The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, plans to introduce a mandatory course on caste awareness. It is one of the initiatives taken by the SC/ST Cell of the institute, which believes that sensitisation is a way toward inclusivity.
According to information provided by the institute, the cell has recently conducted a few surveys to understand the difficulties faced by students on the lines of caste division.
Some of the observations made in the surveys were on holding more sensitisation events and having a mandatory academic course on caste and racial discrimination on the lines of the mandatory gender sensitisation course, launched last year.
The nature and content of the caste awareness course are under discussion.
The SC/ST cell comprises Professor Bharat Adsul of the department of computer science and engineering as the convener and Professor Madhu N Belur of the department of electrical engineering as the co-convener.
When contacted, the cell said in a written statement, “At IIT-Bombay, it was observed that more sensitisation events would enhance inclusivity and help reduce complaints. For example, increased awareness of caste-based and racist slurs that have entered into colloquial language would help eliminate such slurs and thus, improve cordiality in any environment.”
On Wednesday, it organised a first-ever open house discussion on difficulties faced in the context of caste and the reasons behind them. The meet witnessed a variety of opinions from around 100 participants.
According to the students who participated in the open house discussion, they spoke about how there is no homogeneity in the way different people experience caste, as it varies from simple taunts on how students admitted on reservation seats are “killers of merit” to even giving rise to self-doubt among such students by making them feel incompetent.
The cell has also come up with a mentorship programme, in which senior students interact closely with junior SC/ST students in the context of the objectives of the cell, which is to move further toward a campus free of caste and racial discrimination.
Courtesy : The Indian Express