Open letter to Thampu, St Stephen's College principal

This action of yours will be unsustainable - on two counts: free speech and humour, the abiding identities of our college.

 |  2-minute read |   06-04-2015
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Dear Dr Valson Thampu,

Greetings from London where I have been for three weeks, cut off from a lot that has been happening back home.

I am sure you have seen this press release. I have come across some other pieces too on this incident.

From what I have read, the following facts emerge:

1. The e-mag was started with your approval and blessings.

2. You had given them an interview, which shows your overt support.

3. They were expected to show you a transcript.

4. They did send you a transcript.

5. After waiting for some time, they went ahead and published it "despite your clear instruction to get the transcript cleared".

6. This was certainly a mistake that should have been avoided.

7. But it appears that their intentions were not mala fide - just youthful enthusiasm and keenness to meet the deadline, which is understandable.

8. To my mind, maximum action that they deserved was a reprimand, for violating a specific instruction.

9. Banning the magazine altogether seems to be an extreme and disproportionate reaction.

10. Banning free speech, whatever the provocation, will prove counterproductive and weaken the college. And that I am sure you will be the last person to want.

11. My four decades of experience tells me that this action has an enormous potential to recoil and will therefore be unsustainable - on two counts: free speech and humour, the abiding identities of our college.

May I, therefore, as your friend and a friend of the college, request you to reconsider your order, and discuss with the students where they had gone wrong, and the way forward.

Hope you will take this in the spirit in which it is intended.

With warm regards,

 

Also read: Why Thampu is the worst thing to happen to St Stephen's College

 

Writer

SY Quraishi SY Quraishi @drsyquraishi

The writer is former chief election commissioner of India.

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