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When My Teacher Asked All Jains To Stand Up

Posted: August 20, 2020

A story about one of the most ignorant professors I ever learnt from

It was the first of a whole semester worth of nightmare-ish lectures. The professor walks in. It is hate-at-first-sight. One of the first questions he asks is “How many girls are there in this class?” I excuse this absurd-sounding question of his, giving him the benefit of doubt that he probably only wanted to know the figure for the purpose of evaluating the girls:boys ratio of the class.

A little while later, he goes something like, ‘So, who all are Jains in this class? Please stand up.”. I am taken aback. Close to 2-3 students stand up. I don’t (not because I am not a Jain!). He goes on and (very ignorantly) adds how all Jains are rich and “baap ke paise udane wale!”. He doesn’t stop at this. And, to my utter disgust, adds “Be friends with these Jains, it will help you in the long run!” while addressing the class. At this point, I want to throw up.

The Jains are now made to sit down. I wouldn’t have been all too pleased had I been in the place of the students that stood up. It is shameful on his part to segregate a group of students solely on the basis of their religion (and no other reason!). And this is a classroom of a tier 1 city of India. I literally feel second-hand embarrassment because of the things he says and does.

If there were moral policing in practice in any of his lectures, I am very certain that that lecture would have been his last lecture I would have had to attend (phew!!)…

But, let’s get back to reality! So, next, he “casually” brags about having a degree from the UK and about seeing film stars every now and then. What’s more? He BRAGS about being caught for plagiarism in his UK university like it’s a thing to be proud of! (In my mind I do the eye-roll several many times!!)

Despite all the mental irritation (to say the least!!) that it caused me, I am glad that the subtle racist undertones of his didn’t slip my notice and I will be the happiest when they don’t slip anyone’s notice.

Acknowledging an issue is a big step forward in addressing it. So, I don’t regret my decision of standing up TO him (figuratively!) by not standing up (literally!) when he had asked all the Jains to do so!

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