mid day editorial: Feigning ignorance won't fool anybody

Oct 08, 2018, 07:20 IST | mid-day online desk

An invite to Shiv Sena's Aaditya Thackeray to launch St Xavier's College 150th-year celebrations ended up creating controversy for the institution

mid day editorial: Feigning ignorance won't fool anybody

The current atmosphere is all about calling out wrongdoers and silent bystanders. And we are calling out a college, politicians, as well as those who pretend not to understand the issue.

An invite to Shiv Sena's Aaditya Thackeray to launch St Xavier's College 150th-year celebrations ended up creating controversy for the institution. Alumni and students stated that Aaditya was antithetical to the liberal values the college espoused. In a petition against his invite, they stated that his most notable achievement as student of the college was getting prize-winning author Rohinton Mistry's Such a Long Journey dropped from the syllabus. The book, which Aaditya publicly admitted he had not read, contained lines that were critical of the political party.

A clearly rattled college, though, did brave it at the conference, and so did Aaditya, who claimed he had not seen the petition. It was disappointing, and an insult to the public's intelligence, that all officials concerned deflected the real issue.

The college authorities waffled on about standing for diversity and different opinions. What they did not speak on was what they thought about inviting a politician who had silenced a writer's opinion with vandalism and political muscle? Another party spokesperson, too, cited diversity and ducked the controversy.

Aaditya claimed never to have read the open petition (he could have read it then and there on his phone), and his party spokesperson refused to comment as well. It takes a lot of courage to answer a straight question — much more than burning books.

By pretending not to understand the issue, obfuscating with words, or using verbal placebos to placate, nobody is pulling the wool over anybody's eyes. Answer the real question; evasion couched in intellectual claptrap is still evasion.

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