Thursday, July 23, 2015

ISI, Nalanda, FTII, etc., etc.

  1. R. Ramachandran has an update on the Bimal Roy affair at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata -- A twist in the ISI tale.

  2. Arunabha Bagchi has an op-ed in The Stateman -- Autonomy of Learning -- in which he lists all the known cases of government interference in academic institutions and bodies such as ICHR. It's a very long list indeed.

  3. Bagchi, of course, starts with the now famous critique of the present government by Amartya Sen (published in no less an outlet than NYRB): The stormy revival of an international university.

Here's an excerpt from the first article.

After humiliating the former Director of an institution of national importance and vitiating the atmosphere, the government does an about-turn and tries to save face by appointing him head of a cryptology centre. [...]

The current events at the ISI have resulted in a legal notice being served on the Chairman and the institute by two ISI faculty members (who were at the council meeting on April 23), two petitions being filed in the Calcutta High Court against the government (one by three academics, including two ISI faculty members, one of whom is also a council member, and a member of the ISI society who is a professor at Calcutta University, and the second by Bimal Roy himself), an online petition ( being signed by over 2,000 people, and an open letter to the President of India from the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR).

But the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) does not seem inclined to resolve the issue in a fair, just and democratic way. Significantly, the Ministry, having made all the allegations against Roy, has not served any show-cause notice or a charge sheet, let alone institute, as demanded by the online petition, a “proper public investigation into the allegations… and a proper hearing by the council”.