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Updated: May 12, 2012 15:00 IST

Need support if I rejoin: Leela Samson

Meera Srinivasan
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Former Kalakshetra director says she will give serious thought if asked to return to post and would need considerable administrative support if she is re-appointed. An institution like Kalakshetra, she observed, had multifarious issues.

It all began at Kalakshetra Foundation's board meeting that was held on April 10. On Friday, exactly after a month, the issue of Leela Samson's resignation seems to have come full circle with the board unanimously expressing its desire to have her back.

After the resolutions passed at Friday's meeting were made known, The Hindu contacted Ms. Samson. She was asked if she would consider taking up the post of director again, should the Ministry of Culture approach her, to which the dancer replied, “I will definitely give it serious thought, considering that so many people from different parts of the world have come together (to oppose her resignation). All of them want Kalakshetra, the institution, to grow. It is not for my sake.”

‘Cannot work like a bureaucrat'

However, Ms. Samson said she would need considerable administrative support if she is re-appointed. An institution like Kalakshetra, she observed, had multifarious issues. “The director needs to work at different levels. I cannot sit in an office and pass files like a bureaucrat. Shows have to be put up. I need to teach people, encourage people, and cajole people. I like to get down to the field and work there. Maybe I am right, maybe I am wrong,” she said.

Administrative procedures can be tedious, she said, especially when there is a new ruling every other day. “(Each time) I visit the website I find that there is a new ruling. There are so many things to deal with — legal battles, civil works, financial accounting and so on. I understand their importance. But people trained in these areas will be in a better position to handle them,” Ms. Samson said. “As an artiste, I have the responsibility of keeping the creative process alive.”

‘Bottlenecks many'

“There are so many things to take care of here – schools, weaving section, students' hostels and their medical needs. In institutions like Santiniketan, the vice-chancellors are not expected to do such administrative work. But in Kalakshetra, the director has to take care of all. Why am I [alone] being held responsible?” she asked, adding: “I have ideas and new productions to work on. But there are bottlenecks.”

Overwhelming response

During the last month, Ms. Samson has received significant support from different quarters, both from the artistic fraternity and others.

Responding, Ms. Samson said: “I am overwhelmed. I did not do anything for them, just respected as co-artistes and colleagues.”

I know and have seen Leela ji in her 'Ashta-Bhuja-Awtaar' managing multifarious aspects with full competence when she presented 'Samsarga' showcasing 'Kalakshetra' on its 75th anniversary, in Delhi; but I do support the idea that she needs support for the mundane office work so that she devotes her creativity for Kala (the Arts) and Kalakshetra.
Manjari Sinha.
(Music & Dance Critic.)

from:  Manjari Sinha
Posted on: May 15, 2012 at 15:16 IST

I am very happy to know that the Board unanimously wants her back and she is willing to reconsider . Her demand for administrative and financial assistance is fully justified. This can be taken care of by a Registrar and Finance officer. The director should be free to do more creative things and teach.
FNA, Secretary, Rajghat education Centre, KFI, Varanasi.

from:  Padmanabhan Krishna
Posted on: May 15, 2012 at 12:10 IST

Politics must be kept out of a hallowed institution like kalakshetra. The art fraternity must come together to nurture the multifarious disciplines like dance, music, weaving etc., that the great Rukmini Devi spent years to create and build. Leela Samson had again brought creativity to the institution that was losing its true moorings. Meaningless rules and procedures of Government should be set aside and Ms Samson should be brought back as director, provided all support and the freedom to create. Kalakshetra must again become the true temple of the arts that it once was.

from:  Ravindra Narayanan
Posted on: May 15, 2012 at 11:45 IST

I think Leelaji is fully justified when she says she needs support. Running any institution requires a multi-disciplinary approach. A creative director will not be able to handle complicated administrative tasks and an administrator will not be able to create productions. Hence there is a need to separate the duties with a CEO like person handling administration and allow Leelaji to pursue her creativity.

from:  Sumana Srinivasan
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 16:39 IST
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