Dr. Giribala Dewasthale
14th June 2018
I have been here for over a decade and would like to share my personal experiences with you.
When I joined here one of the things that struck me was the climate of openness between students and between students and teachers. It took me some time to get used to it as I came from a different paradigm. Openness requires a level of maturity from both students and teachers. Because it means the institute does not give you a set of dos and don’ts about your behaviour. You have to set these for yourself. This self regulation is a great responsibility. So there is a friendly rapport and at times even friendly banter between students and teachers and between students. But care is taken to preserve the code of conduct, decorum and decency. We are a community of students, teachers and staff members. So the responsibility is with every member of the community to preserve the code of conduct and decorum. But without anything written how does everyone internalize decorum and behavior? In much the same way as it is done in the family and community setting. New members observe and interpret behaviours of existing members and form their own judgment. To some this seems to be a very fragile, tenuous thing. But I have observed the reverse. The spider’s web looks very delicate but in fact it is the essence of resilience. So you can consider this a web of relationships that you will encounter at IMDR.
The second thing is freedom. Our campus has a way of encouraging free spirited thinking and diverse views. Interactions between faculty, staff and students are informal and friendly. Yet students learn to respect boundaries of the system and enjoy their freedom in a responsible manner.
Every member of the community is free to air his/her views and opinions and all of them are valued. Every one is free to make choices. But there are safeguards to ensure that you are not trampling upon the freedoms of others. So you must voice your opinions in the right forum and right context. You are free to engage or not engage with activities on campus. But you must be responsible for the outcomes also. So if you choose not to attend classes, you must be prepared for the outcome that you will not be able to take the exam due to attendance shortfall. You are free to work on assignments AT THE LAST MINUTE. But if you miss the submission deadline you must be prepared for the 0 that you will be awarded. There is tree outside the bank nicknamed the Bodhi tree. Some of the most banal and farcical, crazy discussions have taken place under that tree and in the quadrangle. But the classroom has no place for such discussions. However there is openness in the classroom but it is restricted to the subject and topic being discussed. Students learn to first value their opinion and automatically they voice it responsibly.
Students come from different parts of the country. They have diverse educational backgrounds and diverse experiences of campus life also. So no doubt it’s a bit of a melting pot to begin with. In the beginning the brew is strange and a lot of creases need to be ironed out. Students might take some time to find their type. There may be some things you don’t like. Apart from your classmates you can always talk to any faculty member you feel comfortable talking to.
So the ambience in the institute is supportive and demanding. It is based on trust and respect for both parties in a relationship be it between students or between faculty and students. There is freedom with responsibility. You are free to make your own choices and be responsible for outcomes. There is no coercion and forcing.
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