Talk at TISS - An experience to remember

Below are the posts from two of the organisers of the Rajiv Malhotra "The Battle for Sanskrit" book talk event yesterday, 29 Jan 2016, at TISS in Mumbai. There are many takeaways from this post and hence it is reproduced here in full and almost as soon as it has appeared on the forum. 

Aditya writes:

Rajiv ji has often chided us and calls us Emotional Fools. % times I had to change the tone of this mail to sober it down.

There were several lessons to learn:

1.  First of all, I observed that Rajiv ji was fully equipped with all facts and figures and anticipated the hostile audience brilliantly. His homework was superb. 

He utilized this opportunity to not only place his views but was well aware of the reach of you tube video. 

Now the brilliant part was that he actually said this " I will use this excellent opening that you have given me" and he went on to do just that. 

As soon as he said above words, we (his shishyas / fans  / readers) were jubiliant and this was the loudest clap I have ever heard.  Lefties were stunned and silent when their trump card turned out to be damp squib. They were actually in minority in that hall, because many people came there.  

2. Second, his calmness and unperturbed demeanour was quite reassuring. Not once did he become emotional but stuck to facts.    
Today's event was a lesson in how to turn adversity onto opportunity. 

3. Not letting control go till his points were made: There were repeated attempts to intervene. He did not give ground. In a calm and studied manner he explained various points one by one. We were having a time of our life. Cheering and savouring each moment we could not but be amazed at his control.

4. Finally the bogey of Intolerance was at full display. When Commies lost argument, their tolerance vanished rather quickly!! They started to panic and create ruckus. But there was no conviction in that. 

Finally I want to say that this event was crucial because it was in a domain controlled by leftist bastion. Our supporters in TISS campus are outnumbered by a ratio of 9:1. It is kudos to the organizing team of TISS that they insisted on inviting Rajiv ji against all odds. 

Simultaneously Rajiv ji was also very keen to have this talk. He was very well prepared. This preparation was infact was a live workshop for some of us on how to be IK. 

Do not miss this video at any cost.

Lata writes:

been in TISS for 30 years not employed, but in various other capacities, first time someone from saffron brigade "allowed" to speak. the student showed immnese courage, at first didnt want to file FIR, finally mustered courage and has filed FIR at Tromaby, but believ me our kids are running scared. both the boys girls. thankyou rajivji for the talk, feel this is a gamechanger feel the students who organised should be truly saluted as to pickup courage in the face of goondaism, physical psychological threats it takes real courage to host Rajivji. and believe me, I have been at the receiving end a lot of time.

also I was with the students, she was not molested, but manhandled and in lot of pain. courageous student and her girl friends particularly. also they got hassled because the event was being recorded. why the fear i wonder! on girl even came to the bookstand and said she will burn the books. truly sad, this indoctrination, they are just like jihadis. One student asked a question calling himself Rohith vemula

Lata later adds some further news that is quite disturbing. She writes:

dont celebrate so soon most people dont know what's happening. The commies have got their act together again threatening students who organised the talk, and they unlike us supported by a powerful lobby. we only armchair crusade. not one supporter there when student who was manhandled filed her case. and now TISS is filing a case on her. so much for these poor guys sticking their neck out. Anyway I am in close contact with this girl and supporting her, working out strategy. but she is shaken angry, and our students are a strong resilient lot.

Here is the video of this watershed lecture at TISS

Correspondence between a visibly (going by the tone of her email) shaken Lata and the diirector of TISS who wrote to Rajiv expressing regret for what happened at the campus.

Director TISS said:

Dear Rajiv ji
Thanks for your talk at the TISS campus yesterday (29th January) evening. I was away from Mumbai and thus missed your lecture.
I was informed at about 8.30pm - as I was at the airport - a few students behaved in an inappropriate manner.
Such behaviour is against the principles upheld by the institute - listen to and understand differing perspectives without prejudice. This principle was breached yesterday. I am sorry for the incident.
The environment in academic institutions in the country is disturbed and we shall try to get the situation normal.
With regards
S. Parasuraman 
Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

To this Rajiv said:

I have received the following email from the Director of TISS. I am impressed by his candidness, and his desire to address the issue of breach of standards at his prestigious institution.

Lata was not at all convinced. She said:

Sorry I am not impressed by this defence. Sorry Dr parasuram, your Institution has been taken over by a handful of Jihadis who speak for all of TISS. in fact how is it that your student Union  has sent a letter to the students that they did not invite Rajivji, you'll are not on the same page. Plus the manhandled lady student is fearful as she is being [pressurised by your faculty to drop the case, and the SC atrocity case threat also has been issued. 

not only was yesterday event beautifully preplanned by the Goondas, but even their shadyantra today, why is this letter only to Rajivji, why not to the public & your students (who are running scared, think in filing an FIR your student has shown great courage in the face of serious physical & psychological threat) as your Student Union leader (Name withheld since a student) has done. looks like Ambedkar Union (that too a handful) running the institute. 
 I have been associated with TISS since 32 years & known you since 1990 as my teacher first & a fellow educator. you have been extremely supportive over the last 20 years. especially with my Phd. if you remember even when we invited Gurumurthyji, posters were torn off and we got threats. but like Rajivji yesterday, gurumurthyji also had full house.
It is only in the last 10 to 12 years esp after the BJP govt in power that this kind of goondaism & indoctrination has happened. I am deeply distressed that my ALMAMater which has had a huge role to play in my growth as a human being, a hugely premier institution fall to such pathetic levels of an invited guest being called "Thief", plagiarist, heckled, girl student manhandled, another girl threatend to burn books at the counter. if you'll educators refuse to see the writing on the wall Rohithmurder & TN Tiple suicide is just tip of iceberg. students are there to learn and not be agents of the West for a fellowships/foreign trips. 
I hope you will see my critique in the angst of educator who is clearly saddened & distressed at the state our children & youth are in. my only interest & Mission statement as you know is the wellbeing of our children (all indian children, not just Dalit/Muslim), I look at this as huge intellectual bankruptcy and the Rajivji Breaking India prediction frcutifying.

The Director TISS responded thus:

You are using some sweeping conclusions.
I have set up a committee to review the issues and suggest suitable action.
Mr Rajiv Malhotra was invited by a forum of the institute and not by the Students Union. I received a request from the forum to invite Rajivji and I approved the request and instructed them to take care of all aspects. Once I came to know if the behaviour I wrote to Rajivji expressing my regret.
Some form of polarisation is evident and we have been talking to the student body to not to politicise the issues. It has been tough job dealing with the divergent views of different groups among the students. Last year we cancelled talks by scholars from within and outside the country on Kashmir and Leftwing Extremism. The campus certainly got no Jihadis - we work very closely with law enforcement agencies and TISS security to keep a careful watch of unwanted elements. The Security of the Nation-State is paramount. 

A despondent Lata responded with:

ear Dr Parasuraman, 
I respect your assessment of the situation but a few points to say that the conclusions are not sweeping but very responsibly made:

  1. A lady student has been manhandled, majority of the students are fearful and a committee is on without the victim. also sure the committee will be full of Leftists. She has not been spoken to. instead of supporting her threats have been made with SC/ST atrocity act. also the girl was in tears, she felt as HINDU received no support fm anyone.
  2. the other forum who invited Rajivji were forced to do so as the Student Union only invite people who represent their selective agenda, the campus is already politicised. 
  3. We after Rajivji (who has nothing to do with politics but is established scholar) left were heckled as BrahminWadi, pushed around with RSS Murdabad slogan. I AM NOT CONNECTED WITH ANY POLITICAL OUTFIT yet was abused and pushed around. as an indivdual & Hindu dont i have a redressal forum & feel as impotent & helpless as the Lady student.
  4. One student came to the counter and told him I will burn all your books". this is the language of the Jihadis in terms of fundamentalistic thought like with Taslima Nasreen/JoeDcruz. sorry this is not "listen to and understand differing perspectives without prejudice."
  5. Talks on Kashmir & Leftwing Extremism yet  teesta setalvad ilina sen sudheendra  Kulharni of the so called liberal brigade invited, YET                     S Gurumurthy or Rajiv Malhotra or MadhuKishwar  banned by the Students Unions/TISS
  6. most importantly they threatened the recording person, the cops had to come in, what are they afraid of? is this freedom of expression? what are they hiding? at no other venues has rajivji been banned. 
I understand its a tough job as all our  jobs & responsibilities, that's precisely why I am voicing my opinion, its about reimagining futures not about Hindutva/RSS or brahmanwadi, the discourse  yesterday was not only frightening, but intellectually bankrupt at the same level of Sakshi maharaj or Owaisi

I only hope considering what TISS stands for this matter is understood from all perspectives and every Indian's voice is hear and RESPECTED especially of our WOMEN, who as Anita Desai said are the Keeper of our tales. 

Lata finally ended with a very sad observation:

also would like an end to this conversation as feel its pointless, finally as a Hindu I will discrimated/threatened, abused/patronised/my gods abused and most imp not heard as only the Dalit nonHindu is important in India "Nation state"

1 comment:

  1. This is a dreadful state of affairs at TISS. The institution has fallen and it is a disgrace how the "other" voice is not allowed to be heard. How can the Faculty let the female student, who was manhandled, feel threatened by the Student Union? The left has made the academic institutions bankruptin India. If the Faculty does not remedy this the long term fate of your institution is numbered. TISS will loose its prestigious status - what parent would want to spend money to educate their children to turn out to be nincompoops of the lowest order! Rajivji we salute you for your brilliance for debating and intellectual prowess.