More on the Hindu American Foundation's SLAPP lawsuit against diverse human rights groups, freedom of the press, & academic freedom

I am currently conducting research into Hindutva in the US, which includes HAF. #AcademicFreedom #AcademicTwitter #Hindutva…
footnotes (all repeated from earlier tweets this week) --

on SLAPP lawsuits and why they're bad, straight and narrow:

On SLAPP lawsuits and why they're bad, hilarious:
A factsheet on the Hindu*tva American Foundation's links, spanning a few decades, with the Sangh Parivar, the broad coalition of Hindutva-promoting groups with the RSS at the center:…
Letters supporting the targets of this lawsuit and condemning HAF's actions --

from human rights groups:…

from academics, writers, and intellectuals:…
In brief, in this lawsuit, we have one narrow, hateful voice against many diverse, justice-seeking voices.
One more thing -- This lawsuit came at a moment when the rest of us were focused on alleviating a horrific humanitarian disaster in India that their Hindu nationalist government is unable and/or unwilling to address.

That crisis is still ongoing.… #India

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More from @AudreyTruschke

17 May
There's been a lot of talk about caste and caste-based discrimination recently. That's good. We need to face this as a modern problem, without equivocation.

How does caste look in history? A #THREAD #caste #discrimination #history #AcademicTwitter
Historians like specifics, so:

Place: Kashmir
Time: late 14th – early 15th century CE
Politics: Sikandar Shah (r. 1389–1413), of the Sultanate of Kashmir.
Main Guy: Suha Bhatta

Suha Bhatta was born a Brahmin. He converted to Islam and was a minister of Sikandar Shah.
Source: We know about all of this from Jonaraja, another Brahmin who wrote a Rajatarangini (River of Kings), a Sanskrit history of the period in Kashmir.

[Sidenote -- If you're most familiar with Kalhana's Rajatarangini, Jonaraja's text is one of several subsequent ones.]
Read 13 tweets
11 May
Lots of angles to this story. A short #THREAD adding context, a little history, and some preliminary thoughts...…
Front and center is caste discrimination on US soil. This serious issue isn't new. We have known about this for decades. But it is time we did far more to protect Dalits and others who suffer caste-based discrimination. #CasteInTheUS
By the way, for anybody tempted to deny caste-based discrimination as a reality of modern life or, insanely, to try to claim that pointing it out is itself discriminatory -- Don't. Just don't. Such things are highly offensive and bigoted.
Read 11 tweets
15 Apr
#Pedagogy moment --

I'm teaching History of Hinduisms (plural intentional) this term. For the final paper, I give students 4 options.

This accords with my general emphasis that students should work on topics they care about. Interest (if possible, passion) are critical. #THREAD
Option 1. Close reading of a specific text

I give students a list of possible texts (from the Rig Veda forward). We read excerpts over the semester from most of the texts on the list. Students can return to a text that caught their eye, read more, and analyze.
Option 2. Traditional research paper

Pick a topic, any topic, at all related to Hinduism and write a paper about it. This can be a subject we covered in class that caught a student's attention. It can also be a subject that we didn't cover in the class (which is a lot, always).
Read 8 tweets
13 Apr
Here we have a board member of the Hindu American Foundation -- known to promote Hindutva ideology in the US -- employing aa anti-Semitic trope to attack the authors of a recent opinion piece on human rights abuses in India.

Links in the #THREAD
On the anti-Semitism of attacks on Soros and his philanthropic work:…
On Hindu nationalists' use of anti-Semitic ideas, language, and tropes:…
Read 5 tweets
12 Apr
At my talk earlier today on the Doha Ramayana, there were some questions we didn't have time to answer. So, a #THREAD of Q and A here.

Image is the opening page of this magnificent manuscript, now at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. #Ramayana #Mughal #Persian Image
Q: Is there any evidence of struggle in translation from Sanskrit into Farsi. Are there cases when they couldn't find equivalents so used the Sanskrit words in Farsi?
A: There are lots of Sanskrit terms retained and transliterated in the Akbari Ramayan, including the Doha manuscript.

Usually, I think it was an aesthetic choice, to retain something of the flavor of the original (mediated through vernacular Hindi pronunciation).
Read 13 tweets
6 Apr
Huge and important question. Academics have a wide variety of tools designed to deal with this. An impromptu #THREAD
One, you have to identify possible biases. This involves knowing, a lot, about the history of ideas, one's particular disciplines, one's areas of study, etc.

Often, biases have gone, well, sort of transnational and across identity boundaries. One example --
How we define religion, often, carries extensive Protestant biases. You may never have set foot inside a church and you may know nothing about Christianity, but you probably have these biases due to their widespread diffusion.

Those of us who work on religion learn & teach this.
Read 12 tweets

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