With the aim of promoting the relevance of past heritage and culture and encouraging learning of Sanskrit, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan is going full steam in giving a boost to the Centre for Study and Research in Indology, which was started five years ago.
As its director Ashok Pradhan, a former top bureaucrat, who has been in the forefront of promoting this Centre, said the Centre was doing many things. “Very recently we had a programme to bring out from Sanskrit texts knowledge on science, mathematics and everything else. The idea is to ensure that whatever we talk of our Indian culture is not just a myth,” he said.
Bringing his rich administrative experience, Pradhan has ensured that the Bhawan holds annually a sangeet samaroh, where “we invite artistes from all forms of music, covering both Carnatic and Hindustani vocal, and also all dance forms”. “By now we have covered almost all forms and we have invited artistes from all over the country known both nationally and internationally,” he added. “These persons are known for propagating all forms of music and dance forms. As part of the effort to popularise these arts, we bring every year a digest with articles by leading personalities in the particular field ~ artistes, scholars and others. This digest is distributed free at all the various functions of the Bhawan to popularise the arts and music.”
The samaroh has become a very popular event and is looked forward to by music lovers in the Capital and the response has been tremendous, he said. In keeping with this, the Bhawan had recently held a two-day seminar on “The codification of the Textual and Oral Practices of Sarngadeva” on the famous Sangitaratnakara, which is a monumental work written around the 13th century by Sarngadeva, who originally hailed from Kashmir and settled in the region of Devagiri (present day Daulatabad) in Deccan. The programme, which was coordinated by Professor Dipti Omcherry Bhalla of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music of Delhi University, saw participation by leading scholars from India and abroad.
The Bhawan intends to bring out a book on proceedings at the seminar. Books from such seminars are distributed free to all those who are interested in this subject since the Bhawan’s aim is to encourage Indian culture and arts, Pradhan said. Elaborating on the subject, he said the Bhawan has so far brought out digests on vocal music, dance and instrumental music and also on Abhinav Bharati and Natyasastra. It has also brought Shilpadhakari to show how music travelled from northern to southern part of the country.
“Our programme, sangeet samaroh, has become one of the prestigious events in Delhi and many people look forward to it. Even though we do not have popular sort of forms but we go into areas like dances from Kerala, which are not popular but we still bring them for the idea is to explore the culture and art forms in various parts of the country and bring them into the limelight and make people aware of them. They are appreciated by connoisseurs of art and also those who like such items. Our aim is to popularise such music and dance forms.”
He said the Bhawan’s effort was to popularise Indian culture and the richness of Sanskrit, since youth nowadays are more focusssed on going to IITs or IIMs. They should also know the richness of Sanskrit and how it has contributed to various fields of science, philosophy and arts.
Pradhan said it had nothing to do with saffronisation or red or any colour, but it was to tell people that Sanskrit has a rich cultural heritage as also other Indian languages like Pali, Prakrit and Ardhamagati.