Author Amish Tripathi is set to take on as the director of the Nehru Centre, the cultural wing of Indian High Commission in the London, next month. Amish Tripathi with his experience in marketing is set to boost the profile of Nehru Centre, which organizes loads of activities showcasing Indian culture and arts. Nehru Centre hosts different events on Indian music, dance and theatre, art exhibitions, lectures, illustrated talks, book launches, film screenings, seminars and round-tables.
Nehru Centre, established in 1992, is considered a flagship program of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and over years has emerged as a premier institutional interface between the cultures of India and the United Kingdom. The centre also serves as a facilitator of synergistic dialogues between cultural bodies of two nations.
Author of several bestsellers, Amish Tripathi is one of the few individuals who are being selected to take over similar institutions of cultural integration in various countries. Interview for the same was conducted earlier this year. Cultural centres, which have been led mostly by career diplomats will also get a boost with individuals from diverse backgrounds in arts and management taking over the charge.
Indian cultural interaction had been suffering for long because of the lackluster efforts of the previous governments. India, which boasts of thousands of diverse art forms from different cultural units will surely benefit from increased efforts towards cultural dialogue between nations.
Nehru Centre was also headed by the controversial Indian director and playwright, Girish Karnad. Girish was in the spotlight when he used a cultural platform at Tata literary fest in Mumbai to lash out at Trinidadian-British writer VS Naipaul. VS Naipaul was earlier conferred with a Lifetime achievement award by festival organizers.
Karnad was also criticized when he created another controversy by claiming that Rabindranath Tagore, one of the greatest contributor to Indian arts, was a second class playwright and his plays were “unbearable”, just a few weeks after the literary fest incident.
Karnad also called for renaming Bangalore International Airport. He stated that the airport should be renamed in honour of foul 18th-century Muslim ruler Tipu Sultan, instead of Kempe Gowda who was the ruler of Vijayanagar Empire and had established the present city of Bengaluru. Karnad was under the heat for suggesting Tipu Sultan’s name, who was responsible for committing heinous atrocities on Hindu minorities during his reign. Karnad made this claims during celebrations marking the anniversary of Tipu Sultan’s birth. Karnad had to later apologize.
Career diplomat Srinivas Gotru, previous director of the Nehru Centre, said in his last address, “This year is going to be special because of two important anniversaries: the 550th birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji and the 150th birth anniversary of Father of the Indian Nation, Mahatma Gandhi”.
“The High Commission and the Nehru Centre will celebrate both these anniversaries through a series of events…I bid you farewell as this is likely to be my last message as the director…I have completed a fulfilling tenure of over three years and it is now time to move on”, he added.
Nehru Centre has launched several books by Indian and British authors. It also promoted the participation of authors from the UK in Indian literary festivals. Nehru Centre is located near Hyde Park in central London.
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