Noted classical dancer and activist, Mallika Sarabhai, has said politicians 'should try and run the country and not institutions'.
Sarabhai's remarks come after being appointed the Chancellor of Kerala Kalamandalam, a position previously held by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, whose ongoing tussle with the state government has caught national attention.
In an interview given to Manorama News, Sarabhai empathised with the vice-chancellors of the universities in Kerala whose positions have come under threat following the intervention of Governor Khan, who, besides raising accusations of nepotism, has alleged widespread flouting of norms in appointments at higher educational institutions.
“If all the vice-chancellors feel that the governor as chancellor is being intrusive, they've every right to protect their institutions,” Sarabhai said. On being asked if the Governor was misusing his powers as Chancellor, she said: “Most governors across this country are doing exactly that. People are being nominated to institutions to actually destroy the institutions and it is a very sad state of affairs.”
“I don't think politicians should be in charge of educational institutions at all and with governors being the chancellors, it has been a very ceremonial thing.
“The question is whether one will get a chancellor who will get his hands dirty in trying to make an institution better or whether they'll come wearing robes and with five cars around. I personally think politicians should try and run a country and not institutions.”
Is Kerala's higher education under threat?
Sarabhai did not sidestep the various questions raised by both the ruling front and the opposition in the state. One such question was whether Kerala's higher education sector was under threat. Sarabhai said: “Education, from Vedantic times till today, means teaching children to ask questions. If we have a ruling dispensation that does not like being questioned, then they won't like higher education either because higher education should be teaching to question everything.”
Plans for Kalamandalam
Sarabhai feels trained artists and those with management skills can run an institution better and with more commitment.
“I need to go and study the situation, find out what the law of the land is and find out what the issues and politicisation is. What were the aims of Vallathol when he set it up, have they been met or do we need to create a new blueprint? I need to go and immerse myself and hear all sides.
“I would like to talk to the CM and find out what his vision is for reviving Kalamandalam.
Sarabhai said she is looking forward to interacting with eminent artists such as Kathakali exponent, Kalamandalam Gopi. “This is not a lone task. I would like to form a team of Kerala society that is concerned about the arts. I'm interested in seeing how we can bring in some technological changes that can enhance the experience of classical dance,” she said.