Preserving history, culture and heritage

Do we seriously intend to keep our integrity as a people, do we honestly long for showcasing our glorious past excelling in each and every sphere, do we earnestly want to add similar feats to the treasures we are preserving that took its shape due to regular contributions over layers of periods and do we want to carry forward to the coming generations of all that we could boast of that belonged to yester years – in that case we must explore, research, conserve, preserve , protect and assert the belongingness. Art and Heritage Museums are symbolic preservations of whatever could be retrieved related to past from whichever source including from accidental digging or donations from heritage loving individuals who had in their possession some prized antiques and handwritten manuscripts , metals and images etc. Dogra Art Museum in Jammu is an example in itself of having travelled long distances in respect of hard work, dedication to a cause, commitment to show and preserve our splendid past and ways of life and an epitome of what we firmly call Dogra pride. It is no gainsaying that the Museum in its present form of being in possession of multifarious symbols and art pieces and marks of historical punctuations of advents and adversities, rise and fall of events, old coins and medium of exchanges, attires and dresses, jewelleries and fossils for which those who took keen interest to give to it its present sheen and structure, never expected it to be a victim of both official apathy and even public indifference. We often, through these columns, dwell upon the issue of realising the utmost importance of identifying, respecting, preserving and protecting and more importantly developing keen interest to carry forward our cultural, historical and even spiritual heritage so as to develop a link of the past with the future. We have forts, old palaces, buildings of even antiquities and some are even in the state of forlornness hence neglect and at best may be reduced to a mere brief description in a few lines of history books . That is simply because , to tell the truth, these symbols and marks of our past history in manifold hues are seldom rather rarely visited by those who should always derive pride from these standing towering witnesses of the levels of heights of our architecture, building dexterities, design, art, sculpture, workmanship and the like. Frequent visits by the people alone accord to such symbols a status of continuity, importance , recognition and a source of knowledge about the time of their coming up throwing enough light on varied subjects. We are definitely proud of Dogra Art Museum not only that it possesses things of the past of varied rich hues even priceless manuscripts written on tar leaves or even on birch bark leaves not to speak of other facets of Dogra glory and even pertaining to earlier periods but that three events annually are somehow managed to be conducted by the Art Museum where public too participates despite being under-staffed, reeling under very limited budget, multiple authorities ”feigning” its look after often working in criss -cross manner with no accountability and the like. A continuity and evoking interest in it by people in more numbers especially by the younger generations shall keep the Art Museum ever green and alive and with a bit of awareness and roping in of various stakeholders in promoting tourism, this Art Museum shall become a spot of enough interest by visitors . Looking to vast areas of neglect such symbols preserving our heritage and narrating our glorious history are subjected to , it is to be noted that we preserve and look after them means we preserve our identity. When these symbols depicting our history are well preserved they are thus ensuring local economic development too. There are , however, certain pertinent issues which ordinary are forgotten to be discussed or thought prudent to be associated with these Art Museums . Are we to carry on with only what could be collected and preserved that belonged to the past and contained past as in the instant case? In other words, are we contributing anything additional towards making more of such Art Museums for future to narrate about our achievements in different areas of arts ? Most of the things carried as rich souvenirs by the Dogra Art Museum need to be supplemented by contemporary achievements by the present generation but adopting , encouraging and preferring different cultures even living styles generally in ways different from our intrinsic culture like in dress, language, cuisine , use of metal- ware and the like , we are afraid, we have not enough to contribute but definitely can do a lot to conserve and maintain Dogra Art Museum in our own interests.