Future journalists enrolled at the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication near Bhopal will soon move to a new 50-acre campus, which they will share with a cowshed and its inhabitants. The new campus of the state university is in Bishankhedi, on the outskirts of Bhopal. Of the 50 acres meant for the university, 2 acres are low-lying where no construction is possible. The university administration wants to use this area for the cowshed.
“We don’t have the expertise to run a gaushala. Whoever runs it will decide on the number of cows and where to source them,’’ vice-chancellor B K Kuthiala told The Indian Express. He said the university had no plan of running a course on cows or management of cowsheds. He pointed to the merits of having a cowshed on a university campus. “Milk and curd will go to students living in hostels and the staff living on the campus. Also, fuel from a biogas plant will come in handy,” the vice-chancellor said.
Kuthiala pre-empted talk of a possible RSS link. “I am aware that people will find an RSS connection to the proposal but that’s not true,” he said. “The suggestion came from the architect and the university cleared the proposal in 2013 itself.’’ He said ancient centres of learning such as Nalanda and Takshashila were self-sufficient and had cowsheds on their campuses. He was not sure if any modern university has one, though.
He said work on the cowshed will begin only after the university shifts to the new campus, which is being developed at a cost of Rs 149 crore and will have studios for television, multi-media, animation, radio and print. There is no separate budget for a cowshed. The Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication was set up by an Act passed in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly in 1990 and inaugurated a year later.
The university runs 21 courses in journalism, communications, management, printing, graphics and multimedia, film production and computer applications, among other subjects. The current strength of 1600-odd is likely to go up to 3,000 after operations move to the new campus from MP Nagar in Bhopal, where the smaller original campus is. In 2015, the Congress had accused the BJP government of making illegal appointments to the university, saying several people with a background in the RSS were chosen over deserving candidates who were not affiliated to any ideology.
A few years ago, the university had conducted a written examination that had questions like “who was the founder of the Jan Sangh”, “who conceptualised integral humanism’’ and “which political leader was born on December 25”. Rival political parties accused the university of promoting RSS ideology. The secretary of the state CPI(M), Badal Saroj, accused the vice-chancellor of ingratiating himself to the powers that be. He said the move was irrational and university alumni who have made it big in the media industry and other journalists should condemn it.