The IIT Madras has cancelled an event citing that speakers, who were to attend the event, are ‘controversial’, according to Indian Express report. The event was on the social equity and scheduled to be held on September 23. The speakers, who were selected, were K Stalin, documentary filmmaker and human rights activist, Nandini Sundar, sociology professor at the Delhi School of Economics, and Adhik Kadam, social entrepreneur and chairman of NGO Borderless World Foundation. The management had told conveyed them the series of lectures was cancelled due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’.
While, IIT-Madras Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi said he was not aware of such incident, Faculty advisor K C Sivakumar, who was allegedly involved in the decision to cancel the lectures, evaded the questions, the report says. The event was planned to mark National Service Scheme (NSS) Foundation Day. The speakers were selected and invited by the students in charge of the campus’s NSS unit but they were not given any reason for the cancellation by K C Sivakumar or Dean of Students S Sivakumar.
Stalin told The Indian Express that people who opposed rights activists engaging with students perhaps did not trust the intelligence of those receiving the lectures. “Some teachers and administrators managing learning are uncomfortable with genuine curiosity and inquiry and are comfortable with indoctrination as a safe way of teaching. Educational institutions, of all places, need to be the bastion of intellectual pursuit and no subject or person or position should be outside the scope of scrutiny or exploration. This sort of backing out is done out of fear of displeasing the powers that be… An opportunity to learn is lost,” he was quoted as saying by IE.