Published: 07th September 2023
“Eating meat causes landslides,” IIT Mandi director allegedly says in viral video; students, netizens react
The video and the director’s comments have been slammed for their irrationality. Students of IIT Mandi allege that such comments are common from the director
Amidst all the ado about the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi, a new video of its Director Prof Laxmidhar Behra has surfaced, and is drawing flak on social media.
In the video, the director is seen addressing an audience comprising students from IIT Mandi in an auditorium, it has been learnt. He goes on to claim that natural disasters like landslides and cloud bursts happen due to the consumption of meat. The director also allegedly made the students take an oath that they would not eat meat.
“Himachal Pradesh will have a significant downfall if innocent animals are butchered… You are butchering them!”, Behra says, in the now-infamous video. He is also heard declaring, “To be a good human being, what do you have to do? Say no to meat eating!”
Director made similar comments before, allege students
A student at IIT Mandi, who requested that his identity be kept anonymous, alleges that the director has made similar conservative comments on various other topics as well. “The director said similar things about homosexuality, and how it is bad and abnormal. He also made degrading comments on people’s sexuality and the sexual lives of PhD scholars at IIT Mandi,” the student claims.
Allegedly, the director claimed to have “cured some students of IIT Kanpur of homosexuality” in a Teachers' Day address, students claim.
Moral policing on campus?
These are not just comments, admittedly — as they seemingly percolate their way into the institute’s day-to-day functioning. “Our mess serves what they call 'satvik food', which is essentially food without onion or garlic. Not only that, but the mess cooks are also taught how to make this food,” the student alleges. As a result of this, he claims, students are finding the food to be unpalatable, and this has been leading to a lot of food waste.
What is even more insidious, several students from IIT Mandi say, is that the director has been trying to impose these sanctions and restrictions on the students, especially on first-year students. Another student at IIT Mandi says that ever since the director assumed the post a few months ago, instances of moral policing have increased on campus.
“The director tried to ban meat in the campus mess, and we students strongly opposed that. We even had an open house on campus around this issue, where he made similar remarks. When we tried to counter them, he refused to listen to us,” the student alleged. Now, the institute’s administration has started a new mess complex only for first-year students, in which, meat is not allowed, he alleged.
Similarly, the student claimed that the administration is conducting room inspections at odd hours and probing into the interpersonal relations of students.
Such statements and actions are extremely unbecoming for the director of an institute for science education, the student says. “These betray an unscientific mindset and feel very invasive to our personal lives. As young students and citizens of a democratic country, we expect that our eating habits and sexuality are not constantly monitored by the management,” he adds.
Several people on the internet share the same sentiment as the students and criticised the director for his comments.
For example, Sandeep Manudhane (@sandeep_PT), an educator, tweeted “...The collapse is complete. These superstitious fools will destroy whatever little was built in 70 years.”
IIT Mandi's Director Laxmidhar Behera claimed earlier that he drove out ghosts using chants.— Sandeep Manudhane (@sandeep_PT) September 7, 2023
Now the same chap has claimed that Himachal Pradesh landslides are because people eat meat, causing cloudbursts. Then he forced students to take an oath "I will not eat meat". (yes, he…
Similarly, Gautam Menon, a Professor of Biophysics tweeted, “In the current dispensation, having views like those of the Director of IIT Mandi featured here is a feature, not a bug. It's simply sad.”
In the current dispensation, having views like those of the Director of IIT Mandi featured here is a feature, not a bug. It's simply sad. https://t.co/4auwFGeyU6— Gautam Menon (@MenonBioPhysics) September 7, 2023
Reportedly, it is not the first time that the director was caught making such incredible claims. In early 2022, it was reported that he claimed that he “drove out evil spirits” out of his friend’s home by chanting “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna.”
EdexLive has reached out to IIT Mandi for an official comment. The copy will be updated as and when a response is received