Home 2020 Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

by Devesh Khatu
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Cover Illustration by Amlan Barai

Diversity and Inclusion are among the most used buzzwords right now, and so we here on the Fundamatics team thought that it would be worthwhile putting together an issue on various aspects of the topic.

Just like in any other sphere in life, IITians come in all stripes. Whether it is religion, caste, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, we all bring different backgrounds and perspectives to the table. Diversity implies recognizing these differences so that we all learn from the richness of experiences that these individually bring. Inclusion involves valuing each person so that they feel like they belong and are equal to everyone else so that they can contribute to the fullest of their abilities without having to worry about being discriminated against for being who they are. With everything going on in the world right now, it is especially important to recognize diversity and inclusion so that minority voices are not silenced, and their rights not trampled upon.

As someone who belongs to a marginalized community myself, being gay, I am personally well aware of issues faced by people when you are in the minority. People talk about you behind your back, and you constantly have to keep proving yourself that you are no worse than others. I was teased for my lack of athleticism/manliness growing up. Eventually, I decided to start running marathons to prove that I was no different, and earned respect from my peers for my accomplishments in that field…but you shouldn’t need to go to these lengths to be felt included.

We are fortunate to have a diverse set of articles for this issue. All the contributors are alumni, except for one who is an alumnus’ son. In Afsana, Zenobia Driver discusses what it means to be a Parsi growing up in India. Sundar and Sonati tackle the issues of race, migrants and dissent in a collection of four poems. Sridhar Rangayan talks about his days at IDC and his friendship with a fellow IDC alumnus and coming to terms with his sexual orientation. Shruti Gupta discusses hearing disabilities in her article. Neil Ghaskadvi talks about another taboo issue, ADHD, from a kid’s perspective. Chandru Chawla discusses the lack of women in governance roles at IITs, and Anuradha Narasimhan talks about women and the glass ceiling in corporate India. Prof. D. Parthasarthy writes about the dehumanization of the less fortunate among us. We are carrying a link to the recording on an excellent panel on racism organized by IITBHF, with an introduction by Vinay Karle. In “The People,” Ali Baba aka Prof. Ali Contractor reflects on current affairs in his inimitable layered style.  Ruyintan (Ron) Mehta along with Sashi Menon, Pramod Kulkarni and Pradip Nadkarni compares how the demographics of the IIT Bombay classes from 1970 to 2019 have changed.

We hope you enjoy the articles for this Diversity & Inclusion issue of Fundamatics. Please don’t forget to leave your comments after reading each article, and we always appreciate any support you can offer the magazine through voluntary contributions through our secure Fundamatics donation portal.

Table of Contents

Trends in the Profiles of IIT Bombay Undergraduates

What 50 years of UG graduation data at IIT Bombay tells us about diversity, access and educational opportunities at elite Institutions.

Change Must Begin at the Top

Have the IITs done enough to obliterate the lingering traces of patriarchy in their internal ecosystem?

Rainbow Stories

An intimate story of being gay at IITB in the ’80s, and the far-reaching impact of a friendship forged here.

Ek Afsana, A Story

This land — a billion versions of reality and a never-ending raucous multitude of stories eagerly waiting to be noticed. Step briefly into the author’s skin and embark on a journey, not just across this land but across Time itself.

Racism’s Challenges: Participating in the Global Civil Rights Dialogue

An enlightening panel discussion focused on why racism should be discussed now and why is it relevant for IIT alumni.

Women in Business Careers

Gender inclusivity from the perspective of women in workplaces and what we can do as influencers.

The Diary of a Third Grader with Undiagnosed ADHD

A teenager with ADHD navigates his way through the adult world with surprising dexterity.

Musings from Thekambattu

On belonging and values that can only be deeply felt.

“Why Live Silently? When You have the Right to Hear!”

How believing in oneself is the first step toward overcoming any form of physical disability.

The People

A satirical take on the rhetoric of our ruling elite and who really gets a seat at the table.

Making Brutes of Us All: Rule by Dehumanizing

How power and dominance are exercised by dominant groups in India, dehumanising the ‘powerless’ and reducing them to the status of scavengers yet again.

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