On the resolution in the U.S. Congress (July 2007)

Irrespective of the motives of this resolution – which could well have been benign – it seems to me that it is ill-conceived, irrelevant, inappropriate, suspect, and even unfair in its assessment, and may be counterproductive.
The resolution is ill-conceived because it speaks about a topic on which the signatories have little experience. Some of the preliminaries are questionable and inflammatory, such as that Dalit women It displays total ignorance of the fact that many Hindus in India as well as abroad are making genuine efforts to erase caste inequities, not unlike white Americans who served the cause of civil rights for African Americans a few decades ago.
It is irrelevant in that it speaks to and about a country where there is no law sanctioning a social malpractice which is slowly being erased anyway. The problem is humungous.
It is inappropriate in that it is interfering in the internal problem of another sovereign country with threats: One does not instigate social changes in a foreign nation by threatening to restrict aid if the mandated injunctions are not followed.
It is unfair in that the U.S. engages in trade and aid with many nations where human rights and religious freedom are grossly violated.
It is suspect because there is reason to believe that its sponsors are inspired more by Christian evangelical goals than by genuine compassion for the marginalized.
It may be counterproductive because not only will this resolution not resolve overnight a situation that has existed for generations and is slowly changing now independently of external rebukes; but it is likely to sour rather than help U.S.-India relations.
None of this is to say that I don’t sympathize with honest efforts to eradicate racism, casteism, and pernicious prejudice which afflicts many people and societies.


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