Protests by Indian-American community leaders have led to a United States radio host publicly apologising for his remarks against Hindus and Hinduism during a talk show.
Tony Brown, in his talk show on WLS 890 AM that began with the concern among American workers about the influx of software engineers from India,
said, "For the salary that they pay to one American worker, they can hire 9.5
workers from India."
"We, as Americans, have the right to choose the people we bring in. India has the worst human rights record in the world."
Brown then went on to speak about the caste system. "There are one
billion people in India, of whom 500 million live in poverty. There is no
such thing as a welfare system. The upper caste Hindus believe in persecuting the lower caste people," he said.
Brown said Hinduism "created a system of segregation or apartheid so that the pure people can be kept away from the impure. Women are impure, foreigners are impure."
Brown, who said he had studied Hinduism, went on to declare that Hitler had
borrowed the Swastika from Hinduism.
"Women in India are never free," he said. "First, she is under the control
of her parents, after marriage she gets under the control of her husband,
and after his death under the control of her children."
Several Indian-Americans who heard the talk show called Indian newspapers in
Chicago and sent protest emails to the radio station.
After his apology, Brown also invited Swami Atmajnanananda of the Washington branch of the Ramakrishna Mission and an Indian journalist based in Chicago, J V Lakshmana Rao, to participate in the talk show.
Swami Atmajnanananda said one must draw a distinction between caste and
casteism. "The assumption that Hindus are inherently racists is dangerous,"
"Caste does not play a role in one's occupation any more," he said. "One
should not use the pitfalls of the Indian culture to attack Hinduism."
Refuting Brown's statement that lower castes were being persecuted in India,
Rao spoke of the affirmative action by the government in India. "Hindus are
a tolerant people. Hinduism believes in the universal acceptance
of all religions."
In his apology, Brown said, "The statements I made were derived from either
books or articles that I read. Still, I had not considered the possibility
of bigots using the information to persecute the Hindu minority in
"That does not excuse me from the pain that I have caused by not
being more circumspect."
Indo-Asian News Service
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