HYDERABAD: Eminent American academician and historian Audrey Truschke, who specialises on South Asian history, was scheduled to give a talk in Hyderabad on August 11. However, the event organisers are now in a fix as they don’t have a venue to host the talk. Venues were booked twice to host the event in the city and both times, permission was denied within a few days of booking.
Invitations to the talk ‘Unpopular stories: narrating the Indo-Islamic past and navigating present-day prejudices’ is being extensively shared over social media, Birla Science Centre — where the event was scheduled to be held — has now declined permission.
This is the second venue to be cancelled, the first being Art Gallery. It’s likely that venue owners are backing out due to pressure from right wing groups like Bajrang Dal, say sources. Earlier, Bajrang Dal activists had lodged police complaint against Truschke.
Audrey Truschke is a popular American historian who has done extensive work on Indian history. She also has often come under attack from right wing trolls on Twitter for her controversial statements on Indian culture and history backed with historical evidences.
Director of BM Birla Science Centre, BG Siddarth told Express that they have “politely declined’’ permission for the event. “We have received a request for the auditorium to hold the talk but we politely declined.” “Further, we understand that the speech would attack some gods of India. Such controversial talks should have prior police permissions. Since they don’t have that, permission was denied,” he added. The talk is being organised by Krishnakriti Foundation in association with History for Peace.
Police Inspector S Venkat Reddy said he received a complaint on July 31, but no case had been registered. “For now, we have told the organisers about the possible repercussions of holding the event.”
According to Bajrang Dal members, Truschke has a record of showing Hinduism in a poor light. “By explaining the wheel of Aurangzeb, she would make comments against our religion and deities. We do not know if her considerations are authentic and considering her track record of being critical of Hinduism, we oppose her talk,” said Kailash Sajjan, Convenor of Bajrangdal.