It took the denizens of the brand new capital of truncated Punjab twenty years to settle down and think of art and culture. What is now the beautiful city named Chandigarh was a stretch of scrub where goats and camels grazed, with scant irrigation and sparse population. After housing, schools, hospitals and essential government buildings, came the landmark Indian National Theatre, a society for the performing arts promoted by a band of determined stout hearts.
The Indian National Theatre (INT) is a registered society that has been working in and around Chandigarh, towards the promotion and preservation of Indian culture for over four decades.
It originated under the leadership of Miss Sherie Doongaji in 1965 with the objective of enriching the lives of the citizens. The founder members included well-reputed personalities—Mrs. Kanta Saroop Krishen, Mrs. Usha Saboo, Mrs. Jitie Sodhi, (Late) Mr. P. N. Thapar, (Late) Mr. H. C. Khanna—to mention a few.
The legendary Prithviraj Kapoor inaugurated the launch of the society in the same year. A series of cultural events in the fields of theatre, music and dance followed.
The first music concert was a sitar recital by (Late) Ustad Vilayat Khan. The society to its credit has brought and introduced to the region, great maestros such as Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee, Smt. Kishori Amonkar, (Late) Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Pt. Jasraj. The society annually presents a three-day concert of Indian classical music and seasonal concerts during spring time and in the monsoons. It also conducts music appreciation courses with the aim of giving music lovers an insight into the world of Indian classical music and raising their level of enjoyment.
It was in the year 1977 that Sh N Khosla became the Hony Secretary of the society and put forth his vision for the same, which was to start a Sangeet Sammelan on the same lines as the ‘Hariballabh Sangeet Sammelan’ in Jalandhar. Thus was born the ‘Mini Hariballabh’ so to say, which took off successfully ever since, under the banner of the ‘Chandigarh Sangeet Sammelan’.
A glimpse of his early journey with Indian National Theatre in the capacity of Hony Secretary for over two decades and then as President till his retirement from Presidentship at the age of 98 years.A glimpse of the years gone by under the dynamic leadership of Sh N Khosla.
Sh N Khosla’s selfless service to the cause of promoting classical music will always be remembered and cherished by us all.
Sh Anil Nehru has taken over as President now( November 2020) and the society looks forward to a happy journey under his leadership.