Amitava Bhattacharya (IN)
- Website: www.banglanatak.com
- Position: Founder/Director - banglanatak dot com
- Location: India
Amitava Bhattacharya, Founder/Director of banglanatak dot com is an engineering graduate from IIT Kharagpur and a Chevening Gurukul Scholar in Leadership & Excellence from London School of Economics. Amitava, a social entrepreneur with 25 years of global experience, has led his team to innovate various social development models using culture – including theatre as a communication tool for reaching out to media dark areas, and Art for Life (AFL) – a unique model on Culture and Development, addressing Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and social inclusion, using ICH.
Amitava has spoken about culture and development issues at various universities and international platforms including at SOAS, LSE, UNWTO forums at ITB Berlin, WTM London, Vietnam, Indonesia and at UNESCO meets including at World Congress held in China and also at WOMEX.
Banglanatak dot com has been accredited with ICH 2003 convention of UNESCO since 2010, and with a Special Advisory Status with UN ECOSOC since 2013. Amitava has been awarded Global Amazing Indian 2013 award by Times Now, a leading national television channel.
Banglanatak has also received a National Award for HIV Communication in 2006, and the prestigious Laadli Media Award from UNFPA in 2007 for the innovative work done in preventing human trafficking and saving the girl child. Amitava himself has been awarded with the Best Social Entrepreneur award by Rotary International in 2012 and with the prestigious TiEger award in 2014. Art for Life, as a model, has been acknowledged by the Bihar Government as the best social innovation in 2014.
In 2011, Amitava started Sufi Sutra, an International Sufi and Traditional Music festival aimed at “Music for Peace and Music for All”. In just four years, the festival has evolved as one of the largest public acoustic music festivals. Sufi Sutra is now an important part of the Kolkata calendar, and has reached out to millions across the world, connecting musicians and music lovers of about 20 countries by facilitating dialogue, networking and co-creation. This year, Sufi Sutra travelled to Patna and Delhi, and in 2015, the festival is scheduled to take place in Dhaka as well.
Amitava has also led his team to start village festivals in converting rural marginalised villages as cultural tourism destinations. The strategy has been extremely successful – at present two state governments in India have adopted these village festivals and supporting the communities directly to run the same. Inspired by the impact, Amitava recently launched TourEast, another banglanatak dot com initiative to promote community led heritage tourism.
2011 also marked the year that banglanatak dot com, under the leadership of Amitava, adopted an ignored heritage building “Tagore House” (named, Baitanik, in Kolkata) and converted it into a weekend cultural space, open to all. The space is now popular among urban youth to showcase their talents. It completed 100th programme on June 21, 2014. Amitava also launched banglanatak dot com MusiCal recently, where the focus is to strengthen collaborations between Bengali folk and World Music, and record traditional music in an effort to preserve it.
In 2013, Amitava also took on another innovative initiative called “CamEra”, the objective being to attract youngsters towards heritage through a passion of photography. The initiative has been successful in connecting the youth, the common man and the Department of Tourism through public place photography exhibitions. This year, CamEra travelled to Bhubaneshwar in the neighbouring state of Odisha.
Amitava has a passion for innovation, social entrepreneurship, for finding ways to facilitate development using culture, and to bring about global peace using music.
Banglanatak dot com is a 14 year-old social enterprise focussed on pro poor growth using culture as development tool. It has a 75 member full time team with offices in Kolkata, Delhi, Patna and Goa. Banglanatak dot com is accredited with Special Advisory Services with UNESCO since 2010, with UN ECOSOC since 2013. Its flagship initiative Art for Life (AFL) has 3 major steps – Capacity Building, Direct Market Linkage and Exchange Collaboration and the same has alleviated over 10,000 families in rural East. Banglanatak dot com has recorded over 2000 songs, released 30 folk albums, made four documentaries on traditional art forms, has created 12 village festivals, holds a big International festival of Sufi and Traditional Music at Kolkata, and has hosted over 30 music exchange programmes.