NCPA@50: Using culture as a catalyst for change in society
“It was in the 1990s that my husband Sajjan Jindal and I made a donation towards the corpus of the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). Our small contribution was an affirmation of our belief in the power of culture as a catalyst for change. Those were days of discovery and growth; we were young but filled with a deep desire to contribute to the society we are privileged to be part of.
Having spent my formative years soaking in the visual arts at the Kanoria Centre for Arts, Ahmedabad, I was keen to deepen my knowledge about the multi-disciplinary aspects. Jindal Arts Creative Interaction Centre (JACIC) was therefore established in 1994, as an independent platform for interdisciplinary arts activity under the aegis of the NCPA. The structure and thrust were guided by the late Dr Jamshed Bhabha and the inimitable Vijaya Mehta, in keeping with NCPA’s commitment to the preservation and promotion of artistic heritage in the fields of music, dance, theatre, film, literature and photography.
Vijaya Bai, a doyenne of Indian theatre, who was then programming director at the NCPA, and Dr Bhabha, who dedicated his life to art promotion, were my mentors. They helped shape my understanding of the nuances of art, culture, philanthropy and the pressing need for patronage.
We were privileged to be learning as we supported others as they learned and grew. Be it screenings of the films of Fellini and Bergman, or danseuse Alarmel Valli’s sensuous movements across the stage of the Tata Theatre, our weekends were full. One of our earliest events included theatre director Anuradha Kapoor’s play. It was made exceptional by the fact that the backdrop was painted by the artist Nilima Sheikh.
It was a privilege to be able to engage closely with luminaries from so many disciplines.
Over the years, JACIC supported musicians of the stature of Zakir Husain and modern dancers like Astad Deboo, Maya Krishna Row, and Navtej Singh Johar. The list of programs, events and artistes is long and varied. Today, although JACIC no longer exists in its original form at the NCPA, we at the JSW Group continues to support the arts at this premiere arts complex – most recently we were proud to sponsor Amol Palekar’s return to the stage after a 25-year hiatus, in Kusur.
The NCPA is Dr Bhabha and JRD Tata’s precious gift to the city. One that I am proud to be associated with.”
(Sangita Jindal is honorary director with the JACIC)