New Delhi: The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad has landed itself in controversy with a last-minute decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted artiste and dancer Mallika Sarabhai had been invited as the chief guest.
The ceremony was scheduled to be held Friday (7 February), but the university Monday (3 February) sent out an email to the graduating batch of students, stating that the event was being postponed due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
The email reads, “40th convocation scheduled on Friday, February 7, stands postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.”
There are now allegations that the event was called off at the last minute because of the invitation to Sarabhai, who is a well-known critic of the Narendra Modi government. Sarabhai was among the slew of artistes who had condemned the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
The NID, albeit an autonomous institution, comes under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and has as many as six civil servants on its management board.
ThePrint contacted NID’s director as well as the institute’s media communications head through email Sunday but did not receive a response. The report will be updated when they respond.
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Received the email, don’t know reason for cancellation: Sarabhai
Sarabhai told ThePrint that she, too, received the cancellation email from NID.
“I was sent this mail Monday evening. I have been provided no further information since then. All the news I have is from the media.” Sarabhai told ThePrint.
She added that she received the invitation to be the chief guest four months ago, from the institute’s chairperson Jamshyd Godrej (managing director and chairman of Godrej & Boyce).
Sarabhai said she did not know if her history of being a vocal critic of the government led to the decision. “Your guess is as good as mine,” she added.
Students upset by development
The graduating students, meanwhile, are upset about the decision.
“Many students had their parents flying in from abroad, their tickets were booked,” a student told ThePrint. “The least the students deserved was more information on what these ‘unforeseen circumstances’ are.”
The university administration had Thursday held a meeting with the graduating batch to pacify them. “The director was very apologetic about what had happened. But no reason was provided,” Shravan Sreejith, the president of the student body, told ThePrint.
Some students subsequently gathered on the university premises Friday to hold a ‘mock convocation’, which was reportedly complete with felicitation & handing out of ‘degrees’.
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