Statement against the Invitation to Aditya Thackeray for launching the 150 years Celebration of St. Xavier's College
October 3rd 2018

The Principal,
St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai

We, the alumni of St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, stand firmly against the invitation given to Aditya Thackeray as a ‘notable alumni’ for the Press Conference to launch the 150 years celebration of the institution on 4th October, 2018. We believe his presence is antithetical to the principles and values espoused by St. Xavier’s College. Having to point this out is in itself cause for concern, since Thackeray’s most notable achievement as a student of the college was an act that was openly condemned by former Principal Fr. Frazer Mascarenhas.

In 2010, Mr. Thackeray led a campaign against the inclusion of Rohinton Mistry’s widely acclaimed, Booker Prize-nominated novel ‘Such a Long Journey’ in the Mumbai University syllabus. His protest against the book stemmed from its alleged portrayal of the Shiv Sena in a negative light. Apart from burning copies of the book in public, his party’s exercise of political muscle and threats of unrest subsequently caused the book to be dropped from the syllabus.

Thackeray, who had publicly ad mitted to not even having read the book at the time was condemned by Mistry, a celebrated alumnus of the institution. He wrote, “Twenty years old, in the final year of a B.A. in history, at my own Alma Mater, the beneficiary of a good education, he is about to embark down the Sena's well-trodden path, to appeal, like those before him, to all that is worst in human nature.” As former students, many of us also remember the letter by Fr. Frazer that was put up on the college’s notice board then, "It is inconceivable that in the 21st century, a political party will not show the maturity to accept criticism and answer it by the evidence of its own actions. Is it not unreasonable, that literature is banned, merely because it dares to critique us? St. Xavier's College regrets that this book, written by an alumnus, and widely acclaimed in the literary world, has been treated in this manner."

Eight years later, Thackeray’s inclusion in the list of notable alumni who will launch the 150 years celebration of the institution is an unfortunate reflection of the ethical standing and moral integrity of St. Xavier’s today. In enabling him, you are sending out a message that literary freedom and critical thought stand no chance against political pressure tactics. This amnesic attitude towards principles deemed important to our institution is foolish at best and outright dangerous at worst.

We strongly condemn this invitation.

Signed,

Akshay Shetty (Batch of 2015)
Samyukta Venkatraman (Batch of 2017)
Rashi Pant (Batch of 2015)
Shreya Mathur (Batch of 2016)
Nikita Sonavane (Batch of 2013)
Milloni Doshi (Batch of 2017)
Kartikay Agarwal (Batch of 2015)
Aishwarya Dongre (Batch of 2015)
Natasha Cyril (Batch of 2015)
Sharon Miriam Daniel (Batch of 2015)
Amla Pisharody (Batch of 2016)
Cynthia Lewis (Batch of 2014)
Stuti Agarwal (Batch of 2015)
Dalreen Ramos (Batch of 2017)
Poorva Joshi (Batch of 2013)
Rupika Khere (Batch of 2016)
Jyoti Reddy (Batch of 2017)
Tanya Pal (Batch of 2017)
Sanjana Santosh (Batch of 2015)
Prat Vatsalya (Batch of 2016)
Meghana Telang (Batch of 2016)
Meeta Tarani (Batch of 2016)
Aishwarya Acharya (Batch of 2015)
Shyama Balachandran (Batch of 2017)
Shawn Dean (Batch of 2013)
Ann Peter (Batch of 2016)
Prajakta Kuwalekar (Batch of 2011)
Ankita Isor (Batch of 2016)
Conrad Noronha (Batch of 2012)
Aditi Iyengar (Batch of 2015)
Aashaka Shinde (Batch of 2015)
Andrea Dsouza (Batch of 2017)
Rachana Nitin (Batch of 2010)
Aditya Pandey (Batch of 2015)
Amrita Kajaria (Batch of 2016)
Shachi Sutaria (Batch of 2015)
Kavya Ravindranath (Batch of 2017)
Subhadra V (Batch of 2014)
Priya Lewis (Batch of 2016)
Joel Joy (Batch of 2009)
Nithya Thomas (Batch of 2017)
Arundhati Velamur (Batch of 2008)
Yash Thakoor (Batch of 2013)
Saloni Chadha (Batch of 2009)
Divya P (Batch of 2014)
Anthos Fernando (Batch of 2009)
Ishita Chaudhary (Batch of 2014)
Munawwar Khanduwala (Batch of 2015)
Neil Barretto (Batch of 2015)
Anthos Fernando (Batch of 2009)
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Meghnad Bose (Batch of 2014)
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Abigail Pais (Batch of 2013)
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Kadambari Lobo (Batch of 2012)
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Neha Jain (Batch of 2017)
Anmol Gorakshakar (Batch of 2015)
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Trunal Tawde (Batch of 2010)
Chandni Chawla (Batch of 2012 - JC)
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Megha Mehta (Batch of 2014 - JC)
Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi (Batch of 2013)
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