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. Continue reading A letter to Father Frazer Mascarenhas SJ
On April 21st, 2014, Dr. Frazer Mascarenhas, S.J., Principal of St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, posted a letter on the college’s official website. In it, Fr. Mascarenhas, who also teaches a course in Anthropology of Development, dissected the “Gujarat model of development”. He warned against the dangers posed by an “alliance of corporate capital and communal forces coming to power”, and stressing the importance of a strong welfare state, ended by informing students to “choose well.”
The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, claiming this was “an attempt to influence the minds of students”, and that it “violated the Model Code of Conduct.” A simultaneous campaign on electronic and social media alleged Fr. Mascarenhas had overstepped his authority. Unfortunately, all this is being said on behalf of students of St Xavier’s, without considering their views on the same.
While we as alumni and students might not agree unanimously with Fr. Mascarenhas’ statement, or the method he chose to disseminate it, we strongly oppose the biased media reports and falsehoods propagated on social media, which are twisting this case beyond merit. Thus, we, students and alumni of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, wish to strongly bring home a few points: Continue reading Speak to us, not for us: students respond to media coverage of the St Xavier’s letter