Rutgers Student Association passes historic resolution against Hinduphobia: All you need to know about the lead up to it
In a historic feat on Saturday (April 24), the Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) passed a resolution (No. 1451-XX) to adopt a scholarly definition of Hinduphobia. This is the first time that a US university has institutionally recognised Hinduphobia through its student assembly.
The scholarly definition of Hinduphobia was developed through the ‘Understanding Hinduphobia’ Conference. Rutgers HSC emphasised that it was important to protect the interests of the Hindu students on the campus of Rutgers University. The accepted definition of Hinduphobia 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.”
Rutgers HSC informed that RUSA has not only recognised the working definition of Hinduphobia but also the changes made to the definition within 14 days of the conclusion of ‘Understanding Hinduphobia Conference.’ The development comes as a major victory for the Hindu students on the Rutgers University campus, who have been fighting the faculty and administration to recognise the perils of Hinduphobia.
Chain of events leading up to the official recognition of Hinduphobia
In March this year, a petition was initiated by a group of students asking Rutgers-Newark University to take strong action against controversial ‘historian’ and Professor Audrey Truschke for demonising Hinduism. The petition was shared on Twitter by the ‘Hindu on Campus’ group. The students were miffed with Truschke’s continuous vile and bigoted opinions against Hindus.
On March 7, ‘Hindu on Campus’ group 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 rationalising mass slaughter. Truschke had also equated a gangrape case in India to an incident in the Hindu epic of Mahabharata, essentially alluding that Hindu culture endorses “rape culture” and misogyny.
In a statement on March 9, Rutgers -Newark University came out in defence of Audrey Truschke.
In a letter on March 17, the faculty members of Rutgers University came out in support of Truschke.
On pointing out the testimonials of verified current and prospective Hindu students, the Senior Vice President of ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ at Rutgers University blocked the Twitter handle of ‘Hindus on Campus’. As such, the adoption and the official recognition of Hinduphobia on campus by a US university through its student body marks the beginning of a paradigm shift in attitudes towards Hindus.