‘Historian’ Audrey Truschke is one of the most unpopular academicians in India today. While there are academicians who have built up a controversial reputation after years of devotion towards the Congress party and the Nehru-Gandhi Parivar, Audrey Truschke managed to surpass them all in a mere matter of couple of years. That is no ordinary feat.
Much of the reason behind her quick rise to infamy is her obsession with whitewashing the crimes of the tyrannical Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Universally reviled as a genocidal maniac by contemporaries and other historians alike, Aurangzeb is sought to be recast as a ‘man of his times’ through the use of ‘nuance’.
Nuance is, of course, the magic wand in the hands of the liberal intelligentsia that miraculously transforms genocidal maniacs into ‘controversial monarchs’, rioters into ‘human rights activists’ and terrorists into advocates for justice.
Apart from that, there are several other controversies Truschke has found herself in the midst of and is associated with problematic individuals that require further elaboration.
Association with SAHI
Audrey Truschke is in the advisory board of the Students Against Hindutva Ideology (SAHI), an activist body in the United States of America with close ties to the Democratic party establishment. The activist body is most famous for organising the Hinduphobic ‘Holi Against Hindutva’ campaign in 2020 when it was simply called ‘Students Against Hindutva’.
The brain behind the campaign was Ziad Ahmed, a 21 year old activist who has previously worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and that of other prominent Democrats. Ahmed also runs a consultancy firm/marketing agency to help brands reach young people.
SAHI has worked with Stand With Kashmir (SWK), an organisation that toes the Pakistani line on Kashmir. SAHI also glorified the Islamists at the heard of the Jamia protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The organisation also admitted that they would lobby to achieve their desired propaganda goals against India. That Truschke is in the advisory board of such an organisation is problematic at all levels indeed.
Association with the Indian American Muslim Council
A fellow member of the advisory board of SAHI is Ajit Sahi, advocacy director of the Indian American Muslim Council. Ajit Sahi is the former executive director of the disgraced Tehelka magazine. He has appeared at prominent platforms in the USA on several occasions to spread propaganda against India.
As can be seen in the poster, the IAMC regularly collaborates with problematic figures such as Teesta Setalvad, accused of embezzlement of funds meant for victims of the Gujarat Riots.
The Hindu American Foundation notes, “IAMC (established by Shaik Ubaid) previously hosted Mohammad Siddiqi, the founder of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a banned terrorist organization in India which carried out several bombings and seeks to create an Islamic state in India.”
The Rutgers University Controversy
Students of the Rutgers University, where Truschke teaches, accused her of peddling a hateful agenda against Hindus. A petition by the students said that the professor falsely linked Hindus with extremists and white supremacists rioting at Capitol Hill.
On other occasions, she is reported to have claimed that Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the holy book of the Hindus, “rationalizes mass slaughter” and violence. Truschke also insulted Hindu god and goddesses by calling Lord Ram a “misogynistic pig”.
The petition accused her of portraying all Hindus as “lustful and sex-obsessed” and ‘cow piss drinkers’. It read that Truschke advocated that Hinduism is inherently oppressive, racist, misogynistic, and violent.
In response, Rutgers University came out with a statement saying, “Rutgers emphatically supports Professor Truschke, academic freedom in pursuing her scholarship, abhors the vile messages end threats that are being directed at her, and calls for an immediate end to them.” It also described genocide denial rhetoric as ‘academic freedom’.
Subsequently, the University issued another statement apologising for the same. “At our meeting today with members of the Rutgers Hindu community, this misunderstanding was made clear and again we apologize. We are sorry for the hurt that members of the Hindu community have been experiencing in relation to recent events. Our commitment to inclusion includes religion, not just the right but the freedom to celebrate as an individual or community without fear,” it said.
Not too long after, a resolution was passed was passed by the Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) adopting a scholarly definition of Hinduphobia. Consequently, she was found stalking the parents of the students who had participated in the conference where the resolution was adopted.
The derogatory comment on Lord Ram
The petition by the students of Rutgers University mentions the derogatory comment she made on Lord Ram. The ‘historian’ claimed in 2018, “Sita basically tells Rama he’s a misogynistic pig and uncouth.” However, there was no textual evidence for it anywhere.
She was heavily criticised for the remark by others and eventually, she defended herself by playing the victim card.
Audrey Truschke vs Hindu American Foundation
In April 2021, the controversial ‘historian’ cited an article by Al Jazeera to accuse five organisations of having ‘Hindu supremacist’ links. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) was one of them. She also accused HAF of leading a ‘coordinated attack’ against her.
Rajiv Pandit, a Board Member at HAF, slammer her and said, “No, Audrey Truschke, as a board member of HAF, I can confirm that your name was never discussed as part of a coordinated attack, nor ever been brought up at the board level. Any such accusations are defamatory.”
He added, “It’s actually you who has been involved in targeted harassment. You, Audrey Truschke, have mocked Hindu texts, claimed Lord Rama was a misogynistic pig, that rape & “rape culture” were endemic to Hinduism, portrayed Hindus as bizarre “cow piss” drinkers, taught students that Hinduism is inherently oppressive, racist, and violent.”
Vaidika Bharata founder denied entry to Truschke’s event
Mohit Bharadwaj, founder of Vaidika Bharata, in August 2018 was denied entry to her lecture in Delhi. He said that people were selectively denied entry even though it was said to be an open event. It was also claimed that people were ready to stand in the “supposedly houseful auditorium” despite waiting for more than an hour but yet, only a select few were let in and others were denied entry.
Bharadwaj had told OpIndia, “I had gone in hopes of understanding her ideas and ask her a few honest questions which she refuses to answer on Twitter by labelling people as trolls or anonymous and thus unworthy of a reply.” “When I approached the person in charge and requested him to let me in, he looked at my clothes with close attention, a t-shirt with an illustration of Shivaji on it and a dhoti, smirked and said ‘No, Sir. The auditorium is totally packed’,” he added.
Other controversies Audrey Truschke has been associated with
In 2018, the Hyderabad Police had denied permission for hr to deliver a lecture following protests against her anti-Hindu views. The controversial writer was supposed to deliver a talk on “Unpopular Stories: Narrating the Indo-Islamic Past and Navigating Present-day Prejudices” organised by Krishnakriti foundation.
The organiser said in a statement, “There are various complaints about the scholar, especially her social media posts have been viewed as anti-Hindu. The public was not happy to have her speak at the function. The Hyderabad police informed us and we have called it off. There is no other place to hold it.”
During the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, Truschke claimed that a few students at the Aligarh Muslim University had their wrists cut off and fingers chopped off. She was cautioned by Aligarh itself against spreading rumours.
What do her students think of Audrey Truschke?
Rate My Professors is a website that was founded in 1999 that allows college and university students to rate professors and campuses of American, Canadian and British institutions. Truschke has a rating of 1.7 out of 5.
One of the ‘1’ rating Audrey Truschke received on the platform says, “She doesn’t know the material. She just gives you “busy work”. A very terrible teacher. She should rather have become an activist rather than a teacher. She made a fun subject into a miserable course. She doesn’t respect other points of view. TL:DR: If I had to take the class again, I would rather drop out of university.”
“Horrible teacher ever, very annoying and unhelpful. Very unclear. Her ego gets hurt if u ask her a question she doesn’t know. Always ready to play women’s card Verdict : she sucks,” says another. One student went so far as to remark, “I didnt think a history class would be this bad. Avoid at all costs”.
Another student said that her attitude towards students is a “nightmare”. “She doesn’t answer questions or she says “we’ll get to that later” and then never gets to it. Avoid at all costs,” the student said. There was another student who commented along similar lines.
“DO NOT TAKE HER CLASS. YOU DO NOT LEARN ANYTHING FROM HER. We asked her questions during class and every time she was saying “I’ll get back to you.” If that is the case, why do you pay you? Such a crappy professor.”
Based on her rating and from the responses, it can be safely said that her students are not too fond of her.