“Need for safe space for Bahujan students, staff”: IIM Bangalore Professor issues open letter to director

Prof Deepak Malghan of IIM Bangalore also accused Director Rishikesha Krishnan of curbing dissent and academic freedom on campus
Read here | Credit: Edex Live
Read here | Credit: Edex Live

A professor of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, penned an open letter to the institute’s Director Rishikesha Krishnan. He shared the same on social media platform X on Wednesday, January 17, highlighting the need for an inclusive environment for the premier institute’s Bahujan faculty, staff, and students.

The letter was written to the director marking the death anniversary of Rohith Vemula, a former PhD scholar of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) who died by suicide in 2016 after facing caste discrimination on campus. Rohith’s death was labelled as an ‘institutional murder’ by students across the country and it catalysed many educational institutes, including IIM Bangalore, to take accountability for the safety of students belonging to marginalised communities.

However, in his open letter, Prof Deepak Malghan of IIM Bangalore, said that the institute has lost track of its commitment to create a safe and inclusive environment for all students, eight years after the death of Rohith Vemula.

“While the administration, often under external state pressure, has made substantial inroads in recruiting faculty from historically underrepresented sections of Indian society, we have done little to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for our Bahujan faculty colleagues. Indeed, if anything, we have backtracked on our solemn promises,” the letter dated January 17, read. The tweet shared by the professor on Wednesday has garnered over 3,500 views on X.

In his letter, Prof Malghan wrote that he had filed a formal caste abuse complaint with the Diversity & Inclusion Grievance Redressal Committee (DI-GRC) in April 2023, against a ‘a high- ranking IIMB official currently holding an important position of responsibility’. However, the committee is yet to begin the investigation.

“You hastily set up the DI-GRC as a toothless "alternative" to statutory bodies such as the SC-ST cell. You have not included the DI-GRC in the formal institute regulations and even informed the student body about the existence of this committee only after I called you out. Not only has the DI-GRC not taken any steps to begin an investigation, but my first preliminary appearance before the committee (officially video-recorded) was met with an utterly insensitive member defending the indefensible and making remarks that can only be termed as patently casteist,” the professor added in his letter.

He further added that instead of investigating the complaint, the institute filed a suo-moto complaint against the professor. The professor also accused Director Rishikesha Krishnan of curbing dissent and academic freedom on campus.

Related Stories

No stories found.