Rebuilding Museum

It is really pleasing to note that the authorities in the State have finally woken up to the importance of preserving the art treasures of the State. The attention received by this subject during past few years should augur well for it, and one would hope that in the coming days the entire stolen and pilfered art treasures of the state are restored to it. The setting up of an NGO devoted to the conservation of heritage and art is definitely going to be a milestone on the path to recovery and restoration of the vast art treasures; also the conservation of our heritage. The construction of the new building for Sri Partap Singh Museum and launch of a website by the UNESCO and local chapter of INTACH to facilitate access to art lovers, students of archaeology, history and museology in particular, and to common masses in general to the information on the artifacts, treasures of art and other objects of art and literature are the steps that are going to help our present and future generations in knowing the past. It will keep them connected with their roots. It is after more than fifty years of neglect that the subject has received some serious attention. Compared to our post 1947 rulers, the feudal lords of the state who ruled the roost till 1947 are credited with making concrete efforts to preserve and conserve our heritage. As per historical accounts the first museum of the state, SPS Museum, was set up around 1898 AD, when a memorandum was submitted to the then Dogra ruler of Jammu & Kashmir, Maharaja Pratap Singh, by his younger brother, General Raja Amar Singh, and a European scholar Captain SH Godmerry, proposing the establishment of a museum in Srinagar to house exhibits and artifacts covering the region of Jammu, Kashmir, Baltistan and Gilgit. The museum was set up in a building that belonged to the state situated on the left bank of the river Jhelum at Lal Mandi, Srinagar. Subsequently everything including artifacts and other excavated materials and objects were transferred to the museum. The museum’s collection comprised coins, manuscripts, miniature paintings, weapons, utensils, old scriptures, musical instruments, furniture, decorative items, sculptures, tiles, textiles, carpets, handicrafts, grass and willow works, and a host of items of great historical importance.
                                   
Unfortunately some of the prized possessions of the museum and Toshkhana were clandestinely shifted to elsewhere by the fleeing Dogra ruler in 194-48 and the museum lost much more in subsequent years which included some historical documents. While some of these treasures could be found housed in the National Museum, others are reported to have fallen in private hands; some have reached to places overseas. During a decade of turmoil from 1990, the museum is reported to have suffered loss of many more items of historical importance. Some of the statues were subsequently recovered, but stealthily handed over to the National Museum by the law enforcing agencies. What has been pilfered, removed and transferred to other institutions needs to be restored to the museum so that the very purpose of setting up the museum and constructing a new building for it is not defeated. The state in general and Kashmir Valley in particular has a very rich history of its own which is spanned over more than 5000 years, and therefore has had a very rich collection of artifacts and other objects of historical importance. We owe it to our future generations. We must bequeath to them what we have inherited from our forefathers. There can be no two opinions about the importance of restoring the pilfered, stolen or looted pieces of art and artifacts to the museum. The present initiative would be supported by the people of all shades of opinion, since it is the endeavour to retrieve and restore lost wealth of the state.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 21 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST




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