3 years on, government apathy affects UoP students' progress

The Centre for Performing Arts department of the University of Pune (UoP) had proposed a new chair under renowned Kathak dancer Pandit Rohini Bhate and forwarded a relevant proposal to state government officials for approval in 2009. But despite getting an approval, in principle, from the deputy chief minister and higher technical education minister, the project is yet to take off.

Dr Shubhangi Bahulikar, head of Performing Arts Department, UoP

“I sent a written reminder to the deputy chief minister’s office on November 1, but haven’t received any reply yet,” Dr Shubhangi Bahulikar, head of Centre for Performing Arts department, said. “I am surprised why the chair is not yet established. We succeed in receiving approval from the UoP administration and the state. But despite following up on the issue on a regular basis, I still don’t know the exact reason why we aren’t getting the funds from the government to establish the chair on the varsity campus.”

The department had requested the state to release Rs 2 crore to establish the proposed Pandit Rohini Bhate Chair. “The entire amount will be deposited in the UoP’s account and we can run various ambitious projects by using the interest we get on this amount,” said Bahulikar. The department had established Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi Chair in 1999.

Kathak dancer Shama Bhate, visiting faculty and daughter-in-law of Rohinitai, is also trying hard to start the chair, which she believes will help students learn different forms of dance and help them gain global exposure.

“Rohinitai is a founder member of this unique department that was established in 1988. As the department will soon celebrate it’s silver jubilee year, starting a chair in memory of Rohinitai will be a true tribute to her work,” Bhate said. “Along with deputy CM, Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope had assured on several occasions that the government will release the funds soon. But this example proves how cultural projects are put on the backburner.”

Commenting on the importance of the chair, Bahulikar said the department can organise an annual solo dance festival to encourage students pursuing specialisation in classical dance, among others.

Currently, the department has a strength of 165 students, of which 46 are pursuing specialisation in classical dance, including Kathak and Bharatnatyam.

The department has three main faculties — music, dance and theatre. 

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