In a rare happening in India, a beaurocrat, cultural administrator, Ashok Vajpayi (Madhya Pradesh) initiated, and got the Government of Madhya Pradesh to build a hub of culture: Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal. Established and funded by the state government, the serene and handsome complex was built by architect Charles Correa. It was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi on 13th February 1982. It is run by the autonomous Bharat Bhavan Trust.
The complex houses an art gallery, a fine art workshop, an open-air amphitheater, a studio theatre, an auditorium, a museum tribal and folk art, libraries of Indian poetry, classical and folk music. One of the aims of the Bhavan was to promote and showcase traditional art practices (often called tribal art/ craft), and arts like literature, theatre, cinema, dance and music in regional languages and contexts.
One can laud them for their efforts on most of those fronts. Some of the endeavours by the Bhavan for this were: Vagarth (Center Of Indian Poetry); Anhad (Center Of Classical & Folk Music); Chhavi (Center Of Classical Cinema). The complex also has a tribal art museum, Roopankar, which houses a permanent collection of J. Swaminathan.
With grants form the Ford and Japan Foundations, residency and archiving projects were undertaken. The Bhavan hosted a great diversity of artists, from folk and tribal from in and around the region, to luminaries from Bombay and Delhi like SH Raza, MF Husain. It was the with the goodwill and support of the arts community that an entire collection and museum was set up
This February saw a grand 11 day celebration to commemorate their 38th foundation day, with music, dance and a huge poetry convention.