Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): None of the five wings of Bharat Bhavan has had a full-fledged director in last 15 years. The number of ministerial and other staff in the multi-arts complex has fallen from 150 to 72 currently.
Bharat Bhavan, which will turn 41 on February 13, has five wings: Rangmandal (theatre repertory), Rupankar (Museum of Fine Arts), Vagarth (Centre of Indian Poetry), Anhad (Library of Classical and Folk Music) and Chhavi (Centre of Classical Cinema). Of these, Chhavi came into being later, other wings have been a part of Bhavan since its inception.
Rangmandal, the repertory, has been non-functional since 1999. It was headed by celebrated theatre personalities like BV Karanth and Habib Tanveer. Rupankar was headed by painter and poet Jagdish Swaminathan till 1990. The wing has not had a director since then. Similarly, Anhad hasn’t had a director since the Gundecha brothers headed it.
Local artistes say, “If eminent, creative persons from relevant fields are not heading different wings, the very concept behind establishment of Bharat Bhavan as a centre of excellence is being defeated.”
Though Bharat Bhavan Trust is empowered to make appointments, it was non-functional for years. After a gap of three years, Bhavan got a fully functional trust in August last year.
In October 2019, the then Kamal Nath Government dissolved the Trust and appointed six trustees. The Trust did not hold a single meeting as Central Government did not appoint two trustees. After its return to power, the BJP government reconstituted the Trust.
Bharat Bhavan CEO Prem Shankar Shukla denied staff shortage. “Earlier, everything was done manually so we required people. Now, we have computers,” he said.
Bharat Bhavan’s golden period ended in 1990s. I wish it comes back. But I have little hope that it ever will.
Alok Chatterjee, Madhya Pradesh School of Drama ex-director
There was a time when association with Bharat Bhavan was a matter of pride for any artist. Bhavan was considered Home of Arts. Now, it is merely a place where programmes are organised from time to time.
Alpana Vajpayee, kathak dancer
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