Rutgers, Audrey Truschke and The Encounter With Hindutva Fascism

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The previous few weeks noticed a serious controversy erupt at Rutgers University that has made the truth of Hindutva fascism quickly rising as a serious supply of anti-Muslim bidotry within the West extra obvious than ever. At problem is a marketing campaign of vilification and intimidation launched in opposition to Dr. Audrey Truschke, Associate Professor of History at Rutgers. One of the few dwelling historians who reads pre-modern Persian, Sanskrit and Hindi, Prof. Truschke can also be a number one authority on South Asian cultural and mental historical past.

The marketing campaign, ostensibly launched by a Hindu pupil physique at Rutgers to complain about Truschke’s “Hinduphobia”, has the full backing of Hindu nationalist organizations who function basically as entrance organizations of Hindutva within the US.  While the case in opposition to Truschke is sought to be made on the premise of this perceived “Hinduphobia,” the actual motive for demonizing Dr. Truschke goes a lot deeper and has to do along with her  dedication to pursue scholarship with out worry or favor.

The actual motive for his or her ire? 

While Dr. Truschke is evident that her ’s analysis has no political targets, it’s broadly perceived as remarkably efficient in debunking the myths perpetuated by the grand revisionist undertaking of India’s historical past, championed by votaries of Hindutva. This revisionism, components of which have been sought to be injected into the California faculty curriculum, perpetuates notions of Islam as a warmongering faith and India’s historical past as one in all Hindu persecution and “genocide” below Muslim tyranny. 

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Particularly upsetting to the Hindu supremacist mindset is Dr. Truschke’s scholarship on Aurangzeb, that has authoritatively demonstrated the thought of the Mughal emperor as a mass assassin of Hindus is a fallacy. While Dr. Truschke’s e book on Aurangzeb doesn’t flinch from highlighting his failings, her refusal to straitjacket him as a non secular tyrant has earned her the opprobrium of Hindutva fanatics, each in India and the US. As if this was not sufficient, Dr. Truschke stirred up a veritable hornet’s nest final 12 months, when she publicly acknowledged that Hindutva, the political ideology, has roots in Nazism and Fascism. There have been complaints to Rutgers and an internet petition urging the federal government of India to revoke her Indian visa.

This time nonetheless, the trolling and vilification has develop into extra determined, with threats made in opposition to Dr. Truschke and her household, and quickly evolving right into a vile marketing campaign in opposition to Islam and Muslims that has alarmed Muslim college students who at the moment are involved about their very own security on campus. 

Many of the accounts tweeting hate in opposition to Rutgers and Dr. Truschke are literally faux accounts created solely for the aim of perpetuating this bigotry. However, a number of Indian Americans and their fellow Islamophobes within the US have taken this as a possibility to unload their vitriol in opposition to Islam and Muslims. Indeed, India’s Islamophobic Hindu supremacist motion has now managed to rope in American right-wing racists resembling Mike Cernovich and Robert Spencer. This is no surprise given the targets of Hindutva in India are akin to these of white supremacists within the West. Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 folks in 2011, had hailed India’s Hindutva motion as a key ally in his manifesto. 

Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 folks in 2011, had hailed India’s Hindutva motion as a key ally in his manifesto. Click To Tweet

To their credit score, Rutgers has come out in full assist of Dr. Truschke and her freedom to pursue scholarship, whereas and calling for an finish to the vile messages and threats directed at her. Separately, a letter signed by Rutgers college in addition to teachers from throughout the US categorically acknowledged, that “a critical examination of Hindutva, a political ideology, is not the same thing as Hinduphobia” and defended Prof. Truschke’s critique of the previous in the way it threatened the protection and safety of minorities in India. In a outstanding build-up of additional assist for Dr. Truschke, over two dozen US and worldwide civil rights organizations expressed solidarity along with her, highlighting the truth that Dr. Truschke’s integrity scholarship and erudition was past any query and that the actual motive for this vile marketing campaign of harassment was her advocacy in opposition to Hindutva.

So far Rutgers has withstood stress to curtail Dr. Truschke’s work in any manner, primarily based on the wild allegations of Hinduphobia made in opposition to her. While it’s important for college kids of all religion communities to have the ability to profess and apply their religion with none worry or intimidation, allegations that Dr. Truschke teaches discrimination in opposition to Hindus are baseless and an affront to all who know her each in her skilled capability and as an individual. Moreover, such allegations fly within the face of Dr. Truschke’s very public advocacy for peace and pluralism. 

Hindutva, a supremacist ideology that’s distinct from the faith of Hinduism, has been the driving pressure behind violent assaults on spiritual minorities notably Muslims.Click To Tweet 

There is world concern over the huge human rights abuses and violations of non secular freedom in India. Hindutva, a supremacist ideology that’s distinct from the faith of Hinduism, has been the driving pressure behind violent assaults on spiritual minorities notably Muslims. In current weeks Freedom House, an influential analysis institute, downgraded India’s standing as a democracy from “Free” to “Partly Free.”  Gregory Stanton, the President of Genocide Watch, acknowledged at a Congressional briefing final 12 months that Muslims in Kashmir and Assam have been only one step away from extermination. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom have all issued a number of studies warning concerning the fast escalation of human rights abuses and violations of non secular freedom in India.

Hindutva seeks to subvert India’s polity from its secular democratic moorings, right into a Hindu majoritarian state the place Christians, Jews, Muslims, Dalits and different minorities are relegated to the standing of second-class residents. It is similar ideology that spurred the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Hindutva’s existential hyperlinks to Nazism and Fascism are well-known, and brazenly acknowledged by its ideologues of their writings. Golwalkar, a founding father of Hindutva’s paramilitary group RSS, infamously expressed his admiration for Nazi Germany within the following phrases: “Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races – the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.” 

It is evident that Dr. Truschke’s scholarship is a severe obstacle to the Hindutva revisionist undertaking, and casting aspersions on her mental integrity is important to the bigger Hindutva supremacist motion. Indeed, these campaigning in opposition to Dr. Truschke seem to have taken their cues from proponents of Hindutva in India the place intellectuals and impartial journalists are being silenced, in some circumstances by means of bodily violence, together with homicide. Needless to say Islamophobia and Muslim baiting are an integral a part of this violent marketing campaign, each in India and the US. Prof. Truschke is within the firm of different famend historians of India resembling Dr. Romila Thapar and Prof. Irfan Habib each primarily based in India, in addition to journalists, activists and whistleblowers, who’re all bearing the brunt of the Hindutva ire in opposition to their truth-telling. Not surprisingly, India ranks 142nd on the worldwide press freedom index.

Hindutva is an energetic participant throughout the Islamophobia ecosystem within the US, and American Muslims can ignore this actuality solely at their very own peril.Click To Tweet

The undeniable fact that Prof. Truschke’s rigorous analysis is inconvenient to the Hindu nationalist trigger is exactly the explanation why it’s important for Rutgers and the tutorial neighborhood to defend her work and her proper to take it to the lots within the US and past. The pernicious impression of Hindutva within the US goes past serving as apologists for persecution of minorities in India. Hindutva is an energetic participant throughout the Islamophobia ecosystem within the US, and American Muslims can ignore this actuality solely at their very own peril.

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