Without a full-time director dedicated to the institute, students of the National School of Drama are on protest demanding a permanent artistic director citing adverse impact to their academic lives.
Students at the NSD have been on protest since October 3, and the students’ union on Thursday issued a statement that they will remain on protest “until the Chairperson and Society members meet with the students on an urgent basis and take immediate actions on the pressing issues we are facing”.
“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 a charter of demands issued by the union on Thursday.
After the end of then Director Waman Kendre’s term 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 is permanently associated with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) as Professor and Head-Kala Nidhi Division with a background in library sciences. The Chairman of the institute is actor Paresh Rawal.
“There are a number of administrative issues, and it’s affecting our student lives. We are not getting proper classes or teachers. Since there are only 6 permanent faculty members, a lot of our classes are conducted by visiting faculty or contractual faculty. 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,” said a member of the students’ union.
“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 demands.