Militant Solidarity with the Protesting students and staff of the National Film Institute of Kerala, K.R. Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts (KRNNIVSA), Thekkumthala.
Democratic Students Association-DSA stands unconditionally with the protest called by the students and staff of KRNNIVSA against its director, Mr. Shankar Mohan. DSA acknowledges the protest as a struggle against the Institutionalised Brahmanic Casteist-Feudal Bureaucratic Exploitation.
In the past, students from the Dalit communities were restricted from attaining education. Under Bureaucratic impunity, Shankar Mohan is exactly doing what Savarnas did in past by pouring molten lead into the ears of Dalits. The students are becoming both Panchami and Ayyankali because of Shankar Mohan’s actions. Class exploitation is also visibly seen in the institute.
Even though there were four seats left, Shankar Mohan discriminated against a Dalit student named Sharat by refusing to let him enroll in the Editing program offered by the institute. Students who protested to claim their E-Grants and caste-based grants were subjected to discriminatory behavior from the director. Along with the students, the faculty and non-faculty members have also voiced their protest. A Dalit clerk named Nikhil working in the institute has also reported experiencing caste discrimination. The students of the institute, who hails from depressed class and caste, struggle to pay the hefty hostel and mess fees.
The female sweeping staff of the institute who were selected through interviews were made to do domestic duties at the residence of Shankar Mohan and were subjected to untouchability for years. The working hours of the sweepers were increased and were also not given a salary for extra time work. They were even forced to clean the water closet using their hands and when the workers raised complaints, they were threatened to be dismissed from work. This reflects the use of bureaucracy and feudalism against the employees to exploit them on both class and caste basis.
The exploitation in KR Narayanan Institute is happening with the knowledge of the Chairman of the institute, Adoor Gopalakrishnan. The monopoly of Education is not the charity of Savarnas and KRNNIVSA which is situated in the state of Ayyankali is turning into a Brahmanic Gurukulam. When the Kerala government boasts of opposing New Education Policy 2020 which excludes students from marginalized communities through discriminatory strategies, NEP is taking place in Kerala through government institutions like KRNNIVSA under Shankar Mohan. By maintaining silence and by becoming complicit along with institutionalized casteist discrimination, bureaucratic-feudal harassment, and low quality of education at KRNNIVSA, the Kerala state government is passively encouraging students to choose private film institutions and discourages marginalized students from studying cinema. The authoritarian running of Institute also reflects the danger hidden behind autonomous colleges.
Though the Brahmanical casteist hegemony is maintained and protected through the ownership of land and means of production, every sphere of society is under the influence of Savarna Cultural hegemony. Cinema, which has a huge role in forming this Cultural hegemony is also under the reign of Savarna Social Capital. The Indian cinema industry, which is rich with nepotism and caste surnames, needs much decentralisation with ample representation and ownership of filmmakers from marginalized communities.
Islamophobia, Hindutva Ultra-nationalism, and Savarna ideas – especially the justifications against reservation – are all injected into society through commercial cinemas in India. Casteist Slurs and curse words with historical Feudal backgrounds are made popular by Cinema. A wave of Cinema and Art, destroying the foundation of ruling-class ideas, is the need of the Era.
Cinema students and staff of KRNNIVSA are coming forward against the institutional casteist bureaucratic exploitation of the Director. The struggle by the students of the institute is not just against an individual but also challenges the Brahmanic Hindutva Fascism being institutionalized in our society.
• Kerala state government immediately remove Shankar Mohan from the position of the Director of K.R. Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts and
• Resolve the grievances put forward by the Students and Staff of the institute
_ Dated: 13-12-2022