Every year, on October 2, various podiums are used to deliver speeches about the teachings and principles of M.K. Gandhi. However, a growing number of students are interested in finding out more about the ‘Father of the Nation’. Gandhian Studies appears to be gaining favour among the student community encouraging more universities and colleges to offer courses on the subject.
The Gandhi Bhavan (Karnataka Gandhi Smarak Nidhi), Bangalore, has also caught on. It is set to offer full-time diploma and certificate courses on the subject from the next academic year. The bhavan has, so far, been outsourcing and promoting activities, seminars and competitions to as many as 25 colleges in the State. H. Sreenivasaiah, president of the Bhavan, told The Hindu that material from Madurai Kamaraj University had been acquired for the purpose.
The University of Mysore too has added two courses from this academic year. Now, students can also opt for a one-year undergraduate diploma in Gandhian Studies or B.A. in conflict studies, said University of Mysore Vice-Chancellor K.S. Rangappa.
‘No dearth of students’
H.B. Walikar, Vice-Chancellor of Karnatak University, Dharwad, also said there was no dearth of students for the varsity’s courses on the subject. “There are 40 students for the PG diploma course and 60 studying the add-on courses. Most students are those studying core subjects such as political science and philosophy who want to strengthen their subject knowledge,” he said.
As for Bangalore University’s Centre for Gandhian Studies, its director D. Jeevan Kumar said the PG diploma course was running with its full strength of 21. “We received 30 applications though the intake is 21. Among them, around 15 are PG students pursuing it as an add-on course,” Prof. Kumar said.
Asked about the reasons behind students choosing the course, he said: “During the counselling, most students said they want to clear myths and misconceptions about Gandhiji as there is no solid information imparted in school and college. We also have rare cases of students who have finished their PG course and dedicate a whole year to the diploma course.”
One such student is 30-year-old Harish Kumar, who completed BU’s course last year and is now running his own NGO. “I studied environmental science in my UG, PG and Ph.D. Along the way, as I was reading books on Gandhiji, I realised that his principles on conservation of ecology and natural resources could be applied even today. That is why I enrolled in the course,” he said.