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CULTURE-HERITAGE

34 Projects Implemented under National Culture Fund Scheme

The Government has granted Rs. 19.50 crore as one-time corpus fund to National Culture Fund out of the planned budget.

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NEW DELHI: National Culture Fund (NCF) set up as a Trust under the Charitable Endowment Act, 1890 on November 28, 1996, by the Government, with a view to mobilizing extra resources through Public-Private Partnerships has successfully completed 34 projects since inception, thus, promoting, protecting and preserving India’s cultural heritage.

The National Culture Fund is managed and administered by a council headed by culture minister to decide the policies and an Executive Committee headed by Secretary, Culture to actualize those policies.

The Fund aims at inviting the participation of the corporate sector, non-government organizations, private/public sector as well as individuals in the task of promoting, protecting and preserving India’s cultural heritage.

The Government has granted Rs. 19.50 crore as one-time corpus fund to National Culture Fund out of the planned budget. Apart from this, there is no fund allocated by the Government to National Culture Fund. Besides this, NCF receives contributions and voluntary donations as endowments from many other sources.

All the projects undertaken by the NCF are completed within a specified period, in accordance with a MoU signed by NCF with the concerned donor organization.

Accordingly, any ongoing project is supposed to be completed in several stages for which adequate funding is made available by the donor at such different stages.

Consequently, there is always some unspent balance lying with NCF in respect of such ongoing projects which are still awaiting completion. This reasons for the funds remaining unspent.

A list of projects completed and a statement indicating the status of funds received from various sources and also the expenditure incurred during the last four years is given below.

PROJECTS COMPLETED

S.No Project Sponsors
1 Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi, 1999 Aga Khan Trust &M/s Oberoi Group of Hotels
2 JnanaPravaha Trust, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh Jnana Pravaha Trust
3 Kishkinda Trust, Anegundi, Karnataka Kishkinda Trust,
4 Jantar Mantar, New Delhi Apeejay Surendra Park Hotels Ltd.
5 Shaniwarwada Palace, Pune, Maharashtra ASI, Pune Municipal Corporation
6 Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata, West Bengal Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
7 Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh M/s Indian Hotels Company Ltd.
8 Synagogue Clock Tower, Cochin, Kerala World Monument Fund
9 Music of Mirs, New Delhi Devahuti Damodar Svaraj Trust
10 Art and Visual Culture in India 1850-2005 ,published by Marg Publication, 2006 M/s Bodhi Art Ltd., M/s Marg Publication
11 Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning-II Construction of a Cultural Research Building, Karnataka Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning
12 Case for Chariot, National Museum, New Delhi, 2010 ONGC
13 Film on KishoriAmonkar, Maharashtra NCF-SAARTH- MEA –ONGC
14 Virasat Festival, Uttarakhand REACH Foundation, NCF &ONGC
15 Early years of ASI: Publication for 150 years celebration of ASI. ASI
16 Sponsorship of Marg publication on Natural Heritage Drawings M/s Marg Publication
17 Virasat Festival 2012 (REACH Foundation) Reach Foundation, ONGC and NCF
18 Construction of Visitor Facilities at the Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu ASI and Shipping Corporation of India
19 Tomb of Yusuf Qattal, New Delhi M/s PEC Ltd., ASI and NCF
20 NatanaKairali

 

National Culture Fund
21 Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012 Catalogue Nirlon Foundation Trust
22 India Photo Archives : Visual Archives of Kulwant Roy conservation of archives, Photo-digitization, Haryana M/s. India Photo Archive Foundation &NCF

 

23 Leadership Training Programmes (LTP)

LTP I-2012

LTP II-2013 &

LTP III-2014

• Respective organizations and

•John Eskenazi Limited, The            Pritzker Organization

•Neil Kreitman Foundation

Anish Kapoor

24 Training Programmes for craftsmen engaged in restoration of tangible components- aarish, stucco, wood carving, frescoe and lime jaali at Jaipur HUDCO
25 Getty Capacity Building programme for ASI’s site-museum and site management professionals– NCF-ASI-J Paul Getty Trust- The British Three workshops were organised at :

Sarnath,(U.P),India-2013

• The significance of the Sarnath School of Art, at the British Museum in London, England,July 2014

• Latest updates on Buddhist Art history and recent developments in the Conservation of Objects the conservation of objects, at the Getty Centre in Los Angeles, California, in January 2015

 

J.Paul Getty Trust, United States of America

26 Training Programmes for craftsmen engaged in restoration of tangible components Marble jaali, inlay, and stone carving at Makrana HUDCO
27 Conservation of Sunderwala Mahal , New Delhi
  1. and Urban Development Corporation Ltd. (HUDCO)
28 Conservation of Jai Prakash Yantra, Jantar Mantar, New Delhi State Trading Corporation (STC)
29 Conservation &maintenance of Tughlaqabad Fort, New Delhi GAIL India Ltd.
30 Lodhi Tomb Project, New Delhi Steel Authority of India

 

31 Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan ASI &World Monument Fund
32 Crafts and sustainable skill development in Gujarat. Rural Electrification Corporation
33 One Battery operated vehicle for Chittaurgarh Fort (Raj) NBCC Services Ltd.

 

34 Provided one battery operated vehicle for Chittaurgarh Fort, Rajasthan Fullerton India Credit Co. Ltd., Mumbai

 

Year Contribution/Donation Received Expenditure
2013 150,646,817.00 23,247,497.00
2014 149,532,169.00 24,834,114.00
2015 239,063,249.00 37,720,205.00
2016 250,754,405.00 13,179,431.00

Interest Accrued till 31.03.2017 – Rs. 22,953,044.00

PIB

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CULTURE-HERITAGE

Dhvani se Śabd aur Chinh Exhibition Inaugurated at NGMA, Mumbai

The exhibition speaks to us about southern sensibilities and singular identities that were forged through scholarly adaptations, multiple skills and experiments.

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MUMBAI (Maharashtra): An exhibition titled “Dhvani se Śabd aur Chinh” was inaugurated at National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai today evening.

Curated by Adwaita Gadanayak and his team, the exhibition speaks to us about southern sensibilities and singular identities that were forged through scholarly adaptations, multiple skills and experiments that were seeking to juxtapose the notions of the modern with the traditional.

It identifies artists who practised in Southern states as well as artists who were born there or had family trees and moved up North to become the greatest practitioners and pedagogues. We are looking at a period that just followed the Partition wherein an idea of tradition was in its genesis – as it oscillated between symbolic fantasy (Madras group) and the knowledge of truths that were generated by pure practice.

The czar of the Madras Movement, K.C.S. Paniker – believed that an artist had to foreground tradition and cultural art forms and interpret these within contemporary sensibilities, leading to defining the regional modern, particularly in Madras.

Hence, Paniker’s regional modern was firmly fixed in the wedge between the visibility and identity of the southern artists nationally, and developing a visual language born of an Indian ethos – the vitality of the Indian spirit.

Historians have noted that the modernity which was established in Madras in the ’60s integrated and blended pioneering visions of certain artist-teachers at the Madras School of Arts and Crafts.

The culling also includes Malayali veterans like K. G. Subramanyan, the cultural theorist, the philosopher, the art mandarin who taught seven decades of students as well as A. Ramachandran the scholar, the author, the art historian and the guru who taught a love for the immediate environment to his students.

“I want [my art] to flourish (so to say) in a ‘cloud of unknowing’,” K.G. Subramanyan explained in an interview when asked about the process of his work. “For a centipede-like me to start counting my legs is suicidal,” he elaborated in that distinctly witty yet acerbic manner of his, “It will freeze me into inaction.” The phrase, “cloud of unknowing”, is the ideal frame through which to look at Southern sensibilities and imagery.

It instantly conjures up that drifting restlessness which typically characterizes the traffic between the earthy and the ethereal in many of these works. Then again, it is the artist’s self-description as an unselfconscious centipede that, more than anything helps one to make sense of the profusion of paintings spread across these galleries at the NGMA. There is indeed an arduous degree of introspection and reflection about Southern sensibility and creativity — as if some artists indulged in a Dionysian ritual that revealed, quite naturally and effortlessly in an endless proliferation of images that cut across time and space to create corollaries in multiple contexts and complexities.

A look at the monumental work by Velu Viswanadhan signifies the truth that abstraction must be born out of the symbolism of a deeper experience – the incandescent flavour of the red hues and the geometry that creates succinct planes tells us that this is a nether journey built on rumination and realization and not superficial reflections of strokes and colour.

While the visual arts in the South charted trajectories that engaged with diverse media, techniques, materials, and concepts allowing articulation of creative expression also from within the social and cultural milieu, the Indian accent born of everyday idioms was also creating pathways. Between sculptures, paintings and prints we see an offering of possibilities mirroring the symbolic, the sacred and the secular.

Sculptures and paintings picked out from the NGMA Archives is an exercise that moves beyond the realms of exploration and intellectual thirst. In a large number of works that were created within and around the Deccan plateau regions and beyond the Western and Eastern Ghats this group of works is one that defines the many art practices that were born out of European influences and moved beyond to embrace and find deep rooted meaning in Indianesque histories and narratives that explored native elements over time.

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CULTURE-HERITAGE

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra to Resume via Nathu La Route This Year

The yatra was stopped by China in the aftermath of the military face-off with India last year at Doklam.

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BEJING (China): In a development that is going to spread joy in the Hindu (Sanatan Dharma) community, India and China on April 22 agreed to resume the Holy Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the Natha Lu route in Sikkim.

The decision was made during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing.

The pilgrimage was stopped through the route ten months ago following the face-off between the Indian and Chinese militaries in Doka La Plateau in Bhutan.

The pilgrims opting to undertake the pilgrimage through Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand were allowed.

The matter related to the resumption of the annual pilgrimage through Nathu La was raised by India during meetings between the two sides in the last year.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also discussed it with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in December last year.

“We are also happy that the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the Nathu la route will be resumed this year. I am confident that with Chinese side’s full cooperation, this year the yatra will be a fulfilling experience for the visiting Indian pilgrims,” Swaraj said during a joint press statement with Wang.

Ministry of External Affairs organises the yatra from June to September each year through two different routes – Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La Pass (Sikkim). The yatra, which holds religious value, cultural significance, is undertaken by hundreds of people every year.

Holding significance for Hindus as the abode of Lord Shiva, it holds religious importance also for the Jains and the Buddhists. It is open to eligible Indian citizens, holding valid Indian passports, who wish to proceed to Kailash-Manasarovar for religious purposes.

Har Har Mahadev!

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CULTURE-HERITAGE

Determining the Age of the Saraswat Community

Saraswats, who once lived on the riverbed of Sarasvati, have a history equivalent to that of Rigveda.

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Who are Saraswats?

In India, there are at least five Brahmin communities who claim themselves as ‘Saraswat Brahmins’, including Gaud Saraswat Brahmins, Chitrapur Saraswats, Rajapur/Bhalavalikar Saraswat Brahmins, Kashmiri Saraswats, Punjabi Saraswats, Sindh Saraswats, Kutch Saraswats and Rajasthan Saraswats.

This community, as a whole, has produced eminent personalities including Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr TMA Pai, Nandan Nilekani, Girish Karnad, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Deepika Padukone, Shyam Benegal, and Guru Dutt.

Though being miles apart from each other for ages all Saraswat legends claim of their ancestors having once lived on the banks of now extinct river Saraswati.

Today, however, there is no doubt that Saraswats are among the oldest living communities in India – still preserving their own indigenous culture which essentially hails from the Rigveda – that which is believed to have been written by their forefathers during their stint on banks of river Saraswati.

Their Relationship with Saraswati River:

Even to this day many Saraswat’s in their daily Sandhyavandana rite swears their allegiance to Rigveda. This apart, several of Saraswat’ rituals are conducted by reciting the hymns from the texts from Rigveda; firmly establishing links between Saraswats, Saraswati River and Rigveda.

According to two distinguished historians and Vedic Scholars, Dr NS Rajaram and Dr David Frawley for Vedic Aryans the holiest river was “not Ganga but Saraswati” because, they say,

“In Rigveda Ganga is mentioned only once while Saraswati is lauded no less than fifty times.”

There is at least one whole hymn devoted to Saraswati River. In a famous hymn, Saunaka Gritasamdathe seer of the second Mandala lauds the Saraswati as ambitame, naditame, devitame Saraswati:

Sarasvati, the best of mothers, the best of rivers, the best of Goddess.

To follow the very descriptions given in the Vedic literature, Saraswati was the greatest river that then used to flow to the west of the Yamuna but to the east of the Sutlej.

According to the seventh Mandala of the Rigveda attributed to the famous Rishi (Sage) Vasistha, the Saraswati was a mighty stream that flowed from the “mountain to the sea” sustaining the lives of Vedic people:

Pure in her stream, from the mountain to the sea, filled with bounteous abundance for the worlds, nourishing with her flow the children of Nahusa.

Interestingly, this very reference ‘from mountain to sea’ gives us a valuable pointer to Saraswati’ geography. But today we have no river called Sarasvati flowing in this country or elsewhere. The question then is: whatever became of it?

Thanks to archaeology and satellite photography we now know that Saraswati gradually became weaker and finally dried up completely around 1900 or 2000 BCE or even a little bit earlier.

According to several recent findings Vedic Saraswati once used to flow mainly through the channel of what is now an insignificant flow called the Ghaggar close to Indus thus making part of what we now know Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilizations. Even Satellite photos have shown that the Ghaggar was once a great river. Paul-Henri Francfort who recently surveyed the area calls it the “immense Ghaggar system”.

Intensive research carried by Dr Frawley and Dr Rajaram has completely debunked the Aryan-Invasion theory. They have also strongly established that the so-called Indus Valley or the Harappa civilization (of which Saraswati River is a part) did not consist of just a few urban settlements. It was a part of a vast civilization that stretched from the borders of Iran to East UP, with some sites as far south of Godavari River; as far as its duration is concerned, it represents a continuous evolution dating back to 7000 BCE in terms of the sites and more are being found all the time. So we can see that this great civilization spanned over 5000 years!

Saraswati’s Extinction:

Regarding the ending of this great civilization, thanks again to recent archaeological and ecological findings, we now know how that end came about. By putting together those pieces of evidence on the basis of archaeological and satellite studies it was most certainly due to the gradual depletion of water resources in North India that culminated in a calamitous drought in the 2200 BCE to 1900 BCE period.

Fig. 1: Map showing the flow of Saraswati from ‘mountain to sea’

Fig. 2: Area covered by Indus-Saraswati civilization and its overlap with the area covered by early Vedic Civilization.

This was, also, a global phenomenon that affected civilization across an immense belt from southern Europe to India. The Akkadian (Sumerian) civilization of Mesopotamia was practically wiped out around 2200 BCE, while in Egypt, the so-called Old-Empire collapsed. In India itself, the mature Harappa civilization of which Saraswati was an integral part came to an abrupt end and there were severe dislocations. As SR Rao observed:

In circa 1900 BCE most of the mature Harappa sites were wiped out forcing the inhabitants to seek new lands for settlement. They seem to have left in a great hurry and in small groups, seeking shelter initially on the eastern flank of the Sutlej and the Ghaggar and gradually moving towards the Yamuna. The refugees from Mohenjo-Daro and southern sites in Sind fled to Saurashtra and later occupied the interior of the Peninsula.

That this was not restricted to India is clear from a recently concluded major French-American study in Mesopotamia. The report of the study notes:

At 2000 BCE, a marked increase in aridity and wind circulation, subsequent to a volcanic eruption, induced considerable degradation in land-use conditions… this abrupt climatic change evidently caused abandonment of Tell Leilan, regional desertion, and the collapse of Akkadian empire based in southern Mesopotamia. A synchronous collapse in adjacent regions suggests that the impact of the abrupt climatic change was extensive.

Whether a volcanic eruption was sufficient to trigger a drought so destructive may still be open to doubt; but whatever caused the draught, its effect now seems established beyond all doubts. The authors summarize their momentous findings as follows:

The abrupt climatic change that generated Habur hiatus I and the associated Akkadian-Gutti-Ur III collapse are synchronous with climate change and collapse phenomenon documented in the Aegean, Egypt, Palestine, and the Indus. The reoccupation of the Habur plains [in the northern Mesopotamia] in the 19thcentury BC and the sudden emergence of centralized Amorite control… was evidently facilitated by the amelioration of climatic conditions…

These very recent reports make it clear that the ending of Harappan civilization was a part of a worldwide climate change phenomenon that affected all ancient civilizations.

Fig 3: The course of Vedic Saraswati from “mountain to sea”

Fig 4: The source of Saraswati – Glacier at Garhwal

Determining the Age of Saraswat Community:

There is no doubt that Saraswats were the people who played a pivotal role in the authoring of Rigveda. Thus the age of the Rigveda can easily be regarded as the age of the early Saraswats.

Thanks to our understanding of ancient metallurgy, we can now say that Rigveda must be older than 3500 BCE.

Kunal, a recently discovered Saraswati site in Haryana has yielded silver ornaments. This shows that their metallurgy must have been quite advanced; for unlike gold, silver never appears in pure form and has to be extracted by separating it from other metals like copper. The archaeological research dates Kunal to be much earlier than 3000 BCE.

The presence of silver ornaments at Kunal shows that it is much later than the society described in the Rigveda. This is because Rigveda does not know silver. The oldest Sanskrit word for silver is Rajata Hiranyam – literally ‘white gold’ – and it is mentioned for the first time in Yajurveda.

This evidently disapproves the currently ascribed date of Rigveda as 1200 BCE as Kunal is evidently the last phase of the Saraswati civilization. Interestingly though there are proofs to suggest a date marking the end of the Saraswati civilization there is no evidence to suggest its exact beginnings.

Thus Dr Rajaram has suggested that:

All we have to do is look hard and deep along the Sarasvati and other Vedic rivers. Such sites are likely to date to 3500 BCE or earlier. These, when found, are likely to be from the Age of Rigveda. The key identifying factor will be the relatively primitive metallurgy of their artifacts.

Conclusion:

Today, though we have archaeology telling us that: there was extensive trade between the Harappans, Egyptians and Sumerians besides presenting existence of science and mathematics much advanced to that age, our understanding of the Harappa Mohenjo-Daro or better put Sindu-Saraswati civilization is incomplete.

Though we have evidence to suggest the existence of now-extinct Saraswati we are yet to find evidence to suggest the beginning of the civilization. However, with the available information we can fairly conclude that:

  1. Saraswats, who once lived on the riverbed of Sarasvati, have a history equivalent to that of Rigveda.
  2. The riverbed of an extinct river found by American and French satellites near Harappan excavation are of Saraswati as the very description of the riverbed matches with that of Saraswati mentioned in Rig Veda.
  3. The Kunal excavations discovered on the riverbed of Sarasvati belong to the Yajurveda period dating earlier than 3000 BCE. And because Rigveda was written much earlier than Yajurveda the current idea of Rigveda being authored around 1300 BCE is false.
  4. Given this, we can firmly conclude that Sarasvati civilization of which Saraswats were one an integral part has a history of at least five thousand years.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Reprinted with permission from indiamahesh.com

U. Mahesh Prabhu
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Udupi Mahesh Prabhu is a media, management and political consultant. He’s co-founder and director of Vedic Management Center. He’s also a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, London (UK) and Member of the International Federation of Journalists (USA).

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