BENGALURU: When the nation celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Tuesday (October 2), the Centre for Gandhian Studies at Bangalore University will be wearing a desolate look. For the third year in a row, no students have come forward to study the life and ways of the Mahatma. The centre, started in 1969, used to have at least 20 students each for the courses offered, but now has none.
The centre regularly organises national and international seminars on the Mahatma. It is located at the Jnana Bharathi campus and offers various diploma and certificate courses of six months and one year duration. However, over the years, there have been very few takers.
According to university officials, the short duration diploma and certificate courses initially saw good response with professionals getting enrolled to study about Gandhi. “Gradually, the demand has been going down and from the last three years, not a single admission has been made for any of the courses,” said a senior university official.
As per university norms, it is mandatory to have a minimum of 20 applicants for a course. “It will be a financial burden on the university to run it with fewer students. As there were very few forms, we did not conduct the courses for the last three years,” the official said. While some courses are post-matric, some others are post-graduation studies.
The Centre for Gandhian Studies is one of the oldest departments of the university, the foundation for which was laid by the then President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on December 8, 1965. The existing building was formally dedicated on October 2, 1969. The Gandhi Bhavan boasts of Bengaluru’s biggest ‘Charaka’ made of brass. Another highlight of the building is an amphitheatre named ‘Sabarmati Open Air Theatre’. Also located on the premises is the Albert Einstein-Charlie Chaplin Sit-Out and a sculpture of the Mother Goddess. The building has a meditation hall which can accommodate about 300 people. The Centre has a library with a collection of more than 2,000 books.
Interest in open elective course
Students pursuing various post-graduate courses at the university and PG centres at affiliated colleges are preferring ‘Mahatma Gandhi and the Contemporary World’ as an open elective subject. Over 250 students have opted for it as an open elective at the PG level, officials say.