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Priyanka Kotamraju P Anima | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on July 31, 2015

A man walks past a graffiti-painted wall of a toilet at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, June 26, 2015.   -  Reuters

Who are the people heading India’s top educational and cultural institutions?

Students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) are still fighting the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan. While this has been the most vocal protest against a political appointment, it is not the only one.

Since May 16, 2014, many institutions are seeing a churn. Who are the people heading India’s top educational and cultural institutions? Affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), feminists who believe crying babies are the mother’s problem, and scholars and actors dabbling in the mythological epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. In the last nine months, four top officials have resigned from important institutions such as the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), and the Indian Institutes of Technology at Delhi and Bombay.

The processes of appointing chairpersons and vice-chancellors to Institutes of national importance and apex bodies of higher education and culture have regularly come under the scanner. While eminent scholars have rightly pointed out that government interference in academic matters is nothing new, the scholarship of the new appointees is worth scrutiny. As historian Ramachandra Guha puts it, “One must distinguish here between the work done by intellectuals and that done by ideologues.”

Priyanka Kotamraju and P Anima put together a list, not exhaustive, of appointments made since last year.

* Chandrakala Padia: Chairperson, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla

* A Surya Prakash: Chairman, Prasar Bharati

* Girish Chandra Tripathi: Vice-Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University

* Mukesh Khanna: Chairperson, Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI)

* Baldev Bhai Sharma: Chairman, National Book Trust

* Yellapragada Sudershan Rao: Chairperson, Indian Council for Historical Research

* Pahlaj Nihalani: Chairperson, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)

* Lokesh Chandra: Chairman, Indian Council for Cultural Relations

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Published on July 31, 2015
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