An autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, the National School of Drama sponsored an event on Sunday organised by a forum of a medical association funded by the RSS and the Sewa Bharti that sparked student protests, the famed theatre school run by the culture ministry ended its registrar, Jwala Prasad.
The NSD stated in a letter dated August 7 that Prasad’s term as registrar was “short-closed with immediate effect and that he will be removed with effect from August 8 following his leave to report to the Registrar, University of Delhi.”
In response, Prasad claimed he was being used as a “scapegoat since the institution was acting in the face of pressure from students who did not want to take part in a cultural event that was in keeping with the government’s ongoing Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav and Har Ghar Tiranga festivities.”
However, NSD students stated they did not oppose the Tiranga or the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav celebrations, but they did not want their theatre’s Abhimanch to be utilised for “non-theatrical activities.”
To find out what transpired, Prasad said he would travel to Delhi from Bihar. “I can only say that due process was not followed in sacking me. Was the NSD society consulted? I was emailed, not even told personally. What happened at the protest is also unfortunate. Everyone should respect the Tiranga. Why should students have a problem with those talking about how to take the country forward?”
The registrar-on-deputation Prasad was not being “sacked,” according to NSD head Ramesh Goud, but the organisation had opted not to keep him on.
Students confirmed that there was a fight on Sunday between them and the event’s organisers. “Our auditorium is not a Baraat Ghar (community hall). The event they hosted was not in any way related to culture or folklore. This is not the first instance. Why should the NSD let itself be utilised for gatherings that appear to be a kind of reunion or of particular groups of people? The Tiranga was merely kept there, but the celebration centred mostly on the work that these individuals undertook. Certainly not at the NSD. We just voiced our opposition to preserve the neighbourhood’s personality and energy,” stated a student at the auditorium.
This student, however, claimed that they were respectful in their objections, did not dispute with the attendees or delegates, and even permitted the event organisers to use a different auditorium.
When some students objected to the “national flag and an image of Bharat-Mata” that the organisers had placed on the spot, according to one organiser who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the altercation became heated. “We offered to let them sit with us so they could see the entire event and point out any instances in which it praised the RSS, but they declined. We even performed a play on the sacrifices that soldiers make for the country, how they uphold the honour of their families, and how moms also make a sacrifice by sending their sons to the border to fight.”