Published: 08th January 2022
In a letter to the PM, IIM students, faculty urge him to turn nation's minds and hearts "away from inciting hatred"
When faculty members and students realised that “silence was not an option any more”, the decision to write the letter was taken, shared Assistant Professor Prateek Raj
Students and members of faculty from the Indian Institutes of Management in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad addressed a letter to the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on January 7, flagging hate speech and the relentless attack on minority communities. They expressed that the silence of the PM “emboldens” hate-filled voices.
As per a report in The Indian Express, the letter, which was mailed to the office of the PM, has 183 signatories, which includes 13 faculty members from IIM Bangalore and three from IIM Ahmedabad.
“Your silence on the rising intolerance in our country, Honourable Prime Minister, is disheartening to all of us who value the multicultural fabric of our country. Your silence, Honourable Prime Minister, emboldens the hate-filled voices and threatens the unity and integrity of our country,” says the letter and goes on to urge the PM to guide the country away from “forces that seek to divide us”.
It is five faculty members of IIM Bangalore who drafted the letter and their names are Prateek Raj (Assistant Professor of Strategy); Deepak Malghan (Associate Professor, Public Policy), who is also a prominent ecological economist; Dalhia Mani (Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship); Rajluxmi V Murthy (Associate Professor, Decision Sciences); and Hema Swaminathan (Associate Professor, Public Policy).
Among the other IIM Bangalore faculty members who signed the letter are Ishwar Murthy who is Professor of Decision Sciences; Kanchan Mukherjee, Professor, Organizational Behavior & Human Resources Management; Arpit S, Assistant Professor, Public Policy, Rahul Dé, Professor, Information Systems; Sai Yayavaram, Professor of Strategy; Rajalaxmi Kamath, Associate Professor, Public Policy, Ritwik Banerjee, Associate Professor, Economics and Social Sciences; and Manaswini Bhalla, Associate Professor, Economics and Social Sciences.
The signatories who work at IIM Ahmedabad are Professor Ankur Sarin, Public Systems Group; Professor Navdeep Mathur and Professor Rakesh Basant, Economics.
When faculty members and students realised that “silence was not an option any more”, the decision to write the letter was taken, shared Assistant Professor Prateek Raj. “For far too long, the mainstream discourse has dismissed the voices of hate as the fringe. That’s how we are here,” he told The Indian Express. He went on to add that the aim of the signatories was to highlight the fact that “if voices of hate are loud, voices of reason should be louder”.
The recent attack on churches and the Haridwar Dharam Sansad were triggers for others while for Prateek Raj, MP Tejasvi Surya’s controversial speech was the limit.
“Our Constitution gives us the right to practice our religion with dignity — without fear, without shame. There is a sense of fear in our country now — places of worship, including churches in recent days, are being vandalised, and there have been calls to take arms against our Muslim brothers and sisters. All of this is carried out with impunity and without any fear of due process,” the letter read.
“We ask your leadership to turn our minds and hearts, as a nation, away from inciting hatred against our people. We believe that a society can focus on creativity, innovation, and growth, or society can create divisions within itself. We want to build an India that stands as an exemplar of inclusiveness and diversity in the world. We, the undersigned faculty, staff, and students of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), hope and pray that you will lead the country in making the right choices,” it goes on to elaborate.