National

IIT-B Fines Some Students, Debars Some From Hostel Facilities Over Play 'Mocking' Ramayana Epic

The play, which was performed during institute's Performing Arts Festival (PAF) on March 31, allegedly had derogatory references to Hindu beliefs and deities, as per the formal complaint by a section of students.

X/@IITBforBharat
The complaints prompted a disciplinary committee meeting on May 8, and the penalties were announced on June 4 as a result of that. Photo: X/@IITBforBharat
info_icon

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has reportedly fined eight students who were part of a play titled 'Raahovan', believed to be a parody of the Hindu epic Ramayana.

The play, which was performed during institute's Performing Arts Festival (PAF) on March 31, allegedly had derogatory references to Hindu beliefs and deities, as per the formal complaint by a section of students.

Some students alleged that the play ridiculed the lead characters and mocked cultural values in the guise of "promoting feminism", according to an NDTV report.

The complaints prompted a disciplinary committee meeting on May 8, and the penalties were announced on June 4 as a result of that.

The institute imposed fines of Rs 1.2 lakh each on four students - the amount is almost the same as a semester's tuition fee, the report said.

Meanwhile, four students were fined Rs 40,000 each.

Graduating students faced additional sanctions, including a ban from the institute's gymkhana awards, while junior students were debarred from hostel facilities.

The penalties are due on July 20, 2024, at the office of the Dean of Student Affairs, the report mentioned, adding that the institute warned that any breach of this penalty would result in further sanctions.

The controversy came to fore on social media when the 'IIT B for Bharat' group denounced the play on April 8, calling it to be a mockery of Lord Ram and the Ramayana. The group posted video clips from the performance, alleging that the students misused academic freedom to ridicule revered figures.

The videos that surfaced on the internet show students presenting a play allegedly inspired by Ramayana characters and plot settings. In one such video, a student appeared to be playing Sita, praising her "kidnapper" and the place she was taken to.

"We welcome the disciplinary action taken by the IIT Bombay administration against those involved in the play 'Raahovan,' which depicted the Ramayana in a derogatory manner," the group stated on social media platform X.

"We urge the administration to establish guidelines to ensure that no religion is ridiculed under the guise of freedom of expression on campus."

Some have condemned the disciplinary action as an attack on freedom of expression.

"I had always heard that educational institutions should be safe spaces, safe for voicing opinions. Alas, even IITs are no longer safe spaces," wrote one person on X.


"This is egregious. Students cannot be fined in colleges for being disrespectful to any religion. Colleges are places where one should be able to freely mock religion. IIT Bombay must take this back," another said.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement