Stay Away From DU & JNU Rows: TISS, Mumbai to Protesting Students

The TISS Director has asked students not to drag it into the DU row, saying it can’t afford the repercussions.

Updated
India
3 min read
The violence at Delhi University may be over, but the fallout of the Ramjas ruckus continues. (Photo: Debalin Roy &amp; Piyush Nagpal/<b>The Quint</b>)

In an email to his students, the Director of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai has warned them against dragging TISS into the Delhi University row.

Director S Parasuraman’s strongly worded letter, accessed exclusively by The Quint, comes after the TISS Students’ Union had issued a statement against ABVP, blaming it for the violence at DU. Students of TISS had also held a protest against the RSS affiliate.

TISS Students’ Union Slams ABVP

Statement by TISS Students’ Union attacking the ABVP following the Ramjas violence
Statement by TISS Students’ Union attacking the ABVP following the Ramjas violence

In its statement, the TISS Students’ Union had said it "condemns the ABVP’s repeated attempts across the country to suppress democratic spaces and voices, and stands in solidarity with the students of Delhi University”.

Universities are supposed to provide space for nurturing critical thinking and academic and political deliberations among different ideologies. It is this open space which the Sangh Parivar and its various frontal organisations fear. 
Statement issued by the TISS Students’ Union

Don't Drag TISS Into DU Row, Students Told

Visibly unhappy with the students’ participation in protests against the ABVP and their involvement in the ongoing Delhi University saga, the Director wrote to the students:

I request the students to not be be swayed by disruptive forces – I am aware that there are disruptive persons within and outside the campus wanting to create trouble in the name of ideologies. Please be aware of them. We are not in a position to deal with all presumed and real discrimination that may be happening outside our campus. What is happening in Delhi University and JNU are very different. 

The director’s email reads: “TISS cannot afford to get dragged into problems – DU and JNU are very powerful institutions and they can afford to engage in matters of the kind that are happening there. TISS is a simple institution that is working very hard to stay afloat – do not get it trapped into difficulties”.

“We are engaged with state and non-state organisations and bodies to address the issues. Please do not get trapped into activities that will compromise the Institute’s ability to meet its responsibilities towards its student community, their parents and the nation,” Parasuraman wrote.

A copy of TISS Director S Parasuraman’s email to students, accessed by <b>The Quint.&nbsp;</b>
A copy of TISS Director S Parasuraman’s email to students, accessed by The Quint. 

It is important to note here that TISS is a centrally funded public university, and the Government of India provides the Institute’s Plan and Maintenance Grants.

Why Study Social Sciences at All, Asks TISS Student

The Director’s email asking students to stay away from protests over the Delhi University row has not been welcomed by a section of its students.

Monika Pareek, a first-year student at TISS Mumbai’s School of Social Work, wrote to The Quint: “Being in a social science institute and receiving an email where students are asked to ‘not be swayed by disruptive forces’, I just have a few questions to ask the institute which prides itself on ‘reimagining futures’ by bringing about changes on the field: Why doesn’t the institute specify who these ‘disruptive forces’ are?”

Are we just supposed to read Foucault and Ambedkar and forget them once we walk out of class? Do you not see a problem in a social science education that maintains the status quo? If raising a voice of dissent means being swayed by disruptive forces, then should we study social sciences at all?
Monika Pareek, TISS Student

TISS is not the first institute to turn towards attempted self-censorship in the wake of the Ramjas violence. It is only the latest addition to an ever-growing list.

(Are you a student or faculty member at TISS? Reach out to us at editor@thequint.com with your reaction to the TISS Director’s email)

(Also read: Ramjas the Reason for Venky to Call off All Seminars This Month?)

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