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You’d Better “Not Dare” To Think Beyond: Lessons Learnt From IIPM

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By Nidhi Khurana:

I am an amateur writer. I dabble with my words and thoughts to express my opinion about the things happening around me. Satire is my favourite genre. I am also born in a free democratic country where ‘Freedom to Speech’ is my fundamental right.”
Well, that is how I thought when I ever said anything about anything. But the recent controversy around the banning of anti-IIPM (Indian Institute of Planning and Management) content has left me stunned and dazed and I dread that I might also get sued or blocked for expressing myself here.

Arindam Chaudhuri

Arindam Chaudhuri, the director of IIPM think tank sued some of the organizations and individuals for developing anti-IIPM content over Internet. The list also includes national bodies like the University Grants Commission (UGC) and some renowned websites. Mr Arindam claims that the content on these sites was defamatory. Now the question that one may ask is: What exactly is being referred to as defamatory content by him? For that, let us first explore the roots of IIPM.

IIPM as a University was founded in 1973 by M.K. Chaudhuri, the father of Arindam Chaudhuri. The University offers a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in National Economic Planning and Entrepreneurship. The certifications awarded by IIPM are not backed by the UGC, AICTE, or any other government regulatory body. In July 2012, the UGC issued a notification regarding the unrecognized status of the university and its fake excellence. Now here is the point where the actual tussle started. This appears to Mr Chaudhuri as defaming the name of the University. Well, Really? What is being defamed? A university that should get itself an accreditation. A university that sells degrees in the name of excellence. I am deliberately using the phrase ‘sells degrees’ because it charges lakhs of rupees to award degrees to students that are not even recognized by the UGC. The situation is funny more than anything else.

We, anyway, do not care about blocking of these URLs or the self proclaimed management guru’s lawsuits. Whatever content has been blocked has already been shared on a lot of social networking sites owing to the virality of the same. Apparently, it has been circulated more than this professor could imagine. Let’s assume that this was one more publicity stunt by this narcissist (pardon me). However, there is something that we should care about. In a state where critical thinking, criticism and satire are suppressed; there is little that can be changed about the society. A powerful democracy stands on the strong pillars of the media, the media whose role is supposed to be that of a watchdog. But the strong influence of the state and the big corporations (let us say IIPM happens to be one of them) has caused the media to lose its repressive power.

We are not prisoners to be kept in panoptic cells, under 24*7 surveillance. We have a voice and we have a right to get our voice heard. Criticism is to be taken in a positive light and the suppressing of voices is not the answer. Nor is the blocking of websites. Rather, Arindam Chaudhuri should think of the ways to defend the name of his university and restoring its lost glory. For, I will say what I feel

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  1. Ankit Garg

    So 2 points –

    1) The above article has its roots in right to free speech in Indian democracy. Having said that, Mr. Arindam also enjoys the same right. The real problem is with him but the authorities who agreed with him to block those sites. The poor guy is trying to save his business just like anyone else would do.

    2) Whether to get affiliated with UGC, AICTE or not, it is his decision and not ours and we as the informed YOUTH should not make a judgement on his institute basis affiliations. Who dictates that UGC is the right authority to govern the institutes?

    Having said that, claims done by Mr. Arindam are indeed preposterous to say the least.

    P.S – I am not a student of IIPM.

  2. Suparna Sanyal

    Your article is factually incorrect. You should have checked before exercising your freedom of expression. It looks clearly like freedom of mistaken expression right now. The mistakes are as follows:

    1. IIPM was never a university; has never been a university; and has never claimed to be a university. It is simply an institution offering various programs.

    2. IIPM has never applied and will never for UGC recognition. It is simply an institution. Then why should it apply for UGC recognition? Universities should apply for UGC recognition; not institutions. Hindu College is not UGC recognized. Delhi University is.

    3. Therefore, when UGC says that IIPM is not UGC recognized, there are two issues. One, there is no need for UGC to point that fact out just for IIPM. If UGC is so righteous, then it should be doing the same for ISB, Hindu College, St. Stephens and so on. Two, if I keep advertising that your mother is not a whore, then although I am advertising a fact (that your mother is not a whore), it is pure defamation.

    So please, check your ‘freedom of expression’. And yes, I am an IIPM student and am quite proud to be one.
    Thanks,
    Suparna Sanyal
    FW12-14
    IIPM

  3. Vikram

    @Suparna: ..and hence comes the self-contradiction … the one who professes against “Freedom of mistaken expression” is using preposterous analogies like ..”your mother is not a whore”… Wow, seriously! …..clearly an overdose of “Dare to think beyond blah blah”.

    Thank GOD I am immune to such ‘high hardheadedness” ..

    Get well soon!

  4. Suparna Sanyal

    My apologies for the ill-placed analogy.

  5. dev pathak

    i don’t think Nidhi is entirely incorrect in her comprehension; polemic is a genre of writing, and very valid one, which allows one to be sarcastic, biting and seeking to provoke; one must know that a lot of Greek classics resorted to it. Of course we are not in the time of the Greek classics. But then, we are in the time of deadly ironies which the likes of Prof. Chaudhury and IIPM embody (not to spare innumerable others elsewhere). While most of our professional writers are coldly calculative about consequences, i believe we must welcome polemical pieces coming from courageous youth. and our expression must be judged beyond the too touted a question of freedom of expression.

  6. Ranveer Raj

    You know whats actually funny?
    The university was didn’t get an accreditation or affiliation. fine. What law says that you have to have it registered? And if there is such a law, wouldn’t even that be at the very least limiting in nature to the freedom which everyone is ready to harp about?
    Mr. Choudhary has his point of view, the organisations have their own point of view. This Doesn’t mean i’m a fan of IIPM. But I see no logic behind the statement “IIPM should get registered”. If things continue like this, people will start saying “To live you must get a degree even though its only a piece of paper which won’t change your quality of workplace ethic or quality much.”

    Demanding content to be blocked is one thing, putting limitation on how a person can become equipped for the job market is another thing.
    Atleast he has the manners of going to the court. Some i know will make a rule and you can run around in circles or make a rope of sand for all they care.

  7. Vishal

    Maybe we should wonder for a second why everyone is getting all hyped up for IIPM over other institutions? Is it the fact that after spending such an exorbitant amount of money as fees and still having no valid UGC approved degree? Its like a man going to a hospital in the city and saying I don’t have a valid doctorate but in my village I have treated almost everyone. I can go to any small institution and get a degree not approved by UGC and pay a quarter that IIPM charges.

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