ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Importance of Protest

By persisting, FTII students have exposed the government's insidious intent.

The strike by the students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has to be viewed within a larger context, rather than just the particular issue of the appointment of a chairperson for its governing council. It raises questions about how government-funded educational institutions should be run, whether there can be space for democratic questioning in such institutions and whether one can envision a level of autonomy for such places even if they are entirely financed by the government. The strike, that has already crossed 50 days since it began on 12 June, also speaks to the relevance and importance of protest and resistance in a democracy.

Set up in Pune in 1961 on the grounds of the old Prabhat Studios, the FTII has grown into a prestigious school for nurturing talent for film and television. The list of its alumni includes leading actors, directors and film technicians. Government funding has ensured that its doors are open to all classes of students even though teaching film-making is an expensive proposition. Entry into the institute is highly competitive and those who make it would not willingly forfeit classes unless the issue was grave enough to warrant a strike.

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