“One death is a tragedy, a million dead is a statistic”
The recent killing of Srinivas Kuchibotla, being investigated as a hate crime, has sent shock waves across the Indian American community. That a person like themselves, who had come to the US for better opportunities over a mistaken identity, befuddled many. Personal anecdotes of racism were quickly shared across social media
One particular video generated by SAITJ.org was particularly revealing for its unabashed display of racism. While it could be argued that there is a palpable sense of a loss of economic opportunity to the White collar American citizens due to low paying high skilled Non American born workers, one must bear in mind that the workers are here legally.
As if these incidents were not enough by themselves to make Indian origin Hindus uncomfortable, CNN decided to take the Hinduphobia mainstream by telecasting ‘Believer’. In Believer, Reza Aslan, tries to portray a fringe group of Aghoris as trying to reform Hindu caste system by subsisting on, hold your breath, corpses. Hinduism is not an organized religion and gives a degree of latitude for followers to explore their own path with divine. But as with any sensationalism this context is lost. One wonders what the repercussions of this show would be in conditioning American psyche on Hindus. Only time will tell. Vamsee Juluri, Aravindan Neelakantan and Tulsi Gabbard have rightfully strongly condemned this show.[3,4,5]
Some writers have stated that Trump’s rhetoric has led to rise in hate crimes across US against immigrants. While there is a strong correlation between Trump’s rhetoric and some of the recent race crimes, one cannot prove causation.
This brings us to the central theme of this article. Has any other US President shown anti Hindu rhetoric? (Trump to his credit has been vocal supporter of Hindus) Is Hinduphobia a central tenet of US Foreign Policy? What have been ramifications of such a policy? A quick look at the events that unfolded in Indian subcontinent in 1971 throws a rather troubling picture.
In 1971, Nixon and Kissinger unleashed a foreign policy that is directly responsible for brutal genocide of about 300,000 Hindus in the then East Pakistan (this number is controversial and various numbers have been proposed. But that this is a huge number can’t be denied).Gary Bass in his eminently readable book Blood Telegram presents a context for this. 
“Archer Blood, the U.S. consul general in 1971 in Dhaka, the principal city of East Bengal, and his staff were horrified by the violence. Their reports to the State Department in Washington described the killings in gruesome detail and urged the strongest possible intervention to try to bring the carnage to an end. Pakistan’s generals were highly susceptible to pressure from Washington. Virtually their entire military, from the F-86 Sabre jet fighters in the air force to the armored, artillery and infantry contingents, was equipped with American weaponry and depended on the United States for the ammunition and spare parts required to keep it operating.
But the consulate’s cables met with what Blood later called a “deafening” silence from Washington. With the Bengalis being killed by American weapons wielded by an American-sponsored army, and Washington doing nothing to try to stop it, the United States had become complicit in the massacre.”
What is to be noted is that Pakistan had full support of US in the genocide. The reason for the support is even more chilling
“What Blood and his young associates did not know was that Nixon and Kissinger were using Yahya Khan as a secret communications channel to Mao Zedong’s China. It was Yahya Khan who would arrange Kissinger’s clandestine trip to China in July 1971 to prepare the way for Nixon’s epochal visit there in February 1972. Nixon and Kissinger were determined to let nothing interfere with their enterprise to checkmate the Soviet Union in the Cold War by turning China into a friend of the United States. The cables from Blood’s consulate about this inconvenient massacre in East Bengal infuriated both men.”
Further the reason for supporting a militaristic Pakistan over a democratic India was pure and unabated Hindu hatred as Ambassador Blood found out
“And there was more stroking their anger. They loathed India because the Indians had adopted a neutral position in the Cold War and then turned to the Soviet Union to obtain weapons, which they could not get from the United States, to fight Pakistan. To Nixon, the Indians were “a slippery, treacherous people.” To Kissinger — who comes across as a cold-blooded practitioner of realpolitik given to rages when he doesn’t get his way — the Indians were “insufferably arrogant,” with “convoluted minds.” At one point on the tapes, Nixon remarks, “The Indians need — what they really need is a” — Kissinger interjects, “They’re such bastards.” And then the president finishes his thought: “a mass famine.””
Come to think of it Nixon in some sense was carrying forward Churchill’s Bengal Famine legacy which claimed lives of about 1.5 million Indians
Some may wonder if Hindus of Indian origin must worry about what happened to Hindu Pakistanis. Some may also wonder if it isn’t better to bury the hatchet so to speak. Beyond the obvious answers we share same humanity and ancestry, the reason we need to explore the state sponsored hatred is to know that the hatred just doesn’t vanish in thin air. As far as the author knows, no apology for 1971 genocide has been rendered by US.
Despite Indian Americans having made great strides in US , one must not forget about history of Hindu hatred in US foreign policy that resulted in genocide.
This is an ongoing battle, the struggle for Asmita (or respect) and must be fought on a continuous persistent level. We need to share our past achievements, our betrayals and come together to give each other support and hope for a better tomorrow. One can only hope that “Vasudaika Kutumbakam” will eventually come true.