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Saturday, October 24, 2015

IIT-M Magazine Censors 'Campus Depression', Puts Out Toned Down Version - New Indian Express

By Jonathan Ananda
Published: 23rd October 2015 03:55 AM

CHENNAI: ‘It is always darkest before dawn’ was published anonymously on The Fifth Estate (t5e), IIT-Madras’ official in-house student journal, on October 20. Barely two hours later, it was taken down following “concerns from several quarters”.
Narrating real life experiences of a suicide survivor from the institute, the write-up describes the Institute “as a hotbed of depression.”

Written in the wake of the second suicide in four weeks at the Institute, it said that it was time for the author to open up about his own tryst with the severe debiliatating  depression at the Institute, the suicide attempt that followed and how he had conquered it.

“I am a student here at IIT Madras, one of the most reputed colleges in the country and even the world. Yet, for all the laurels the IITs have, there has been one particular problem that we’ve not been able to eliminate — student suicides,” was how it begins.

Barely two hours later, it was taken down with a note saying that “concerns had been raised from several quarters”.

Speaking to Express, Executive Editor of the magazine, Raghavi Rao Kodati, said the article was taken down at the suggestion of the faculty advisor to the journal.

“We usually run articles through our faculty guide. This was not done in this case initially. When it was published, we received a suggestion from our advisor saying this might not be the best time to run it. On second thought, we too agreed and took it down for two days. A few sentences in the article like ‘IIT is a hotbed of depression’, were felt to be a bit strong.  There were a few others which we felt needed editing,” she explained.
But, it had evoked instant response. One comment on the comments section read —“We all know what quarter that is. What message does this give to students of the institute? It was a well timed article and more of them should be out here. Why are we so hung up about not damaging the repute of the institute, instead of being hung up about not damaging the students? I am disgusted by the way everything is happening here.”

The re-published article however, did contain several edits, with a few “sensitive places” toned down. The ‘hotbed of depression’ phrase for example, has been axed in the censored version.

An email questionnaire from Express to the faculty guide had not elicited a response at the time of printing.

However, IIT-Madras’ Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi told Express that the administration had nothing to do with the taking down of the article.