Developing its own language, culture and art and using it for self-expression is a basic right of every community and one that when exercised, endows it with a unique identity. A democratic society consisting of cultured citizens should constantly strive to move forward by mutual exchange of the ideas birthed by these channels of growth and expression. The Bharat Bhavan is a cultural institution, set up in 1984, with the aim of leading and encouraging such a symbiosis between communities and cultures.
The Bharat Bhavan Administrative Committee is chaired by the incumbent Minister of Culture and vice-chaired by the Secretary of Department of Culture. The Member Secretary and other members of the committee are chosen and appointed by the Government.
There are eight minority language associations who have affiliated themselves with the Bharat Bhavan, either formally or informally, working with financial or non-financial assistance from the Bhavan. These institutions, which are all functioning in a commendable manner, include the Thiruvananthapuram Tamil Sangham, the Thiruvananthapuram Bengali Association, the Telugu Samskritika Sangham, the Tan Sen Sur Sangham, the Karnataka Association, the Oriya Association and the Maharashtra Mandal.
A brief description of the Bhavan’s activities
The Bharat Bhavan has organized several programmes of rich variety including a Children’s Drama Festival; a Bharat Bhavan Arts Festival; a cultural festival; dance festivals like the Konkani Arts Festival; ‘Siberian Patterns’ showcasing the fascinating dance of Siberia; Marunadan Nrithasangamom, a programme in which various dance forms from other States, like the well-known Kuchippudi and the lesser-known Sattriya, were staged; musical programmes like a ghazal night, a veena recital and a Hindustani music concert; an Indian poets’ meet; lecture series on art, culture and literature; literary debates; Tribhasha Sangamam; Bhasha Shibiram; national integration workshops; a Kerala Festival in Haryana; a Haryana Festival in Kerala; and screenplay and film appreciation camps.
It has also published a ‘Handbook on Cultural Institutions in Kerala’ and ‘Kanaka Keralam: Charithravum Varthamanavum Souvenir’ featuring articles by leading figures in the fields of culture, society and education about Kerala’s history, current status and future. The souvenir was brought out during the Golden Jubilee anniversary of Kerala’s birth, for the State Department of Culture.
In the year 2013, the Bhavan instituted a Vivarthaka Ratnam Award (Rupees 25,000/- and citation) for best translator.