmherstKaushik Sunder Rajan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of ChicagoRaja Swamy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Tennessee Tariq Thachil, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale UniversityAshwini Tambe, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Maryland, College-ParkVamsi Vakulabharanam, AssociateProfessor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, AmherstJyotnsa Vaid, Professor of Psychology, Texas A&M UniversitySylvia Vatuk, Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, University of Illinois, ChicagoKamala Visweswaran, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San DiegoKalindi Vora, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San DiegoBonnie Zare, Professor of Gender Women’s Studies, University of Wyoming

By: Rohit Kanji

Purpose of the petition:

“We urge those who lead Silicon Valley technology enterprises to be mindful of not violating their own codes of corporate responsibility when conducting business with a government which has, on several occasions already, demonstrated its disregard for human rights and civil liberties, as well as the autonomy of educational and cultural institutions.”

This petition is against BJP, the political party, and against prospects of (silicon valley-India collaborations on) technology enterprises in India.Petition agrees that India is prospering under Modi.  But wants India to be punished as long as Modi is the prime minister.  Punish India by scuttling its economic growth so that these petitioners can get their revenge on Modi. Petitioners seem to not care that US government wants to curry favors and gain business advantages for the US.  ONLY focused on stopping progress in India.What do these petitioners want?  Get Modi out of the way so that  (1) foreign-fund-driven NGOs to thrive, with full-freedom to meddle in matters of India while enjoying tax-benefits in India.  (2) foreign forces should have theirinfluences flourish uninterrupted oneducational and cultural institutions.

By: Hari  Tadepalli

“Under Mr. Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister, academic freedom is also at risk: foreign scholars have been denied entry to India to attend international conferences, there has been interference with the governance of top Indian universities and academic institutions such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the Indian Institutes of Technology and Nalanda University; as well as underqualified or incompetent key appointments made to the Indian Council of Historical Research, the Film and Television Institute of India, and the National Book Trust. A proposed bill to bring the Indian Institutes of Management under direct control of government is also worrisome. These alarming trends require that we, as educators, remain vigilant not only about modes of e-governance in India but about the political future of the country.”

After a reread, I realize that this is a petition/post with no focus. It is a discursive drivel against all recent political events in India, some of which have nothing to with Modi’s supervision.

The mention of Nalanda is laughable – by conveniently omitting Amartya Sen’s misuse of funds and crony appointments.

I can see a sense of restlessness among the sepoy community about the changing mood and direction in India. Under Modi’s leadership, entrenched sepoy interests ( careerism) are under serious threat. Hence the outburst.

Senior people like V Narayana Rao mentioned above have been very dignified operatives, never appearing on the front lines of their ideological wars. That they have now chosen to appear on the front lines shows a different level discomfort and consternation in their ranks in present time.

By: Ragini Sharma

Sheldon Pollock and Wendy Doniger have orchestrated this petition. They represent the Breaking India Forces that do not want to see India succeed. Their hateful and hurtful writings speak to this.

The article clearly points to how threatened they feel about a Hindu leader, P. M Modi, who is taking back Indian control of its agencies and governmental bodies that western forces controlled.

The millions of dollar spent by Sen at Nalanda with nothing to show for it are examples of what they would like to perpetuate – wasteful and unproductive, to keep India down.This petition is a pathetic, petulant cry from them to keep the lion of India from waking up Indians.

Indians need to unite under Modi’s India instead of joining the US breaking India forces – no matter what academic positions are offered to them by the jealous American academe.

Taking money and favours from those who do not wish India well amounts to taking bribes and hurting your motherland. We only have Indians to blame – they are acting like the Indian sepoys of the British rule that shot their own people at the order to the British rulers.

Have some pride and love for your motherland, its shameful to hide behind academia to hurt your own country.

Anyways, you are outnumbered by Desh Bhakts who now know the truth about this anti-India agenda.

Please focus of dealing with the US’s 18 trillion dollar deficit – attacking a friend like India is counterproductive and only shows your shallow and hollow plateform.

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