What happens when you return to your university campus after being expelled from it? We would expect Kundan Kumar Mahato to be elated as he arrived at the premises of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FFA) of the MS University of Vadodara, nine months after being debarred over “objectionable artworks”.
His classmates reportedly showered him with warmth, hugs, and flowers, but Mahato (23), though “happy and relieved”, seemed a touch unmoved.
He told a leading daily, “I have not learned as much of visual art as I have learned law and court procedures… My teachers were my immediate guardians but they left me in the cold… I am not sure if we will go back to sharing the same bond of trust and reverence.”
“I have learned how to fight battles and I have also seen the real city of Vadodara, which was known for its king’s love for art… It saddens me but also makes me glad that I am a stronger person now,” he added.
He said he couldn’t forget the isolation when he needed the “guidance of his teachers the most”. It pained him when they stopped responding to his calls. “They stopped answering my calls or made excuses to hang up at a time when they should have held my hand… When I visited here once, they prohibited me from even visiting the basement where I used to work,” he said.
However, this young man from Muzaffarpur was grateful for the support he received from outside the MSU. “I even contemplated suicide…especially when teachers ignored my calls. Despite not being guilty, I apologised…they should have guided me…but I received support from friends and outsiders, some veteran artists and my lawyer Hitesh Gupta. He was my biggest support.”
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