NSD Students on Indefinite Protest Demanding Full-time Director, More Permanent Faculty
Image Courtesy: NSD/Facebook
Delhi: The students of the National School of Drama (NSD) have been on a protest since October 3 demanding a permanent artistic director. They say the absence of a full-time director is having an adverse impact on their academic lives, the Indian Express reported.
The NSD students’ union on Thursday said in a statement that they will continue their protest until Chairperson Paresh Rawal and Society members meet the students urgently and take immediate actions on the issues the students have brought forth.
“We demand that we get a permanent artistic Director to run the School. The NSD society has not recruited a Permanent Director since the last one left his office 4 years ago. The post is since held by people serving ad interim. The functioning of the institute like this has a sub-optimal effect on its reputation as experienced by the student body and observed by theatre practitioners across the country. As an autonomous body, the institution truly deserves a leader with a keen interest in theatre and a vision for theatre pedagogy of the country. We deserve a permanent director who is a theatre practitioner, theatre academician, and a person with a vision for theatre and its future,” states the charter of demands issued by the union on Thursday, as per the Indian Express report.
After the then Director Waman Kendre’s term ended in September 2018, the institute was led by Suresh Kumar as Director-in-Charge. In May this year, Ramesh Chandra Gaur assumed office as Director as an additional charge since he has been permanently associated with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) as Professor and Head of Kala Nidhi Division with a background in library sciences. The Chairperson of the institute, Paresh Rawal, who is a film actor and not a theatrician, has also been criticised for not having a vision for the world-renowned institute and blindly following government orders as he is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Speaking to the Indian Express, a student union member said the institute was facing several administrative issues, which were also affecting the students.
“There is a growing list of issues with the everyday functioning of the school. One of the very important reasons for this is not having an institutional head. It is very demoralizing and worrying to be a student in the National School of Drama,” state the students’ charter of demands.
They said that students were deprived of proper classes and teachers. Many of the classes are conducted by guest teachers as there are only six permanent faculty members.
“The planning is so loose that if we have a module with one teacher for say 15 days, because the teacher for the next module is not yet fixed, we have to wait for a few days for the classes to begin. Sometimes it’s a week. There are issues with approving budgets for productions and material coming in for classes,” a students’ union member told the Indian Express.
The Jana Natya Mancha (JNM) also expressed solidarity with the protesting students. In a statement released on social media on Friday, the JNM urged the chairperson of NSD to immediately act on the students' demands, including appointments of a full-time artistic director and other permanent faculty members.
"NSD is an important institution that has produced numerous students who have made the country proud by their work. If the current apathy continues, the institution will be run to the ground," the JNM statement read. It also added that one student has been on hunger strike since October 6 and his condition will deteriorate if the administration does not act fast.
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