Mumbai: In a move raising eyebrows, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay canceled a scheduled lecture by Ganesh Devy, a distinguished cultural activist and literary critic. The lecture, slated for January 31 under the ‘Institute Lecture’ series, faced an abrupt cancellation, sparking concerns among students about the institute’s recurrent practice of canceling lectures.
Scheduled to deliver a talk titled ‘The crisis within: On Knowledge and Education in India,’ Ganesh Devy’s lecture generated anticipation among students and faculty, who were informed well in advance. However, on January 30, the eve of the event, the authorities notified students and faculty members about the unforeseen cancellation, attributing it to circumstances beyond their control. The decision was purportedly made by the committee overseeing lectures at IIT Bombay.
This is not the first instance of IIT Bombay canceling intellectual discussions, with past cancellations including a lecture on ‘Israel-Palestine: The Historical Context’ by Professor Achin Vanaik and a conference titled ‘Cultures of the Political Left in Modern India.’ Given this history, students had anticipated the cancellation of Ganesh Devy’s lecture.
Expressing disappointment, a student from the campus stated, “We were very excited to hear Professor Devy as he is an intellectual personality who delivers his thoughts on history and present society. We were very happy when the institute decided to invite him to the campus. But going by past instances, we feared that the institute may cancel the lecture.”
Professor Ganesh Devy, unfamiliar with such cancellations at IIT Bombay, expressed his surprise, “I have never been previously associated with IIT Bombay. A professor from the institute’s lecture committee invited me to give a lecture. But a day before I was leaving, the same person called to inform me about the cancellation of the lecture. I did not even bother to ask the reason, as it is not my basic right. I have ample pending work, so I utilized the time for the same.”
The incident has prompted students to gather at the venue on January 31, seeking clarity on the reasons behind the cancellation.