Scholar suicide: Ramadorai says institutions must be proactive

Mumbai, Jan 27: Batting for freedom of expression on college campuses in the wake of suicide by Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, National Skill Development Corporation chairman S Ramadorai today asked educational institutions to be more "proactive" in understanding what a pupil is going through.

"You must be very proactive, must be able to sense what are the issues bothering a student," Ramadorai told PTI, when asked about the ways in which universities can avoid unfortunate incidents like the 26-year-old Rohith Vemula's suicide at the Hyderabad Central University.

Ramadorai said educational institutions need to deliberate on various issues, including how can they foster an atmosphere where a student can expresses himself/herself freely.

"I think true form of democracy on a campus is expression on multiple issues," he said, stressing that not only in India, but campuses around the world, including the US, are reporting instances of students being unable to express themselves.

"One of the greatness of our country is that all of us can express our opinions," he said adding that all of us have grown up in an environment of expressing ourselves.

Rohith, one of the five research scholars suspended last year in connection with an attack on a ABVP leader, had hanged himself in a hostel room on the varsity campus on January 16.

Ramadorai, who captained TCS to become the biggest software exporters in the country in a multi-decade career before NSDC, said advent of technology has democratised information flow and in such an age, it is all the much more important for accepting a variety of opinions.

"Because of technology and social media, the information that is flowing is in real time. The asymmetry of information is gone. Then you should be able to hear more voices," he said.

Ramadorai, who is the chairman of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), said while we need to preserve the right to question, it is also important to listen to the answers in the dialogue.

Moreover, once a decision is taken, it is important for all the stakeholders to abide even if they do not agree with the consensus, he said. The open dialogue should be by the rules of the game and no party should harm the other, he said.


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