KOTTAYAM: Ever since students of the KR Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts launched an indefinite stir, its director Shankar Mohan has been in the spotlight.
What is the reason for your resignation?
I have completed my two-year tenure and one-year extension. I am the first director of the institution to complete the full term. It was a very fruitful three years.
Does your resignation have anything to do with the students’ protest?
No, not at all.
There were allegations that Adoor Gopalakrishnan was protecting you?
That’s not true. In fact, Adoor sir was recently felicitated by the government. I think this was the right time to step down.
Students have accused you of caste discrimination and undermining reservation norms?
Those are false allegations. It’s an institution run with 100% grants from the government. We fully respect the reservation policy. Admissions have been carried out by a government agency for several years. Mistakes can happen. It’s for the government and courts to correct us. A complaint regarding caste discrimination was filed with the SC/ST Commission and its report is awaited. Caste is a card that is very marketable, especially in Kerala.
Students allege you trimmed the course duration without much thought?
It’s not one man’s decision. The decision was taken by the higher education council in 2019, on the basis of a report submitted by eminent filmmaker Kumar Shahani.
Is there any hidden agenda behind the strike?
A: I don’t blame the young students. They were made pawns by some disgruntled staffers. I introduced more academic, financial and administrative rigour, which was opposed by a few insiders. My predecessors were also ousted through students’ strikes.