The governing board of Kalakshetra is likely to meet soon, to discuss the issue of the resignation of Leela Samson, who held the post of director until April 30.
Four members – A.C. Muthiah, Preetha Reddy, N. Murali and Madhavi Mudgal – wrote to chairman of the board Gopalkrishna Gandhi, asking for an “emergency meeting” to be convened. The members had expressed their shock and disappointment with how the resignation was dealt with.
According to the members, Mr. Gandhi is said to have agreed to convene a meeting shortly. “Some of us on the board are upset with how he [Mr. Gandhi] dealt with this resignation. We feel it should have been handled more responsibly. We have raised the issue with the Ministry of Culture as well,” a member told The Hindu on Thursday.
Meanwhile, campaigns demanding the reinstatement of Leela Samson have sprung up in forums on the internet. A signature campaign, which nearly 1,000 artistes from all over the world have signed, is on its way to the Ministry of Culture.
Artistes have written to the governing board, expressing their shock and requesting the board to have Ms. Samson reappointed. In her letter to the board members, Bharatanatyam exponent Priyadarshini Govind said: “It is common knowledge that a lot of vested interests have been attempting to create roadblocks for her from the time that she assumed the Directorship of Kalakshetra. Despite this, she has, with good faith and vision, brought about much positive change in Kalakshetra.”
Suggesting that she be reinstated as director, Ms. Govind wrote: “A person of such continued dynamism and vision should not be restricted by something as inconsequential as age limits.”
Academicians and scholars, including art historian Sunil Kothari, author Leela Venkataraman, and other artistes from the United States, have written to the chairman and some board members asking for Leela Samson to be brought back as director.
Leela Samson stepped down as director of Kalakshetra on April 12, much to the shock of many. The decision followed a board meeting held on April 10, and the Ministry accepted her resignation on April 20.
While some board members felt that she was “cornered” and forced to take the decision, other sources maintained that she may have stepped down since a few people present at the meeting raised concerns about her age and certain procedural irregularities cited in a CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report.