When I read recipients of national awards have returned their awards (some along with cash received) to protest ‘growing intolerance in the country ‘, and the government stifling their freedom of expression, their act left me thinking. I wondered if the famous writer R.K.Narayan, who was the first recipient of the Sahitya Academi award in English for his novel ‘Guide’ would have followed suit or must have thought it wise not to join the rest of the authors who protested against increasing intolerance. Talking about institutions I was shocked to find a prestigious business school in Chennai is shutting down one of its departments shortly. Again I am reminded of my own Alma Mater where I underwent a part time post graduate diploma course in journalism which was started in 1970 along with similar courses in Marketing and Advertising .We were 39 students in all, 34 men(all working) and five women, all fresh graduates. We had an excellent part time faculty, professional journalists (one of them qualified from Columbia School of Journalism and worked abroad) working for the mainstream newspapers who taught us Reporting, Editing and Writing, the core subjects. Our principal too was a professional senior journalist who was strict with a smile. His successor too was very popular with the students and retired after a long association with the college. Subsequently, the college saw a few principals whose stint was very brief and one fine day due to extraneous reasons the college closed down a few years ago. I take pride in the fact that some of the alumni are placed in senior positions in newspaper organizations and have turned into published authors of quite a few books which are doing well. (To my knowledge perhaps I am the only alumni, belonging to the first batch of students of journalism who has been pursuing my journey of 45 years in writing having published seven books in different genres ever since I passed out in 1971).
The founder of this great institution, a visionary and a versatile personality whose objective was to promote Indian culture had also believed in the saying, it is never too late to learn. With this in mind a part time college was set up which offered professional post graduate diploma courses for the convenience of working people in most of its centres. It is heartening to find that the college continues to run these courses in major cities and towns where it has started with the exception of Chennai. Here it started with a bang in 1970 and ended in a whimper a few years ago. I write this with nostalgia and a heavy heart but certainly I am not going to return my certificates received for post graduate diploma in journalism, certificate courses in Public relations and Public speaking (I stood first in both) which I underwent in this institution because what little success I achieved in my field, I owe it to the dedicated part time faculty of the college and my loyalty to the institution.