Bharatiya Vidya Bhavana is expected to be the hub of Indian art activities in the days to come: Executive Director M Nandkumar
THE BHAVAN London, the largest organisation working in the UK to promote Indian art and culture, including education, is celebrating its golden jubilee in the UK, marking the 50th anniversary of its founding.
STALWARTS: Mandolin Srinivas, Ustad Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain and Mathur Krishnamurthy
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavana will be hosting a wide range of various art-cultural programmes, specially curated events, performances, workshops, and exhibitions to celebrate the milestone throughout the year from May 2022 to April 2023. The Bhavan’s art guru teachers and artists will perform Indian dances, songs, and other arts.
The main highlights of this Golden Jubilee celebration include a Bharatanatyam performance and workshop by Rukmini Vijaykumar, a violin duet performance and violin–vocal workshop by the maestros Lalgudi Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijaylakshmi, a special evening of tribute to Lata Mangeshkar by Swati Natekar, a tribute to Pt. Birju Maharaj by Pratap Pawar MBE, and a unique recital and lecture-demonstration ‘The Art of Tabla’ featuring Pt Sanjay Mukherjee, accompanied by Hiranmay Misra.
Executive Director of Bhavan M Nandkumar told Eastern Eye in an exclusive interview that “Bhavan was established 50 years ago today at 37 New Oxford Street in central London. At that time, art, culture and other activities of India were promoted from there. Then in 1977, we moved to the old church building at the present West Kensington, Fulham. It was formally inaugurated by the then prime minister, Lord Kalahan.
We currently run tuition classes for Indian dance, music, art, and language in about 20 rooms in the huge building of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavana. We also have facilities for concert halls, libraries, workshops, kitchens, art galleries, etc.
Nandkumar said: “Mr Mathur Krishnamurthy was the first executive director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavana UK, and Manek Dalal served as the first chairman.” Mathurji retired to India in 1995, and after him, I took over the responsibility. Manek Dalal, the chairman of the Bhavan, retired in 2011 and was replaced by Joginder Singh Senghar, a hotelier who is currently serving as the chairman of the Bhavan. At present, Bhavan is run by a very strong and competent executive committee under his guidance, with the help of charitable donors, and develops the art activity of India. “
Nandkumar said, “We currently have six full-time and 15 other part-time art gurus and eight other office staff to run various art activity classes.” The Bhavan was founded on the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, and so we teach Indian dance, music, language, and art to everyone without any discrimination. Students from outside the Indian diaspora are also now studying. Bhavan is proud to bring the beauty and power of Indian classical arts to other communities around the world. At present, 800 students are studying in a total of 23 types of classes, including North and South Indian dance, song-music, and languages. We host over 100 concerts by artists from India and the West every year. The guest room of the building also accommodates artists from India or other countries. “
He said that “the service to Indian art and culture that Bhavan has done in the UK may not have been done by any other organisation.” Famous artists, including Pandit Ravi Shankar, singer Lata Mangeshkar, and MS Subalakshmi, have been the patrons of Bhavan. We are very grateful to the artists, dancers, singers, musicians, and parents who have chosen the building for their children’s art education, as well as the children and teachers who have cooperated with us over the years.
“Bhavan is expected to be the hub of Indian art activities in the days to come.’’
Nandkumar said, “We have received wonderful support from the founding editor of Garavi Gujarat and Eastern Eye, Mr Ramaniklal Solanki and his two sons Kalpesh Solanki and Shailesh Solanki, over the years” We truly thank him and the other media on this occasion.”
Over the last five decades, Bhavan has been honoured to host a number of great artists and art gurus of the last century as part of its campaign to preserve and promote Indian classical song-music dance art. Thousands of students are contributing to Indian art by undergoing art training at the Bhavan as artists, choreographers, and teachers.
Bhavan UK is one of the 110 Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan centres worldwide, with 105 centres located in India. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is a comprehensive art, cultural, and educational campaign and believes that common elements of culture can cross barriers and bring people together.
Arts Council England, Chelaram Foundation, Infosys, State Bank of India, Air India, and many other organisations have contributed to the construction of the structure.
For more information on classes, tickets, and registration, visit www.bhavan.net