In the 1960s, concern for the promotion of Indian culture and the welfare of the Indian artistes began to receive increasing attention. The serious illness of a very prominent artiste with little means of support prompted a gathering of concerned individuals and activists to get together to help the ailing artiste and friend. A meeting was organised by the NCIC founders, Bisram Gopie and Narsaloo Ramaya. They met with others like Moean Mohammed, Farzan Ali, Baldeo Maharaj and other educators and activists. It was decided to form an organization that would be better able to assist East Indian artistes and promote culture.
The meeting was held on July 19th, 1964 at the Gandhi Tagore College in San Fernando. The name of the organization was submitted by Shri B. Bhattacharya, an educator from India as, “The National Council for Indian Music and Drama (NCIMD)” and Shri Bisram Gopie was elected its first president. The NCIC has now been in existence for over 45 years and is recognized by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago as a premier East Indian cultural organization in the country. Many other islands in the Caribbean where Indians have settled but where East Indian culture has virtually disappeared now look upon the NCIC for assistance and guidance in the revival of the culture of their forefathers. The NCIC, with its limited resources, has been able to assist by having cultural exchanges and by providing cultural tutors for short periods of time.
The NCIMD became an initiator of the development of Indian culture and promoted many competitions and cultural activities. Naparima Bowl, Skinner Park, and Himalaya Club became popular venues for activities, amongst them, the annual Indian High Commission Challenge Trophy for Classical Singing and the Prime Minister’s Trophy for Orchestration. In 1970, a new president was elected. His name was Hans Hanoomansingh. It was at this time that members felt that there was a need for an all-embracing thrust for the organization and the name was adjusted to, “The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC).” A new constitution was drafted and included comprehensive aims and objectives which its members continuously strive to achieve.
The NCIC has made a highly-respected contribution to the religious and cultural landscape of the country. It has helped to create remarkable cognizance and appreciation for Indian Culture and Hinduism, establishing itself as a household name with pioneers and activists dedicated to preserving and propagating East Indian culture and influence both locally and abroad.Author: AN Naidu on September 17, 2018