Conspicuous by His absence! Huge public uproar over the logo of Sree Narayana Guru Open University in Kerala

    08-Jan-2021   
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The logo of the newly constituted Sree Narayana Guru Open University has triggered a massive controversy in Kerala. The logo doesn’t have a portrayal of Guru. Its critics suggest that the logo doesn’t have any meaning in itself and demand for an immediate withdrawal of this logo. They also allege that there was a conspiracy not to include Sree Narayana Guru’s portrayal on this logo. Earlier, there were protests against installing the states of Adi Shankara in Kaladi and Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan in Malappuram.
 
The artist who created the logo made a strange claim that the image of Sree Narayana Guru in a meditation posture in an aerial view can be seen on observing. But it is impossible to see anything like the artist claims. Upon being printed in black and white colours, the logo is devoid of any meaning. All the other universities in Kerala have their logos carefully made to include their vision of education and the need for scientific progress. 
 
At the time of release, the motto featured in the logo read 'Liberation through Education', a mistranslation of Gurudev's famous quote: "Vidya kondu Prabuddhar akuka." After severe criticism, it has been replaced with 'Be Enlightened with Knowledge'. Critics say, the authorities chose the word 'liberation' deliberately as it sounds more Abrahamic and less Hindu.
 
A three-member expert committee was formed by the university authorities to choose the best logo from the total logos received. But the process was not at all transparent, alleges its critics. The identity of members from the expert committee is not revealed by the university and also there are allegations that the logo picked up by the expert committee is not the one released by the university. Sree Narayana Pensioners Council has sent letters to the Chief Minister, Minister of Higher education and Vice-Chancellor of the Sree Narayana Guru Open University demanding immediate withdrawal of the controversial logo.