Skip to main content

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Dr Deepak Malghan
Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.
According to Poruthiyil, "Though the ostensible reason for the censure order is his environmental activism, an underlying subtext of this censure is his campaign for social diversity among the faculty of the IIMs. Deepak's research exposed that of the 512 faculty members in all IIMs combined; only two belong to the Scheduled Caste category. He has also been campaigning for the desegregation of the vegetarian and non-vegetarian sections of the canteens in the IIM-B."
Continues Poruthiyil, "Deepak's relentless campaign, which inevitably led to his ostracism from the majority of the IIM faculty network, has been successful to a degree -- IIM-B has recently started a scholarship program for doctoral candidates belonging to underprivileged castes."
Following Poruthiyil plea, the Human Rights and Business Network of India (HRBN-I) has created a petition in support of Dr Malghan, to be sent to the IIM-B board. HRBN-I, which is a civil society network working on issues related to business and human rights in India, has called Dr Malghan a "recognized scholar".
Pointing out Dr Malghan, who is assistant professor at the IIM-B, received a censure order from IIM-B for sending a mail to the Placement Committee, saying they should “disinvite” Unilever during campus placement. Hindustan Unilever, adds HRBN-I, has been "in the midst of a controversy related to its decision in 2001 to carelessly dump mercury, a hazardous chemical, when closing down a plant located at Kodaikanal."
HRBN-I adds, "This issue is disheartening because it exposes once again the narrowing of spaces for critical research in Indian academia, and more specifically the usurpation of business education by corporate interests." HRBN-I has asked concerned citizens to endorse the petition and send suggestions for further suggestion by emailing at hrbn.india@gmail.com till Friday, January 11, 2019.

Text of the draft petition:

The Human Rights and Business Network is a coalition of academics, civil society activists, journalists, and indigenous groups created to defend the human rights of precarious communities in India. Due to the nature of its work, the HRBN is acutely aware of the rapidly decreasing spaces to discuss and debate development trajectories premised on the denial of human rights of the weaker and voiceless sections in India.
Given the already bleak context, we are alarmed at the recent actions taken by the administration of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) to censure Deepak Malghan, an assistant professor in the institute.
The trigger for IIMB’s actions is ostensibly Dr Malghan’s suggestion in an email that students hold Hindustan Unilever to account for the irreversible damages caused by its factory to the ecology of Kodaikanal and the denial of the rights of communities to a healthy life. For its part, IIM-B justifies these actions as a defense of the interests of its “stakeholders”, that presumably includes Hindustan Unilever.
Even a student would know evoking stakeholder interests cannot ignore the weaker entities affected by an organization’s actions. In a stunning display of partisanship, IIMB has chosen to prioritize the interests of its most privileged stakeholders while reprimanding Dr. Malghan for seeking to defend the interests of the communities that, being a public-funded institution, IIM-B has a duty to defend.
It is expected of corporations to curtail voices of individuals and groups who consistently expose corporate hypocrisies. Tactics for suppressing critiques from within the academia may include threatening administrations with withdrawal of funding of professorial chairs, with exiting from recruitment, or with denial of lucrative management development programs; each of some of these methods may have been deployed in this case.
An administration with moral and intellectual spine would have withstood such pressures and reaffirmed the importance of the free exchange of ideas for research and teaching. Instead, IIM-B’s decision to censure Dr Malghan is a shocking display of submission to corporate bullying.
This meekness is a symptom of an affliction by a malaise known to infect business schools in general – the substitution of “higher aims”, in this case academic freedom and defending the weak, with an eagerness to become “hired hands” groveling in the service of corporate greed.
We request the Board of Governors at IIM-B to reverse the decision to censure Dr Malghan, and thereby reiterate the protections of academic freedom at IIMB. If schools at the forefront of education like IIM-B can be bullied into submission, our entire higher education system risks losing its spine to ever stand up to forces inimical to social justice. The reversal will also be a message of reassurance for the academic community in India.
We affirm our support to Dr Malghan in his efforts to secure environmental justice. We thank Dr Malghan for reminding faculty members and academic leaderships across the country that basic principles of an academic life involve courage in speaking truth to power and a commitment to transforming students into critical citizens and empathetic human beings.

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Story of a foot soldier of Gujarat riots coming from a vulnerable community, Chharas

By Rajiv Shah
He is one of the more prominent "foot soldiers" of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Suresh Jadeja, alias Langdo, alias Richard, is indeed a well-known name in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, in which 97 persons were killed on February 28, 2002, the first day of the riots that shook the nation. Ordinarily, such a person should have been subjected to sociological scrutiny. What have here is a keen journalistic account, with clear political-ideological overtone.

Noteban: Harvard, Goldman Sachs scholars bemoan lack of "authentic" growth data

By Rajiv Shah
In a sharp observation, scholars of a recent high-profile study, "Cash and the Economy: Evidence from India's Demonetization", whose results have been widely reported, have bemoaned: That there is lack of authentic official data on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the Government of India, forcing them to use “nightlights data”, a methodology usually adopted by top international scholars to assess socio-economic growth in highly underdeveloped countries of East Africa and parts of Asia, where no authentic ground level surveys are available to assess development.