Endorsed by academics, activists and educationists across India.
In these troubling times, when the mightiest are being bought over, lured, seduced, or silenced, we salute you for your courage and moral clarity in asking your students to choose wisely. By drawing the attention of your students (who would have voted for the first time) to the seamy underbelly of a ‘model’ that is being promoted unabashedly by the corporate media as the panacea of all that which ails India, we believe you acted responsibly and ethically. The purpose of education is to inculcate critical thinking, to provide
tools of analysis, and to make students sensitive to social realities – no matter how unpleasant they may be. Far from abusing your position, as the BJP is alleging, we think that your advice is the appropriate way for a teacher, and head of an academic institution, to act.
There is reason, the BJP and its allies, ought to know, why educational institutions, despite being funded fully or partially by the government, are autonomous. This autonomy protects the right of the academic to critique the government, leaders and policies without fear. By rushing to the EC, the BJP has made a frontal attack on this intellectual freedom which is constitutionally guaranteed. Besides, this is very obviously a legally dishonest move: the code of conduct applies only to political parties and not to private individuals or social groups. Surely a party which is pretending to have already formed the government should know this simple rule.
We are amused to read in the papers that local BJP leaders have said that “we are ready to engage with the students in an open debate. But the Principal should have withheld his views till such debate.” This
comes only a day after BJP cadres assaulted political opponents on a live TV broadcast from Benaras. So much for open debate!
Your letter has prompted many mainstream media houses to question the propriety of a college principal in writing a letter to students on the eve of polling. We also believe that institutional spaces, while retaining the right to be fiercely critical, should remain non-partisan. Those who are quick to condemn and pillory you however conveniently ignore that you only presented a critique – that
incidentally many democratic minded citizens share – without recommending any political party.
Moreover, no questions have been raised about the way in which educational institutions have been used systematically over the last year or so, to build the Supreme Leader’s image among the youth. All TV channels broadcast Modi’s Sri Ram Memorial Oration at Sri Ram College of Commerce (DU) live last year; newspapers carried full-page ads of the SRM University’s convocation ceremony where Modi was the
chief guest. Similarly, no channel is aghast at Modi’s plans to take chopper tours of BHU and Kashi Vidyapeeth. This hypocrisy is nauseating.
In an election marked by hyperbole, arrogance, threats and insinuations, your letter, written with remarkable restraint and sagacity will remain an important intervention. NOMOre stands with you
wholeheartedly and extends to you our sincerest solidarity.
Issued by NOMOre Campaign, a non-funded, non-party affiliated secular platform. We do not endorse any political party.
April 25, 2014
Abha Bhaiya, activist, Himachal Pradesh
Aditya Mukherjee, Professor of Contemporary History, Centre for
Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Aditya Nigam, CSDS, Delhi
Ahmed Sohaib, academic, Delhi
Alia Sinha, MA student, School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata
Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Amarjit Singh, Mumbai
Amita Kanekar, Independent scholar, Panjim, Goa.
Anchita Ghatak, development professional, Kolkata
Anjali Monteiro, Ph.D., Professor & Dean, School of Media and Cultural
Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Ankita Pandey, Assistant Professor, Indraprastha College for Women,
Delhi University, Delhi
Anomita Sen, Delhi
Ansari Najmus Saher
Anu Kumar, writer, Maryland, USA
Professor Archana Prasad, Jawaharlal Nehru University Delhi
Anusha Rizvi, filmmaker, Delhi
Arzanne De Vitre, Teacher and Xavier Alumni, Bombay / Norway
Ashwini Deshpande, Delhi University, New Delhi
Asha Mishra, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti
Asit, social activist, Delhi
Atul Sood, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Bindhulakshmi Pattadath, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Brinda Bose, Delhi University, New Delhi.
Battini Rao, Convener, People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS)
Benny Kuruvilla, Researcher, Delhi and Xaviers Alumni Class of 1997
Bina Sarkar Ellias
Bindhulakshmi Pattadath, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Brinda Bose, Delhi University, New Delhi
Brinelle D’souza, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Charu Gargi, Tallinn, Estonia
Chayanika Shah, member, university women development cell, university of mumbai
Chrissie D Costa, former student and staff of SXC, UK
Sr. Claudette, Miranda DSP
Fr. Cleophas Braganza, sdb, DBYS, Mumbai
Coral D’Sylva, Alumni, St Xaviers College
CP Chandrasekhar, Professor of Economics, JNU
Disha Mullick, Delhi
Durgesh, Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, Tata Institute of
Dyuti, New Delhi
Farida Lamba, advocate, Mumbai
Firoz S Khimani
Felicia Pledger-Cardoz, alumnus, St. Xavier’s college, Bombay
Dr. Fleur D’Souza, Thane
Gauri Nori, Alumna, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai
Geeta Kapur, independent art critic, New Delhi
Geeta Seshu, Journalist, Mumbai
George Jose, Kings College, London
Glen D’Costa, Mumbai
Glenn Fawcett, Executive Director Operations, Lotus Outreach International,.
Harsh Mander, Aman Biradari, Delhi
Himali Kapil, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Hussain Indorewala, Mumbai
Indira Chandrasekhar, New Delhi
Indu Rajesh, Xavier Alumni and banker, Sydney
Janaki Nair,Professor,Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Janaki Srinivasan, Assistant Professor, Panjab University, Chandigarh
Janice Lazarus, TISS, Hyderabad
Jasdeep Singh, Software Engineer, Translator, Chandigarh
Jason Keith Fernandes, Independent Scholar, Taleigão Goa
Jaya Sharma, New Delhi
Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
K. Ramnarayan, Munsiari, Uttarakhand
K.P. Jayasankar, Ph.D., Professor & Chair, Centre for Critical Media
Praxis, School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social
Kabi Sherman, Bombay
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, advocate, Mumbai
Karuna D’Souza, Delhi
Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA Secretary
Ketaki Chowkhani, TISS, Mumbai
Ketaki Rege, Lawyer, Mumbai
Kriti Budhiraja, JNU
Kiran Shaheen, Journalist and Anti Poverty Activist
Kislay, Student, Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
Labia Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Mumbai
Lavanya Ramakrishnan, Software Engineer, US
Lesley A. Esteves, queer rights activist, New Delhi
Lorraine D’Souza, Mumbai
Madhuresh Kumar, NAPM Delhi
Mamatha Karollil, Ambedkar University, Delhi(AUD)
Mario da Penha, St. Xavier’s Alumnus & Historian, Mumbai
Mahmood Farooqui, writer and theatre artist, Delhi
Maharukh Adenwalla, Advocate, Mumbai
Manisha Sethi, Academic, Delhi
Mansi Sharma, activist, Delhi
Marcia D Cunha
Mary E. John, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS).
Mary Kochuveettil, St Mary and Community
Maya Krishna Rao
Meena Saraswathi Seshu, SANGRAM, Sangli
Prof. Mridula Mukherjee, Professor of Modern Indian History, Centre
for Historical Studies and Dean, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal
Nadia Dsouza, Mumbai
Nandini Rao, Delhi,
Navjot Altaf, artist, Mumbai
Neha Lamech, Student, London school of hygiene and tropical Medicine, Chennai.
Nikhil Titus, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and Xaviers alumni, 2007
Nishant Shah, Professor, Leuphana University, Lueneburg, Germany
Niti Saxena, Lucknow
Nivedita Menon, JNU, Delhi
Noella de Souza, Avehi-Abacus Project, Mumbai
Noor, Xavier Alumni, New Delhi
Noor Enayat, Brand Consultant, New Delhi
Proshant Chakraborty, Alumni, St Xavier’s, 2013
Prabha Saha, Alumni, media professional, Class of ’92
Prabhat Patnaik, JNU, Delhi
Sr. Pratiksha Rathod F.C.St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Mumbai
Proshant Chakraborty, Xavier Alumni, 2013, Bombay
Purwa Bharadwaj, Writer/Researcher, Delhi
Ram Puniyani, All India Secular Forum
Rama Shyam, Governing Board member, SAHER
Ratna, lawyer, New Delhi
Rituparna Borah, queer feminist activist, Delhi
Rohan Dsouza, Mumbai
Rohini Hensman, independent scholar and writer, Bombay
Dr R.S.Dahiya, HGVS Haryana
Sadia Zafar, University of Oxford, Oxford
Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, New Delhi
Sameera Khan, independent journalist and researcher, Mumbai
Sangeeta Banerji, Tata institute of Social Sciences
Saumyajit Bhattacharya, Delhi UNiversity.
Shabani Hassanwalia, filmmaker, New Delhi
Shalini Mahajan, Mumbai
Shalini Nirmal, Ghaziabad
Shalini Sharma, Guwahati
Shazia Nigar, Journalist, Bhubaneswar
Sheba Chacchi, independent artist and activist, New Delhi
Shilpa Phadke, Assistant Professor, School of Media and Cultural
Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and Xavier alumni
Shipra Nigam, Consultant Economist, New Delhi
Shiraz Bulsara Prabhu, Activist Kashtakari Sanghatana, Thane District
Shoba V Ghosh, University of Mumbai
Shruti Mukherjee, TARSHI
Shyama Narang, Medical Doctor, Bangalore
Simantini Dhuru, documentary filmmaker, education activist
Stephanie D’sa, Content writer and Xavier Alumni, Mumbai
Sukla Sen, EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity), Mumbai
Sumi Krishna, independent scholar and writer, Bangalore
Suroor, advocate and child rights activist
Tanima, activist, Mumbai
Tanushree Gangopadhyay, Ahmedabad
Tavpritesh Sethi, Scientist, Delhi
Tejaswini Pendse, Xavier Alumni, Mumbai
Tejaswini Niranjana, Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore
Tushar Joag, Associate Professor, School of Art, Design and Performing
Arts, Shiv Nadar University
Uma Chakravarti, feminist historian, New Delhi
Umang Bhattacharya, filmmaker and photographer, New Delhi
Urmimala Sarkar, Associate Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics,
Jawaharlal Nehru University
Vahida Nainar, Women’s Rights, Human Rights Law Researcher
Vaibhav Parel, Delhi University
Vineeta Bal, Scientist, New Delhi.
Vinita Bhatia, Associate Professor, St Xaviers College, Mumbai
Vinita Sahasranaman, Gurgaon
Virginia Saldanha, Indian Christian Women’s Movement, Mumbai
Vivan Sundaram, Independent artist, Delhi
17 thoughts on “A letter to Father Frazer Mascarenhas SJ”
One feels so blessed when goodness comes together to defend the brave.
Fr Fraser’s response :
Thank you very much for the support. I am glad that my attempt to generate some critical thinking among our students in the context of the elections has reached a wider audience. I trust that much good will come out of all this. Am very privileged to receive your well enunciated letter, signed by many who I myself admire and am inspired by. Pledging solidarity in the struggle for good governance and true development.
Frazer Mascarenhas S.J.
Please accept my endorsement too- I could not manage to send it to the e-mail id because of problems with connectivity.
JayasreeSubramanian, TISS Hyderabad
And some other endorsements sent, they are still pouring in :
Hartman de Souza
Amrita Gupta-Singh, Mumbai
Dr.(Mrs) Farrukh Waris, Principal, Burhani College, Mumbai
Neha Naqvi, activist for gender justice and human rights, New Delhi
Ayesha Mualla, St Xavier’s alumnus
Neelam Man Singh
Venita Fernandes, Women’s Commission, Mumbai
Nisar Ahmad Khan
Ritoo M Jerath
The malicious intentions to ambush Fr.Frazer’s line of logical reasoning from becoming an effective belief with the young voters is an attack on the entire Academea to scare them into silence.It has happened before with Rohinton Mistry,Bhandarkar institute and several other instances but unfortunately we did not come out in open protest of the bans though we were unhappy with it. ‘ We the people’ should not only show one time solidarity with this incident but take FRAZERIAN model and oppose injustice of any type,against anybody since we have the power of the pen.
Dr(mrs) Farrukh Waris
Principal Burhani College
Fully support this endorsement and will give widest possible publicity to it at my level.
Kindly accept my endorsement too.
I fully endorse the views of the Principal as well as the views expressed by the academics through this open letter.
Thank you for this letter. Solidarity,
Absolutely agree with this letter!!! It is the duty of the teacher to guide his/her students. This is expected of a guru and Father did exactly that!
it is so heartening to know that there is a ‘voice’ that is coming out in spite of ….
i am with all of you…
Thanks to Fr Fraser’s timely appeal we are much better off in having a much publicised debate. Kudos to the courageous stand!!!
Fatima de Corla Souza
I fully endorse Fr. Frazer’s views laying out clearly the issues involved without endorsing or criticizing any party. He merely concludes “vote wisely”.
Reading such articles gives me faith in the intelligence of our people.
Sometimes it just seems that our country is full of morons who are totally illogical and unreasonable. An illiterate crowd hyper excited by mass hysteria.
What Father wrote made a lot of sense. And I want more people to use their own brains and analyse the ground realities without going chaotic and believing whatever they get to hear from others.
Intelligence and Knowledge is the solution to all the problems our country faces.
Salutes for your COURAGE, FATHER………
I salute you Father. Many powerful people like to comment,but they are afried to do