On 19 December 2016, I received messages from two fellows of the Young India Fellowship, a post-graduate diploma course in liberal studies at Ashoka University, a private, non-profit institution in Sonepat, Haryana, that offers a liberal-arts education. The fellows informed me that Rajendran Narayanan, an assistant professor of mathematics, had resigned from his post. Sanat Sogani, the president of the undergraduate student government at Ashoka, later confirmed that students had been informed of this resignation via an email from Rudrangshu Mukherjee, the vice chancellor of the university.
Narayanan was at least the third person to resign in the preceding few months. On 7 October, Adil Mushtaq Shah and Saurav Goswami, both senior administrative staffers working with the YIF, announced their resignations to the programme’s fellows, via emails. The first YIF fellow told me that both Shah and Goswami had cited personal reasons as the cause for their departure. An email sent to me on behalf of Sachin Sharma, the registrar of Ashoka, said that Narayanan resigned of his own accord as well.
(Over the course of reporting this story, I sent several queries to the administration at Ashoka—including members of its governing body, the vice chancellor, pro vice chancellor, the assistant dean and deputy dean of the YIF. I only received direct responses to a few of my questions, in the form of three emails: one from Diksha Dutta, a media-relations manager at Ashoka; another from the university’s media team; and one sent to me on behalf of Sachin Sharma, the registrar.)