Biju Mathew

American writer

Biju Mathew is an American Marxist activist. He is an Indian immigrant and a professor of the Business Administration department at Rider University (New Jersey). He is also the co-founder of the Forum of Indian Leftists (FOIL)[1][2] and a member of the collective of Youth Solidarity Summer (YSS).

Quotes about Biju MathewEdit

  • Biju Matthew insisted on the Stalinist position that in the social sciences, no theory ever comes without a political agenda. So, he reduced the whole AIT debate to a question of cultural policy of the Indian bourgeoisie, which was badly trying to be European. This was indeed part of the motive for the 19th-century acceptance of the AIT by the likes of Keshab Chandra Sen, but not of the present-day rejection of the AIT. But Matthew had not cared to notice the diametrical opposition between the former, colonial, and the latter, anti-colonial positions, perhaps because he counted on a knee-jerk reaction of hostility to anyone who merely utters the word... He was all the more serious about deciding the burning question whether Non-Resident Indians should call themselves “Indian” or “South-Asian”; he himself opted for the latter “because it has the advantage of being antinational”. He wanted South-Asians in North America to shake off their religious and national identities and develop an “identity project” on the model of the African-Americans, which would only leave race as the distinctive trait of South-Asians in the US, a self-identification which approximates racism in its original meaning. I am in no position to berate African-Americans for defining their own identity in racial terms, for the reduction of their complex ethno-religio-linguistic identities (Yoruba, Ashanti etc.) to their skin colour was forced on them by Arab (7th-20th century) and later also by European slave-traders (15th-19th century); but to deliberately drop existing non-racial identities for a racial one, that is another matter.
  • I remember Vijay Prashad and Biju Mathew calling for a denial of any platform to myself, and big professors like Michael Witzel and Robert Zydenbos seconding this call; but I don't remember Wendy Doniger coming out in my support.... In most cases, the people clamouring "freedom of expression" on this occasion are very selective in their love of freedom, which they would gladly throw overboard as soon as it concerns the expression of an opinion less dear to them. I have the impression that Wendy herself is in this category too, but she may convince us otherwise by showing off her earlier acts of solidarity with besieged writers.
    • Elst, On Modi time, Chapter: Banning Wendy Doniger's "The Hindus"
  • Quite a few RISA (Religion in South Asia) scholars are inveterate enemies of freedom of speech. When I spoke on the Aryan Invasion Theory in Prof. Andrew Sihler’s Department at the University of Wisconsin in 1996, Biju Mathew and Vijay Prashad of the Forum Of Inqilabi (= Revolutionary) Leftists distributed a leaflet demanding that I be denied a platform to speak at American Universities. This leaflet was subsequently condoned explicitly by Prof. Michael Witzel (7-2-2003) and Prof. Robert Zydenbos (10-2-2003) on the secretive Scholarly Services list. So we know where the enemies of liberty are. ... In 1996, when I delivered a lecture... a Communist student group called Chingari, "spark", along with Biju Mathew of FOIL, the Forum of Indian (now Inqilabi, "Revolutionary") Leftists, distributed a pamphlet in which they demanded that I be denied a platform. This demand was later supported .... by Prof. Michael Witzel and Prof. Robert Zydenbos. (262)
    • Elst, Koenraad (2012). The argumentative Hindu. New Delhi : Aditya Prakashan.
  • The atmosphere at the conference was frankly hostile. (...) It was up to people from the audience to protest and oblige the chairperson to allow me to read out my paper. When it was my turn, I was heckled somewhat by the Leftist crowd, especially by a well-known Indo-American Communist academic, who was rolling his eyes like a madman and making obscene gestures until an elderly American lady sitting next to him told him to behave. At the end, Mathew came to collect a copy of my text (the book version, of which I had some author's copies handy), called me a "liar, and told his buddies that they needed to write a scholarly rebuttal. Which is still being awaited today.
    • Elst, K. Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)

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