In the last two weeks, two teachers of humanities in leading institutes of higher education in the country have been denounced by Hindutva ideologues and advocates as “Hamas sympathisers”.

One of the teachers had organised a talk and film screening on the Israel-Palestine conflict. The second had defended inviting a scholar on international relations to speak about the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

More importantly, it is videos shot by students of the institutes and leaked on social media that have been used to drive the campaigns against Sameena Dalwai, a professor at the OP Jindal Global University, a private liberal arts university in Haryana, and Sharmishta Saha, an assistant professor of humanities at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Scroll spoke to students and professors at both institutions to understand how talks, lectures and disagreements between teachers and students led to accusations of “Hinduphobia”, a visit from the Haryana women’s commission and even a police complaint.

A film screening

On November 6, a documentary film, Arna’s Children, was screened at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. The film by Juliano Mer Khamis is about the efforts of his mother, Arna, an activist against Israeli occupation of Palestine, to involve the children of Jenin in theatre.

Publisher, theatre director and actor Sudhanva Deshpande was invited by Sharmistha Saha to give a talk about the film before it was screened.

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