The UPA government led by Manmohan Singh which ruled India for a decade (2004 to 2014) ensured that Kalakshetra degenerated into a quagmire of corruption, nepotism…
If there was an institution in India dedicated to preserving the rich cultural tradition of Indian arts, especially the Indian ancient art forms such as Bharatanatyam, Kathakali and finer arts like Veena, Flute and Mridangam, it was Kalakshetra. All this changed after the demise of Rukmini Devi.
The UPA government led by Manmohan Singh which ruled India for a decade (2004 to 2014) ensured that Kalakshetra degenerated into a quagmire of corruption, nepotism, misuse of power, favouritism and gradual “poisoning” to death of the pristine art forms of South India, which were India’s personal pride. As of today, even if one uses the entire perfumes and scents made in Arabia to clean Kalakshetra, the stink emanating from the once picturesque campus would continue.
A stooge of Congress Party Head Honcho Sonia Gandhi by the name of Leela Samson, entered Kalakshetra campus like a cancerous virus and destroyed whatever glory, tradition and heritage that was painstakingly built up by Rukminis Devi. Rampant corruption and misuse of power became synonymous with Kalakshetra which led faculty members approaching Madras High Court with complaints of many illegalities.he degeneration of Kalakshetra began the moment Leela Samson took charge as Director, on the recommendations of Sonia Gandhi and the then Culture Minister Ambika Soni, of the Emergency fame. Though Kalakshetra is administered by a governing board consisting of eminent persons from the world of arts and culture with a chairman heading the system, the reign of Leela Samson saw the recommendations and advice by the governing council ending up in the waste paper basket in her office as well as residence.
Justice Mohan’s letter to Sharma sums up the entire scenario in Kalakshetra under the dictatorial rule of Leela Samson.
This forced Justice S Mohan, former Supreme Court judge and a widely respected figure for his integrity, honesty and dedication to write a letter to Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of State for Culture (a copy of the letter has been accessed by Team PGurus and his attached below) about the happenings in Kalakshetra. Justice Mohan was the member of Kalakshetra’s Governing Board since 1993 and was appointed as chairman of the board in 2006. He continued as chairman till 2011.
The government of India had taken over the reign of Kalakshetra from its Trustees in 1993. Justice Mohan’s letter to Sharma sums up the entire scenario in Kalakshetra under the dictatorial rule of Leela Samson. “During the period from its inception in 1993 till Leela Samson’s regime came into being for over 12 years, there was not a single adverse cmment by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) since all rules and regulations were being strictly followed… During her tenure of around seven years in Kalakshetra , Leela Samson has done her best to destroy the fair name of Rukmini Devi while paying pious verbal tributes to her. Unwarranted expenditure on various heads were incurred without any sanction either from the Finance Committee or the Governing Board,” writes Justice Mohan.assive irregularities have been noted by the CAG in awarding the contract for producing the videos of all the 20 off dance dramas conceived, choreographed and created by Rukmani Devi. The amount which went down the drain was Rs. 5 crores. “The whole exercise was a criminal offence but did not come to light,” Justice Mohan writes. Please remember, this is not the submission made by an ordinary mortal but a former judge of the Supreme Court who has unblemished track record and vast knowledge and erudition about the legal system in the country.
Along with Koothabalam, Leela Samson demolished a statue of Rukmini Devi which has been installed in front of the Koothambalam.
The demolition of Koothambalam, built as per the specification of Rukmini Devi to enable the artists to perform various dance forms in their natural ambience was an unpardonable act committed by Leela Samson, Justice Mohan has commented. “It was an act of sacrilege,” said C S Thomas, retired professor of Bharatanatyam and a disciple of Rukmani Devi. The Koothambalam (traditional performing platform where various dance forms could be staged without artificial light or air conditioning) was a dream come true for many artists. But Leela Samson saw Koothambalam as the extension of Hindu culture and she smelled some kind of saffronisation of Kalakshera. A stroke by her pen resulted in the demolition of Koothambalam designed by the ace temple architect Appukuttan Nair. “It was a heritage national treasure,” said Justice Mohan.
Along with Koothabalam, Leela Samson demolished a statue of Rukmini Devi which has been installed in front of the Koothambalam. “Had she continued for another two years, Leela Sasmon would have installed her own larger than life statue in Kalakshetra. She was in talks with the Stapathis of Mahabalipuram to build a statue of her own which was to be placed in front of the demolished Koothambalam”, said a senior faculty member.he CAG has come across a number of wrongdoings and blatant violations of rules in all decisions initialled by Leela Samson. The national auditor was taken aback when it came across reports that all appointments made by Leela Samson during her tenure as director were acts of illegalities and serious offences. Prof Thomas, a victim of Leela Sasmson’s hunger and passion for more power and money, said she had appointed her own “chamchas” in Kalakshetra as faculty members and “experts”. “Leela Samson will decide the standards and criterions for all appointment,” said Thomas.
Though the reconstituted governing body wanted action to be taken against Leela Samson, there are “individuals” who infiltrated into the body using their political patronage and friendship in New Delhi.
Interestingly, the then governing board chairman Gopalakrishna Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi who allegedly claims that he is the most honest and intelligent person in the sub continent turned a blind eye to the improprieties committed by Samson. Though Gandhi resigned in protest against Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister of India in May 2014, he continued protecting Leela Samson.. His friends in the IAS network and political buddies are willing to help this grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Koothamblam scam is more than Rs.7 crores according to the CAGs’ report. There was no need to repair or renovate this structure built on ancient temple architecture. Though the reconstituted governing body wanted action to be taken against Leela Samson, there are “individuals” who infiltrated into the body using their political patronage and friendship in New Delhi. These cunning and crooked “avatars” have nine lives and will survive in any inhospitable terrain .. Who are they? Please wait for the next episode…
Copy of Justice Mohan’s letter to the Minister of Culture
Copy of Prof. T S Thomas to to the Office of the PMO
Findings of the office of the CVC