IIM-A faculty opposes changing institute logo

Published on Mar 31, 2022 12:06 AM IST

The IIM-A logo also has the Sanskrit verse Vidya Viniyogadvikasa (development through the distribution or application of knowledge).

The present logo of IIM-A -- adopted in 1961 when the institute was set up -- has the motif of ‘Tree of life’. (HT File)
The present logo of IIM-A -- adopted in 1961 when the institute was set up -- has the motif of ‘Tree of life’. (HT File)

Ahmedabad: Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) is planning to replace its existing logo with two new ones, one for international audiences and another for domestic, but the plan was devised without consulting faculty members, said a letter signed by 45 professors of the institution on Wednesday.

The letter, a copy of which HT has seen, was addressed to the institute’s board of director (BoG)

“The faculty members of IIM-A were informed in the Academic Council meeting on March 4 of the proposed change of IIM-A logo. It seems that the IIM-A board has approved this change and two new logos have already been registered. This comes as a total surprise to us as the new sets of logos have been approved by the IIM-A board without the faculty being informed or involved in the entire process,” said to the written representation by the faculty members to the BoG through IIM-A director Errol D’Souza, also on the board.

The present logo of IIM-A -- adopted in 1961 when the institute was set up -- has the motif of ‘Tree of life’, inspired from an exquisitely carved stone latticework jaali or grille of Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad that was built in 1573 AD. It also has the Sanskrit verse Vidya Viniyogadvikasa (development through the distribution or application of knowledge). The motif design is widely used in many Gujarat government tourism advertisements and brochures.

According to a faculty member aware of the developments, the impression of the mosque’s grille is present in both new logos but less prominently, and the Sanskrit shloka is there only in the international logo.

“The logo is our identity – the jaali and the Sanskrit verse define us and our Indian ethos. For us, it a symbol of our Indianness, our connect with “vidya”, our link to the Institute. It is our commitment to “vikas” of the country, industry, society, students and management discipline. It is our philosophy and mission statement. Any change in the same, either in artistic rendition or change in verse, is an assault on our identity,” the faculty members wrote.

“The change of logo will have far-reaching implications and long-term consequences on the institute’s brand and its stakeholders,” the letter read, asking the board to inform them about the “process followed to arrive” at this decision.

Errol D’Souza did not respond to phone calls. The IIM-A communication team refused to comment.

Bakul Dholakia, former director at IIM-A, said this kind of decision amounted to a fundamental violation of institute norms, cultures and practices. “The ethos of democratic principles of faculty governance have been seriously compromised. It is surprising that the board even considered a proposal that did not come from the academic council. There seems to be an erosion of decades-old culture of the institute and unfortunately, this should call for government intervention,” he said.

The idea of getting a visual identity was initiated by IIM-A’s founder members, Vikram Sarabhai and Kamla Chowdhry, after the foundation of the B-school in 1961.

Dholakia said multiple logos will erode the brand value of the institute. “The best global recognition and ranking came from 2002 to 2010 with this same logo. IIM-A had collaboration with 50 global institutes then,” he added.

Rashmi Bansal, IIM-A alumni and an author, suggested there was a pattern to the changes. “First it was the iconic dorms, now the classic logo of IIM-A is not ‘good enough’. Drastic changes are being instituted without consulting the faculty. Stakeholders like students and alumni are also of no consequence,” she said.

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