The British Indian diaspora’s celebrations for the 76th year of India’s independence kick-started with a vibrant programme of Indian classical music and dance at the Bhavan in London this week.
Dr M.N. Nandakumara, Sanskrit scholar and Executive Director of the premier cultural institution, was felicitated for his recent honorary MBE for services to the teaching, performance and accessibility of Indian classical arts in the UK.
Nanda-ji, as he is popularly known, said: “This honour is in recognition of the work that the Bhavan has been doing in this part of the world for the past 50 years.
“Come here to the Bhavan more often, strengthen our hands so that we may serve the cause of our culture even more.”
Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami and wife Sangeeta Doraiswami were the Chief Guests at the celebrations – held in the lead up to the 77th Independence Day on August 15.
The High Commissioner said: “The spirit of the Bhavan, historically, has been about inclusion, of welcoming and inquiry. And, it is very much in line with the spirit of India as an independent nation.
“The Bhavan has served the community and communities across this country and has essentially served to bring about a bouquet of offerings, a range of shall we say products in this commercial age. This includes classes, instruction but also the opportunity to learn and be entertained by the complexity and diversity of India's culture. And I believe it should be part of our mission going forward to work with the Bhavan to enable more to come to it.”
Bhavan chairman Subhanu Saxena revealed that the centre would be collaborating with the Indian High Commission and the Nehru Centre in London for a special poetry event in the autumn.
“I think we're also entering an era where the teachings and values of ancient India are becoming very relevant to the world,” he said.
The Mayor of Hammersmith, Councillor Patricia Quigley, described the Bhavan as a hub of Indian culture in the heart of London and Lord Raj Loomba spoke of its illustrious history for over half a century.
The Bhavan, registered as the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan with the Charity Commission in England, operates a series of classes to teach Yoga, Sanskrit and other Indian languages, besides classical Indian music and dance. Many of its students had been rehearsing for weeks to present a series of patriotic songs and dances for the packed auditorium.
*Info: The Bhavan
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