The Film and Television Institute of India, Pune had been going through very tough and dark days due to the administrative and political mess since 12 June this year. FTII has been in the top headlines of the day to day news due to students’ strike over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the institute. Students remained away from classes for about 139 days to protest against what they called the ‘unjust appointments of undeserving candidates’. Finally on Wednesday, students announced that they would return to their classrooms. In the same breath, however, they vowed to continue to protests against the BJP member.
What FTII has faced or is facing in the present time, even if Steve Jobs happen to come from heaven and is appointed as the chairman then also it is next to impossible that things will go a drastic change. On September 17, 2015 the senior BJP leader Madhav Bhandari undertook an initiative to have informal talks with the students’ representatives to end the crisis that has hit the renowned campus. As of now the students’ body have taken the decision to withdraw the strike which they could have continued till November if they would have desired without suffering a single academic loss. However the classes are expected to begin only once the Diwali vacation is over.
Ranjit Nair, spokesperson for the Students Association said, “We have come to realize, after our long-stretched negotiations with the government, that the government is a bully.” Further he said, “The strike will escalate now… It’s time to register our protest all over again and take it to different heights.” Even earlier too during August month, FTII students brought their protests to Delhi. At that time Rahul Gandhi was severely blamed for politicizing the students’ community.
Further the Students Association is planning to ask filmmakers and academics to come forward and take the protests forward in Mumbai. When Gajendra Chauhan was appointed as FTII chairman, Bollywood Superstar Salman Khan supported the agitation by FTII students and even asked for Chauhan’s resignation.
Students grew impatient as even after so many meetings with officials of the I&B ministry, there was no end to the stalemate. The way in which the negotiations were progressing it was very much clear that the government is in no hurry to solve the trivial issue. Even on September 10, 2015, Supreme Court of India declined that it will not entertain public interest litigation filed seeking Court’s intervention to compel Union Government to take a friendly decision for FTII students.
I&B ministry were very much aware of the internal politics and talks between students and that in itself is the obvious reason why it kept the ball rolling. Ministry was pretty much confident that if it kept on extending talks, the strike would end on its own and they wouldn’t have to come out with a single solution. This strategy seems to have worked perfectly.
Reema Kaur, final year student of editing and a part of the core committee of Students Association that spearheaded the strike said, “The 139 days of strike have not only made us stronger but more aware of the state that we today live in.” Further she said, “However, our voices will not shut, but grow louder. The protests shall continue democratically and in the peaceful manner as they have.”