Socio-Cultural Institutions in India-3

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Kalakshetra literally means a ‘Holy place of Arts’. It was started in 1936 by Rukmini Devi Arundale as a cultural academy for preservation of traditional values in Indian art, especially in the field of dance and music. The Government of India took over the management of Kalakshetra by a Presidential Ordinance issued on 29th September 1993 and declared it an institution of National importance. The order was later replaced by an Act of Parliament namely the Kalakshetra Foundation Act (No.6 of 1994). Since then the Kalakshetra Foundation has been functioning as an autonomous body under the Department of Culture.

The Centre is modeled on the concept of a ‘gurukul’, where music, dancing, painting and crafts are taught to students of both sexes from India and other parts of the world. Special cultural programmes are arranged to help the students in appreciating true art and the rich cultural heritage of India. The curriculum of the dance students includes classes on dance theory, which is based on the work Abhinaya Darpana, and selected portions of other ancient texts on art and literature. Music is a subsidiary for all dance students. The art of Indian make-up, traditional costumes and theatre craft are learnt gradually by the advanced and post graduate students through participation in the various Kalakshetra productions. Kalakshetra produces and presents many dance-dramas as part of its efforts to make available to the public the best of Indian classical arts.



Kalamandalam is a well-known dance school for Kathakali in Kerala, which was founded by V.N. Menon. It serves as a meeting point of the southern and northern styles of Kathakali as well as of various other dance forms like Mohiniattam, Koodiyattam, Ottamthullal and Mizhav. It houses the imposing Koothambalam, which is an architectural landmark. Kalamandalam was established in 1930 and the Government of Kerala took over its maintenance in 1941.


Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library:

Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna was established in 1891and was declared as an institution of national importance in 1969 by an act of Parliament. The Library has one of the richest collections of Oriental manuscripts preserved by a devout collector of manuscripts, Khan Bahadur Chaeta Bakhsh who handed it over to the government of India its preservation and protection. The library has about 20,000 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Urdu apart from rare ones in Turkish, Hindi, Sanskrit and Pashtu, most of them depicting world’s richest Islamic heritage. Some 200 are on palm leaf. Some of the rare manuscripts of the Library include the Holy Quran written in Naskh in 1269 by a reputed calligrapher Yaquit-at Mustasami; Dioscorides’s work on medical plants; Treatises of Thabit Ibn Kurra; some writings of Abu Nasr Farabi and Abu Raihan Bairuni, poetical works of Mirza Kamran, brother of Humayun and manuscripts bearing the signatures of Jahangir and Shahjahan. Noted Arabic works include Tafsir-i-Kabir and the Kitab ul-Hasha’ish. The Library also has more than 850 audio and 550 video-tapes of eminent personalities. The Library brings out a quarterly research journal. The Library has been recognised by seven universities as a centre of research for awarding the degrees of Ph.D./D. Litt.


Lalit Kala Akademi:

The Lalit Kala Akademi (National Akademi of Fine Arts) was established by the Government of India at New Delhi in 1954 to promote and propagate understanding of Indian art, both within and outside the country. The Akademi promotes study and research in painting, sculpture, architecture and other applied arts. It promotes cooperation among art associations and encourages exchange of ideas between various schools of art. The Akademi organises a Rashtriya Kala Mela (National Exhibition of Art) every year and Triennale India, an international exhibition, once in three years. Three to four special exhibitions are organised every year with some concept involving known and eminent artists of India. The Akademi gives 10 national awards, each of Rs 25000, to the outstanding artists participating in the National Exhibition of Art.

The Akademi honours eminent artists and art historians every year by electing them as fellows of the Akademi. The Akademi regularly participates in International Biennales and Triennales abroad and also organises exhibitions of works of art from other countries to propagate Indian art outside. It also sponsors exchange of artists with other countries under the various Cultural Exchange Programmes (CEPs). The Akademi brings out monographs on the works of Indian contemporary artists in Hindi and English and books on contemporary, traditional, folk and tribal arts. It also brings out bi-annual art journals, Lalit Kala Contemporary (English), Lalit Kala Ancient (English) and Samkaleen Kala (Hindi).


Library of Tibetan Work and Archives:

The Library of Tibetan Work and Archives, Dharamsala, acquires and preserves Tibetan books and manuscripts. The main activities of the library are to provide research facilities to run regular courses on Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan languages, classes on Tibetan traditional woodcarving and thanka paintings, etc.



Marine Archaeology Centre:

The Marine Archaeology Centre was established in the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa in 1981. Since 1983 the Centre has carried out underwater archaeological explorations almost every year in the waters of ancient Dwarka.


Mathura Museum:

The Government Museum at Mathura, popularly known as Mathura Sangrahalya, is one of the oldest museums in India. It was established in 1874 by F.S.Growse, the then Collector of Mathura district, as the Curzon Museum of Archeology. The museum is particularly famous for sculptures from Sunga, Maurya, Kushana and Gupta periods. The museum contains about 33,500 art objects including 4819 stone sculptures, 2690 terracotta figures, 329 bronze idols, 312 miniature paintings and several gold and silver coins and other objects of historical and archeological value. It has 18 galleries, including one dedicated to the Gandhara School of Art.



Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies:

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata is the centre for research and training of the life and works of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and for the study of the social, cultural, political and economic movement in Asia from the middle of the 19th century. The Institute functions under the administrative control of the Department of Culture. The Institute maintains a library of books, newspapers, still photographs and materials on the secular traditions of modern India and events of the 19th century. It organises workshops on Critical Asian Studies at Darjeeling for M.Phil/ Ph.D students.


Nadwatul-Ulema, Lucknow:

The Nadwatul-Ulema, Lucknow was formed in 1894 with the primary aim of providing education in religious and temporal sciences as well as offering technical training. It also aimed at setting up a Centre of Study and Research on Islamic ideals and thought. For most courses offered by the Nadwatul-Ulema, the medium of instruction is Arabic, although English, Urdu and Hindi are also used. It brings out an Arabic monthly called Al-Bathul Islami and two fortnightlies called Ar-Raid (Arabic) and Tamiri-I-Hayat (Urdu).


Namgyal Institute of Tibetology:

The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok was built in 1958 by the last Chogyal (king) of Sikkim. It has a faculty of eminent scholars, a library with a large collection of documents and rare books on Buddhism and an attached museum with a rare collection of antiques, coins and Tibetan paintings of thankas.


National Archives of India:

National Archives of India (NAI) is the premier organised record repository in Asia. Formerly known as ‘Imperial Record Department’, it was established on 11 March 1891as an attached office of the Department of Culture. It is the official custodian of all non-current records of permanent value of the Government of India and its predecessor bodies. It has four regional repositories at Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Pondicherry. National Archives of India is actively involved in accessioning of public records, preparation of reference media, evolving records management programmes, imparting training in the field of archives administration and records management and promoting archival consciousness in the country. It provides financial assistance to state archives, voluntary organisations and other custodial institutions. It also conducts one-year diploma course in archival studies and a number of short-term certificate courses.


National Book Trust:

The National Book Trust was established as an autonomous organisation in New Delhi in 1957. Its primary objective is to encourage the production of good literature and make such works available at moderate prices to libraries, educational institutions and the public. Its other activities are promotion of Indian books abroad, providing assistance to authors and publishers and promotion of children’s literature. The NBT organises the World Book Fair every alternate year. It also participates in major international book fairs.


National Centre for the Performing Arts:

The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) was established in 1966 as a non-profit cultural organisation. The Centre is engaged in the preservation and promotion of India’s rich cultural heritage in classical and folk music, dance and drama. It receives support from the Government of India and International bodies, such as the Ford Foundation and UNESCO. The Centre’s aims and objectives are to (a) establish a national centre for the classical, traditional and contemporary arts and sciences of performance and communication, (b) establish, equip and maintain schools, auditoria, libraries, archives, museums, studios and workshops, (c) organise, sponsor, promote, establish, conduct and undertake scientific research, (d) disseminate knowledge, promote appreciation, provide training and sponsor research in these fields, (e) encourage and assist research scholars and teachers in the fields and (f) grant loans, scholarships, awards or other financial assistance.

The facilities available with the NCPA include a 1010-seat concert hall (Tata Theatre) used for concerts, dramas and international film festivals; a 250-seat experimental theatre (Tata Experimental Theatre), designed for experimental theatre productions; a 200-seat dance theatre (Godrej Dance Academy Theatre) for dance and music; a 114-seat Recording Studio-cum-auditorium for archival recordings of classical music (Little Theatre); Art gallery (Jehangir Nicholson Museum of Modern Art) for the display of paintings and related arts; Photograph gallery ( Piramal Gallery of the Centre for Photography); Video Studio; Audio-Visual archival preservation vault with a collection of over 4,000 hours of audio and video recordings and a computerised database. It also has a Theatre Development Centre, Scientific Music Research Laboratory, Publication division (Marg Publications), Reference library ( N.M.Wadia Library of Music) and an Opera Theatre.


National Centre of Films for Children and Young People:

India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, took the initiative in 1955 to set up the Children Film Society, India (CFS) with Pandit H.N.Kunzru as its founder-chairman. Some years ago the Children Film Society was renamed as the National Centre of Films for Children and Young People (NCYP). An autonomous body, the NCYP functions under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry of the Government of India. Its objectives are to advance education and culture through the medium of cinema, especially among children and adolescents; to create and develop an appreciation of films; and to undertake and coordinate the production of films for distribution and exhibition specially suited for children and adolescents in India and abroad. It also organises an International Children’s Film Festival every alternate year. Its first production was Jaldeep (1956), followed by other films like Ganga Bhavani, Anmol Tasveer, Dak Ghar, Rikki Tikki Tavi and Kala Parvat. Presently, actress Jaya Bachchan is the Chairperson of NCYP.


National Council of Educational Research and Training:

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), set up in 1961 as an autonomous body of the Ministry of Education of the Government of India, is an apex organisation in India for school education. NCERT implements the policies and programmes of the Ministry of Education. Its activities intertwine research, training and extension and span the entire spectrum of education from pre-school to the senior secondary stage. It functions through its eight constituent units, namely, the five Regional Institutes of Education located at Ajmer, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Mysore and Shillong, the National Institute of Education (NIE), New Delhi and the Central Institute of Educational Technology, New Delhi and the Pandit Sunderlal Sharma Central Institute of Vocational Education, Bhopal. NCERT is a major publisher of school textbooks, monographs and journals. Every year it publishes about 300 titles covering textbooks, research reports/monographs and teachers’ guides. It brings out six journals including Indian Educational Review, Indian Journal of Education, School Science and The Primary Teacher in English. The NCERT develops and produces kits such as Integrated Science Kit, Primary Science Kit and Mini Tool Kit. It also organises the National Talent Search (NTS) examinations and awards over 750 scholarships to children every year.

The National Institute of Education (NIE), New Delhi carries out research and development functions related to pedagogical aspect of curriculum, prepares prototype curricular and other supplementary instructional materials, develops school education related data base and conducts experimentation in pre-school, elementary and secondary stages to ensure all round development of the learner. The Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET), located at the NCERT Headquarters, performs educational media related research, development, training, production and extension functions and provides academic and technical guidance and support to the State Institutes of Educational Technology. Pandit Sunderlal Sharma Central Institute of Vocational Education (PSSCIVE), Bhopal organises research and development functions related to vocational education in the school sector.


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