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Saffronisation is in the minds of critics: KG Suresh defends new courses at IIMC

Priyata Brajabasi | Updated on: 2 September 2017, 19:06 IST
(File photo)

The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) has once again come under fire for saffronising its curriculum, this time for introducing Bharat Muni’s ‘Natya Shashtra’ as a part of its communication models course.

The ancient Indian treatise will be taught at the journalism institute to introduce students to Indian communication models.

'Why are we ashamed of our own history?'

“As of now, we have only been teaching western models of communication, but in India we have had a long tradition of communication. Natya Shashtra is a science based on which Bharatnatyam and other dance forms have been created. It is a very classical form of communication on which Nepalese scholars have worked. While we are still teaching western models of communication, what is the harm in teaching Indian models as well?" IIMC director general KG Suresh told Catch.

Responding to allegations of saffronisation of the IIMC curriculum, Suresh said, “Teaching students about India and its achievements is not saffronisation. There is no religion in Natya Shashtra. I am a communications specialist, and I find that there are many new elements that need to be taught. This institution has been headed by bureaucrats in the past; I want to bring about positive change in the journalism programme so the students are well rounded journalists with strong Indian roots. Why are we so ashamed about our own history?"

The mass communication institute has taken inspiration from Nepalese scholar Dr Nirmala Mani Adhikary’s research of the sadharanikaran (simplification) model of communication based on Natya Shastra.

Critical times

IIMC was recently criticised for introducing a three-month certificate programme in Sanskrit journalism.

"We have set up a new unit known as the department of Indian languages that will offer courses in Sanskrit and other Indian languages. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha. They will look after the language part while we will draft the curriculum. We also offer courses in Urdu, Malayalam, Marathi and Odiya between our various campuses," Suresh explained.

"So-called liberals do not have an issue with those languages. What is the harm in introducing a Sanskrit programme? I have invited many accomplished journalists to speak at IIMC. When Nidhi Razdan is invited, no one has an issue. When Arnab Goswami is invited, IIMC becomes saffronised. These are such double standards. Saffronisation is in the mind of the critics.”

IIMC has also introduced new material in their various courses. As a part of their English journalism course, the institute has introduced ‘Indian Communication Theories: Concept and Process,’ that will focus on ancient Indian treatises like Sahridaya and Sadharanikaran, Natya Shastra and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.

The developmental journalism course offered at the institute is a 17-week programme for journalists and scholars from developing countries. The course has introduced a section called ‘Discovering India’ that will focus on India’s civilisational history.

First published: 2 September 2017, 19:06 IST
Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB

Priyata thinks in words and delivers in pictures. The marriage of the two, she believes, is of utmost importance. Priyata joined the Catch team after working at Barcroft Media as a picture desk editor. Prior to that she was on the Output Desk of NDTV 24X7. At work Priyata is all about the news. Outside of it, she can't stay far enough. She immerses herself in stories through films, books and television shows. Oh, and she can eat. Like really.