New Delhi: After assistant professor at Rutgers University and historian of medieval India Audrey Truschke faced criticism for comments on Hindutva that she had made at a rally outside the UN headquarters, Rutgers University-Newark has come out in support of the professor and her remarks, according to a report in Newsweek.
On September 27, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the UN General Assembly in New York, thousands of South Asians and North Americans protested outside the UNGA headquarters against the rising tide of violence against minorities and the Indian government’s decisions in Kashmir.
Addressing the protest rally, professor Truschke criticised PM Modi and the BJP’s ideological adherence to Hindutva. Truschke also claimed at the rally that Hindutva was inspired by Nazism.
Clarifying that while a lot of people were “loose with that [Nazism] terminology”, Truschke said that “early Hindutva espousers openly admired Hitler. They praised Hitler’s treatment of the Jewish people in Germany as a good model for dealing with India’s Muslim minority”.
“When we talk about rising fascism in India, we are not being dramatic, ” Truschke said at the rally. She also referred to the government’s imposition of a communication’s blackout in Kashmir as a “human rights disaster”. She also maintained that for her academic work, she had “been subjected to a lot of pressure” and said that she had at times required armed security to speak in India.
In response to Truschke’s comments at the rally outside the UNGA, an online petition with over 9,000 signatures called on Rutgers University to investigate her, while another petition called for the Indian government to revoke her visa.
Speaking to Newsweek, Rutgers maintained that Truschke had a long track record of welcoming “reasoned debate” about the cultural, imperial and intellectual history of early-modern and modern India and supported her remarks.
Truschke told Newsweek that the Rutgers-Newark administration was in support of her. “I am privileged to be part of a scholarly community that values both accurate history and public-facing scholarship,” she said.