SASAC Statement on the Organized Harassment and Attempts at Censorship of Dismantling Hindutva Conference
August 25, 2021
By the South Asia Scholar Activist Collective (SASAC)
As scholars of South Asia concerned with the rising attempt to muzzle academic inquiry surrounding Hindutva, the global Hindu supremacist movement that is also referred to as Hindu nationalism, we write to extend our support to the organizers and participants of the upcoming conference “Dismantling Global Hindutva” on Sep 10-12, 2021. This is a major international scholarly conference which has garnered support and sponsorship from many different university departments and academic units across the US with the participation of well-known intellectuals from both India and the US. The concerted and organized efforts to prevent this conference from proceeding have followed precisely the playbook we described in our field manual for addressing Hindutva harassment. Apart from the targeted harassment of the organizers and members of our own collective–Hindutva organizations themselves have acknowledged that they have coordinated a global effort to muzzle scholars, inundating university administrators with auto-generated form letters in an attempt to manufacture an impression of public outrage and dampen academic freedom. These maneuvers reflect precisely our description of the online tactics of Hindutva harassment. Further, there is an attempt to claim bias in bad faith as they accuse the organizers of engaging in “Hinduphobia,” a term deployed by Hindutva forces in the west to silence critiques of casteism, Islamophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, racism, and other forms of supremacist ideologies at the heart of Hindutva. As Hindu groups themselves have argued, attempts to invoke “Hinduphobia” are an attempt to misappropriate the Hindu faith for the political purpose of furthering Hindutva as a global supremacist movement. We, as scholars of South Asia in the US, condemn this blatant, organized harassment, and despicable assault on academic freedom and we extend our full support to the organizers of “Dismantling Global Hindutva” conference.