Academic staff at the Indian Institute of Management- Ahmedabad (IIM-A) have vehemently opposed the institution administration’s decision to replace its existing logo; a step that was approved by the IIM-A board without the faculty being duly informed.
A letter signed by 45 professors of the institution was shot off to the institute’s board of directors (BoG) on Wednesday stating the issue. In the letter, the academic staff have strongly argued that the current IIM-A logo is the institute’s “identity.
‘The jaali and the Sanskrit verse in (the current logo) define us and our Indian ethos. It is a symbol of our Indianness which connects with vidya and our link to the institute. It symbolises our commitment to the development of our country, industry, society, students and management discipline. It is our philosophy and mission statement’, the letter stated.
‘Any change in the same, either in artistic rendition or change in verse, is an assault on our identity’, the academicians added. Faculty members were informed of a “proposed change” in the logo by IIM-A director Errol D’Souza in an academic council meeting on March 4. However, when the decision was taken and the protests were incited, D’Souza did not respond to phone calls. The IIM-A communication team has refused to comment on the subject.
The present logo of IIM-A was adopted in 1961, when the institute was set up. The motif of the ‘Tree of life’ was inspired by an exquisitely carved stone latticework jaali or grille of the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad, built-in 1573 AD. The Sanskrit verse ‘Vidya viniyogadvikasa’ (development through the distribution or application of knowledge) is inscribed on this design. The design is widely used in many Gujarat government tourism advertisements and brochures.
Bakul Dholakia, a former director at IIM-A, said the board’s decision amounted to a fundamental violation of the institute’s norms, culture and practices. Dholakia said multiple logos –as proposed in the change, there will be ‘domestic’ and ‘international’ versions of the new logo – will erode the brand value of the institute. The idea of a visual identity was initiated by IIM-A founder members Vikram Sarabhai and Kamla Chowdhry, after the foundation of the B-school in 1961.