Is Wharton right in cancelling Narendra Modi’s speech at the Wharton India Economic Forum or is it a failure of liberty in one of the most liberal countries of the world?

Wharton – your behavior is quite shameful. The behavior of your professors reek of stupidity. Having studied at one of your esteemed universities, I used to believe that the best of the breed in education were always liberal in thought and action. Remember the opposition to the Iraq war at Harvard and Berkeley – students were free to speak and debate and oppose any government action. There was no unilateral action on the part of the campuses to stifle dissent. Narendra Modi should have been allowed to speak

Narendra Modi W Montek Singh Ahluwalia 300x275 Wharton and Narendra Modi

“Modi’s Crime”

Your basic pretext against Modi is that a 1000+ people were killed in riots during his tenure. At Modi’s interview with Shahid Siddiqui – an independent journalist from UP and a part of the Samajwadi Janata Party (not the BJP or allied with the BJP) – Modi stated that he saved lives, his argument being that if it were not for his efforts it would have been far worse. I don’t remember the exact interview , but I do remember one commentary where he said that people accused him of delaying sending the police forces. “That the riots happened on the 28th of Feb and that the police action only happened on 1st March” – “days later as claimed by the others”. He pointed out that February only had 28 days that year !! Anyways the point is not of Modi’s innocence (I don’t know what the truth is) – it is about the stifling of free speech at Wharton !! And for folks from overseas , let us not just focus on India – what about the bloodshed and loss of civilian lives in Iraq (George Bush was good for India – so I don’t want to be negative here) – But will you stop Rumsfeld or Colin Powell from speaking ???

Wharton Signature Campaign

And who is the signature campaign lead by? – Assistant Professor of Social Welfare – Toorja Ghose (Bengali’s love to be pseudo-intellectuals). For those not in the know – an assistant professor means that the person is a newly minted PhD (fresh out of college) with no guarantees of permanent employment (also known as Tenure ship . Tenure ship in professions like Social Welfare is especially hard) . So how do you get tenure – make some noise about something – pander to your bosses, etc. – Which is exactly what has been done in this case. What is surprising is the the signature campaign of a junior lecturer has been used against a senior politician/ a chief minister of an Indian State – is this how Wharton functions? A no-body with a handful of signatures (must be 30,000 signatures ???) – a couple of hundred to be precise, manage to stop Modi from speaking.

Poverty In India, Riots Attract Attention

Unfortunately this is how it is – in the US you have to talk about Indian poverty, you have to talk about Indian riots – that is when you have an audience and that is when people will take you seriously – else who cares for a professor of social welfare – these positions are the lowest (in prestige etc) at Universities.Wharton of course is the biggest loser in this incident.

By Indrajit Chatterjee

 

Image Source: IANS

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