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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

From Max Muller to Audrey Truschke: Bigotry and lies in the guise of academic freedom

“India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again, and that second conquest should be a conquest by education. … A new national literature may spring up, impregnated with Western ideas. … As to religion, that will take care of itself. The missionaries have done far more than they themselves seem to be aware of … the ancient religion of India is doomed—and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be?” – Max Muller, 1868

It could be said that Western academia began its attack on Hindu Dharma in the 1860s. In their attempts to turn Bharat more Christian, the colonial British government hired German orientalist Max Muller to translate Hindu scriptures from Sanskrit to English.

Some Bharatiya readers may have heard of Audrey Truschke, a Hinduphobic sensationalist who is an associate professor of South Asian studies at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Because of her, Rutgers is now more famously known as “Racist Rutgers”, as they keep her on their payroll and give her a position and a pulpit to spew her anti-Hindu hate speech.

Truschke minimises and contradicts Bharatiya Hindu genocides enacted by Islamic invaders. She’s basically a Hindu holocaust denier. She has publicly stated many ridiculous, venomous and abusive things: That Hindus were behind the 6 January insurrection at the US capitol; that Bharatiya Hindus should not be allowed into the US or to become US citizens; that Americans shouldn’t trust a people who worship “300 million gods” or a “God with an elephant’s head”. Perhaps she would like to see Indian Americans on reservations. They could share them with the American “Indians” placed there by her Christian-colonial counterparts. Yes, Audrey, Bharat has gods and your country has guns!

She has also claimed that in the Ramayana, Sita refers to Bhagwan Rama as “a misogynist pig”. She’s said that Hindus are associated with Nazis due in part to her inability to tell the difference between the Nazi swastika and a similar symbol used by various indigenous cultures, including Vedic culture. She’s said that the Bhagavad Gita promotes mass murder. She claims that Hindus want to commit genocide against the Muslim population of Bharat when historically, it has been the other way around. Actually, Muslims have more rights in Bharat, than in her own country. By her standards, any Hindu who is proud to be Hindu or has any measure of Hindu identity, is a “Hindu Nationalist”.

She attempts to portray Hindu men as misogynists when women in her country do not have a say in medical decisions regarding their own bodies, and when the rates of violent crimes against women in the US are fifteen times higher than Bharat’s. She attempts to portray Hindutva as a genocidal political organisation that will put American citizens in danger, when it is Christian nationalism and white Christian domestic terrorism we in the US are troubled with.

In July 2022, Rutgers University—yes, the same institution that gives Truschke a podium to spew anti-Hindu hate speech—published a report based on findings from the Network Contagion Research Institute (Anti-Hindu Disinformation: A Case Study of Hinduphobia on Social Media), which found a sharp rise in Hinduphobic tropes on social media which includes millions of posts from organised Iranian trolls who are on a mission to falsely portray Bharatiya Hindus as participants in an apparent genocide against Bharatiya Muslims, that of course does not exist. Yet, Rutgers continues to support an associate professor who also spreads such dangerous lies and is nothing more than a far-right Christian supremacist and a supporter of jihad. She wants to start a civil war that she will not be fighting in because she’s a wackadoodle who envisions an eventual Christian India.

Of course, all of Truschke’s claims are absurd and obviously based on a combination of resentment, hostility, ignorance and an American-Christian superiority complex. Her understanding of Hindu Dharma is at best superficial, savage and unsophisticated. Any eleven-year-old Hindu could debate her and expose her artifice. Any authentic historian could easily debate her and prove that it is her religion that has brought wars, slavery, imperialism, inquisitions and genocides to our world, not the Hindu Dharma.

Truschke is known more for her hate of Hindu Dharma and therefore Hindus, than she is for her academic prowess or accuracy. She seems to have developed a personal problem. According to some Bharatiya news outlets, Truschke’s father-in-law Nathan Rehn and husband Thane Rehn had both been caught violating their visa agreements in Bharat, where they were working as missionaries.

They were known to support a [Baptist Church] mission in Bharat known as Bless India until 2012, when they withdrew their support due to what they called “sin issues”. We all can easily imagine what that means, as Christian missions and orphanages in Bharat are often accused of sexual abuses of Hindu children. It seems Truschke’s family has been in this crooked conversion business for quite some time. Is it possible that all her anti-Hindu vitriol that started at this time, is her way of doing preventative damage control, just in case it turns out that her husband and father-in-law were involved with these “sin issues”? In any case, it should be obvious to Rutgers that she has a conflict of interest, but they continue to place her up on a pedestal as a false idol of academic freedom.

It’s no surprise that Truschke has drawn admiration and p raise from white (Christian) supremacist groups in the US who are afraid of being replaced by African, Jewish, Asian and Hindu Americans. Like attracts like. Bharat has gods. The US has guns. What could be an inevitable outcome of Truschke’s constant anti-Hindu hate speech that promotes negative stereotypes and false narratives? Do Hindus have to wait for a mass shooting at an American Hindu temple, or one on a University campus before we take appropriate actions to counteract Hinduphobia? If, or should I say “when”, such an atrocity happens, we can with great validity blame a massively biased, liberal American media.

As we can see from the US national spelling bees, most of the contestants are Bharatiya Hindus. This is due in part to the fact that they are bi or tri-lingual. That they know Hindi, which is based on Sanskrit … a highly phonetic language. Leave it up to the liberal American media to say this is due to these children being in a “higher caste”, rather than to say that Bharatiya Hindu kids are intelligent. This is a case of hypocrites basking in the glow of false virtue. When white people succeed, it’s a true, just and wonderful thing. They are American royalty. When Hindu Americans succeed, it must be due to them being born into wealth. It must be because they discriminate against the poor. Really?

Even with something as seemingly mundane and innocent as a spelling bee, they find a way to vilify Hindu Dharma and Hindus … even Hindu children. Truschke supports this idea that Hindus find success, not by their own efforts, a strong work ethic and valuing education, but by an aristocracy. The truth of the matter is, Hindu Americans contribute greatly to our polycultural country and contribute greatly to our economy. The real problems in America right now are domestic terrorism and white (Christian) supremacist groups that see their majority waning. It should seem obvious that Truschke shares their fears.

Truschke also concentrates on caste discrimination. She sees Indian Americans who are more successful than herself, and instead of realising they come from a culture that places high value on hard work and education, she will claim their success is a result of their caste. Truschke speaks of “higher caste” Hindus oppressing the poor, but ask her about her own white privilege or about the fact that she is a member of America’s upper caste, and she has nothing to say. Of course, disparity between classes, the wealthy and impoverished or the “haves” and the “have nots” according to race in the US, is and always has been a massive injustice.

When any hate crimes against American Hindus happen (including those that have already happened), we can also squarely place the blame on Truschke, “Racist Rutgers” and the president of Rutgers Newark, Jonathan Holloway, who continues to give Truschke a podium to spew purely incoherent bigotry, nonsensical rhetoric and false history. We can place the blame also on Crystal Bedley, director of their Center for Diversity Education and Bias Prevention, and on Enobong (Anna) Branch, Rutgers Senior VP for Equality, who have done little to nothing to oppose Rutgers’ very special case of Hindumisia.

Instead of standing up for the more or less defenceless minority of Hindu students at Rutgers, Holloway or “the official desk of Rutgers University Newark” defended Truschke and redirected blame onto Hindus, because Truschke received some threatening messages. Truschke is not open to debate from valid historians or with any authority on Bharatiya culture or religion. So what does Holloway expect? It seems he’s a privileged black American, suffering from white fragility. Rutgers can dish it, but they can’t take it. Holloway then stated that “Truschke’s scholarship is at the heart of our enterprise.”

How incredibly myopic is that? Holloway can see the trees, but not the forest. He doesn’t care to know of the intolerance, bullying, mental trauma and violence inflicted upon Hindus as a direct result of Truschke’s hate speech, but he has no dilemma at all with supporting her mission against all things Hindu. He has no problem with Hinduphobia. He has no problem with Indian American students experiencing trepidation.

Both Holloway and Truschke are only interested in academic freedom when it serves their own political and imperialistic religious agendas. These fraudulent progressives will support African Americans, Middle Eastern immigrants, Latino immigrants and East Asian immigrants, but they like their South Asian immigrants docile and silent. They will support the indigenous peoples of America, but when they see the indigenous peoples of Bharat outperform them in the workplace and in academics, they show their true colours. They are just as phobic about “replacement theory” as the American white supremacist groups they pretend to oppose. They support Critical Race Theory and want to see American schools teach accurate and actual American history, no matter how ugly it may be. Yet they have no dilemmas with distorting Bharatiya history to pacify religious minorities and to cover up Hindu genocides.

Instead of Branch (VP of Diversity and Inclusion) sticking up for, or even giving the Hindu Student Council at Rutgers a voice, she blocked the use of their official handle of “Hindu on Campus” on Twitter. Both Holloway and Branch are African American activists who support the rights and advancement of marginalised Americans who share their colour of skin. Yet they quite obviously don’t want to even hear the voices of marginalised Hindu students and staff. No, they’d rather cheer for a white, far-right Christian employee who likes to ridicule Hindu-Sanatana Dharma and tell indigenous people about their own culture, customs, rituals, deities and religious convictions.

From the sectarianism and ignorance of these people, something positive did finally come. In April 2021, after a two-week conference on “Understanding Hinduphobia“, the Rutgers University Student Assembly passed a resolution adopting the scholarly definition of Hinduphobia. Ironically, this happened despite Rutgers’ stance on the promotion of Hinduphobia. The powers that be at Rutgers had no choice but to accept the message their Hindu and non-Hindu students insisted upon. Someday, maybe they’ll do what they should have done long ago and fire Truschke.

-By Sean Bradrick (an American Hindu, Advaitin Yogi and author living in Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

(This article was first published on Firstpost on 4 August 2022 and has been reproduced here with minor edits to conform to HinduPost style-guide.)

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