BHOPAL: Four months have passed since Bharat Bhawan was reopened to the public, but not a single cultural event has been held there. Besides concerts, plays and films, symposiums and workshop have not been conducted.
On the other hand, cultural events have resumed in the city and the in the state. The culture department, itself, has been organising a series of events under the programme, ‘Gamak’, at the Tribal Museum and Ravindra Bhawan. The state government’s prestigious Tansen Samaroh is currently underway in Gwalior. Local theatre groups are also organising their programmes.
Last Trust meet in March
Also, no meeting of the Bharat Bhawan Trust has been held since March this year. The last time the Trust met was in Mumbai on March 5. All the six trustees were present at the meeting. They included Gulzar (literature), Shyam Benegal (film), Astad Debu (dance), Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh (visual arts), Sanjana Kapoor (theatre) and Ustad Bahauddin Dagar (music). One of them, Astad Debu, passed away recently.
On October 4, 2019, the Bharat Bhawan Trust constituted during the former BJP government was dissolved by the then Kamal Nath government and six new trustees were appointed. The Bharat Bhawan Trust has 12 members, of whom six are appointed by the state government and two by the Centre. These eight trustees then meet and select four new trustees. The chairman of the Trust is also named by the trustees. Principal secretary, culture, of the state government is the member-secretary of the Trust. The Centre is yet to nominate its two representatives to the Trust.
Chief administrative officer of Bharat Bhawan Prem Shankar Shukla told Free Press, “We’re being cautious. We don’t want to do anything in haste. Artistes from other cities are unwilling to travel to Bhopal and perform here. Moreover, the people are still scared. Even if we organise programmes, I’m not sure whether we’ll get an audience,” he said.
Shukla, however, said that it is not that nothing is happening in Bharat Bhavan. “We’re doing the very important work of preserving the history of Bharat Bhawan. We’re digitizing the audio and video recordings and photographs of all the events held at the Bhawan since its establishment in 1982,” he said.
According to Shukla, all the records of the period 1982-1997 have already been digitized. “This is a very painstaking and time-consuming work. We’ve been focusing on it since the lockdown,” he said. They were planning to organise events in January, he said.
‘No idea about Trust’
"I don’t have any idea about the status of the Bharat Bhawan Trust. I’ll find out and let you know," said Sheo Shekhar Shukla, principal secretary, culture.
‘Trust is in existence’
"The Trust is still in existence. At least, I have no information that it’s been dissolved," remarked Prem Shankar Shukla, chief administrative officer of Bharat Bhawan, upon being asked about the Bharat Bhawan Trust.