National Institute of Design
National Institute of Design |
Text Size:

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.

Also read: Karnataka anti-CAA school play: Should children not participate in political movements?

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.


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’.

Also read: How India protested when there was no WhatsApp or Instagram


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

Share Your Views


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here