Yuva - India

A landmark move by the Rutgers University, Defined Hinduphobia

The students’ resilient efforts finally fetched a sterling result

Almost a month later of the derogatory speech of Rutgers University’s Historian and Professor Audrey Truschke, a historic move was made by Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) on Saturday, April 24 when they passed a resolution (No. 1451-XX) adopting the scholarly definition of Hinduphobia. With the move so taken, Rutgers became the first U.S based University to have recognized Hinduphobia institutionally through its student assembly. The official Twitter handle of ‘Hindu on Campus’ made such an announcement.

The scholarly definition of Hinduphobia came as a result of a 14 days long ‘Understanding Hinduphobia’ conference. The step so taken by the Rutgers HSC details it as it becomes prominent to safeguard the interests of Hindu students on the campus.

On April 24, the scholarly definition was put upon its official Twitter handle and it read as “a set of antagonist, destructive, and derogatory attitudes and behaviors towards Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism) and Hindus that may manifest as fear or hatred.”

The Rutger’s HSC announced on Saturday that the inclusion of the working definition of Hinduphobia is recognized after concluding a 14 days long conference on ‘Understanding Hinduphobia’. The development so witnessed came as a major victory of Hindu students in the campus who tried hard to safeguard Hindu sentiments in the campus fighting the faculties and administrative staff.

Another tweet from the official handle of Rutger HSC made out the statement of Chancellor of Rutgers University, Christopher J Molloy which read, “My full commitment that Hindu faculty and staff can learn and practice in an environment where they feel safe, valued, and respected.”

The movement to pass this resolution was commenced earlier in March this year when a controversial ‘Historian’ and Professor Audrey Truschke of Rutgers Newark University continually made bigoted comments on Sanatan Dharma and its scriptures. The petition against the Professor was started by the students on its Twitter handle namely ‘Hindu on Campus’, with a valid reason that the professor tried to talk incoherently about the Hindu genocide committed by the Mughal tyrant Aurangzeb.

The students said they were “aghast at the bigotry being peddled against Hindus via continued derision of our religion, our deities, and our sacred texts” in the University which might lead to a potential threat to their security with potential attacks and bullying on either platform physical or virtual.

The petition specified the atmosphere of the campus for the Hindu students which commonly delivered the airy wave of Anti-Hindu sentiments and remarks made by Professionals like Audrey Truschke on various occasions.

When at the time of the happening of Capitol Hill’s riots, Truschke tweeted about the presence of an Indian flag at the scene to insinuate it to be the handle work of Hindu Right. This move of her was exposed by the ‘Hindu on Campus’ group on March 7 of this year exhibiting her hatred towards the Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism) and how she made bigoted statements about the Hindus and the rituals we follow. Adding more to her nuisances, she even misinterpreted the Hindu sacred text Bhagwat Geeta and was accused of rationing mass slaughter. She civilized a gang rape case in India to an incident mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

Following the tweet of March 7, another tweet on March 9 came out from the official desk of Rutgers Newark University which read defensively of its professional Audrey Truschke saying “Rutgers emphatically supports Professor Truschke’s academic freedom in pursuing her scholarship, abhors the vile messages and threats being directed at her, and calls for an immediate end to them… The scholarship is sometimes controversial, perhaps especially when it is at the interface of history and religion, but the freedom to pursue such scholarship as professor Truschke does rigorously is at the heart of the enterprise.”

Sequentially, on March 17, a letter was made out which showcased the fellow faculties coming out to support historian Audrey Truschke. The letter read, “We insist that a critical examination of Hindutva, a political ideology, is not the same thing as Hinduphobia. Dr. Truschke’s critique of the former rests on its majoritarian expression in India, in ways that threaten the safety, security, and equality of Muslims and other minorities.”

Even they said, “Truschke’s respect for Hindus and Hinduism and its compatibility with a critique of Hindu nationalism as a social and political enterprise.” The members also applauded the University’s move to support the historian.

The mental trauma faced by the students on the campus led them to make a bigger move of applying to the University about the same. Pointing out various testimonials of verified current and prospective Hindu students, the Vice President of ‘Diversity and Inclusion at Rutgers blocked the official handle of ‘Hindu on Campus’ on Twitter. With the lack of support from the University, the students were forced to adopt a resolution defining Hinduphobia.

Many non-Hindu students also supported the step initiated by the RUSA and have spoken in favour of the resolution. One from Armenia named Alex came in front saying Armenian American community stands in solidarity with the Hindu community in America. Another Nick Labelle said “It is important to protect Hindu students against Hinduphobia.” he even threw light on the fact that “Reported incidents against Hindu students have increased since 2017.”

However, despite facing enormous boulders truth always finds its way. The vital move by the student’s assembly of the Rutgers University set a landmark by passing a resolution to shield Hindu sentiments in and outside the campus leading to sheer freedom of practicing and preaching religion in its pure form and not by gushing it as no organization nowhere is given that freedom to diabolize any religion or sacred text.

Shreya Gohel

Intern, Goa Chronicle

DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author

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