Thursday, 8 August 2019

Article - Build me a porch! Hang me a swing!, A dancer's plight? - Ramaa Bharadvaj


And this happened in the month of July in the year 2019...
The setting is the MS University in Gujarat, India.
- First, there is Dr. Parul Shah who serves both as the Head of the Department of Dance and Dean of Performing Arts at this University.
- Then, after a meritorious service, having earned respect and all that good stuff, she retires.
- Then, there is a Bachelor's Degree course in Kathak dance style offered by this same University.
- Then, Dr. Shah, the 66-year-old ex-Dean, applies to join this course - as a student!
- And then... she is REJECTED! That's right! She is denied course entry / refused /declined! 

The reasons? According to a Times of India article, there are four articulated by the current HOD Mr. Jagdish Gangani:
- The other students will feel pressured by her presence in class 
- Her age and physical fitness will not allow her to keep up
- The department is already over its student intake 
- This is a dance-career oriented degree course

On the surface, the decision by the selection panel might come across as being practical, and resting on four solid legs. But, if we don our lens of reason, we can see that these legs are wobbly and their rationale falls so low on the moral quotient that one has to turn into a crawling centipede and hunt with one's antennae to find its justification. 

Of course, every educational institution is entitled to set its own qualifiers for admittance, but these should relate to the curriculum and the subjects being taught. Here, the reasons (IF these are the real reasons), that the dance department has chosen to publicly project as talking-points are so ludicrously wishy-washy, that I wish to address each individually, to cite its demerits both from the ethical as well as pragmatic perspectives.

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