Monday, 20 August 2012

Sapru Hall

This is the photograph of Sapru Hall, which was used by Shri Nathji for many functions including the World prayer day. But Shri Nathji arrived here first time for the drama of Mrs. Bhatt “Divya Darshan”. Mrs. Bhutt enacted the drama at Sapru House on Barakhamba Road, New Delhi. The drama was written on Shri Nathji and explained the advent of the avatar upon earth in a very dramatic way to the audiences. Mrs. Bhutt invited Shri Nathji to give the inaugural speech at Sapru House. In his speech, Shri Nathji did not mention the fact that the drama had been written about him and that he was the one known as “Divya Darshan” in the drama.
 More than 50 years ago, on the first day of May, Jawarharlal Nehru flashed a smile (recorded by a grainy b&w photograph) as he flung open the doors of Sapru House on Barakhamba Road. The red-and-white sandstone building, a paean to Nehruvian secularism (stupa-style dome; Hindu-esque pillar fa├žade; Islamic design on the gateway), was built for an institution dedicated to India’s first Prime Minister’s passion – world affairs. After shuttling through five offices earlier, the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) founded its permanent home here. Named after Tej Bahadur Sapru, ICWA’s first President, this city landmark was built by public donations from Maharajas, Maharanis, and corporate houses like Tatas, Birlas. ICWA was expected to become India’s answer to London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs. Our Chatham House. Here the professors and diplomats debated on foreign affairs. Intellectuals like Dr. Zakir Hussain and S. Radhakrishnan patronised it. Later, Margaret Thatcher and Kurt Waldheim spoke in its seminar halls (There are two; seating capacities 65 and 120 respectively). Stephen Cohen and V.I. Potapov browsed reading matter in its famed library. Sapru House, with its highbrow seminars and extensive library, became the place to be seen at. It also staged artistic performances. In 2001, the Ministry of External Affairs took over and Sapru House was renovated. Today, a visitor can see the grand marble stairs in the lobby, the Ashoka trees in the garden, and the civil service aspirants in its reading room. And perhaps the presence of Shri Nathji and His world prayer day. Sapru Hall fulfilled its purpose. It hosted the most important event in world affairs by God Himself, which brought world peace.  

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