New Delhi: A group of students and teachers from two Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) have written to the Prime Minister, observing that his silence on the rising intolerance in the country emboldens the “hate-filled voices”.
The letter sent to the Prime Minister’s office had 183 signatories, including 16 faculty members, from the IIMs in Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and Bangalore (IIM-B). A copy was also sent to The Wire.
“Your silence on the rising intolerance in our country, Honourable Prime Minister, is disheartening to all of us who value the multicultural fabric of our country. Your silence, Honourable Prime Minister, emboldens the hate-filled voices and threatens the unity and integrity of our country,” the letter says.
Urging the prime minister to steer the country away from “forces that seek to divide us”, the letter noted that the Indian constitution gives every citizen the right to practice any religion without fear and shame.
“There is a sense of fear in our country now – places of worship, including churches in recent days, are being vandalised, and there have been calls to take arms against our Muslim brothers and sisters. All of this is carried out with impunity and without any fear of due process,” the letter said.
The letter sought the PM’s “leadership to turn our minds and hearts, as a nation, away from inciting hatred against our people”.
“We believe that a society can focus on creativity, innovation and growth, or society can create divisions within itself. We want to build an India that stands as an exemplar of inclusiveness and diversity in the world. We, the undersigned faculty, staff and students of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, hope and pray that you will lead the country in making the right choices,” it added.
According to the Indian Express, the letter was drafted by five faculty members of IIM-B: assistant professor, strategy, Prateek Raj; associate professor, public policy, Deepak Malghan; associate professor, entrepreneurship, Dalhia Mani; associate professor, decision sciences, Rajluxmi V. Murthy and associate professor, public policy, Hema Swaminathan.
Other faculty signatories from IIM-B include Rahul Dé, dean of programmes and chairperson of the Office of International Affairs and Manaswini Bhalla, chairperson of the economics and social sciences section.
From IIM-A, JSW chair professor of innovation and public policy and dean of alumni and external relations, Rakesh Basant was one of the three faculty members who signed the letter.
Speaking to the Express, Raj said that a group of students and faculty took the initiative as “silence was not an option any more.”
“For far too long, the mainstream discourse has dismissed the voices of hate as the fringe. That’s how we are here,” he said.
He stated that the objective of the signatories was to underline the fact that “if voices of hate are loud, voices of reason should be louder”.
The report also stated that while for Raj, it was Bangalore MP Tejasvi Surya’s speech calling for a “quota” for Hindus to convert Muslims and Christians, there was a similar trigger for other signatories, such as the recent attacks on Christian congregations and the genocidal calls by the Haridwar Dharam Sansad.
The full text of letter is appended below:
4th January 2022
Dear Honourable Prime Minister:
We, the undersigned, request you and our elected members to preserve the culture of tolerance and diversity that defines our great nation. Hate speeches and calls for violence against communities based on religion/caste identities is unacceptable. Our Constitution gives us the right to practice our religion with dignity – without fear, without shame. There is a sense of fear in our country now – places of worship, including churches in recent days, are being vandalised, and there have been calls to take arms against our Muslim brothers and sisters. All of this is carried out with impunity and without any fear of due process.
We expect our leaders to safeguard our Constitutional rights. We expect our leaders to ensure safety and security for every Indian citizen. We expect our leaders to motivate us to be human and look beyond differences based on caste, religion, language, and other identities. Your silence on the rising intolerance in our country, Honourable Prime Minister, is disheartening to all of us who value the multicultural fabric of our country. Your silence, Honourable Prime Minister, emboldens the hate-filled voices and threatens the unity and integrity of our country.
We request you, Honourable Prime Minister, to stand firm against forces that seek to divide us. We ask your leadership to turn our minds and hearts, as a nation, away from inciting hatred against our people. We believe that a society can focus on creativity, innovation, and growth, or society can create divisions within itself. We want to build an India that stands as an exemplar of inclusiveness and diversity in the world.
We, the undersigned faculty, staff, and students of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), hope and pray that you will lead the country in making the right choices.
(All signatures below are in a personal capacity and alphabetical order)
Abhinav D R P
Abid Ahmed Khan
Abu Rehan Abbasi
Abu Shahir M S
Akshay Pratap Horo
Arjit Kumar Prince
Chadive Roopesh Reddy
Lakshmi C Rajeev
Mamata Anurag Salakapurapu
Md Shahrukh Anjum
Mir Autif Mohammad
Mohammad Farhan Maktabay
Mopidevi Jyothi Swaroop
Nelphy Rose Siby
Nithin Kumar Peratla
P C Narayan
Rahul Reddy Bikka
Rajluxmi V Murthy
Ravi Shankar Pandey
Rudrabhatla Bharath Kumar
Sai Sowmya Aasi
Satish Kumar Korada
Selvamuthu Thirukumaran M
Shihas Abdul Razak
Shreyas Krishna Seethapathy
Sk Aminoor Rahman
Srikrishna Manikanta Pani JVM
Tenzing Choppel Gensapa
Vishal Laxman Bengeri