Prachi Patankar

Prachi Patankar is a founding member of the radical left organisations called FOIL (Forum of Inquilabi Leftist) and SASI (South Asia Solidarity Forum) that promotes communism under the garb of ‘progressive Hinduism”. Prachi Patankar along with members of FOIL like Biju Mathew, Vijay Prashad, Angana Chatterji, etc work to defame India and demonise Hindus. Wikipedia states her as a “community activist, writer and educator”. She doesn’t use the term ‘Indians’, ‘Hindus’ or ‘Hinduism’ but bands it under the racist, and bigoted term ‘South Asians’. A fact to be noted here, under the term of ‘South Asian’ Prachi Patankar attacks only Hinduism and not any other South Asian religion. Also she believes in freedom and secession of Kashmir from India.

SASI and War Registers League (WRL), both of which Prachi Patankar is associated with, were involved in Occupy Wall Street Movement in 2012.

Prachi Patankar’s paternal grandparents were members of Socialist Party of India and “participated” in India’s freedom struggle. Later on they became members of Socialist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and in 1952 they became communists. Her father, Bharat Patankar is co-founder and President of Shramik Mukti Dal. Her mother is Gail Omvedt, American-born sociologist and human rights activist. Gail calls Rig veda, the oldest Sanskrit text as “the hymns in Rigveda call for success in war, cattle-stealing, love-making and the like”.

Prachi Patankar is currently Program Officer at Foundation for a Just Society. She was also an Interim Advisory Board Member – Grantmakers for Girls of Color; Program Director, Social Justice Program with J.M.Kaplan Fund; Senior Fellow in Leadership, Coro Leadership New York; Senior Program Officer, Brooklyn Community Foundation; Program Manager, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, also volunteers as a Board member for CAAV Organising Asian Communities; Co-Chair, Justice Reform Working Group; Member, New York Steering Committee; Board of Directors, War Resisters League; Member, Steering Committee Funders for Gender Equity; Advisory Board Member, Afghan Women’s Mission; Advisory Board Member, Immigrant Student Success Center.

About Yoga

In an article titled ‘Ghosts of Yoga – Past and Present‘, Prachi Patankar makes an insane argument that attributing yoga to Hinduism is Islamophobic and that “Neither contemporary ‘yoga’ nor ‘Hinduism’ is age-old or homogenous. Actually, both were assembled in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in interaction with British colonial realities.” In the same article she says “Was yoga born to a static, monolithic Hindu culture, or was it born, as anti-casteist Bahujan?” She furthers writes that yoga does not even belong to Hinduism let alone India “Claiming that yoga belongs to Hinduism—or even to India or South Asia, for that matter—assumes the origins and evolution of yoga as monolithic.” 

While people of all religions are appropriating yoga with their own versions such as Christ yoga or Jesus Yoga, Prachi Patankar says yoga is brahmanical: “It should not be assumed that all the Dalit, Bahujan, Adivasi, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, or Sikh communities embrace brahmanical forms of yoga as part of their culture.”

About caste privileges

The article is filled with hatred towards Brahmins and Sanskrit, and calls Sanskrit a ‘casteist’ language. She says “Coming from a lower-caste background, I personally have no attachment to Sanskrit. In fact, I reject it as a language of “divine knowledge” that was only available to brahmins. It was used as a means to keep spiritual knowledge away from the majority of the people so they would have no choice but to follow the brahmins’ edicts on ritual and spiritual practice. What should Dalit-Bahujans say to those who cite mispronunciation of a caste-supremacist language by white yoga teachers and practitioners as the most common concern for their criticism?” She says about the upper caste Hindus “And as was true in the colonial era, these caste-privileged Hindus are still working hand in hand with the capitalist and imperialist west” all the while denigrating and demonising Hindus for being Hindus.

Prachi Patankar also opines that some ‘privileged’ South Asian Americans are appropriating and colonising the native culture of people who live in South Asia. “Of course, there is then anger about that too… about ‘white people’ assuming that a South Asian-looking person knows how to pronounce these Sanskrit words. But aren’t many privileged South Asian Americans culturally appropriating and ‘colonising’ the culture of peoples who actually live in South Asia?” She further rants against a minuscule minority population of India: “Caste-privileged Hindu leaders, through violent domination, have culturally appropriated a variety of diverse sects, practices, beliefs and rituals that have existed for centuries. This history, of both European influence and brahmanic appropriation, holds true for yoga as well.” No where in the article are evidences to back-up her claims.

According to her Hinduism is a mythical, homogenous religion and a conspiracy of upper-caste Hindus “Representing South Asia as the birthplace of a mythical homogeneous culture is a crusade of the chauvinistic upper-caste Hindus.” She targets Hindus by dividing them on caste basis, disassociating Dalit and Adivasis contributions from Hinduism and dismisses a minority population as a misogynistic, hateful, racist and bigoted set of people. She writes “We need to consciously learn about and highlight the rich, diverse cultures, histories, customs, and spiritual practices of the vast majority of people in South Asia, especially the Dalit and Adivasi communities who are continuing to struggle to keep their cultures alive. What we need is a constant challenge to the caste-privileged attempt to define Hindu, Indian, or South Asian culture as monolithic and theirs.”

California Textbook Controversy

In the 2006-2007, California Textbook Controversy, Prachi Patankar, other members of FOIL, Islamists and Indian Christians in the US, played a crucial role to include caste as a concept in Hinduism. In her group, SASI’s statement during the controversy she states “we stand against the erasure of the violence inherent in caste systems, the essentializing of Hindu mythology as facts and the disregard for science and historical realities.”

Lies about Godhra 2002

In her article for Al Jazeera, a Qatar based Islamist news portal, titled “Modi’s deafening silence on activist assassinations“, Prachi Patankar writes “Also in recent months, RSS and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, another Hindu nationalist organization, have waged a gharwapsi, or homecoming campaign, to “reconvert” all non-Hindus to Hinduism. Claiming that India is in essence a Hindu nation, they have employed intimidation tactics to coercively convert thousands of Christians and Muslims. Right-wing parliamentarians are (somewhat contradictorily) pushing an anti-conversion bill that would prevent Hindus from exercising their right to convert.” Prachi Patankar advocates conversion away from Hinduism shows her hatred for Hinduism. She never mentions or talks about 56 karsevaks who were burnt alive by a Muslim mob that led to spontaneous riots in Godhra, nor does she mention that Godhra has a history of Hindu-Muslim riots even prior to 2002.

During the 2014 general elections, Prachi Patankar wrote a piece for Ghadar titled Hundreds of millions and hundreds of movements still say no to Modi! Statement from the South Asia Solidarity Initiative, where she says “As South Asians living in the United States, we pledge to work hard to ensure that Modi is held accountable for his crimes and the Hindutva ideology that he espouses does not go unchallenged.” Interesting to note here, India’s Supreme Court has acquitted PM Modi of all charges. Yet, Prachi Patankar aspires to play judge and jury and believes her inherent hatred for Modi and Hindus is greater than the verdict of the Supreme Court of India.

On beef ban

Prachi Patankar also peddles lies that beef is a staple diet for all dalits and adivasis “In March the BJP-led Maharashtra government banned the sale of beef, passing a so-called animal preservation bill championed by the same network of Hindutva organizations. The legislation targets Dalit, indigenous Adivasi, Christian and Muslim communities for whom beef is a dietary staple. Beef traders in Maharashtra, who largely come from these communities, are facing attacks by fundamentalist vigilantes for transporting cattle.” She fights for consumption of beef in India while at the same time campaigning for reducing global warming. It is a well known fact beef production and consumption is the number one root cause of global warming. Her hypocrisy is exposed as her hatred is more towards Hindus and Hinduism.

Hindus are intolerant

Prachi Patankar further states that Hindus are intolerant to other religions and if left un-checked will destroy India “If allowed to go unchallenged, this hateful ideology — manifested in assassinations, the desecration of churches and the intimidation of secular activists and minorities — will shatter the dream of a free, pluralistic and democratic India.”  All the while maintaining silence on atrocities on Hindu men, women and children and their places of worship in neighbouring Islamic nations. While all religions have their own faultlines, Prachi Patankar only demonises Hindus for having theirs and also goes further to exploit Hindu faultlines , thereby working to annihilate and exterminate Hindus from India and around the world.

On the same portal she wrote another piece titled “Statement spoken by Prachi Patankar of South Asia Solidarity Initiative at the rally against Modi at Madison Square Garden” during Modi’s visit to the US in May 2014. She writes “As South Asians concerned for advancing basic standards of democracy and human rights in India and universally, we believe that it is our moral responsibility to refuse to go along with the Modi euphoria and continue to voice our concerns and criticisms of bigotry and violence.” While she propagates Hindus as bigoted and intolerant in India, Prachi Patankar has never held Pakistan or Bangladesh Prime Ministers to the same scrutiny for their treatment of Hindus and Sikhs in their respective countries despite overwhelming evidence. Even though she calls herself ‘South Asian’, she has never fought for the rights of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan, for Buddhists of Tibet living in exile in India, for Hindus and Chakma refugees from Bangladesh, or for Kashmiri Hindu from Kashmir.

On Kashmir

Through her organisation, South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI), Prachi Patankar supports separation of Kashmir from India. She writes in SASI Statement on the Kashmir Liberation Movement “SASI is in complete solidarity with the Kashmiri liberation movement. Kashmir is not an integral part of the state of India, but it is a nation under occupation.” On abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A she writes “The removal of Article 35A would allow Indian citizens to purchase land and property in Kashmir, irrevocably altering its demographics and diluting the Kashmiri population.This is an explicitly Hindu-nationalist continuation of the settler colonialist mentality of the Indian state that began with stationing half a million troops in Kashmir and appropriating Kashmiri land for their bases.” She ends the article with calling for ‘azaadi’ of Kashmir “SASI stands in solidarity with Kashmiris resisting occupation by the Indian state, and we echo calls for azaadi — for liberation.”

Below are some of her social media posts.