Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts

The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts – IGNCA was established in 1987. It is a centre established for encompassing study and experience of all the arts, each form with its own integrity, yet within the dimension of mutual interdependence.

The IGNCA seeks to underpin through its programmes of collection of resource material and fundamental research in the field of arts and humanities, the inter-relationship with the disciplines of science, physical and material metaphysics, anthropology and sociology.

Functions and Powers

IGNCA is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture. Its headquarters is at New Delhi.

It is the premier institution in Arts aimed to:

  • serve as a major resource centre for the arts, especially written, oral and visual source materials
  • undertake research and publication programmes of reference works, glossaries, dictionaries and encyclopaedia concerning the arts and the humanities
  • establish a tribal and folk arts division with a core collection for conducting systematic scientific studies and for live presentations
  • provide a forum for a creative and critical dialogue through performances, exhibitions, multi-media projections, conferences, seminars and workshops between and amongst the diverse arts, traditional and cotemporary

The IGNCA has six functional units

  1. KALA NIDHI, the multi-form library;
  2. KALA KOSA, devoted mainly to the study and publication of fundamental texts in Indian languages;
  3. JANAPADA SAMPADA, engaged in lifestyle studies;
  4. KALADARSANA, the executive unit which transforms researches and studies emanating from the IGNCA into visible forms through exhibitions;
  5. SUTRADHARA, the administrative section that acts as a spine supporting and coordinating all the activities.
  6. CULTURAL INFORMATICS LAB, which applies technology tools for cultural preservation and propagation;

IGNCA has three regional centres. The Southern Regional Centre at Bangalore was established in 2001. It is aimed at intensifying the centre’s studies on the southern region’s art and cultural heritage. Varanasi Regional Centre, established in 1998, is mainly engaged in publication of Kalatattvakosa series, a lexicon of fundamental concepts of the Indian arts. The field centre of the IGNCA for the North East is based in Guwahati. Its main task is to collaborate in programmes relating to the culture-rich communities in the north eastern region.

Five trees of IGNCA

During the inauguration of IGNCA, the five trees which are most significant in Indian civilization were planted by the Late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi. These trees are associated with the different divisions of the Centre.

  1. The Asvattha (Ficus Religiosa), popularly known as the Bodhi tree, symbolizing the constant quest of delving into the self and human consciousness for enlightenment. It is associated with the SUTRADHARA.
  2. The Nyagrodha (Ficus Bengalensis), the basis of the metaphysical metaphor of the upside down tree with branches which grow roots and roots which grow as branches. It is associated with the landscaping of JANAPADA SAMPADA.
  3. The Asoka (Saraca Indica). Representing fertility, it pervades the classical and medieval arts. The tree symbolises the interdisciplinary approach. It is associated with KALA NIDHI.
  4. The Arjuna (Terminalia), the tree represents clarity and purity, erectness and direction. It is associated with KALA KOSA.
  5. The Kadamba (Anthocephallus camba), representing joy, mirth, play, dance and music. It is associated with KALA DARSANA.
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