Socio-Cultural Institutions in India-4

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National Council of Science Museums:

The National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Calcutta is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Culture. Its wide range of interactive programmes and activities are aimed at popularising science and technology amongst the students, in particular, and masses in general. The NCSM administers and manages 26 Science Museums/Centres/Parks throughout the country. The Council has set up nearly 300 school science centres in rural schools throughout the nation and has regional centres at Bhopal, Nagpur, Gwalior and Allahabad.


National Gallery of Modern Art:

The National Gallery of Modern Art was inaugurated on March 29, 1954 at Jaipur House, near India Gate, New Delhi. The gallery is the only institution of its kind in India which is run and administered by the Government of India. It represents the evolution of the changing art forms since the middle of the 19th century. PRIVATE “TYPE=PICT;ALT=Man with a Bouquet of Plastic Flowers by Bhupen Khakar” The collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art essentially comprises painting, sculptures and graphics mainly by Indian and to some extent, international modern artists. In order to emphasise the historical development of modern Indian art, the collection focuses on the works of art of different schools and groups which were formed during the 19th century. The collection is well represented by the works of artists such as Thomas Daniell, Abindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandlal Bose, Jamini Roy and Amrita Shergil. PRIVATE “TYPE=PICT;ALT=Grandpa by Arpana Caur” The collection also includes sculpture, graphics and paintings by international modern artists such as Jacob Epstein, Giorgio de Chirico, Peter Lubarda and Kozo Mio.


National Film Archive of India:

The National Film Archive of India (NFAI) was established in February 1964, as a media unit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Its objective is to acquire, preserve and restore the rich heritage of national cinema, and the cream of international cinema. The archive has made significant progress in the preservation of films, audio and video material, documentation, research and dissemination of film culture in India. The archive functions as the main repository for Indian and foreign research workers for viewing film classics, relating to their research projects. The Archives Distribution Library caters to over 300 Film Societies and Film Study Groups in educational institutions in the country. With its collection of over 15,000 films, the NFAI has been acknowledged as one of the major film archives in Asia.

NFAI is a member of the International Federation of Film Archives, since May 1969 which enables it to receive expert opinions and material on preservation techniques, documentation, bibliographies, etc and to exchange rare films with other such archives under the archival exchange programme. The Archive maintains a distribution library of 16 mm films (Indian and foreign), which are loaned to film societies and others for non-commercial study screenings. NFAI in collaboration with FTII conducts an Annual Film Appreciation Course. Film buffs, teachers, researchers, students and journalists join this course to learn about cinema and its vital cultural role.

With its headquarters at Pune, NFAI has at present three regional offices at Bangalore, Calcutta and Thiruvananthapuram.


National Film Development Corporation:

Set up in 1980, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) is the canalising agency for the export of Indian films. The prime objective of NFDC is to plan, promote and organise the integrated development of the Indian film industry. It is also a premier financer of good cinema. It has co-produced several good movies like Kumar Shahani’s Kaasba and Mira Nair’s Salam Bombay. It was only after the government set up the Film Finance Corporation (FFC, which in 1980 came to be known as NFDC) that several small but serious film makers got the wherewithal to make films, notable among them being Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani and GV Iyer (with his maiden venture in Sanskrit, Adi Sankaracharya). The Corporation also partnered the making of Attenborough’s Gandhi and financed Satyajit Ray’s Ghare Baire that was to be one of the last films of the master. The two international co-productions recently completed are Making of a Mahatma a joint venture between NFDC and the South African Broadcasting Corporation and Jaya Ganga an Indo-French venture.

NFDC produces, co-produces and finances films and has also initiated a Theatre Financing scheme in 1979. NFDC is the single largest exporter of Indian feature film. NFDC markets films of private producers internationally on commission basis. NFDC imports good commercial films and distributes them in India. It rents out equipment like video, 16mm camera, 35 mm cameras and other cinematic equipments. Technical services like telecine, video duplication, editing and nonlinear editing Beta AB roll etc. are also provided. NFDC also undertakes turnkey installation and commissioning of equipment in studios. Laser film subtitling and Video subtitling is done in many Indian and foreign languages. Maya–the Magic Shop is a dedicated computer graphics and special effects production facility set up by NFDC. NFDC programmes and markets feature films, serials and other programmes on Doordarshan, India’s national television network.

To fight video piracy, NFDC, in collaboration with the Indian film industry has set up an anti-piracy body, Indian Federation Against Copyright Theft (INFACT), which is registered as a company under the Companies Act.

In July 2000, the Government of India nominated Hema Malini to be the first-ever woman chairperson of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). The NFDC has been without a formal board and chairperson since well known Telugu film-maker DVS Raju resigned in 1993.


National Library, Kolkata:

National Library, Calcutta serves as a permanent repository of all readings and information material produced in India as well as printed material written by Indians and concerning India written by foreigners, wherever published and in whatever language. Under the Delivery of Books Act, 1954 the National Library is entitled to receive one copy of each publication published in the country. It is also a repository of the United Nations publications. It renders multi-faceted services and extends different types of bibliographical assistance to numerous readers and scholars, ministries and national and international organisations. Over 30 lakh books, besides periodicals, maps, manuscripts, newspapers and microfilms totaling several million items are housed in the Library. Invaluable and prestigious personal collections like the Asutosh Collection, Jadunath Sarkar Collection, Buhar Collection and some others are also in its possession.



National Museum of India:

The National Museum of India was established on August 15, 1949, in the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi. Its main activities are in the field of acquisition, exhibition, conservation, education and publication of art objects. On December 18, 1960, the sizeable collection was transferred to the present premises and the works of art were thrown open to the public. There are 26 permanent galleries in the Museum including the galleries on Buddhist Art, Tantra Art, Decorative Arts, Evolution of Indian scripts and coins, Tanjore and Mysore School Paintings and Jewellery Gallery. The Buddhist art gallery, which has 84 select exhibits including the highly revered sacred relics of Buddha (5th century BC) excavated from Piprawaha, Basti district of Uttar Pradesh, thankas, Kapardina Buddha from Ahicchhatra, Buddha’s foot-prints from Nagarjunakonda and scenes from his life from Sarnath. The Tantra Art gallery displays 135 magnificent products of Tantric art from various parts of the country, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet including the famous Shri Ajit Mokerjee collection. The National Museum Library has over 48,000 books on ancient and medieval history, archaeology, fine arts and anthropology. The Museum provides access to the reserve collection and library to museum professionals, scholars and general public. The National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology was set up as a Deemed University in 1989.


National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology:

The National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology, New Delhi is a “Deemed University” which has been functional since 1989. Its main thrust is acquisition of teaching aids and software, setting up a slide studio, preparation of syllabus oriented video films, awarding Fellowships and Scholarships and conducting seminars and symposia. The Institute conducts M.A. and Ph.D. courses in three disciplines History of Art Conservation and Restoration of works of Art, Museology and Indian Art & Culture. The Institute also conducts Diploma/Certificate courses in areas like Museum Administration and Art Application.



National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property:

The National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property (NRLC), Lucknow is a subordinate office of the Department of Culture. It is a scientific institution engaged in the conservation of cultural heritage of the country.  It conducts research in materials and methods of conservation, provides training in conservation and provides technical advice and assistance to museums and allied institutions. It has a well-developed library, which provides documentation services like abstracting to other institutions. Every year the laboratory conducts an orientation workshop for Directors and Curators on preventive conservation and a six-month training course for conservators. A regional centre of NRLC for the southern region is functioning at Mysore since 1987.


National School of Drama:

The National School of Drama (NSD) is one of the foremost theatre training institutions in the world, set up by Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1959. In 1975, it became an autonomous organisation, financed entirely by Department of Culture. Several eminent actors, directors, script-writers, designers and technicians of theatre, films and television are the products of NSD. In NSD the students are exposed to a systematic and practical performing experience of Sanskrit drama, modern Indian drama, traditional Indian theatre forms, Asian drama and western drama. Experts in each of these fields interact with the students to broaden their horizons of talent. The students also go to different regional centres to gain a first hand experience of the traditional theatre forms. The School has a Repertory Company and Theatre-In-Education Company in Delhi and a Regional Resource-cum-Research Centre at Bengaluru.


Nava Nalanda Maha Vihara:

The Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, Nalanda, Bihar, is an Institute for postgraduate teaching and research in Pali language, Literature and Buddhist Studies, functioning under the Department of Culture since February 1994. The Institute conducts different Post-graduate and Diploma courses like Post Graduation in Pali , Philosophy, Ancient Indian and Asian Studies and Diploma in Pali, Japanese, Chinese and Hindi, besides Ph. D and D. Litt.



Nrityagram, located in Bangalore, is India’s first and only dance village set up exclusively for the preservation of the seven classical Indian dance styles and two martial art forms of India. Founded by Protima Gauri in 1990 and designed by Gerard da Cunha, the Nrityagram has a rich traditional architectural style. Nityagram incorporates the Guru-Shishya Parampara style of teaching in which the students live together in the community and devote themselves to perfecting their dance training over a number of years. Each Gurukul takes a maximum of six residential students. Nrityagram offers training to its residential students for a period of 6-7 years, in which time they will be trained to become leading professional dancers and teachers. Regular workshops are conducted in creative modern dance, Yoga, mime, Kalaripayyatu, meditation, Aikido, sculpture and Shorinji Kempo. Leading teachers and performing artists come regularly for intensive workshops in classical dance. Each student is taught to conduct lecture demonstrations, to teach dance and to perform professionally. The students of Odissi and Mohiniattam have over a hundred performances in India to their credit and have received favourable reviews everywhere. Several of Nrityagram’s Odissi soloists like Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy are now performing independently. As part of their policy to take classical culture back to Village India, Nrityagram hosts the annual Vasanthahabba (Spring Festival) in February, which attracts thousands of people.


Prince of Wales Museum:

The Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai is named after King George V, who had visited India as Prince of Wales in 1905. The Museum has an excellent collection of Indian miniature paintings, sculptures depicting the Gandhara art, terracotta of pre-Mauryan to Gupta periods and specimens from the Tibetan and Nepali art.

Prithvi Theatres:

The ‘Prithvi Theatres’, established in 1944 by the late Prithviraj Kapoor, was a travelling theatre company of 150 dedicated actors, stagehands, writers and technicians, performing plays throughout the country. It was one of the first professional Hindi theatre groups with a permanent staff, actively developing and nurturing a modern theatre movement. The Prithvi Theatres’ maiden production was Kalidasa’s classic Shakuntala, after which socio-political plays like Deewar, Pathaan, Ghaddar, Aahuthi, Kalaakar, Paisa and Kisaan, were performed all over India and became immensely popular. These plays were written specifically for Prithvi Theatres and Prithviraj played the lead in all the productions. After the death of Prithviraj Kapoor in 1972, his son Shashi Kapoor and daughter-in-law Jennifer Kapoor bought a piece of land in Juhu in 1975 and founded ‘The Shri Prithviraj Kapoor Memorial Trust and Research Foundation’ in Prithviraj Kapoor’s memory with the intention of building a theatre to promote the performing arts. The Prithvi Theatre was eventually set up in 1978. It organises the annual ‘Prithvi Festivals’ and a Children’s Theatre Forum to promote the vernacular theatre in India.


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