Professor Mohan J Dutta of Massey University riles the community
Auckland, September 10, 2021
Editor’s Note: The following is a Press Release. Indian Newslink is contacting Professor Mohan J Dutta of Massey University for an interview.
Over the last few weeks, Hindus in Aotearoa have been shocked to find out about a publication by Massey University promoting Hinduphobia and Hindumisia.
The Paper, titled, ‘Cultural Hindutva and Islamophobia’ was authored by Professor Mohan J Dutta, Dean’s Chair Professor in Communication, School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University. He is also the Head of the University’s Center for Cultural-Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE).
The Paper was a part of the CARE White Paper Series published by the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing.
In the Publication, Professor Dutta has made several accusatory and unsubstantiated assertions against Hindus and in particular the Hindu community living in Aotearoa.
He has drawn many false equivalences which attack the cultural and religious practices of Hindus and painted the Hindu community in a very poor light.
Advocates of Free Speech
Hindus advocate free speech, academic freedom and inquiring into the truth as these are all fundamental values for the Hindu community. These expressions in the society are important as it allows for improvement, reform, objective critiquing and ultimately contributing back to the community.
Helen Clark, the then Prime Minister of New Zealand, speaking at the First National Hindu Conference in 2007, acknowledged the significant contribution of Hindus to New Zealand.
More than a decade later, in 2019, Winston Peters, the then Foreign Minister and Acting Prime Minister made the same acknowledgement at the Fifth New Zealand National Hindu Conference held in Auckland.
It is well known that Hindus are a contributing, socially cohesive, peace-promoting community all over the world. Working with government agencies, various ethnic groups, youth, women, elders, and Tangata Whenua, promoting pluralism, cohesion and celebrating the diversity of our community are what Hindus are doing in Aotearoa.
When at various levels of New Zealand society, Hindus are acknowledged and appreciated for their contribution to Aotearoa, Professor Dutta has defamed Hindus by portraying them as inherently bigoted and dangerous. It is obvious that his publication is a clear example of Hindumisia – outright Hindu hatred.
The publication by Massey University indicates that Hindus are trained to commit vigilante violence against other communities; New Zealand Hindus are brainwashed to become supremacists; Hindu art and cultural elements promote Islamophobia, which are false narratives the publication attempts to paint as real.
University remains unresponsive
When the Hindu community has reached out to the Vice-Chancellor and senior leadership of Massey University, not only have they not responded but have not even acknowledged the emails from various concerned Hindus and organisations.
Students have reached out to Professor Dutta and the University on numerous occasions through formal channels as well as Social Media platforms. He has ignored, deleted, blocked and personally attacked people in these interactions.
Any thought or expression that did not align to the narrative that Professor Dutta had been trying to peddle had been suppressed online, ironic as he is Dean’s Chair Professor of Communication at Massey.
What is more shocking is that Massey University is co-sponsoring a highly controversial and Hinduphobic Conference ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva,’ a Conference aimed at vilifying the global Hindu community. Many reputable University’s names have been tarnished because of the association of their department’s participation in this Conference.
There have been numerous requests from various Universities globally to take down their logos, multiple edits to the ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ website as universities withdraw, a legal challenge from Harvard University for using its name to scam people.
This is the kind of Conference that Massey University is co-sponsoring. Seeing Massey University endorse a Conference such as this is a blot on the legacy of the University and demonstrates the University’s endorsement of Hindumisia.
Fear and foreboding
The hateful publication and Massey University’s participation in the Hindu hating Conference has led to a sense of fear and foreboding in the Hindu community in New Zealand.
It especially puts Hindu students at risk. They are becoming increasingly concerned about having to discard their Hindu identity for the fear of being vilified by staff who are promoting such bigotry. Professor Dutta’s work, which aids in profiling Hindus as terrorists are likely to incite violence against Hindus due to strong correlation between hate speech and hate crime. Promoting lies like this could lead to physical attacks on Hindus.
Hindu Youth New Zealand President Murali Krishna Magesan said that the alumni of Massey University and Hindu students in New Zealand have expressed their disgust at what he said is “outright Hindu hatred.”
“The non-engagement and apathy from Massey University clearly shows their position on the matter. The last thing Hindu Youth New Zealand wants to be doing is trying to inform more than 150,000 Hindus in New Zealand that Massey University endorses Hinduphobia and Hindumisia and Hindu students should look to alternative institutes of higher education where they will not be marginalised and can feel safe,” he said.