The Pracheen Kala Kendra which is known worldwide for its creative and promotional activities with regard to Indian classical art and culture since its inception in 1956, has registered many strides in multi-level growth, re-exploration of tradition, growing self-confidence and flowering of creative spirit of Indian culture through its sincere and dedicated efforts like previous years.
The year 2015 was marked by an all round progress in the various cultural and artistic activities foremost among them are the holding of examinations, imparting of training, conducting of research and organizing of cultural programmes by inviting top-notch artists of Indian classical music and dance. It was all possible due to the sincere steps taken by the Kendra team as a result of which it was succeeded not only in maintaining the No. 1 position in the fields of its services but also rededicates itself to further the cause of the fine arts. The Kendra’s aim is to develop ways and means by which basic cultural and aesthetic values and perceptions remain active and dynamic among people. A report on the activities of the institution is as under:-
WORLDWIDE NETWORK OF CENTRES
The Kendra has a worldwide network of examination centres which specializes in education in the field of art and culture. Its more than 3500 affiliated institutions spread all over the country and abroad including USA, UK, Canada, France, Singapore, Mauritius, UAE, Kuwait, South Africa, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, etc.
The examinations of Prarambhik, Bhushan, Visharad and Bhaskar conducted by the Kendra are enjoying all-round recognition. Since the Kendra is a recognized institution and its certificates and diplomas are treated at par with degrees by various State Governments/Education Boards/Universities, as a result of which, as many as 3,19,331 students appeared in different examinations of the Kendra in the session 2014-2015 as compared to the figure of 3,13,204 appeared during the last session, thereby registering an increase of 6,127 number of students. Another feather added in Kendra’s cap is recognition to its examinations from Department of Education, Bihar.
Known for imparting quality training in Indian classical music, dance and fine arts (painting) at its both the complexes in Chandigarh and Mohali, the Kendra continued with its effort to educate as well as kindle the interest of young generation in these classical art forms under the guidance of noted teachers of these fields. The Kendra has got the distinction as an approved centre for imparting training in Kathak Dance to foreign students.
The Kendra’s efforts in this direction have also not gone unnoticed by Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The department also sanctioned salary grants to the Kendra since 1997-98 for payment to the artists.
THE 11TH CEREMONY OF GURU MADAN LAL KOSER – GURU SHOBHA KOSER AWARD
With a view to celebrate the creativity, devotion and dedication of the Koser duo – Guru Madan Lal Koser & Guru Shobha Koser, founders of the Kendra. Pracheen Kala Kendra has instituted an annual award of Rs. One Lakh given to individuals, who have done outstanding work in the field of performing arts especially, Indian classical dance and music. This award was conferred upon Legendary Santoor maestro Padma Shree Pandit Satish Vyas, carrying a memento, a shawl, a citation and a sum of Rupees One Lakh at a glittering function held on February 28, 2015 at Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh. Hon’ble members of Governing Body of Pracheen Kala Kendra honored the artists with a memento, a shawl, a citation and cash award of Rupees one Lakh. The award ceremony was followed by a well-knit programme by the Santoor Maestro Pt. Satish Vyas.
THE 45th PRACHEEN KALA KENDRA NRITYA & SANGEET SAMMELAN
The annual event of the Kendra “Pracheen Kala Kendra Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan(formerly known as All-India Bhaskar Rao Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan) saw its 45th session at Chandigarh from March 19 to 22, 2015. Thefour-day festival was a grand success which featured internationally Acclaimedexponents from the world of the performing arts. They included Anuradha Pal – Tabla concert (Istri shakti ), Sarojya Baidynathan & troupe (Bharatnatyam Dance) Ravinder Singh ( Flute Recital , Geetanjali Lal & Vidha Lal with troupe (Kathak Dance), Rahimat Ali Khan & brothers ( Sitar Recital ), Ashish Das & troupe ( Odissi Dance), Prabhakar Kashyap & Diwakar Kashyap ( Vocal Recital)and Nilmana Sisters ( Kuchipudi &
BAITHAK PROGRAMMES OF KENDRA
For the last seventeen years, the Kendra has been taking care of providing a platform among others to the upcoming, talented as well as established artistes from the field of performing arts on the 11th of every month it holds Baithak programme besides organizing Special Programmes which now have become a permanent feature of Kendra’s activities.
During the year, some of the artists who performed in Baithak are Basant Madhur Akhilesh Madhur( Tabla Duo), Vidushi Manju Nandan Mehta (Sitar), Buddhadev Chatterjee (Flute), Supriya Seen & Rishabh Seen (Sitar & Santoor jugalbandi), Shweta Prachande (Bharatnatyam) , Madhumita Bose (Vocal), Swapnamoyee Banerjee (Sarod), Vani Madhav (Odissi Dance) Mohsin Ali Khan (Sitar) and Minakshi & Ravi Garg (Sufiana Kalam ) , Akbar & Babar latif Khan (Tabla Duo) to name just a few only from long list of artists.
During the year 2015 some of renowned artists performed in Special Programmes of the Kendra namely Kathak Dance by Usha Gupta & troupe from Canada, Sarod Recital by Anupam Shobhakar from USA, smelting Contours by Jazz Drummer Ranjit Barot and Kathak exponent Sandeep Mahavir presented a unique presentation and was a huge success. Reeta Das (Sarod) , Rekha Ratnam Das (Vocal) presented recital at Patna organized by Kendra. Two day Malhar Utsav is also a part of 2015 special programmes of the Kendra.
QUARTERLY BAITHKAS AT NEW DELHI
On 25th April 2015 Pracheen Kala Kendra also started its First quarterly Baithak in New Delhi under the series “Legends of Tomorrow” at Amaltas Auditorium, in collaboration with India Habitat Centre. Smt. Renu Gupta, a young and talented artist of Delhi presented vocal recital and Spectacular Salil cast magical spell with his Satvik Veena. Second quarterly Baithak was featured Sh. Fareed Hasan, a young and talented artist of Delhi presented vocal recital and Spectacular Chetan Joshi cast magical spell with his soothing Flute recital. Third Baithak was featured Mrs. Anshu Thapliyal, a young and talented artist of Delhi presented vocal recital and Spectacular Ajay P. Jha cast magical spell with his soulful Mohan Veena Recital. Quarterly baithaks under the series, “Legends of Tomorrow “is a huge success and lot of young and talented artists have lined up to showcase their immense talent.
A TWO DAY 3rd M.L. KOSER MUSIC AND DANCE FESTIVAL AT NEW DELHI
To continue its glowing tradition of uplifting Indian classical art and culture, the Kendra in memory of its founder, organized3rd Guru M.L. Koser Music and Dance Festival on September 14 and 15, 2015 at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The festival on the first day witnessed a scintillating and rare Jugalbandi of Indian Sitar and Western Cello by immensely talented Shubhendra Rao and his equally talented wife Saskia Rao and an incredible Kathak dance performance by Mahua Shankar. The concluding day programme commenced with a soulful Vocal recital by an accomplished classical singer, Kalpana Zukarkar , who enthralled the audience with her captivating vocal recital which was followed by a mesmerizing performance of Odissi Dance exponent Prativa Panda and her troupe.
ANOTHER SPECIAL FEATURE FOR STUDENTS OF PKK TITLED PARAMPARA
To promote the talent of its students and to provide them platform, last year Kendra also decided to start monthly series named as “Parampara” in which it will provide stage exposure to all the students learning in various departments of Kendra. It will give confidence to the children and help them in their wholistic development. The Kendra organized first episode of Parampara on 23rd May, 2015 and till now six successful episodes of Parampara have been held.
In line with its tradition, Pracheen Kala Kendra organized its 20th-long production oriented Children’s Workshop on Theatre and Kathak Dance under the guidance of noted theatre artists Parveen Jaggi Nearly 70 students ranging between five to sixteen years of age took part in the workshop which was a great success as in the previous years. In the workshop, the children were given lessons in theatrical arts like make-up, costume designing, stage decoration, speech, body movement, acting, mask-making etc. On the culmination day, the children gave a scintillating performance of the workshop based items.
PUBLIC CHARITABLE AND WELFARE ACTIVITIES
During the year under review, the Kendra undertook a number of public welfare and charitable activities. The Kendra took special interest in the well being of the education, training, recreation and all-round growth of slum children who comprise a vast section of society. The Kendra lay special emphasis on the training and education of handicapped children also who have been physically and psychologically assisted by the Kendra from time to time. A lot of relief and recreation go into their well being. It has made a distinct difference to the quality of their lives. Kendra is a regular donor to WWF, CRY, Child care etc.
Special scholarships are earmarked for poor and handicapped children and they are imparted free training in music, dance and other allied arts so as to enable them to stand out in the society. Organizing of programmes and conferences participating these children is one of the most important activities of the Kendra. This year Kendra honored extraordinarily gifted painter Ms Anu Jain, child prodigy of Kendra for her painting skills as well as for being a torchbearer for others.
PRACHEEN KALA KENDRA’S 43RD ANNUAL CONVOCATION FOR THE EASTERN REGION
On Sunday, 20th December, 2015, Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh held its 43rd Annual Convocation for the Eastern Region at Mahanayak Uttam Mancha, Kolkata. Although it was a cold winter’s day, the hall was packed to capacity – proof enough of the Kendra’s popularity in this part of the country.
This is the 59th year of the Kendra, which is the largest organization of its kind in the world. The Kendra has spent almost six decades, since its inception in 1956, in the service of art and culture. The Convocation began with a welcome address in which the organizers thanked the audience including the dignitaries present for gracing the occasion. This was followed by the inauguration of the Convocation by table maestro, Pt. Swapan Chowdhury, who was the Chief Guest and noted Odishi exponent, Guru Sutapa Talukdar, who was the Guest of Honour. This was followed by a brief introduction of the Kendra. The audience was informed of the Kendra’s over 3,500 affiliated centres in India & abroad and the three lakh nineteen thousand students who appeared for various examinations in 2014-15. Such is the expansion of the Kendra’s operations that the Kendra’s Administrative and Examination wing has been shifted to the Kendra’s Mohali Complex at Sector 71, built on a spacious half acre plot.
Since the Kendra is working towards being a Deemed Private University of Distance Education in Music and Dance as well as an Institution of National Importance, the Sector 35 complex – the Head office of the Kendra – is being renovated and shall be utilized for performing & visual arts. It will include a new art gallery, a library, modified audio video archive, conference hall and class rooms. The Kendra is in the process of opening offices in Patna & Ranchi to cater to the demand in Bihar & Jharkhand. The 8th Convocation of Odisha is scheduled to be held on 3rd January, 2016 at Bhubaneswar.
The Kendra is an approved centre for Kathak training to foreign students. The Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, has been regularly sanctioning salary grants for the Kendra. The Kendra’s certificates and diplomas are treated at par with degrees by various state governments, education boards & universities. Another feather in the Kendra’s cap this year is the recognition of its examinations by Dept. of Education, Bihar.
The audience was also informed of the highlight of 2015 – the eleventh Guru Madan Lal Koser-Guru Shobha Koser Award. The Award worth Rs. 1 lakh has been instituted to celebrate the creativity and dynamism of the couple after whom it’s named. The Kosers have contributed immensely to the promotion, preservation and enrichment of India’s classical arts and artistes and the Award is the Kendra’s way of recognizing this contribution. The award was conferred upon santoor maestro Padmashri Pt. Satish Vyas at a glittering ceremony in February, 2015 at Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh. In accordance with its tradition, the Kendra hosted the 45th session of the Pracheen Kala Kendra Nritya & Sangeet Sammelan in March, 2015. It featured performances by internationally renowned exponents like Anuradha Pal – tabla concert (Istri shakti), Sarojya Baidynathan & troupe (Bharatnatyam Dance), Ravinder Singh (Flute Recital), Geetanjali Lal & Vidha Lal with troupe (Kathak Dance), Rahimat Ali Khan & brothers (Sitar Recital), Ashish Das & troupe (Odissi Dance), Prabhakar Kashyap & Diwakar Kashyap (Vocal Recital) and Nilmana Sisters (Kuchipudi & Bharatnatyam Jugalbandi). The Kendra also organized Baithak & special programmes as also a theatre workshop, while continuing with its public welfare initiatives for the underprivileged. It awards special scholarships to disabled children and nurtures their talents, helping them make a mark in society. This year, gifted painter Anu Jain, a child prodigy of the Kendra, was honored for her artistic skills.
The Kendra began its first quarterly baithak in New Delhi as part of the series ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ at Amaltas Auditorium in collaboration with India Habitat Centre. The Kendra also organized the 3rd M. L. Koser Music & Dance Festival over 2 days at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, featuring eminent artistes from across India. The programme was the Kendra’s tribute to its illustrious founder – Late Shri M.L. Koser. In an effort to provide its students with a platform to showcase their talent, the Kendra started a monthly series called ‘Parampara’. This initiative will go a long way in imparting confidence to the students, aiding them in their wholistic development. The Kendra also organized a two-day cultural extravaganza in September at Birendra Mancha, Kolkata, featuring the centre-superintendents and students of the Kendra. The highlights of the programme were guitar & sitar recitals, Tabla solo, Rabindra Sangeet & Nazrul Geeti recitals, recitation, Bharatnatyam and Kathak group dance.
In his address, Pt. Swapan Chowdhury spoke about how he had also been a student once like the candidates at the Convocation. He requested the Kendra to pay close attention to the standard of teaching across its centres in India and abroad in order to ensure that all its students are of a consistent quality. In her keynote address, Guru Sutapa Talukdar suggested using locations around the city – like parks – for informal concerts of classical music. She felt that this would be an innovative avenue to popularize Hindustani classical music among the new generation.
As in previous years, the Kendra lived up to its tradition of honouring prominent personalities. Renowned vocalist, Smt. Nirmala Misra, was felicitated with a Lifetime Achievement Award comprising a cash award of Rs 25,001, a shawl, a memento and a citation. Renowned thespian, Shri Rudraprasad Sengupta, eminent painter, Shri Wasim Kapoor and noted journalist, Shri Biswajit Matilal were felicitated with a cash award of Rs 11,001, a shawl, a memento and a citation. Smt. Reena Sopam was presented with the Prodyot Bhadra Young Journalist Award, comprising a cash award of Rs 11,001, a shawl, a memento and a citation. Prior to presenting these tokens of appreciation, a citation, covering their achievements in a nutshell, was read. Addressing the Convocation, Smt. Nirmala Misra expressed her gratitude to the Kendra for the honour. She blessed the students, hoping that everyone is happy with a smile on their faces in the coming year. Although she had given up singing for quite some time, she regaled the audience with a few lines of her most famous song ‘Emon Ekti Jhinuk Khunje Pelam Na’. Shri Wasim Kapoor and Smt. Reena Sopam expressed their gratitude for the felicitation. They had words of encouragement for the Kendra, urging it to continue to uphold the flag of Indian classical music, dance, drama and the fine arts. They congratulated the Kendra on its achievements and wished it well. Shri Rudraprasad Sengupta spoke about how creative people keep redefining the limits of our imagination, how they make life worth living. He expected the Kendra’s students to push boundaries and expose the world to new horizons of creativity.
Shri Biswajit Matilal dedicated the honour bestowed by the Kendra to his recently deceased wife and urged the audience to read newspapers more, thereby ensuring the longevity of print media. Felicitations over, superintendants of centres which sponsor the highest number of candidates to the various examinations of Pracheen Kala Kendra through main centre and main & sub-centres were honoured. The winners were Balurghat Artists Forum, Dakshin Dinajpur and Preyankan, Hooghly.
Certificates & medals were handed over to the meritorious students of the Kendra in the Eastern region. The Guru M.L. Koser Award for Excellence, instituted by the Kendra in recognition of un-paralleled services of its founder Guru M.L. Koser was also given as well as the Shri Sunil Koser Award for Excellence to the top students in Bhaskar and Visharad final examinations respectively. The Guru M. L. Koser Award went to Bipasha Roy (Rabindra Sangeet), Payel Sekh (Kathak Dance), Suchismita Shee (Fine Arts – Painting), Monika Chakraborty (Recitation). The Sunil Koser Award went to Nabanita Paul Saha (Rabindra Sangeet). The medals and certificates were presented to students by the dignitaries present, along with Ms Shobha Koser and Mr. Sajal Koser.
The Convocation concluded with medals & diplomas of Sangeet Bhaskar & Visharad Final being presented to students by the dignitaries present, along with Smt. Shobha Koser, Registrar-cum-Treasurer of the Kendra and Shri Sajal Koser, Secretary of the Kendra. The Convocation was preceded by a cultural programme the previous evening at the same venue. The audience was treated to a scintillating dance performance by the Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe. The ballet was a grand curtain raiser to Pracheen Kala Kendra’s 43rd Annual Convocation for the Eastern Region. The music lovers of Kolkata are already looking forward to the next one.
SHIFTING OF KENDRA’S ADMINISTRATIVE WING FROM CHANDIGARH TO MOHALI BUILDING & TURNING SECTOR 35 COMPLEX OF THE KENDRA INTO AN ALL INDIA CENTER OF PERFORMING AND VISUAL ARTS.
In the last few years the working of the Kendra has increased due to increase in number of students and affiliated centres and as a result of which Kendra had to employ more staff which required more and more office space and therefore w.e.f 1/11/2015 the Administrative and Examination wing of the Kendra has been shifted to Kendra’s Mohali Complex at Sector-71, Mohali which is built on half acre plot (4000 sq. yards) and is quite spacious and big. Further, the Mohali complex was lying under- utilized and now has been fully utilized due to shifting of the members of the staff. Since the Kendra is working towards the goal of being a Deemed private University of Distance Education in Music and Dance and/or an Institution Of National Importance, therefore, the Sector 35 complex which is the Head office of the Kendra is being renovated and shall be utilized for performing/visual arts i.e. a new Art Gallery, a spacious library, modified audio video archive, conference hall, spacious class rooms, etc.
OPENING OF OFFICES AT PATNA & RANCHI.
In view of increasing demand and to cater to the requirements of the centre holders of the state of Bihar & Jharkhand and for the smooth functioning of the Kendra in these states, soon Kendra is in the process of opening its offices at Patna and Ranchi.
CONVOCATION AT BHUBANESWAR
On 3rd January, 2016 Convocation of Odisha state was was held at Jaydev Bhawan, Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Shri Ananta Narayan Jena , Hon’ble Mayor , Bhubaneswar was the Chief Guest and Prof. basudev Chhatoi, Chairman, Higher Secondary Education, Odisha delivered the keynote address.
The Convocation was followed by a well-knit concert of music . The artists were Guru Ramhari Das, an eminent Odissi vocalist and Guru Braja Mallick and troupe , a renowned Odissi Dance exponent. Shri Manoranjan Panigrahi, IAS, Commissioner-cum Secretary, Department of Culture, Government of Odisha was the chief guest and Shri Bijay Kumar Mohanty, Hon’ble MLA, Madhya Nirbachan Mandali, Bhubaneswar graced the occasion as Guest of Honor.