Can Indian Institutes of Management redefine qualifications for admissions to provide opportunities to new classes of people and achieve equality? This was the question Jnanpith award winner U R Ananthamurthy posed to the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
“Can you as an IIM redefine intelligence to include not merely what happens in the so-called cerebral area but also the rest of the body?” he asked during the IIMB 40th Foundation Day lecture Monday. “That I think is a challenge of our times, to redefine intelligence, to develop it and change the whole idea of arhata (qualification) from other points-of-view, by taking scientifically into account certain kinds of intelligences.”
Delivering the lecture on ‘The Challenge of Our Times from a Writer’s Perspective’, Prof Ananthamurthy, also chancellor of Central University of Karnataka, referred to how a young boy, whose only qualification is Class 10 in a small town in Karnataka managed to produce a play on Sita Kalyana. “The boy was from a backward community, but how did he produce what people called world-class theatre? We did not have arhata tests like you do in business schools.”
He even criticised the selection process of eligible persons for the 50 Rajyotsava awards, whose advisory committee he heads this time. “It was difficult,” he said. “If you want to select them purely on merit, you can select only Brahmins. Or, you’ll get at least 45 Lingayats. But if you look at it from social justice also, by recognising new knowledge of new people who haven’t been exposed to it in the last 50 years, then you will find in every caste an intelligent man,” he argued.
“I have told the Chief Minister to have eligible awardees nominated next time by people, instead of having them apply for it.” There are three hungers that drive people, he said. “Equality, modernity and spirituality,” he said.