July 09 2020
‘Music varsity V-C was selected on merit’
20 February 2018

‘It is not true that Premeela Gurumurthy was chosen on extraneous grounds’

After the appointment of musicologist and Harikatha exponent Premeela Gurumurthy as the Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Music and Fine Arts University triggered a controversy, Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture ‘Ma Foi’ K. Pandiarajan defended her appointment. “She was the most eligible candidate for the post. She is the daughter-in-law of late musician and painter S. Rajam. Incidentally, I have to mention because it has become a controversy, she is also not a Brahmin. So there is no truth in the allegation that she was chosen over others because of her community,” Mr. Pandiarajan said.

The controversy over the appointment of Ms. Gurumurthy as the Vice-Chancellor has also dragged in the issue of caste...

Of the 37 persons who applied for the post, she is the most eligible candidate. She has 28 years of experience in teaching and administration. She was the head of the Department of Music of the Madras University and obtained a doctorate in Harikatha. She had performed across the world and she was one of the three persons who were shortlisted and finally selected for the post. Unfortunately, caste has also emerged as one of the issues. But she is not a Brahmin. The search committee – comprising vocalist Sudha Raghunthan, former vice-chancellor S.P. Thiyagarajan and former IAS officer V. Thangavelu – selected her and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami appointed her as the Vice-Chancellor.

Former Vice-Chancellor Veena Gayathri has claimed that she was not given an extension despite the promise made to her by late Chief Minster Jayalalithaa...

I made an inquiry about the claim, and A. Ramalingam, commissioner of Art and Culture, who earlier worked as one of the secretaries to former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, clarified that she had not made any such promise. Of course, she is an accomplished musician. But during her tenure, she failed to manage the university efficiently. She had a negative approach and had problems with everyone. She also failed to get any grant from the University Grants Commission.

Noted singer Pushpavanam Kuppusamy has alleged that Ms. Gurumurthy was considered even though she had applied after the last date for submitting the application...

There is no truth in the allegation. Mr. Kuppusamy is a partyman and has a PhD, but he does not have any experience in teaching and administration. We have clearly followed the rules and selected a person eminently qualified for the post. We never looked into issues like the skin colour of candidates as claimed by Mr. Kuppusamy while selecting the candidates.

The post fell vacant in November, and we are able to fill it only by January. But, we are still being accused of acting in a hurry.

There is also an allegation that the ruling BJP played a role in her appointment...

The BJP did not interfere. There is also a suggestion that she was a relative of Thuglak editor S. Gurumurthy. It is a baseless allegation. She was appointed by the Chief Minster on the basis of recommendations made by the search committee, without any interference from others.



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