Few takers for performing arts courses

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  • Published 9.07.10

Bhubaneswar, July 8: It’s admission season for all colleges in the capital. But the rush seen at educational institutes providing mainstream courses is absent at the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya.

The only college in the city for music, dance and drama courses does not seem to attract many. Of course, there are reasons galore. The college for performing arts was set up in 1964, and has produced famed alumni like Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, Guru Durga Charan Ranvir, Sneha Samantray, Ramhari Das.

The college has twelve different branches in vocal and instrumental music and dance, namely Odissi dance, Chhau dance, Odissi vocal, Hindusthani vocal, Carnatic vocal, flute, Carnatic violin, Hindusthani violin, sitar, tabla and Odissi pakhwaj. The college also offers courses in drama. Still, the college finds it difficult to fill most of its 268 seats at the higher secondary level. The scenario for undergraduate courses is not very pleasant either. While most of the higher secondary passouts of the college apply for the undergraduate courses, this year there were only 85 students have been selected out of 100 applications for the 128 seats.

“The seats are vacant because many students get rejected in the aptitude tests that we conduct before admissions,” said principal Nabin Parida. He does not deny the fact that the number of applicants has reduced over the years. “We used to get 50 per cent applications only from Balasore district. But, since Balasore now has Harekrishna College for performing arts, students from the region prefer joining there,” he explained.

The college also lacks sufficient faculty members. No recruitment has taken place for the permanent faculty positions that have been vacated by retired professors. Even after inviting guest lecturers, many positions remain vacant in almost every department of the college.

“It’s the government’s lookout. They need to recruit the professors through the Orissa Public Service Commission,” added Parida, the only permanent faculty member for drama department. “Out of the required two or three permanent faculty positions for each department, there is hardly one,” said a faculty member of the college. “But that’s not the only reason to discourage students to pursue courses here. Students of the present generation are mostly concerned about career and money. And, it is, by now, known to all that the scenario of performing arts, other than Odissi, is not promising. So this stream does not attract many,” he added.

“Even though I have secured admission , I do not plan to pursue the course in Chhow dance. So, I joined RD College to pursue an arts degree,” said Chandini, adding: “my parents do not see a future for me in Chhow dance and I do not think they are wrong.”

“I had to convince my parents to get into Hindustani vocal. I wish to become a good classical singer,” said Kshiti Prakash, who passed out of the college this year.

“Today my family is glad I chose a field of my passion but I know many of my friends are under pressure from their families not to choose this line,” he added.

Maruti, a drama graduate, said, “I had thought of devoting my life to theatre. I would not say I am too upset or satisfied either. Now I am into street plays sponsored by the state government for awareness purposes.” However, he added: “There is hardly any interest in cultural activities in the state these days, and it discourages budding artistes from going for the vocational courses.”