Balwant Gargi

Born in 1916 in Bhatinda, Punjab, Shri Balwant Gargi did his Master’s in English literature and became involved in the theatre at an early age. He has been recognized as a significant playwright in Punjabi and several of his plays including Loha Kutt, Kanak di Balli, Sultan Razia, and Mirza Sahiban have been produced in India and abroad. His works on theatre in English include Theatre in India (1962), Folk Theatre in India (1996) and a chapter on dance and drama in South Asia (1972) in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Shri Balwant Gargi was the first Director of the Department of Indian Theatre, Punjab University, Chandigarh, where he worked from 1968 to 1976. Earlier, he had taught acting and production at the University of Washington, Seattle, from 1964 to 1966. He organized Unesco's first Asian International Theatre Workshop in Chandigarh in 1974-75. In the 1980s he was a visiting professor at Vassar College, New York (1984), Trinity College, Hartford (1985) and Mount Holyoke College (1987). Balwant Gagi has had a parallel interest in films and has produced serials in Punjabi and Hindi including Sanjha Chulha, Nonk Jhonk, Bua Fatima, and Duniya Rang Rangili. He has produced short films on theatre forms like Jatra and the Ramlila of Ram Nagar, and films on personalities including Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Yamini Krishnamurti and Satish Gujral. Recipient of the Padma Shri in 1973, Shri Balwant Gargi was honoured by the Punjab Government in 1958 and the Gypse Theatrea of Moscow in 1962. He received the Interna- tional Documentary Film Award in 1975. Shri Balwant Gargi receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Indian theatre as a playwright.