In a historic resolution on April 24, the Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) had passed a resolution (No. 1451-XX) to adopt a scholarly definition of Hinduphobia 14 days after the conclusion of ‘Understanding Hinduphobia Conference.’
The decision was a result of series of Hindu hate incidences observed at the university. A petition was initiated by a group of students in March this year asking Rutgers-Newark University to take strong action against controversial ‘historian’ and Professor Audrey Truschke for demonising Hinduism.
However, Truschke seems to have stooped to a new low by stalking even the parents of the students who had participated in the understanding Hinduphobia conference. The same was brought to light by Rashmi Samant, the ex-president-elect of Oxford University Student Union who was bullied, threatened, ridiculed and forced to resign from her post for being a Hindu.
Samant shared the screenshot in a Tweet of a chat with a Rutgers student who can be seen informing that Audrey Truschke was now stalking parents of the students on professional networking site LinkedIn.
Suspecting a systematic hate attack was being planned against Rutgers Hindu students just like the one launched against her by Abhijit Sarkar, a faculty at Oxford, Samant’s Tweet read, “A new low. Audrey Truschke is stalking LinkedIn accounts of parents of students who held the recent Hinduphobia conference (which she refused to attend). Is she trying to desperately run a hate campaign like Abhijit Sarkar at Oxford?”
A new low. Audrey Truschke is stalking LinkedIn accounts of parents of students who held the recent Hinduphobia conference (which she refused to attend). Is she trying to desperately run a hate campaign like Abhijit Sarkar at Oxford? @RutgersU @Rutgers_Newark @rudiversity pic.twitter.com/BwBfqaVSgw— Rashmi Samant 🌺 (@Rashmidvs) April 28, 2021
Rutgers Hindu students stand up against Truschke’s Hinduphobia
A controversy had broken out after several Hindu students of Rutgers University had written a letter to the university in reaction to ‘historian’ Audrey Truschke’s attempts to sell Hinduphobic fiction in the name of ‘history’. In its petition, the group of Hindu students studying at Rutgers-Newark pointed out that Audrey Truschke tried to trivialize and downplay the Hindu genocide committed by the Mughal tyrant Aurangzeb.
In an open letter written to the university authorities, the students had said that they are “aghast at the bigotry being peddled against Hindus via continued derision of our religion, our deities, and our sacred texts” in the university, which may be a potential threat to their security, as it may lead to “potential attacks, bullying, and backlash, either on campus or via social media, due to our faith”.
Voices against Hinduphobia gained prominence in the University after a faculty member of Rutgers defended ‘historian’ Audrey Truschke despite her anti-Hindu stance.
Audrey Truschke’s controversial statements against Hinduism
On March 7, ‘Hindu on Campus’ a student-led organization exposed how Audrey Truschke had made problematic statements against Hinduism and indulged in casual racism against Hindus. At the time of US Capitol riots, Truschke tweeted about the presence of an Indian flag at the scene to imply it to be the handiwork of Hindu Right. In another instance, Truschke had misinterpreted the sacred Hindu religious text of Bhagavad Gita and accused it of rationalizing mass slaughter. Truschke had also equated a gang rape case in India to an incident in the Hindu epic of Mahabharata, essentially alluding that Hindu culture endorses “rape culture” and misogyny.
Several faculty and professors of Rutgers were seen monkey-balancing while defending Truschke. The episode traumatized both current and prospective Hindu students so much so that they have decided against applying to the University.
Definition of Hinduphobia
The students currently of the university had decided to conduct a conference on Hinduphobia to spread awareness about the same. A new definition of Hinduphobia with certain amendments was given which goes as, “a set of antagonistic, destructive, and derogatory attitudes and behaviours towards Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) and Hindus that may manifest as fear or hatred.”
Who is Rashmi Samant
Rashmi Samant, a young woman from Karnataka who had recently become the first female Indian elect of Oxford University Student’s Union, relinquished her post after being abused, bullied and targeted for being a Hindu and over her views against colonization.
In what appeared like a coordinated attack, Rashmi Samant’s old social media posts were dredged up, accusing her of being racist, anti-semitic, Islamophobic, transphobic and even for her Hindu roots. Samant was elected to the prestigious post on February 11 and within a week, She tendered her resignation after facing a barrage of online criticism and abuse.
So much so that Samant had to return to India and was even hospitalized due to intense trauma. After recovering, Samant decided to head back to the university to finish her studies respectfully.