Ram Niwas Mirdha (1924 – 2010)
January 30, 2010
Ram Niwas Mirdha, Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademi, passed away at Gangaram Lohia Hospital in New Delhi around noon on January 29, 2010. He was 87.
Born in 1924, he was educated at Allahabad University, Lucknow University and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Mirdha served for two terms as chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi. He took over as Chairman of SNA in 2005.
A former Speaker of Rajasthan Assembly, the veteran Congress leader was Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha from March 1977 to April 1980 and as a union minister, he held several portfolios, including home, textile, irrigation, health and family welfare besides external affairs and communication in the rank of a minister of state. Ram Niwas Mirdha opted to be in public life rather than serving as a bureaucrat.
In 1953, he quit his job as an officer of Rajasthan Administrative Service to contest a by-election from Jayal in his native Nagaur district. He worked as Co-Chairman of the Indo-US Sub-commission on Culture and Education and has been a member of the executive Board of UNESCO and Founder President of Indian Heritage Society, an active organization concerned with cultural and environment issues. He was also a trustee of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
He was appointed as the Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi in place of Sonal Mansingh and would have completed his term by May 2010. During his tenure as the Chairman of SNA, he established several centres of dance including Kudiyattam Dance Kendra in Trivandrum, Sattriya Dance Kendra in Guwahati, Seraikella Chhau Dance Kendra in Jamshedpur. The Yuva Puraskar awards to outstanding young artistes below 35 years was his brainchild. He attended office regularly and saw to various activities of the Akademi personally. He got several cds of music released and also many publications. He will be much missed.
In a strange coincidence, the tableaux of the Sangeet Natak Akademi was named on Jan 29, 2010 as winner of the first prize in this year’s Republic Day parade.