India may be trying hard to sell its soft power to the world, but back home, the country’s top cultural bodies are in disarray. Some of India’s top cultural institutions are headless.
After a string of retirements and inability by the government to find suitable candidates, the top posts of leading cultural institutions are lying vacant. The list spans key institutions responsible for preserving heritage.
Among the vacant top posts are Directors General of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), National Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art, National Archives of India (NAI), National School of Drama (NSD) and Centre for Cultural Resources and Training. What makes matters even worse is the fact that most of these institutions are in Delhi, a city which prides itself to be the cultural capital of the country.
Top posts in ASI, NAI and NSD fell vacant recently following the retirement of incumbents. The Culture Ministry had tried to cut red-tapism by proposing that eminent people and subject experts be made in-charge of these institutions. This led to archaeologist Gautam Sengupta and historian Mushirul Hasan taking charge as DG of ASI and NAI, respectively. But after the completion of their tenure, the posts have fallen vacant. NSD director Anuradha Kapur completed her term last month.
Institutions in other parts of the country too are headless. They include the National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property in Lucknow, Anthropological Survey of India in Kolkata and the Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai.