Tag Archives: Thorat Committee

Operation Eklavya in Action at Premier Institutes

India is neglecting caste-based discrimination in higher educational institutions at its own peril.

AIIMS Caste Discrimination

It was exactly 13 years back that the Thorat Committee, constituted in September 2006 to enquire into allegations of differential treatment of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students at the premier medical institute, AIIMS—was released.

The first of its kind in independent India, this three-member committee led by then chairman of the University Grants Commission, Sukhdeo Thorat, had looked deeply into the many shades of discrimination faced by students of non-elite castes in the institute.

What it discovered after talking to students and faculty was, to say the least, shocking. Some 72% of SC/ST students mentioned facing some discrimination during the teaching sessions. Second, caste-based discrimination was prevalent in the hostels, for instance around 88% students reported experiencing of social isolation in various forms. The committee’s report also outlined the discrimination faced by SC/ST professors.

This context frames the alleged suicide attempt of a female doctor a fortnight ago in the same institute. The doctor, who worked at the Dental Research Centre of AIIMS, was allegedly facing sexual harassment and caste discrimination. This is another reminder that there has not been a qualitative change in the institute in the long years since the Thorat Committee report.

( )Read the full article here)

MSS Pandian Responds to S K Thorat

Following the submission of the report by the Committee to Review NCERT Textbooks, we had posted the full text of the Report in Kafila, along with Prof MSS Pandian’s Note of Dissent. The controversy has since continued over the report as well as Pandian’s Note of Dissent, many questioning the very term ‘note of dissent’ on the ground that he had not participated in the proceedings of the Committee. Recently Prof Sukhdeo Thorat, head of the Committee has further put this point of view in print in The Hindu which has been followed by a response by MSS Pandian.

Since we have had a long and lively debate on the matter of the ‘Ambedkar cartoon’ in Kafila and the controversy seems to be continuing now in a different form, we reproduce here the links to the articles by Sukhdeo Thorat and MSS Pandian. In his piece, Sukhdeo Thorat defends the Committee’s work and presents his opinion on Pandian’s non-participation. Pandian responds in his piece raising serious questions about the way the work of the Committee proceeded from its early stages by excluding members. We present the links to these two pieces here so that readers can form their own judgement on the Committee’s work.