New Delhi, September 09 (KMS): The speakers, who are scheduled to address a conference on ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva – Multidisciplinary Perspectives’, in the US have complained of harassment by the supporters of Hindu right-wing groups.
The three-day conference, which will run from September 10-12, is to be addressed by prominent academicians, journalists and activists from all over the world. The Conference is being co-sponsored by over 50 universities, mostly American; right-wing supporters are threatening them as well.
One of the speakers is author and activist Dr Meena Kandasamy. She took to Twitter to express the harassment she and her family members have faced since her name appeared in the list of speakers addressing the conference. She even received an email warning her against taking part in the conference.
Talking to Al Jazeera about the harassment, she said, “This is the textbook Hindutva approach. They just indulge in character assassination, slandering my personal life, questioning the parentage of my children, asking if they were born to one father. The Hindutva groups both in the US and India are miffed at the huge academic support for the conference and they just want to silence us at any cost.”
In a series of tweets, Audrey Truschke, US historian and Associate Professor of South Asian History at Rutgers University, talked about the harassment the speakers of the conference are facing.
“We are watching as right-wing Hindu American groups harass, intimidate, and endanger academics, including students. What you’re doing is beyond unacceptable. It is unethical, hate mongering, and very, very dangerous. Stop. Now. #Hindutva,” said Truschke in one of the tweets which she has pinned on her timeline. She pointed out that Hindutva group in the US are promoting hatred in the name of Hinduism.
Addressing Hindu Americans, she said that the Hindu right-wing are promoting intolerance and hate in their name. Hence, they should call for – ‘Stop trying to interfere with academic events. Stop trying to chill academic freedom. Call out human rights abuses in India. Seek to protect those of Indian descent who are being demonized for their politics’.
At the Conference, prominent scholars, journalists and activists are going to address on various topics related to Hindutva including Islamophobia and White Supremacy.
“This conference will convene panels on a variety of interlinked topics that address the threat and power of Hindutva. Scholars, journalists, and activists will examine the historical development of Hindutva, the fascist dimensions of the ideology, its alignment with other supremacist movements and define all that is at stake across a range of political, socio-cultural, and economic issues,” reads the introduction of the conference.
The Conference is being co-sponsored by departments and centres of more than 53 universities, most of them from the US, including Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton.
The co-sponsoring universities are also being warned for organizing the conference. David Ludden, professor of history at New York University, one of the co-sponsoring schools, said that they have received thousands of mails opposing the conference but they refused to bow down.
“Administrators did receive emails claiming that the conference represents anti-Hindu ideology. They reached out to me and I explained that this is an academic conference aimed at expanding the production of knowledge about Hindutva, including a critical analysis of its claim to represent Hindus, Hinduism, and Indian culture,” he said.
The Conference has also received widespread support from various corners. More than 900 Academics and 60 community organisations like Hindus for Human Rights and South Asia Scholar Activist Collective have issued statements and letters of support to the conference.
“As scholars and members of academic communities around the world, we strongly condemn the campaign of harassment and intimidation against the Dismantling Global Hindutva conference, and stand in solidarity with the 49+ universities and 60+ departments and centers sponsoring the event,” said 900 academics in their statement.