It should not come as a surprise when the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), run by the government’s I&B Ministry for training journalists and the ministry recruits, decided to cancel the invite to a speaker at the last minute citing the busy schedule of its director general.
The row over the cancellation of a lecture of Gauhar Raza, a scientist and maker of the first documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots is not surprising though IIMC claims that it was on “purely administrative reason”.
The snub meted out to a scientist should not surprise many since the change in guard often gives leverage to government followers elsewhere, and IIMC is another example of it.
IIMC, though located next door to Jawaharlal Nehru University, is not as independent as the varsity and Raza’s description of it being “very unprofessional” should not surprise many.
Raza has produced the first documentary film on the 2002 Gujarat riots highlighting the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, who happened to be the PM now and a whisper could have kept him out of the workshop at the last-minute.
Reacting to the controversy, IIMC tried to play it down saying its director general Sunit Tandon was too busy to attend the inaugural session and hence the “snub on Raza”. However, the other sessions of the workshop were held as scheduled, according to Raza.
However, people of India now know who owns IIMC and its “reputation”. Perhaps, Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy in Mussorie and other training institutes may fall in line soon.