Digital Dharma

HINDUISM’S WEB PRESENCE

YouTube Emerges as the New
Front Line of Hindu Soft Power

IF YOU WERE TO LOOK FOR INFORMATION ON Hinduism on the Internet five years ago, you would be disappointed. Most pages reflected the views of Western academics, a bias compounded by one-sided Western news reports on India. Fast forward to 2019. Little has changed with news from The New York Times and Washington Post—which seem to be caught in a Congress Era time warp as far as India is concerned. But Hindus are using YouTube to turn the tables on “who owns the narrative of India and Hinduism.” With instant access on cell phones, they are far exceeding the views of mainstream media.

Rajiv Malhotra’s hard-hitting interviews on key issues;
Srijan Foundation goes online with evidence-based presentations;

Waking Up the Complacent

There is no question that Rajiv Malhotra, through his Infinity Foundation, is leading the way by openly challenging Hindus to take charge of their own narrative. In a 2018 lecture about developing new schools of Dharmic Thought, he warns about the danger of thinking that the Indian “left” is no longer a threat. (See: youtu.be/JwNlZDIUt8o.) He says Marxism has morphed and reincarnated in “postcolonial Indology” scholarship with new ways of misrepresenting Sanskrit texts and Hindu dharma in what they pass on to students. In another thoughtful series, Malhotra calls upon Indian Sanskrit scholars to challenge Western Indology. See bit.ly/VakyarthaSadasPlaylist

For a new look at India, now and in the future, there’s nothing like Karolina Goswami’s videos. See one of her latest: What Is the Future of India? youtu.be/E_QgKll7Hpo.

A new player on the video scene is Srijan Foundation. Originally involved in social service in India’s schools, it is “emerging as a notable voice in driving a paradigm shift in the minds of ordinary Indians with respect to their own history and heritage.” The presenters are challenging present day misconceptions with detailed data in lengthy videos, such as Indian Civilization: The Untold Storyyoutu.be/RGyjvyXEKdc.

A search on YouTube for “debunked aryan invasion” yields an amazing list from an array of experts.

Himalayan Academy’s video series of Hindu History with six million plus views and now including music videos;
India Consulate of Chile shows how the Sindhis preserved their Hindu culture far from the Mother Land

Soft Power—Tell It Like It Is

Standing up to misconceptions is one prominent platform. Another is re-telling the story of Sanatana Dharma in short clips. In this category we have Himalayan Academy/Uberoi Foundation India History movies. Recently added are music videos for 11-year-olds on the same chronology. See bit.ly/history-playlist (which has an aggregate of five million views). The spoken narration of BAPS Introduction to Hinduism in twelve minutes is marvelous: youtu.be/Vi91CECCtGc. Note that the visuals are focused on their lineage and do not encompass the wider range of Vaishnavite or Saivite traditions. And you will find the soft power of Hinduism in unusual places. Take for example, the story of Indian immigration to Chile, produced by the Indian Consulate of Chile. They don’t use the word Hinduism, but it is all about how the Sindhi community preserved their tradition through the temples they founded: youtu.be/3IRLG-B_ucw.

Here are three more videos that caught our attention. Put in your ear buds and go for an exciting adventure! The History of Yoga, youtu.be/92J-JPChaeI; Timeline of 17,000+ Years of Unbroken Indian Civilization, youtu.be/3tsyzrDg2n4; Ancient Updates To Surya Siddhanta, youtu.be/bQNhQ7wxOvA.