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Religious posts by National School of Drama angers artists, writers

The bone of contention has been greetings posted by the NSD on occasion of Navratri, Eid and more recently Valmiki Jayanti
Last Updated : 27 October 2021, 17:11 IST

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A series of religious posts on the Instagram channel of National School of Drama (NSD) have angered a group of writers and artists, including veterans Rohini Hattangadi and Seema Biswas.

The bone of contention has been greetings posted by the NSD on occasion of Navratri, Eid and more recently Valmiki Jayanti and Karwa Chauth.

“The dissemination of religious messages, imagery and iconography of any kind by public, state-run Institutions, goes against the remit of such institutions,” said a letter addressed to NSD Chairman Paresh Rawal and NSD Acting Director Dinesh Khanna and signed by more than 300 artists, writers, academics and former faculty members.

NSD’s Instagram channel has posts about shows, important announcements, statements from the director and photos of visiting artistes and dignitaries.

However, in October, the channel had put up a series of posts about deities such as Ma Mahagauri, Ma Brahmcharini, Ma Chandraghanta, Ma Kushmanda and Ma Katyayani during the Navratri festival.

On October 19, there was a post on Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, followed by posts on Valmiki Jayanti and Karva Chauth.

The signatories include former NSD director Anuradha Kapur, academic A Mangai, alumni such as Aniruddha Khutwad, Kannan Unni, faculty members KS Rajendran and other eminent artists such as Shobana, Maya Krishna Rao, Sadaf Raza, Sudhanva Deshpande, Santhosh Venjaramoodu, Sharath Karanth, Abhishek Majumdar and Zeeshan Khan.

The letter said that posts promoting religious festivals were an embarrassment to the institution and divert form its function as a reputed school for the arts.

“If you should need assistance in improving the standards of public-facing communications, we urge you to reach out to past members of the faculty and artistic communities, who would be only too happy to help the institute maintain its identity as an institution of national repute,” the letter said.

The signatories said though NSD has a rich tradition of celebrating all festivals within the campus for everyone to participate equally, being a national institution, it has no affiliation to any particular religion or community.

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Published 27 October 2021, 16:57 IST

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