When I first read this story in the Boston Globe I really felt affronted that a faculty within Harvard University would band together to have a fellow faculty member ‘removed’ from a teaching profession.
It appears that an article by Subramanian Swamy in the Daily News in India had upset Harvard fellow staff and they had banded together to ‘freeze’ Swamy out of his teaching opportunities at Harvard.
And then I read what Swamy had to say.
Swamy wanted to remove an iconic mosque on the site of a Hindu temple “and 300 others in other sites as a tit-for-tat;’’ declare that “only those non-Hindus can vote if they proudly acknowledge that their ancestors are Hindus;’’ and “enact a national law prohibiting conversion from Hindu religion to any other religion.’’
Now even, I believe, the most moderate of people would find those requests (demands) rather extreme.
Swamy claimed his words were misconstrued. “Part of what he said included “Based on DNA research, we are descended from the same ancestors. I said that if you do not acknowledge that your ancestors are Hindus, you are identifying with those who came from outside, and for them we created Pakistan.’’ I wonder how he would relate in Northern Ireland?!
Fellow Harvard academics felt that Swamy’s comments ‘were not an alternative side of a heated political discussion. It’s advocating the abrogation of human rights.” The response to that persons comments were accusation of her issuing a fatwa.
Yet other Harvard educationalists felt that the dismissal sets a precedent that could be used against any professor who offends. “If you create a weapon, Harry Lewis, the former dean of Harvard College said, “the weapon will eventually be used against you.’’
Free-speech advocates have asked Harvard administrators for redress. Anne Neal, a Harvard alumna who is head of the higher education lobbying group American Council of Trustees and Alumni, said she welcomed Faust’s original expression of support. “Not to speak up a second time when these same principles are at play would be a very sad statement about governance at Harvard,’’ she said.
Swamy has moved on it seems. He is reported as saying “It’s Harvard or nothing.’’ which indicates no intention of teaching elsewhere.
I really don’t care where you come from or what your background is… when you seek to define another person or persons life and contribution because of their colour, location or religion then you deserve to be shown the door.