T o demonstrate the friendship between Bhutan and India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s bust was unveiled in the presence of the Prime Minister of Bhutan and Indian Ambassador to Bhutan on May 7 at the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre in Thimphu.
The centre will also showcase the bust of the Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck soon said the Indian Ambassador, V.P Haran, during the event.
“The centre is the interaction, at the highest level, of trust between two countries,” V.P Haran said, reflecting the luminous relationship between the two great leaders from which the centre’s name has been derived from.
He added that the centre also serves to promote the cultural contact between the two countries and people to people interactions. The Indian Ambassador to Bhutan also said that he is surprised to see that the Bhutanese youth have a great interest in the Indian classical music, both instrumental and vocal.
Gracing the event, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre is the “symbolism of friendship between the two great people and the two countries.”
Lyonchhen said the various wonderful activities organized in the centre can bring Bhutanese people closer to the art and culture of India. “To express themselves through arts, a lovely mirror to express ourselves,” Lyonchhen said.
The Director of the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre, Padam Talvar, is positive about the purpose the centre serves and said that the activities in the centre have increased by manifold.
With the Nehru’s bust unveiled, the art gallery “Siddharth” (a famous Indian artist) was also launched.
A prominent Bhutanese artist, Karma Wangdi, popularly known as Azha Karma, said there is a need for such a gallery since the centre provides a multipurpose platform for art. He added that the Siddharth Gallery will allow the Bhutanese artists to exhibit their masterpieces free of cost.
Speaking on the art culture in Bhutan, Karma said, “Traditional art is very strong and there is good support from the government as well. It does well in the market, but the contemporary art is emerging in Bhutan.”
Bringing out some of the challenges that the art scene in Bhutan is facing, Azha Karma added that Bhutanese artists either show a lack of interest or are not confident to come forward. He hopes that the gallery would create a better platform for such introvert artists. He is confident about the future of arts in Bhutan and said, “With full support and dedication from my students and artists friends, we would like to take Bhutanese art to new heights, without compromising on our age old traditional art.”
The Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre was launched jointly by the President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Dr Karan Singh, and former Home Minister, Minjur Dorji, on September 21, 2010. The centre has more than 4,000 books on Indian culture, fiction, religion, biographies, history, and books on Bhutan, Tibet, and Pakistan. The centre also has a reference section, a music room, a yoga room and a multipurpose hall.