Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the West. He had also been a ‘pakhawaj’ player and is known worldwide for his contribution in the revival of Hinduism. He is an epitome of Indian culture.
To further pay regards to this outstanding individual, the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the opening of ‘Vivekanand Auditorium’, housed in the Kathak Kendra, one of the constituent units of the Sangeet Natak Akademi by the push of a button, on Swami Vivekananda’s death anniversary in the national Capital.
The President was received by Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture, NK Sinha, Secretary Minister of Culture and Shekhar Sen, Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi.
The President, spoke of how the concept of an auditorium or ‘preksha grihas’ was founded as early as in the ‘Natyashastra’, the Sanskrit text on the various forms of performing arts.
He spoke about the extraordinary talent of Swami Vivekananda who was himself an established pakhawaj player and hailed from a family of talented musicians. And thus it was only befitting to dedicate this auditorium in the name of Swamiji.
He also said that the Akademi has provided a safe haven to artists and practitioners and a vibrant intellectual space to thinkers and scholars.
The Welcome address was given by Aruna Sairam, Vice Chairperson of SNA. NK Sinha spoke about the challenges faced in modern times where speed, technology and quick results are expected by everyone.
In this situation one has to nurture and provide support to musician and dancers who train for years in the art forms to provide patrons of these art forms with time, patience and rigorous practice besides sheer courage to surrender one’s entire lifetime to its dedicated pursuit.
This auditorium was a humble offering in that direction of support born of deep appreciation and respect to the artists. Dr Mahesh Sharma spoke about how in India we trace our heritage back thousands of years and how through the Guru-shishya parampara owing to the unique history of India, layers of evolution were added to these art forms through diverse new innovations, influences and ideologies.
No dance form displays this better than Kathak. He also elaborated about the importance and role that an auditorium plays in the life of an artist. The auditorium which has been built keeping the best acoustics and architectural principles in mind will provide the students of Kathak Kendra and the artist community with a world class auditorium.
The function was marked with a short cultural programme. For the inauguration there was Shunk Vadan, Vedic chants and a song of Swami Vivekananda.