New Delhi | A group of IIT Bombay faculty members has said that some institutes of higher learning have become safe haven for activities that are not in nation’s interests and urged President Pranab Mukherjee to convey students to not become victims of the ideological warfare on campuses. The petition of the 60 members comes in the wake of a statement issued by another group of IIT-B faculty members, which came out in support of the agitating JNU students and said the State should not dictate meaning of nationalism.
In a letter to the President, the 60 members of the institute claimed that the JNU row undermines national interest and provides ample indication that certain groups are trying to make use of the young minds in premier institutions to create an environment of abuse and acrimony instead of peace and harmony. Besides JNU, we note that certain other institutes of higher learning are also treated as safe haven for activities that are not in national interests.
Some of the brilliant young minds, instead of engaging themselves in activities that would provide a healthy atmosphere for the educational institutions to become academically highly productive, involve themselves under the pretext of freedom of expression in activities that vitiate the academic atmosphere. We make a humble submission to you to make a call to the young brilliant minds of our nation not to indulge in or become victims of the ideological warfare and thereby, waste their time, energy and national resources, but to engage in promotion of serious scholarship that would take the nation forward, they wrote to the President.
On February 20, another group of IIT-B’s faculty members had condemned the overreach of the State in various educational institutions and alleged attempts to stifle dissent and suppress differences. The State cannot dictate on the many meanings of what it is to be Indian or mandate the meaning of nationalism. Rather, the State should be the one that makes sure that multiple ways of imagining one’s relationship with the nation are allowed to flourish especially when it might contradict dominant ways of thinking, the faculty members had said in a joint statement.
However, a group of IIT Madras faculty members had recently come out in open against the anti-national sloganeering at the JNU event and written to the President in this regard. The sloganeering at JNU was definitely not limited to expressing differences with the administration or the Government of India. The voices clearly demanded the secession of Jammu and Kashmir and this ended up in creating huge tension in the academia, they said.
The slogans raised by various groups reveal the ulterior motives to support anti-national activities by disrespecting our judiciary, our government, and the Office of the President of India by calling the death penalty handed to Afzal Guru, Parliament attack convict as Judicial Killing. We condemn this expression in no uncertain terms. We also strongly affirm that it is the primary duty of every Indian to respect and protect the sovereignty and integrity of India, they said.