May 31, 2020
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'Need To Nurture Critical Thinking'

Letter to the President of India from members of IIT Madras Faculty expressing solidarity for JNU

'Need To Nurture Critical Thinking'
File - PTI Photo
'Need To Nurture Critical Thinking'

The President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi 110004.

Letter of Solidarity for JNU from members of the IIT Madras Faculty

We, a group of people serving as faculty at IIT Madras, write to affirm our solidarity with the faculty and students of JNU and issue this statement in serious concern over recent events at JNU and in the national capital over the past week.

These events indicate the imposition of a narrow definition of nationalism by the state that excludes the possibility of dissent. A democracy is nothing without the ability to both question and disagree. Our university spaces have always fostered this space for debate and disagreement, and always in a fashion that encourages respectful co-existence through difference. As we view these spaces being criminalized and violently curbed, we are concerned that we are no longer able to foster spaces for open democracy. This atmosphere of stark binaries, needing declaration of loyalties is a dangerous and demoralizing one, and will not lead to a vibrant state or nation.

Our universities need to nurture critical thinking, as opposed to telling students and the polity how to think. Our nationalism is both contested, as well as open. Our willingness to critique must not be branded as either disloyalty or betrayal, and our understanding of state, nationalism, governance, and democracy must remain open to dialogue, dissent, and respectful debate, one that we argue will strengthen the nation. The nation cannot be one constantly threatened by any and all critique.

We stand with all those who share this vision.

[This statement is issued in our individual capacities, and does not necessarily represent the institution’s opinion.)

1. Tarun K. Chandrayadula Ocean Engineering
2. Enakshi Bhattacharya, Electrical Engineering
3. Binitha V Thampi, Humanities and Social Sciences
4. Mathangi Krishnamurthy, Humanities and Social Sciences
5. Sonika Gupta, Humanities and Social Sciences.
6. Kalpana Karunakaran, Humanities and Social Sciences
7. Dhiman Chatterjee, Mechanical Engineering
8. Sourav Rakshit, Mechanical Engineering
9. Suresh Govindarajan, Physics
10. Murali Krishnan, Civil Engineering
11. K.Srilata, Humanities and Social Sciences
12. Merin Simi Raj, Humanities and Social Sciences
13. Deepak Khemani, Computer Science and Engineering 
14. Deleep R. Nair, Electrical Engineering
15. Nandita DasGupta, Electrical Engineering
16. Amitava DasGupta, Electrical Engineering
17. Nandan Sudarsanam, Management Studies
18. Sandipan Bandyopadhyay, Engineering Design
19. Hema A Murthy, Computer Science and Engineering
20. Milind Brahme, Humanities and Social Sciences
21. Shyama Prasad Das, Mechanical Engineering
22. Anil Prabhakar, Electrical Engineering
23. Roland Wittje, Humanities and Social Sciences
24. Sayan Gupta, Applied Mechanics
25. Joe Thomas Karackattu, Humanities and Social Sciences
26. K. Murali, Ocean Engineering
27. Solomon Benjamin, Humanities and Social Sciences
28. Sunetra Sarkar, Aerospace Engineering.
29. M Suresh Babu, Humanities and Social sciences
30. BS Murty, Civil Engineering
31. Ananth Krishnan, Electrical Engineering
32. Sudhir Chella Rajan, Humanities and Social Sciences
33. Devdas Menon, Civil Engineering
34. Arul Lakshminarayan, Physics
35. Tiju Thomas, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
36. Guhan Jayaraman, Biotechnology
37. Arun Menon, Civil Engineering
38. Anuradha Banerjee, Applied Mechanics

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