IIT Bombay: The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay has fined Rs 1.2 Lakh on students who staged a play called ‘Raahovan’ during the institute’s annual performing arts festival. The play was staged on March 31, 2024, at IIT Bombay’s open-air theater. Students are accused of insulting Hindu culture during the depiction in the drama ‘Rahovaan.’ The play was loosely based on the Ramayana, depicting the lead characters in a “derogatory manner,” and claiming complaints from a section of students. IIT Bombay’s disciplinary committee has also fined students for violating the code of conduct. 

This disciplinary action came after a group of students claimed that the play was based on the Hindu epic Ramayana and contained disrespectful references to Hindu beliefs and deities. Some students felt the play mocked the main characters and cultural values under the guise of promoting feminism. These complaints led to a disciplinary meeting on May 8, 2024, resulting in penalties announced on June 4, 2024. The fines are due on July 20, 2024, at the office of the Dean of Student Affairs. The institute warned that failure to pay the fines would result in further penalties.

Students are fined Rs 1.2 lakh each, nearly equal to a semester’s tuition fee. Four other students are fined INR 40,000 each. Graduating students faced additional penalties and a ban from receiving the institute’s gymkhana awards, while junior students were barred from using hostel facilities.

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In one viral video, a student playing Sita praises her “kidnapper” and the place she was taken to, sparking significant backlash and debate. The controversy grew on social media when the ‘IIT B for Bharat’ group criticised the play on April 8, 2024 calling it a mockery of Lord Ram and the Ramayana. The group shared video clips of the performance, claiming that the students used their academic freedom to make fun of Hindu culture.

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