“Have we gone back a thousand years that people would believe IIT-BHU is offering such a course?” said an exasperated Neeraj Srivastava, CEO of Young Skilled India, a startup incubated the IIT-Banaras Hindu University (IIT-BHU), which has been in the limelight lately for ‘offering crash course on how to be a perfect Indian bride’. Since last two days, there have been reports and denials of reports that IIT-BHU is offering a 3-month course which trains young women to become an ideal Indian bride.
Deccan Chronicle ran a story with the headline “IIT Banaras designs course for bride-to-be”.
As is evident, most media houses claimed that the said 3-month course is offered by IIT-BHU in their headlines, casually mentioning how the story is actually about a start-up incubated at the business incubation centre at the IIT-BHU. Many institutes of higher education, like the IITs and the IIMs, have business incubation centre where they provide space, mentoring and other support for the startups, most of which are started by the alumni themselves. The start-ups are independent of the courses offered at the educational institute.
The matter escalated so much that IIT-BHU had to issue an official statement that such a course is not offered by the institute. This despite the fact that one can easily look up the IIT-BHU website and see for themselves if such a course is available.
In this case, Young Skilled India is a startup incubated at the IIT-BHU business incubation centre and while they provide 3-month grooming and communications and skill development course for young women, Neeraj Srivastava, the CEO, claims that he has been misquoted by the journalists. ‘Even a villager could understand such courses are for skill development, but journalists who are expected to be educated don’t get it,’ told OpIndia. ‘Many even said that the said course is offered by the BHU… BHU and the startups incubated by BHU are not the same. Moreover, we never said we are offering such ‘adarsh bahu’ course. We are grooming the girls and giving them skill training because our educational institutes don’t usually focus on soft skills and real-life problems. We are trying to bridge the gap. Wonder where the ‘Adarsh bahu’ point came up,’ said Srivastava.
This is not the first time the mainstream media has tried to tarnish the image of the IITs. In August, The Wire published a story citing anonymous sources claiming that the students are questioning the decision of IIT Bombay to invite Prime Minister Modi for the convocation ceremony. Last year, various journalists and politicians had shared a fake image of girls being ‘beaten up’ by police in BHU. In reality, the image was lifted from another story where the girl was allegedly beaten up because of a one-sided love affair.
On a lighter note, Neeraj Srivastava even offered the course for journalists who had issues comprehending the essence of his course.