Hindu American Foundation

Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is the main Hindu Nationalist advocacy group in the US that does aggressive lobbying at the US Capitol and with the White House, Department of State, and National Security Council. HAF is an influential organization among mainstream Hindus who are duped by some of HAF’s benign advocacy on behalf of Hindus, barely suspecting HAF’s links to RSS and its complete alignment with the Hindutva agenda.

HAF was co-founded by a former Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA) Governing Council member Mihir Meghani.   Meghani — also a founder of the Hindu Students Council (HSC), a project of VHPA — was once counted among the chief proponents of Hindutva in the west. He wrote a white paper “Hindutva – The Great Nationalist Ideology”, which was later adopted as the ideological manifesto by India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In his paper, Meghani praised  the Hindu mob that demolished the historic 400-year-old Babri Mosque in 1992 and issued an open threat to Muslims:

“The future of Bharat is set. Hindutva is here to stay. It is up to the Muslims whether they will be included in the new nationalistic spirit of Bharat. It is up to the government and the Muslim leadership whether they wish to increase Hindu furor or work with the Hindu leadership,” he wrote.

 In 2005, when US government denied a visa to Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat and now the Prime Minister on the grounds of egregious religious freedom violations under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for his role in the Gujarat riots, HAF had vigorously criticized the decision and attempted to overturn the ban over the next decade. In 2012, he wrote in an OPED on rediff that visa denial to Modi was a  “disrespect to India’s free and fair ballot.”

A year later, in 2013, when former Congressman Joe Pitts, a Republican from Pennsylvania introduced House Resolution 417, which called for reaffirming the need to protect the rights and freedoms of religious minorities in India and reject Modi a visa, should he reapply, HAF again moved to action to scuttle the resolution. The organization went so much out of its way to block the resolution that even one of its supporters Bhuvan Govindasamy, a Malaysian Hindu activist from California publicly criticized HAF for getting too much, “involved in the Indian politics, or US-Indian relations.”

“If HAF insists on involving in Indian political matters, then have them change their name & mandate,” Govindasamy wrote while responding to an action alert issued by HAF to block the resolution in a Google Group.

HAF also has open links with RSS members. Rishi Bhutada — son of HSS USA vice president and RSS leader Ramesh Bhutada —  sits on the HAF board of directors and is its current treasurer. In September 2020, Rishi also served as an honorary co-chair and official head spokesperson for the “Howdy, Modi” event for India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

HAF lobbies to deflect any criticism of the Modi government’s policies by the US Congresspersons, Senators, the White House, local politicians, and city councils, the most recent being its vehement defense of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which the United Nations described as “fundamentally discriminatory”,  and India’s scrapping of the special constitutional status of Indian-administered Kashmir – both in 2019. An investigation in 2021 revealed that HAF is majorly funded by Hindu nationalist organizations and individuals in the US.

In 2021, HAF was one among the organizations along with the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, an Indian organization that has faced allegations of being linked to the murders of intellectuals and journalists and the Coalition of Hindus of North America that led a campaign against Dismantling Global Hindutva Conference leading to death threats against the participating scholars. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), the Coalition of Hindus in North America (CoHNA), and the HAF  collectively sent more than 1.3 million emails to dozens of universities to withdraw their support for the conference.

HAF’s Report Card

Peddling Islamophobia

HAF positions itself as a left leaning group but has modeled its strategy to mimic Zionism, whereby they are both leftist as well as Islamophobic. The Hindu nationalists are however far more aggressive and violent than Zionists, as is evidenced from that fact that India now stands on the brink of conducting a genocide against Muslims in Kashmir and Assam and has instituted laws that threaten to take away citizenship from 200 million of its Muslim citizens. HAF has consistently sought to deflect any attention on India’s human rights record or accountability for its egregious violations of religious freedom.

Here’s a video chat of Hindu American Foundation (HAF)’s managing director Samir Kalra hosted by Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum.


In the video above he describes CAIR, ICNA, ISNA and IAMC as “Islamist” organizations (12:00 onwards) whose main aim is to “set up a theocratic state in America” (see 25:30 onwards). His particular ire is directed at ICNA linking it to Jamaat e Islami, and hence a “terrorist” organization.

Influencing Education Boards

Every few years, education boards across several US states seek community and academic input and revise their public school curriculums. HAF is heavily entrenched in these revision processes and has managed to insert more Islamophobia into US public school history textbooks than the Zionists and Neocons combined.

On multiple occasions, HAF and other Hindutva affiliates such as the Hindu Education Foundation (HEF) and the Uberoi Foundation, have sought to introduce Hindutva ideas into the US public school curricula, most notably in California. Such content covers a wide spectrum of Hindutva ideology, including a sophisticated denial of caste oppression as an integral aspect of Hindu society, and Islamophobic narratives that are part of the Hindutva catechism in India and around the world. This includes false narratives such as:

  • Islam is an inherently war-mongering religion
  • Depicting Muslims as enslavers
  • Muslim rulers as tyrants and bigots
  • Forced conversions by Muslim rulers

In Texas, they were essentially offered a blank check to add Islamophobia as there was no Muslim group in the revision process that challenged them. In California, the aggressive pushback from locals forced the rollback of many of their Islamophobic edits.

In early 2016, HAF lobbied educational policymakers on how Hinduism is portrayed in textbooks for grades six and seven in California, the biggest market for textbooks in the U.S. Specifically, the HAF objected to the portrayal of the caste system.

The efforts were led by the HAF along with Dharma Civilisation Foundation (DCF) and Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies, according to The Wire. The groups objected to the presence of readings about the history of the caste system. They proposed the deletion of words such as “Dalit” and “untouchable” claiming that caste did not have its origins in Hinduism. To an outside observer, the 2016 lobbying may have looked like a small-scale effort on the part of a few concerned Hindu organizations to correct false impressions about Hindus in the U.S. A closer look at the groups involved and the funding pattern points to a sophisticated, well-financed Sangh plan to influence the next generation of American leaders with the HAF leading the charge.

The Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies, a Delaware-based non-profit, is run by Ved Prakash Nanda, a professor of law at the University of Denver. But this is not his only qualification. He is a sanghchalak (guide) and the current president of the HSS. Nanda was formerly president of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS. With Nanda as its head, the Uberoi Foundation played an active role in the 2016 California textbook rewriting campaign.

The HAF played a critical role with the Uberoi Foundation pumping tens of thousands of dollars into the HAF. According to Uberoi’s 2015 and 2016 tax forms, the group gave $60,000 to the HAF for curriculum reform. Between 2013 and 2019, the foundation donated $165,000 to the HAF, mostly for education reform.

SEE: Islamophobia peddled by Alliance for Persecuted Peoples Worldwide (APPWW) – A Hindu nationalist group based out of Washington State

Funding from Hindutva Family Foundations

Analysis of the past tax forms filed by various family foundations run by individuals who are members of Sangh-affiliated organisations reveals that the HAF has been a regular recipient of their grants and donations.

Between 2013 and 2019, Subhash and Sarojini Gupta Charitable Foundation, based in Sugar Land, Texas, donated $30,005 to the HAF. Subhash was a member of the VHPA’s governing council and president of its Houston chapter for at least 12 years. He has also served as the president of Ekal. His wife Sarojini is the current director of Sewa International and was president of its Houston chapter from 2013 to 2016.

During the same period, the California-based Agarwal Family Foundation donated $40,002 to the HAF and more than $1 million to the VHPA, the HSS, Ekal and Param Shakti Peeth, among others, according to tax forms filed by the foundation. The foundation’s president, Avadhesh Agarwal, is the permanent director of Param Shakti Peeth, trustee of the VHPA’s World Hindu Council INC and former executive of Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP), Los Angeles, the registered foreign agent of the BJP in America.

The Florida-based Aggarwal & Gupta Family Foundation, which has net assets worth $47 million, according to the 2018 Form 990, is one of the leading donors of Sangh-affiliated non-profits in the U.S., including the HAF. Over the past two decades, its chairman Braham Aggarwal and treasurer Suresh Gupta have given millions of dollars to Sangh organisations for various programmes and projects. Aggarwal and Gupta are owners of Park Square Homes, an Orlando-based housing company. Aggarwal founded the Hindu University of America (HUA), the education wing of the VHPA, in 1985 and he is the former director of the HSS South East America. He has been involved in Ekal and Param Shakti Peeth. Gupta is the current president of Ekal’s Orlando chapter. Between 2000 and 2018, the foundation gave nearly $200,000 to the HAF and collectively more than $3.4 million to the HSS, the VHPA, Ekal, Param Shakti Peeth and the HUA.