Let’s wait and watch: Celebs on Chetan Chauhan as NIFT chief

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) Former cricketer Chetan Chauhan’s appointment as the chairperson of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) here left the Twitter world abuzz with trolls, but fashion designers and the institute’s alumni want to wait and watch how he fares.

Chauhan’s appointment is specially being trolled after the Bharatiya Janata Party chose Gajendra Chauhan to chair the Film and Television Institute of India and Pahlaj Nihalani to lead the Central Board of Film Certification.

Celebrated fashion designer Ritu Beri, who was a part of the first batch of NIFT, told IANS: “The previous heads (of NIFT) unfortunately haven’t been the ones with fashion qualification either, so it’s a repeat, I guess… and time will tell what he (Chauhan) does for NIFT.”

Beri said it would be unfair to comment about Chauhan before he begins his journey at the premier fashion institute, which has given the fashion industry some of the most successful and creative names.

“We should give him a fair chance before sitting on judgement so early. However, NIFT deserves and requires a 100 per cent attention. So I would have liked to hear that someone with more time to dedicate was taking care of the institution.”

Chauhan is also the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) Vice President, runs a cricket academy and even owns a printing press.

Designer Varija Bajaj, who believes in supporting minds from various fields to be part of an advisory council of an academic institution, said: “Being on the advisory council of a dozen colleges myself, I can vouch that it helps an institution to think and grow organically. And there is nothing better than an objective perspective when it is about important decisions to run an institution.”

“Having said that, I would limit that thought only to the advisory council. For someone to head an institution, it is important to have an in-depth industry knowledge and management skills. Unfortunately, Mr. Chetan Chauhan does not fit in that role criteria even remotely.”

“Hunterrr” actor Gulshan Devaiah, a NIFT alumnus, said that while he is not aware of Chauhan’s educational qualifications, “I guess the government feels he is qualified for the job”.

“I really don’t see any objection in his appointment,” he said.

Recounting his times, Devaiah said: “When I was a student with NIFT, the position of a chairman and Director General and directors of each centre usually were an IAS officer or something equivalent to that. It’s purely an administrator/bureaucratic position. That is because it’s a part of the Ministry of Textiles.”

“The faculty and heads of department in the respective centres must come from the design field and must have the necessary credentials to teach. Whether or not Mr. Chauhan, who is probably not an IAS, is cut out for this administrative position remains to be seen. The government seems to think so,” Devaiah said.

“Frankly, I would prefer an IAS… There is a reason why that kind of education is held in high esteem.”

–IANS

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