Troubling signs for free speech in a democracy: Twitter irked as PB Mehta and Arvind Subramanian resign

Troubling signs for free speech in a democracy: Twitter irked as PB Mehta and Arvind Subramanian resign

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, March 19, 2021, 01:32 PM IST
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Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Arvind Subramanian | PC: Twitter- @sameerpatel13 @Dharma2X

Indian academician and political commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta resigned from his post of University Professor at Ashoka University on March 15. The reason for his resignation being that his association with the University may be considered as political liability.

In his resignation letter, Mehta wrote, “My public writing in support of a politics that tries to honour constitutional values of freedom and equal respect for all citizens, is perceived to carry risks for the university.” He stated, “It is clear it is time for me to leave Ashoka.”

Two days after his resignation, colleague and former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian also resigned from his teaching position at Ashoka University citing restrictions in academic freedom.

According to The Indian Express, Subramanian's letter reads, “That even Ashoka—with its private status and backing by private capital—can no longer provide a space for academic expression and freedom is ominously disturbing. Above all, that the University’s commitment to fight for and sustain the Ashoka vision is now open to question makes it difficult for me to continue being part of Ashoka.”

Ashoka University's faculty members and students have written to the VC Malabika Sarkar, expressing their anguish over the resignations.

These resignations have become the centre of public and media's attraction. Twitter has been buzzing with discussion about the resignations as well as the state of academia in India. While some people are calling it shocking and disgraceful, others are calling it good riddance.

Here's how the public has reacted:

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