Published: 21st June 2019
Peace be with you: How simple it is to buy a dubious DLitt from this University
A phone call was all it took to understand the ease of receiving a doctorate from International University of Peace, which is apparently headquartered in Germany
We recently wrote about the ease of obtaining a not-so-genuine Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degree in India. With fake universities rampant in this field, all that one has to apparently do is pay a certain amount of money. You are then awarded a DLitt or an honourary causa, which lets you prefix your name with a Dr tag.
Our previous story in this series spoke about a list of nine fake universities, that have 'honoured' many people, including a host of VIPs. Three out of these nine had the word 'Peace' attached to the word University. The list did not stop there. We also came across the websites of two other fake Peace Universities.
One of them was the International Peace University, which claims to be headquartered in Germany. Having hosted a Peace Conference in Kerala on February 2, 2019, the 'university' apparently offers doctorates in 30 disciplines. A brochure of theirs that we accessed had the contact details of a certain Dr Suresh Babu. We decided to call him up.
Recently, Wilson*, a member of the Edexlive team contacted Babu, posing as a cinematographer who wants a Doctorate. Here's how the conversation went
Wilson: I'm a cinematographer. I got your number from a co-director. I've been trying for a doctorate for a while now. Can you help me out?
Babu: Where are you calling from?
W: Tirupur. What is the procedure to get a doctorate?
B: In what field are you working?
W: Film industry
B: Oh ok. We've awarded doctorates to many people from the film industry recently. This includes singer L R Eswari, Kannada stunt director Ravi Varma, actor Vaiyapuri, singer Chinnaponnu and actor Poovilangu Mohan
W: Oh wait. He's a friend of mine
B: Really? Why don't you WhatsApp your details
W: Can you tell me the procedure?
B: Sure sir. In which field do you want a doctorate?
W: I'm a cinematographer
B: So, a doctorate in Fine Arts will be perfect. Send your resume, photograph and aadhar card
W: Sure. Which university is this?
B: It is International Peace University. It is a university in Germany. It is recognised worldwide. If you want, we can present it in a function in Dubai too
W: How much will it cost?
B: Send your resume, I'll check with your people and give you a good quote. The regional director is a close friend of mine. I'll refer to him and let you know
W: Ok. Thank you
When we informed him about the allegations that called the university fake, he seemed quite nonchalant. Babu, who claimed to be IPU's HR Director, said, "We have been giving away these doctorates for the past eight years. No one has ever raised a complaint before."
But what he said next was quite surprising. "We have honoured a lot of people from the film industry and the Tamil Nadu government. Forget that, we have also awarded doctorates to a lot of BJP leaders too," he says. Babu says that most of the chief guests in their convocation ceremonies are from the government. According to him, the university has also presented doctorates to a former Madurai Police Commissioner, a member of the Planning Commission and a member of the National Commission for Women. "Whenever our delegates come from Germany, they need to show that they're here for something legitimate," adds Babu.
Babu says that IPU never accepts money from anyone. "We are not taking any money. We only honour legitimate people. But at the same time, some agents are collecting money in IPU's name," he says.