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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Marx in, right-wing out: Madhya Pradesh university changes stand

The university has also decided to institute an inquiry into allegations of university funds having been given to some right-wing organisations in the 15 years of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule in the state.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2019 07:13 IST
Ranjan
Ranjan
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Mass communication, in Bhopal.
Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Mass communication, in Bhopal.(HT File Photo)
         

Bhopal-based Makhanlal Chaturvedi University of Journalism and Mass Communication has decided to reduce the influence of right-wing leaders in the institute’s syllabus and introduce German economist Karl Max and India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in its curriculum from the next academic session.

The university has also decided to institute an inquiry into allegations of university funds having been given to some right-wing organisations in the 15 years of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule in the state.

The university, set up in 1990, is considered a premier institution for journalism and has over 1,000 students in its Bhopal campus, apart from several hundred in other campuses including one in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi. The vice-president is the university’s visitor and the Madhya Pradesh chief minister heads its governing council.

Chief minister Kamal Nath replaced BJP government- appointed Jagdish Upasane with journalist, Deepak Tiwari, as the new vice-chancellor of the university on February 25. In 20 days since he took charge, Tiwari has decided to remove “undue” references to right- wing leaders, including study material in the library and the syllabus.

“I am in favour of study of all ideologies by students. A journalism university should be ideology-neutral,” Tiwari said. “An 11-member committee will suggest changes in the syllabus. We have also started an Idea of India lecture series.”

A university official, who is reviewing the syllabus, said the students would be taught about Nehru and Marx from the next academic year; references to both were removed from the syllabus during tenure of the then VC BK Kuthiala. “A chapter on Narad Muni introduced on the ground that he was the first mythological journalist would be removed,” the official said, adding that references to right-wing leaders will be taught in a “right proportion”.

Tiwari has replaced a photo in his office of Deendayal Upadhyaya with those of B R Ambedkar and Nehru. The quote of the day on the university’s notice board is now typically a saying by Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, not one by BJP ideologues like Upadhyay, Syama Prasad Mookerjee or Veer Savarkar.

The VC has also decided to scrap ‘Pakistan media watch’ wing and Jammu and Kashmir study centre. The service of a news agency said to be affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, ideological mentor of BJP, has been discontinued and services of two national news agencies restored, he said.

The vice-chancellor also said that an inquiry has been instituted to look into allegations of the release of university funds to certain right-wing organisations. “I was surprised to see this flow of varsity money to these organisations,” he said.

Former university VC Kuthiala said that if saffronisation referred to a process of glorifying ancient Indian culture, it could not be treated as an undesirable element in a system of learning.

“It would be a mockery of the autonomy of universities if with change of government the course curricula are changed,” he said.

Jayant Tomar, head of journalism department, ITM University, Gwalior, who has been a student of the journalism university, said, “I have no hesitation in saying that a particular ideology dominated the campus during the previous government. If there are certain changes now in the new government we should welcome it.”

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 02:18 IST

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