Bhopal: Since coming to power in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress-led government has taken up the task of ‘de-saffronising’ the state’s premier journalism institute — the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication (MCNUJC) — which had been in the clutches of BJP and its parent organisation RSS for the past 15 years.
First off, the government constituted a three-member committee to probe the allegation of saffronisation of the syllabus, illegal recruitments and misuse of funds to propagate the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideology in the university.
Next, the government has removed from the university RSS sympathisers — such as office bearer Deepak Sharma, registrar Lajpat Ahuja, and vice chancellor Jagdish Upasne who is former editor of ‘The Organiser’, the mouthpiece publication of the RSS.
Now, the government has appointed a new Vice Chancellor, Deepak Tiwari, a veteran journalist and author who is in charge of ushering in a new syllabus and aims to restore the university’s glory.
“We are revising the syllabus and making it student-centric. We are removing all units and chapters that are unnecessary for a journalism student and are propagating a particular ideology,” said Tiwari
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Recently, the university replaced all books in the library that propagate a particular ideology with other important books.
Photos of RSS ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya and the idols of gods and goddess have been removed from the university premises, said Tiwari, adding that educational institutions are sacred places that should give a wide berth to any religion or ideology.
“Our thrust is to create a better environment for journalism students, enhance studios, classrooms and give quality education. Educational institutes are to promote education, not any religious ideology,” said Tiwari.
When the party was in opposition, the Congress alleged saffronisation of the journalism university, illegal recruitments and a centre to promote the RSS ideology.
Registrar of the university, Deependra Baghel, said the syllabus needed much attention.
In the past one and a half decades, the BJP rule had introduced several chapters on right-wing philosophy and their leaders. In doing so, chapters on leaders and philosophy of other ideologies were cut down and made insignificant.
“The Vice Chancellor Deepak Tiwari has formed a syllabus review committee to fix and upgrade the syllabus and made it student-centric. The review committee has started its work and the new academic session will begin with the revised syllabus,” said Baghel, adding that India is known for its diverse yet composite culture and that should be reflected everywhere.
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“Besides, journalism is changing with each passing day and our syllabus is outdated.”
Detaching the university from the clutches of the RSS is not easy because it is deep-rooted, claimed a university official.
Earlier, the university used to work closely with various organisations associated with the RSS — including Jammu & Kashmir Adhyayan Kendra, Akhil Bhartiya Uchch Shiksha Mandal, Seva Bharati, Punch Nand Shodh, Vidyarthi Adhyayan Neyeas and so on. Those institutions influenced the teachers, staff and students with the RSS ideology for many years, and now the services of these organisations offered to the university have been discontinued.
“The BJP government used to appoint only such people who abide by the saffron ideology, which adversely impacted the quality of education. Now, we are chalking out a plan to change the entire scenario,” said a university official.
The Congress constituted a high-powered three-member inquiry committee headed by MP’s additional chief secretary Gopal Reddy, following allegations that the university was promoting a particular ideology in its syllabus and academic activities even as there was large-scale misappropriation of funds, and corruption in recruitment and opening of new centres.
The 40-page report reveals that former vice chancellor of the university, Brij Kishore Kuthiyala, used the university funds to buy expensive imported wine, ‘Cabernet wine’; sponsored his wife’s foreign trips during his six-year tenure between 2012 and 2018.
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The probe also found that over two dozen recruitments had been done by the vice chancellor since 2003 flouting all norms and rules of the university to provide jobs to persons associated with the RSS.
The probe committee also found irregularities in opening new centres. The report reveals that the director of study centres, Deepak Sharma, permitted the opening of 600 centres between 2016 and 2018 to benefit the BJP and RSS workers.
In Bhopal alone, there are 109 study centres, while according to university rules, a centre can be opened only in ab area where the population is over 25,000. New centres were running in two-or-three-room premises.
At present, the report is with Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s office.
In the past two to three years, the university introduced numerous new courses but the university has shortages of classrooms, studios and faculty members. The Noida campus of the university, even after having been opened more than a decade ago, is still running in a two-storey building.
“Despite knowing about the shortage of classrooms and faculty members, the university administration had introduced various courses and open study centres just to employ the RSS people and used this institute to earn benefits” said one university official who wished to remain anonymous.
To fix this, therefore, the university is observing a zero year and plans to discontinue 16 courses.
VC Deepak Tiwari said, “All flagship courses of the university will continue. There are some courses that have lost importance and need to be reviewed. No fresh admissions will be taken in such courses. More than 16 courses will see no admission in the next academic year.”
“We can think of introducing new courses after the university shifts to the new campus, which is about to be ready,” Tiwari added.