STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: Balwant Thakur has been appointed by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India as the Cultural Diplomat of India to South Africa. Thakur will head the ICCR’s Swami Vivekanand Cultural Centre, Johannesburg (South Africa) as Head of the Centre/ Director for a period of three years. Considered to be the highest-ever elevation of any art-related personality of the State, Balwant Thakur is the third Indian Theatre Director to hold this position after Girish Karnad and Mohan Maharishi, who held the similar positions in UK and Mauritius after serving in India as Chairman Sangeet Natak Akademi and Chairman Indian Theatre respectively. To foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries, India has established cultural centers abroad, which are mandated to promote composite cultural heritage of India in different parts of the world. Conferred with highest Indian honour in Performing Arts and Padamshree, Balwant Thakur has already held prestigious cultural positions in the country including Project Director, Language and Culture Department Himachal Pradesh Government; Secretary J&K Academy of Art Culture and Languages and Regional Director, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, J&K.
With 16 years of experience in cultural administration in Government sector and 36 years experience of top NGO management, it is expected that Balwant Thakur will create new mile-stones during his illustrious career in South Africa.
Born in 1960, Balwant Thakur is one of the most creative theatre directors of the country, who have given a new identity to Indian theatre with their highly innovative theatre productions. Decorated with the highest Indian honour in performing arts i.e., Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Direction in theatre, Balwant Thakur is credited for being the youngest theatre director of India who has participated in over 200 National Theatre Festivals as director, which is a record in the country. Known as a magic-man of theatre, his outstanding visual poetics on stage like ‘Ghumayee’ ‘Bawa Jitto’ ‘Suno Eh Kahani’ ‘Chauraha’ and ‘Mahabhoj’ have vibrated the theatre scene of North India. Credited for bringing Dogri theatre to the National and International limelight, he has been highly instrumental in creating a new cultural renaissance in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Thakur also served on the Boards of prestigious Institutions of the country including, Department of Culture, Govt of India, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, North Zone Cultural Centre, Council for Promotion of Urdu Language and as an expert for National School of Drama, Department of Culture, MP; Department of Language & Culture HP and Association of Indian Universities.
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