Skip to main content

IIMs make conscious attempt to ensure gender diversity. Why not caste diversity?


Well-known academic, social and political activist Sandeep Pandey was recently in Ahmedabad as a visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM-A), taking a course in Transformational Social Movements, which he has been doing every year. In a recent commentary, Pandey, along with Anurag Bhaskar, another academic, presently teaching a seminar course on Law, Politics and Social Transformation” at the National Law University, Delhi, has taken strong objection to the manner in which the IIM-A has been “ignoring the caste reality of India.”
The commentary, published in the e-journal “Indian Cultural Forum”, argues that the caste reality is being ignored despite the fact that that the students are taught to make a “critical enquiry of the dominant model of economic development pursed by governments”, and are told about about “various inequities in society, and more importantly, the reasons thereof.”
Pandey and Bhaskar say, students are, in fact, made “face-to-face with the realities of caste, class, gender, nationality, etc., and get insights into our divided society and try to understand the forces which further seeks to sharpen the divisions and movements which attempt to redress the discriminations based on these divisions.”
We in counterview.org carried some of the articles by IIM-A students following their interaction with Pandey as part of the course requirement on Transformational Social Movements.
Text of the commentary by Pandey and Bhaskar:

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) is considered to be one of the most reputed academic institutes of the country. IIMs are the most sought after institutions by students trying to get admission into a two year management programme. Among the several IIMs, IIM Ahmedabad has developed itself into a very fine institution with evolved and perfected institutional mechanisms which are a model for other management institutions.
IIM Ahmedabad believes in exposing its students to different paradigms of thinking and then leaving it to them to analyse and reach a mature understanding. Among other things, IIM Ahmedabad offers a diversity of courses, some of which conduct a critical enquiry of the dominant model of economic development pursed by governments.
One such course which informs the students about societal processes is “Transformational Social Movements” which challenges their hitherto understanding of society, economy and government. They learn about various inequities in society and more importantly, the reasons thereof. They are face-to-face with the realities of caste, class, gender, nationality, etc., and get insights into our divided society and try to understand the forces which further seeks to sharpen the divisions and movements which attempt to redress the discriminations based on these divisions.
Students who attend this course mostly come from well-off backgrounds. Many students, learn about the hierarchical caste system and the practices which go on in its name even now, for the first time in their lives. For instance, in June 2019, when a local Whistleblower theatre group performed the play “Urfe Alo” as part of the social movements course, the students of IIM Ahmedabad realised that even if someone is educated but belongs to the community of manual scavengers he/she may have no other option but to continue in the same vocation because of the rigid caste structures and societal-family pressures.
As part of the assignment, students were required to write articles, several of which were carried by online portals (including counterview.org). A student wrote an article titled “The Social status of dalit men has improved marginally with time, but the condition of women is standstill”, in which she remarked that the course had helped her in understanding social challenges faced by our country in the garb of economic prosperity. Another student poignantly asked in his article, “Are bandages enough to heal the stab wounds that are caused by caste discrimination?”
The students were equally moved with a lecture by Dakxin Bajrange, who, through his Budhan theatre, has been highlighting the plight of the Chhara community, a de-notifed tribe which is still treated as a criminal community by the police administration. This lecture motivated three students to write on this community after visiting their habitation in Chharanagar, Ahmedabad. These exercises made the students sensitive to the most marginalised communities of our society and understand how caste system is responsible for their travails.
Critiquing how higher education institutions work, another student wrote that it is scary to think that the decision makers of tomorrow are currently sitting in elite campuses with all the skills in the world but “don’t see caste discrimination around them”. She doesn’t expect them to take decisions which will change the situation of the downtrodden communities like the manual scavengers or the Chharas.
In a telling revelation, which will definitely be a surprise for the IIM Ahmedabad administration, she has shared how some students inadvertently advertise their imagined personality traits associated with their particular castes, keeping the caste system alive and kicking on campus, against the wishes of those who want to forget their caste identities.
This calls for a strong intervention to maintain diversity in the campuses, which can contribute towards a holistic development of students with an inbuilt sense of equity. Moreover, if IIM Ahmedabad is open to running courses which sensitise its students, then why is it averse to maintaining diversity on its campus?
Diversity has been one of the prime objectives of the constitutionally mandated reservation to the historically marginalised social groups like the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. IIM Ahmedabad does not offer this reservation in admissions to its PhD. programmes since 1971. The lame excuse is that the number of seats for admission to this programme is not fixed. But the intention is more important. Is there even an attempt to implement affirmative action or a policy of inclusion?
The other IIMs now offer this reservation since the IIM Act was promulgated in 2017 under which every IIM shall be a Central Educational Institution for the purposes of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act, 2006. As a result of the earlier denial of this reservation, the social composition of faculty members at thirteen IIMs is very skewed. From data obtained under the Right to Information Act by Deepak Malghan and Siddharth Joshi associated with IIM, Bengaluru, out of the 642 faculty members only 4 belong to SC, 1 to ST and 17 to OBC. IIM Ahmedabad doesn’t reveal caste wise data of its faculty members. A third of all the faculty members at various IIMs have obtained their Ph.Ds from the IIM system.
The admission policy of IIM Ahmedabad’s PhD programme is anachronistic. It does not represent diversity. Educationists now believe that only the diversity of students will strengthen the social integration process in a society. An article by Shamnad Basheer and others underlines the relevance of diversity in higher education institutions. It states that a diverse workforce enables a business enterprise to develop unique and creative approaches to problem solving.
IIMs produce leaders and managers of tomorrow, and therefore, a socially diverse group of managers will be able to work better with business partners, employees, and clientele. Lastly, individuals educated in a diverse setting will more likely contribute to a positive work environment by decreasing incidents of discrimination and stereotyping.
When there is a conscious attempt to ensure gender diversity on IIM campuses, why can a similar effort not be made for caste diversity? The beginning can only be recognising the problem. It is high time that IIM Ahmedabad corrects its procedure of admission to the PhD programme.

Comments

TRENDING

देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

- हरसिंग जमरे, भिखला सोलंकी, रतन अलावे*  15 और 16 फरवरी को निमाड के बड़वानी, खरगोन और बुरहानपुर में जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन के नेतृत्व में आदिवासी महिला-पुरुषों ग्रामीण भारत बंद में रैली एवं विरोध प्रदर्शन किया । प्रधान मंत्री द्वारा 2014 में फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने का वादा किया गया था, 2016 में किसानों की आय दुगना करने का वादा किया गया था । आज, फसलों का दाम नहीं बढ़ रहा है, लेकिन खेती में खर्च बढ़ता जा रहा है! खाद, बीज और दवाइयों का दाम, तीन-चार गुना बढ़ चुका है! किसानों को लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने के बजाए, खेती को कंपनियों के हवाले करने के लिए 3 काले कृषि कानून लाए गए । 3 काले कानून वापस लेते समय प्रधान मंत्री ने फिर वादा किया था कि फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव की कानूनी गारंटी के लिए कानून बनाएँगे, लेकिन वो भी झूठ निकला! आज जब देश के किसान दिल्ली में आपको अपना वादा याद दिलाने आए है, तब आप उनका रास्ता रोक रहें है, उनके साथ मारपीट कर उन पर आँसू गैस फेंक रहें हैं, उन पर छर्रों से फायरिंग कर रहें है! देश को खिलाने वाला किसान खुद भूखा रहे, क्या यही विकास है?

Only 15% businesses provide employees real-time sustainability dashboards: Study

Kyndryl in collaboration with Microsoft has released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm, finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data. A Kyndryl note: *** Kyndryl (NYSE: KD), the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, in collaboration with Microsoft , today released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm , finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data.

Tamil Nadu brahmins are at cross roads, their future scenario remains uncertain

By NS Venkataraman*  For over 70 years now, brahmin community in Tamil Nadu have been abused, insulted and even physically attacked on some occasions by those who claimed that they were part of the so called dravidian movement. However, brahmin community silently and helplessly ducked under pressure and showed no signs of resistance or fight back.

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Violent incidents in Haldwani: CPDRS on dubious role of Uttarakhand government

By DN Rath  Center for Democratic Rights and Secularism (CPDRS) unequivocally condemns the dubious role of Uttarakhand Government and its administration in the incidents that happened in Haldwani of Nanital district of the state.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Birth of New Communist Party ushers in new epoch in Canada's Left history

By Harsh Thakor  On January 31, 2024, history was made with the formation of the (New) Communist Party of Canada (the (N)CPC), the successful completion of its Founding Congress, and the public release of its Political Program. A most sporadic development in turning course of Communist movement locally, and worldwide. It also pits a challenge to dogmatism or mechanical approach and stagnation. taps the revolutionary creativity of the masses and is major re-orientation towards shaping revolutionary class struggles and  the massline.

Ethiopian ruling classes, political masters in West have their hands soaked in blood

By Harsh Thakor  Over two hundred were killed in recent weeks in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara region. After peace-talks between the Oromo Liberation Army and the Ethiopian government did not materialise tensions are escalating in the Oromia region. Earlier, on November 22, least 25 civilians were massacred in a government aerial drone strike, in Chawaka districts of the Buno Bedelle zone. This incident took place only two days after a fierce battle arose between the OLA and governmental troops in the Sulula Fincha district of the Horro Guduru Wollega zone.

Landlords' armed bandits launched merciless attack in Brazil but face resistance

By Harsh Thakor  Armed bandits called the “zero invasion movement” comprising of landowners, gunmen and police marched into   Bahia with support from the PM [Military Police]. On January 21st, indigenous Maria de Fátima Muniz, known as Nega Pataxó, shaman of the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe people, was shot dead in the Caramuru Catarina Paraguassu Indigenous Land and chief Nailton Muniz was seriously injured by gunshots, as were others indigenous people during an attack by the notorious  paramilitary group.

Landslide early warning system: Odisha Govt, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham collaborate

By Divya Saini  In a strategic move to mitigate the impact of landslides during storms, the Odisha government in collaboration with Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is gearing up to establish a user-friendly Landslide Early Warning System (EWS) in Gajapati district. This initiative aims to provide advanced information, especially regarding landslides caused by disturbances in the natural stability of a slope.