A student of IIT-Madras has accused Major General GD Bakshi of delivering a lecture heavily loaded with “inhumanity and glorification of brutality” at the prestigious institute. The defense expert allegedly delivered a Donald Trump-like jingoistic lecture at the institute on Thursday. However, disturbed over the lecture, a student wrote a letter to IIT-M director informing him about the nature of the lecture.
The student, Abhinav Shurya, even quoted the Major General as saying: “In our generation, we split Pakistan into 2. Your generation should split it into 4. Only then we can live in peace.” On its part, IIT-M has clarified that the lecture was not an official event of the institute as it was an Extra Mural Lecture, for which decisions are taken by the EML team.
Here is the complete text of the letter:
I am writing this letter to you with a bleeding heart, worried about the recent EML lecture by Mr. GD Bakshi on 11th Aug, 2016. I am still not able to digest the fact the institute has given a platform to such a speech filled with hatred, instigating violence among the students. A lecture that was heavily loaded with brewing enmity, inhumanity and glorification of brutality.
I hope that EML team would present to you the video recording of the lecture. I request you to kindly watch it so that it’ll be clear that this is not an empty accusation. The speaker was constantly making direct and indirect comments that were instilling a sense utter disrespect for human life and a deep rooted sense of hatred and enmity towards the people of our neighboring countries. Right from when he glorified the ‘skull-smashing elephants’ of ancient India to him saying, and I quote, “Fight Pakistan. That will strengthen the unity!”, the lecture was designed to foster irrational jingoism.
The level of hatred in his speech was going out of proportions when he said, and I quote, “In our generation, we split Pakistan into 2. Your generation should split it into 4. Only then we can live in peace!”. And later he went on to glorify nuclear weaponry and justified the usage of it. (At this point, I am ignoring other horrendous comments made about justification of usage of metal pellets against civilians in Kashmir (which has been severely criticized by several human rights rganizations including Amnesty International), misrepresentation of facts regarding the history, unscientific claims by quoting mythology as facts, glorification of lighting cities up on fire, expression of clear-cut affiliation to a particular political party, etc., which may be considered as politically debatable topics). The underlying implication behind his constant call to “give tit-for-tat” was for calling out students to take up violent aggressiveness as their strategy (This might even be the reason for the violent behavior of few students in the hall who were intimidating the students who were trying to question the speaker).
The speaker made the utmost insulting comment when he said mocked our freedom movement and made fun of it. According to him, only Indians in Indian army got us freedom and whatever everyone else was doing in the name of ‘Ahimsa’ was nonsense! This is a complete insult to the lakhs and lakhs of masses who fought bravely against the British imperialism. I am unable to imagine the fact that we, IIT Madras, gave the speaker a platform to make such insulting comments about our freedom movement, especially in the name of “Special Independence Day Lecture”. If this does not show shame IITM in a bad light, then I don’t know what else does!
At this point, I may be brushed aside as a person with certain political affiliations who cannot tolerate contesting views. But let me make it clear that I have not been so seriously concerned in the past about several other lectures with contents contesting my views. But this is not a mere speech with contesting views, but a dangerous hate speech! Anyone who loves humanity, anyone who loves people and not symbols, anyone who wants to eliminate hate and spread love would have cried at the level of hate mongering in the lecture!
As much as I want freedom of expression to be upheld, I am seriously concerned, as a student of IIT Madras about the sustenance of peace and harmony among various students of IIT Madras. I hope necessary actions will be taken.
This is not the first time a member of the student community has taken issue with Bakshi’s speech. Soon after his outburst on the television debate, an IIM student from Manipur — a former Sainik school product — wrote an open letter to Baksi, asking pointed questions about prescribed patriotism, the army, and the controversial AFSPA, against which Manipuri political activist Irom Sharmila had been on a 16-year-long hunger strike.
Indian Institute of Technology Madras’