New Delhi: Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, director Pankaj Chandra is difficult to pin down for an interview, especially as he feels the media has not played a constructive role in the latest face-off with the government over the faculty pay issue. In an interview, he spoke on autonomy of the country’s premier institutes and the role the human resource development ministry should play. Edited excerpts:

Complete control: IIM-B director Chandra says the faculty of the premier institutes will take classes even during the hunger strike. Hemant Mishra / Mint

On autonomy

Autonomous bodies need to be autonomous. We are national institutions and we feel very proud of it but we seek autonomy.

This whole concept of allowing—allowing tells me I am in control. Why should anyone try to control? CAG (the Comptroller and Auditor General of India) audited us every year, top industrialists of the country sit on our board—where is the problem?

I am feeling terrible about the whole process of dialoguing on the Sixth Pay Commission. Do you think the debate will at all excite any young person to join the academic world? Faculty has to come and talk about compensation on TV. It is shameful.

Debate has to be raised to the level (of) what these institutions are meant to be. What role will Indian institutions play in nation-building? How will government participate in building the IITs and IIMs to world-class institutions? It can be done through autonomy, through dialoguing. I don’t think academics are unreasonable people. (They are) going on hunger strike, but still taking classes. The government should be talking to young people (faculty members)—what can I do to make you the best?

The role of the media

You put us in confrontation with the government. The world is about resolving conflict. (You play a role) which gets tempers going. I think you have to change your stance.