State Times NewsKochi: Balwant Thakur, who is currently the Director of Indian Cultural Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday addressed the theatre fraternity of India in a Webinar organised by Lokdharmi-a prominent theatre organization of Kochi, Kerala.Introducing him as the theatre icon and Cultural Ambassador of India, Chandradasan, the Director of Lokdharmi, listed the enormous achievements of Balwant Thakur who has inspired thousands to take up arts particularly theatre as full-time profession.He described Balwant’s journey from a hilly village of Jammu division to the world city of Johannesburg.Addressing the community of theatre people, Balwant Thakur presented a world perspective of Indian theatre and dwelt in detail about the status of Indian theatre in the view of developed nations where theatre has emerged as full-fledged industry and is contributing to the economic growth of the respective countries.Terming Indian theatre as most disorganized sector, he stressed on the dire need of institutionalizing theatre in a professional manner.“Despite having a rich history of theatre of India and immense diversity of varied traditional shades, we have not been able to establish the true strengths of our legacy,” he said and added, “Many factors have contributed to the present mess including the lack of interest in the civil society and the sadistic attitude of successive governments who never had the culture as their priority.”Moreover, he said, the people engaged in theatre activity lacked a broader vision which could prompt them to address the issue of institutionalizing this activity and develop a support group of society for the long sustenance of theatre in India. Major damage was done by those who took to theatre just for their personal creative satisfaction and never thought of creating a class of the civil society which could appreciate this amazing artistic activity, Balwant said.Theatre, he added, has the immense potential in revolutionizing and shaping generations but this powerful aspect has never been demonstrated amongst the stakeholders.Lot of thought is required to be put in place to make this dynamic art sustainable in the larger interest of transforming minds and raising intellectual levels, he said adding that in the developed nations theatre is an important part of the educational system and is considered to be the only tool of social change.But this realization in India is yet to come and the community of theatre people have to strive a lot to achieve that, he said.He cited various anecdotes relating to the creation and growth of Natrang Jammu which literally created a cultural renaissance in the entire region.Today people take the example of Natrang the way it revolutionized the theatre movement and brought pride for Jammu by promoting its language and culture Internationally.Balwant Thakur’s inspiring presentation was well received and there were a series of thought provoking queries.
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