Father Frazer Mascarenhas of Mumbai’s St. Xavier’s college emailed the letter on Tuesday, two days ahead of polling.
|Dr. (Fr) Frazer Mascarenhas,|
|Principal, St. Xavier’s College; Mumbai|
The principal of the St Xavier’s college in Mumbai has sent an e-mail to his students urging them to vote judicially, which has turned controversial with a section of media interpreting it as anti-Modi campaign.
The letter of Father Frazer Mascarenhas did not name Narendra Modi but criticized the “Gujarat model” of governance and advised students to”choose well!”
His letter said that “all the Human Development Index indicators and the cultural polarization of the population show that Gujarat has had a terrible experience in the last 10 years.”
The letter was emailed to students and was also uploaded on the college website on Tuesday, two days ahead of voting for the national election.
The article highlights what he believes the poor state of health, education and other indicators in the state Mr. Modi has ruled since 2001.
“So what lessons does a reflection on the approaching elections teach us? The prospect of an alliance of a corporate capital and communal forces coming to power constitutes a real threat to the future of our secular democracy,” he said.
Father Mascarenhas, facing criticism from the academic community for what they call an attempt to influence young voters, said, “The Election Commission has written to all principals to encourage students to vote. It’s a common practice for principals to advice students to go out and vote. While encouraging them to vote, the principal has given them certain criteria that they could consider and make their choice.”
The St Xavier’s letter has ignited a fiery debate on social media.
“Actions of the Principal of Mumbai’s St Xavier’s confirms they are incapable of producing students who can think independently. Students of Mumbai’s St Xavier’s exposed to risk they may be penalized if they say something that does not fit into Principal’s Political Box,” tweeted Anil Kohli.
“Perhaps students can sue St Xavier’s principal for imposing his political ideology on students,” commented Nilay Shastri.
Father Mascarenhas has also got his share of supporters. “Whatever be his political leanings, this principal is one fine and well learned man,” tweets Taj.
Nigel Britto writes, “Whatever you think of St Xavier’s principal Fr Frazer’s letter his last para is spot on.”