As per reports, The Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication is all set for an overhaul after Congress’ rise to power in Madhya Pradesh.
Of late, the university has found itself stranded in troubled waters after numerous cases of wrongdoings such as misuse of monetary resources along with removal of Nehru and Congress from the course books. All of this was done in order to ‘saffronise’ the course curriculum by the BJP. The party had been ruling Madhya Pradesh for a decade and a half (2003 to 2018).
The university’s vice-chancellor (Jagdish Upasane) and rector (Lajpat Ahuja) had stepped down from their respective posts after BJP’s fall in the state.
A special committee has been constituted by Chief minister Kamal Nath to look into the complaints and grievances. It is believed that the university was fostering and nurturing a specific ideology through its curriculum and academic activities. The committee would have Gopal Reddy, the Additional Chief Secretary in the state’s PR department. The overall is believed to be a part of Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s bid to ‘desaffronise’ the university and its curriculum.
Throwing light on the allegations, P. Narahari, the university’s acting vice-chancellor, said that the committee’s report is still awaited.
The committee has begun its work by bringing in Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, back into the institution’s academic curriculum.
As per Reddy, the management had been receiving a lot of complaints ranging from irregular appointments to misuse of the university’s monetary resources. Furthermore, a large number of centres were being started without considering the rules set forth by the UGC.
According to an unnamed senior faculty member, saffronisation started happening ever since the BJP govt. came to power in the state. Journalists associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) formed the university’s management and were made faculty members as well.
According to another member of the faculty: The university had turned into RSS’ laboratory and had been suppressing all liberal and progressive values associated with journalism.
Earlier, the university’s course curriculum consisted of Nehru and his socialist reforms, but were removed and replaced by the likes of Deen Dayal Upadhayay under the BJP government led by Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
Booklet on Article 370
A number of professors had also pointed out that the university’s monetary resources were being used to publish literature that favoured a specific ideology. The university had published a booklet containing an impact analysis of sorts of the much talked about Article 370 when VC-Kuthiala was at the helm of affairs.
The university had a number of campuses apart from the main campus in Bhopal. These were located at Khandwa, Rewa, Amarkantak, Datiya, and Gwalior. More than half of the total student strength is housed within the Bhopal campus.
But the Congress’ rise to power in the state has resulted in a few significant changes. Now, the centres in Amarkantak, Datiya, and Gwalior are being shut. The decision would be bought into force when the new session commences.
A few people within the university’s even said that man of these centres were being used as RSS’ workshops. For instance, the Jammu Kashmir Adhyayan Kendra, which is a study centre linked to the RSS, has been used to conduct seminars and projects in the past.
Reddy was also quoted as saying that the university had no authority to open centres outside the state’s geographical territory, but it did open a centre in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The centre now has nearly 600 students. He also stated that a decision regarding the centre’s closure has not yet been taken.
Students seem to be caught in an ugly crossfire of words with many of them bringing to light the lack of infrastructure, faculty, etc.
An anonymous speaker also threw light on the sad plight of the journalism department, which, according to him, had been the ‘worst victim’ of expansion, where the likes of media management and corp. comm. were being given importance and access to better resources.
Also, no elections for student bodies have taken place within the campus for quite some time now. All of these things need to be looked into, another speaker who didn’t wish his name to be disclosed was quoted as saying.