Last week we observed how an academic white paper titled ‘Cultural Hindutva And Islamophobia’ written by Professor Mohan Dutta, and published on the Centre for Culture-Centred Approach To Research And Evaluation (CARE) caught the attention of various Hindutva (Hindu Nationalist) affiliated groups in Aotearoa. As result of which, not only was Professor Dutta harassed and trolled across social media but Massey University was inundated with emails demanding the paper be removed.
Hindu Youth Of New Zealand released a statement condemning the paper and calling it a case of Hindumisia which, according to urbandictionary.com, is the ‘hatred of Hindus that is rooted in Abrahamic doctrines’. (Greek, misos means hatred, miseo means to hate.)
This statement does not encourage people to read ‘Cultural Hindutva And Islamophobia’ and decide for themselves nor offer a precise breakdown of the content, instead making several allegations without substantiation on behalf of ‘150,000 Hindus’ when, according to Statistics NZ, as per the 2018 census, there are 121, 644 Hindus from 239,193 Indians.
Professor Dutta has been at the end of a further deluge of hate comments since then.
The Aotearoa Alliance of Progressive Indians (AAPI) has already sent a letter in support of Professor Dutta and CARE to Massey University. We would like to do an open petition inviting the public to support Professor Duta and his mahi.
It is the responsibility of citizens in a democracy to maintain the privileges this democracy accords and to ensure humankind progresses towards equity, peace, and a state of aroha.
Academic freedom is key in preserving democracy and speaking truth to power.