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IIT-Bombay Fines Students Rs 1.2 Lakh Each Over Derogatory Ramayana Skit, They Say Its Feminists Take On Tribal Society

Those who supported the students claimed that the play was a feminist’s take on a tribal society and was well received by everyone.

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IIT-Bombay Fines Students Rs 1.2 Lakh Each Over 'Derogatory' Ramayana Skit, They Say Its 'Feminist's Take On Tribal Society'

The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-Bombay) has taken disciplinary action against eight students, a mix of graduating seniors and juniors, who participated in a play inspired by the Ramayana. The institute has reportedly fined the students, with penalties reaching up to Rs 1.2 lakh in some cases. The play, titled ‘Raahovan,’ was performed during the annual performing arts festival in March by students from different departments and years. Several videos of the play were shared widely on social media, showing the crowd hooting over a conversation between the students who played Sita and Lakshman.

Allegations state that the lead characters were portrayed in a “derogatory manner”, leading to complaints from fellow students. Graduating seniors face a fine of Rs 1.2 lakh each and will not be eligible for gymkhana awards, while juniors are required to pay Rs 40,000 each and have been barred from hostel facilities.

The disciplinary measures were implemented based on recommendations from a committee following multiple grievances. Complaints alleged that ‘Raahovan’ showed the lead characters in a bad light. It was also alleged that the play was a mockery of Hindu culture and religious sentiments.

Those who supported the students claimed that the play was a feminist’s take on a tribal society and was well received by everyone.

The controversy gained traction on social media when the ‘IIT B for Bharat’ group denounced the play on April 8, calling it a mockery of Lord Ram and the Ramayana. The group posted video clips from the performance, alleging misuse of academic freedom to ridicule revered figures. “We welcome the disciplinary action taken by the IIT Bombay administration against those involved in the play ‘Raahovan,’ which depicted the Ramayana in a derogatory manner,” the group stated on social media platform X. “We urge the administration to establish guidelines to ensure that no religion is ridiculed under the guise of freedom of expression on campus.”

The Performing Arts Festival, or PAF, is an annual cultural event of IIT-Bombay. It was held in March this year, and the play was staged at the open-air theatre on the campus on March 31. A video went viral in the next few days, showing clippings of the play vis-a-vis the facts from the Ramayana, sparking a debate on artistic freedom and on hurting religious sentiments.







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