The Indian Institutes of Management in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday highlighting hate speech and attacks on minorities and saying that his silence “emboldens” these voices.
183 people have signed the letter, including 13 faculty members of IIM Bangalore and three faculty members of IIM Ahmedabad.
“Your silence on the growing intolerance in our country, honourable prime minister, is disheartening for all of us who value our country’s multicultural fabric. Honourable Prime Minister, your silence emboldens hate-filled voices and threatens the unity and integrity of our country,” the letter says. The document urges him to steer the country away from “forces that seek to divide us”.
A team of five faculty members from IIM Bangalore drafted the letter. Prateek Raj (Assistant Professor of Strategy); Deepak Malghan (Associate Professor, Public Policy); Dalhia Mani (Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship); Rajluxmi V Murthy (Associate Professor, Decision Sciences); and Hema Swaminathan (Associate Professor, Public Policy). Malghan is an ecological economist.
A group of students and faculty members took the initiative after realizing that “silence was no longer an option”.
“For far too long, the mainstream discourse has dismissed voices of hate as fringe. This is how we are here,” he told reporters.
The other faculty members who signed the letter are Ishwar Murthy (Professor, Decision Sciences);
Kanchan Mukherjee (Professor, Organizational Behavior & Human Resources Management); Arpit S (Associate Professor, Public Policy); Rahul Dé (Professor, Information Systems); Sai Yayavaram (Professor, Strategy); Rajalaxmi Kamath (Associate Professor, Public Policy); Ritwik Banerjee (Associate Professor, Economics and Social Sciences); and Manaswini Bhalla (Associate Professor, Economics and Social).
De is the institute’s Dean of Programs and Chair of the Office of International Affairs. Bhallah is the chair of the Economics and Social Sciences section.
IIM Ahmedabad‘s signatories are Professor Ankur Sarin (Public Systems Group), Professor Navdeep Mathur, and Professor Rakesh Basant (Economics).
Prof Basant said he would not like to add anything to the letter, as it clearly states the position of its signatories. He is also Dean of Alumni and External Relations at the institute, as well as the JSW Chair Professor of Innovation and Public Policy.
Raj stated that the signatories’ objective was to emphasize “if voices of hate are loud, voices of reason should be louder”.
While for him, Bangalore south MP Tejasvi Surya’s controversial speech exhorting Hindus to convert Muslims and Christians was the tipping point, for others, the recent attacks on churches in many parts of the country and the Haridwar Dharam Sansad were the triggers. The letter mentioned this.
We have the right to practice our religion with dignity, without fear or shame, as guaranteed by our Constitution. There is a sense of fear in our country now as places of worship, including churches, have been vandalized in recent days, and there have been calls to take arms against our Muslim brothers and sisters. There is no fear of due process and all of this is done with impunity,” the letter stated.
We ask your leadership, as a nation, to refrain from inciting hatred against our people. A society can either focus on creativity, innovation, and growth, or it can create divisions within itself. Our goal is to make India an exemplar of inclusiveness and diversity around the world. Faculty, staff, and students of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) hope and pray that you will lead the country in making the right choices, it states.