Another step to destroy IGNCA

Another step to destroy IGNCA

The change of guard at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is in line with the now established tradition of reorganising such institutions whenever a new government comes to power. The chairman of the IGNCA, Chinmaya Garekhan, has been replaced with a former journalist. The board of trustees of the institution was also reconstituted. Garekhan may have been expecting the axe, as he said that all successive governments have made such changes. But acceptance of such changes as the norm is to go against the idea behind setting up such institutions. The IGNCA was set up “to serve as a major resource centre for the arts” and to foster dialogue between arts and other disciplines. But it has through most of its life remained as a bailiwick of the Gandhi family and its supporters and hangers-on. Though Sonia Gandhi’s knowledge of arts would be next to nought, she was its life president once and some family loyalists were its leading lights.

When the BJP was in the opposition, it had criticised the misuse of public institutions as personal fiefdoms by Congress governments and the culture of patronage and favouritism practised in these institutions. But when it came to power it has ardently followed the same tradition. Premier institutions like the Indian Council of Historical Research, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and the Film and Television Institute have seen their heads replaced with supporters of the BJP and those sympathetic to the Hindutva ideology. These appointees are not selected on the basis of their abilities and academic and professional credentials to head and manage such institutions. Political and personal loyalties are the important considerations. One of them described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an incarnation of god after he got the appointment. Students protested for many months against the appointment of a mediocre actor as the head of the Pune film institute.
 
All these institutions have a public purpose and are run with public funds. Their spending is from the national exchequer. They should not be made vehicles of patronage and places for distribution of favours and rewards. The bodies and institutions which are meant to promote arts and culture should be manned by persons who have special talent and expertise in the areas. The fact that the Congress filled them with undeserving people is no reason for the BJP to make the same mistake. But it is using the appointments not only to reward loyalists but also to promote its ideology.  

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)