20 Jun 2024

Row Over IIT Bombay Imposing Heavy Fines on Students Over Ramayana Skit

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has imposed fines on eight students for their involvement in a controversial play called 'Raahovan' during the institute's Performing Arts Festival (PAF) on March 31. 

Following the play, some students filed formal complaints, alleging that it was a parody of the revered Hindu epic Ramayana and contained disrespectful references to Hindu beliefs and deities. They claimed that the play made fun of the main characters and cultural values under the guise of promoting feminism. These complaints led to a disciplinary committee meeting on May 8, resulting in the sanctions announced on June 4.

Four students were fined Rs 1.2 lakh each, nearly equivalent to a semester's tuition fee, while four others were fined Rs 40,000 each. Graduating students faced additional penalties, such as disqualification from receiving gymkhana awards, and junior students were denied hostel facilities. The fines are due on July 20, 2024, at the Dean of Student Affairs office, with a warning of further disciplinary action for non-compliance.

Controversy gained traction on social media

The controversy gained traction on social media after the 'IIT B for Bharat' group criticized the play on April 8, condemning it as a mockery of Lord Ram and the Ramayana. Video clips from the performance were shared, accusing the students of misusing academic freedom to mock revered figures. The videos, which went viral, allegedly depicted students portraying characters from the Ramayana, including a scene where Sita praises her "kidnapper" and the place she was taken to.

While some groups supported the institute's disciplinary actions, others viewed it as a constraint on freedom of expression. The incident has sparked a debate on the boundaries of academic freedom and the safeguarding of religious sentiments within educational settings. 

Some people expressed concerns about colleges no longer being safe spaces for voicing opinions freely, while others argued that educational institutions should allow for the respectful critique of religions. The 'IIT B for Bharat' group welcomed the disciplinary measures and urged the administration to establish guidelines to prevent the ridicule of any religion under the pretext of freedom of expression on campus.

No comments:

Post a Comment