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The prejudiced academics

Feasible utopia: A dialogic learning community that encourages empathy. ANI

Violence is not merely brute and physical. Quite often, it is cultural and symbolic. And this sort of violence manifests itself in the act of stereotyping a religious/ethnic community, or a group of people with certain caste identities through prejudices and negative gestures. And it is sad that this violence is so deeply rooted in our collective psyche that even ‘educated’ people are not altogether free from it.

Explaining and critiquing terrorism or religious fundamentalism is one thing, and stereotyping people on the basis of their faith and nationality quite another.

Take, for instance, what happened in recent times in Bengaluru’s Manipal Institute of Technology. A professor, as a viral video indicates, compared a Muslim student’s name with Ajmal Kasab — one of the convicted terrorists in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. It was like denigrating the student’s religion; it was nothing but an act of stereotyping every Muslim as a potential terrorist. Think of the humiliation the student passed through in the classroom amid the presence of silent and passive classmates. ‘Being a Muslim in this country and facing all this every day’, as he reminded his professor, ‘is not funny.’

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