When Sangeeta Bahadur joined as Minister for Culture & Director Nehru Centre in 2011, she had told me that by the end of her tenure, “The Nehru Centre will hopefully look, feel and behave very differently.” Assessing her term, writer and documentary filmmaker from Norfolk, Diana Mavroleon believes Sangeeta will be greatly missed. She says, “There have been far more diverse programmes during the past four years. Let’s hope the progress and imaginative curating continues.” Known as the Cultural Wing of the Indian
High Commission, The Nehru Centre has been a hub that has been showcasing Indian literature, music, cinema and fine arts since 1992. A diplomat from the Indian Foreign Service, Sangeeta Bahadur as Director has played a significant role. In her spare time, she also added to her personal profile as a fiction writer by getting two of her written works, Jaal and Vikraal, published by Pan Macmillan. At her final event before departing for New Delhi, she addressed SACF’s 12th Phalke Memorial Lecture at The Nehru Centre. To bid farewell to her London audience, she also sang some lines from Rafi’s popular Hindi number from Gaban (1966) – Ehsaan Mere Dil Pe Tumhara Hai Doston! Ye dil tumhare pyar ka mara hai doston! (My heart is obliged to you, my friends. It can give up everything for your love). As her voice rang through the hall, I could not help recalling that though we have grown accustomed to her singing now, just four years ago, when Sangeeta Bahadur arrived in London, hardly anyone knew of her talent as a singer. It was indeed a farewell to cherish!
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