While news has now officially emerged that “Kalakshetra board unanimous in backing Leela”, the speculations as to why her term extension was not considered favourably by a few quarters does not seem to die down.
http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com, has a comment dated May 11th, from”Gautaman Bhaskaran” who is described as a ” Chennai-India based author, columnist and film critic”.Comment available available here..
I present a few of the quotes from the article here. I don’t want people to complain that I am quoting out of context, as is the fashion these days… so please do familiarize yourself with the whole context to which an URL is provided.
Also, Samson is reportedly very close to Sonia Gandhi, the Congress Party president and the real power now in India – without whose support Leela may not have been got all the posts.
Why then did she quit? One can merely harbour guesses in the absence of any answers coming either from Samson or the chairman of Kalakshetra, Gopal Krishna Gandhi.
Chennai is known to be a suffocating, conservative city with the mindset of a small town. And Leela is part Jewish (from her father) and part Roman Catholic (from her mother), and Chennai (and even Tamil Nadu) is clannish, with the Tamil Brahmin community invariably intolerant of any other group…..
Leela may have been born in Coonoor (a hill town, just below Ooty), may have lived all her life in Tamil Nadu, and may be speaking Tamil better than any other native of the State. Yet, she must have been made to feel like an outsider.
Remember a Christian-Jewish parentage could be allergic to the staunchly Brahminical and highly religious group that holds sway over Chennai, and most certainly Kalakshetra.
The comment ends with this final analysis..
Be that as it may, in the final analysis, I feel that Samson may well have been a casualty of Chennai’s powerful, but inward-looking cultural elite, which has often been criticised for blatant hostility towards others.
Hmm I am just thinking of three things at this point
- The PIL came from Mr. Thomas an erstwhile teacher
- Sri VPD had voiced his dissent from the general opinion expressing confidence in Leela’s leadership (scroll down to read his comment at http://www.narthaki.com/info/rt/rt48.html)
- Anita Ratnam and N Murali seem to have spearheaded the efforts that stood behing Leela
All of them are Chennai residents and I am not going to present the caste divide here
I am not sure how many people agree with the feeling
1. “Chennai is known to be a suffocating, conservative city with the mindset of a small town” and
2. That “the staunchly Brahminical and highly religious group that holds sway over Chennai”.
“For me it’s a privilege to be here this evening at the Kalakshetra of the great Rukmini Devi Arundale, who we know was an absolute miracle of Bharatanatyam; at her institute with an exquisite and fabulous collection of musical instruments of our classical arts. I am honoured to be here in Chennai, full of tranquility and culture of the Tamil people.”