Guys, how many of you do NOT watch films or TV? But how many of us give thought to how they are produced?
The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) was set up by the Central Government in Pune over sixty years ago. Many of its products are well-known today in films and TV, both on screen and behind it. However if you visit the FTII today, you will see that the campus is filled with slogans of protest. You may find students in meetings rather than in class. In fact they have been on a strike since 12th of June ‘15 – which means over sixty days as we go to press, but the authorities just don’t seem to care!
The strike of the students is against the unjust and inappropriate appointment of members to the FTII society by the current Government. The FTII society is the governing body of the Institute. The members of the FTII society are appointed by The Ministry for Information and Broadcasting. The students are angry that the positions of the FTII society have been awarded as political prizes, without considering the credentials of the persons being appointed. They feel that the appointments are unjust. They also feel that the government wants to interfere with the working of the institute and take away the democratic space of the students by appointing people who are proven to be of certain ideologies and who also campaigned for the party constituting the current government. We went to the FTII several times and spent time with the students. We appreciate the method of working adopted by the agitating students. It is so nice to see that the students in the institute are together in the struggle and there are no factions among them. Can you believe this – all major decisions regarding the strike are taken in the General Body Meeting (GBM) of the students. All students are encouraged to participate in the meeting freely and make suggestions. Every suggestion is regarded with equal seriousness. Due to the collective decision making method adopted by the students no one has been able to break the students’ unity. Different organizations have extended their support to the students. The ex-students of the institute too are extending their full-fledged support to the strike. The experience of the ex-students is helping the current batch greatly and has had a positive impact on the strike.
We should all be deeply concerned that over the years various governments have tried to curb the democratic rights of the students, not just in the FTII, but all over the country. The direct attacks on the freedom of expression of students have been on the rise. On the contrary, we students want a say in the way educational institutes are run.
We support the students of FTII in their just fight for their rights!