Indira Gandhi museum turns an educational centre

MYSORE: The renowned national museum— the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) in Mysore— dedicated to propagating Indian art and culture, after seven years, has literally transformed into an educational centre for India's traditions, with numerous art works on display.

Set up in October 2001 by the ministry of tourism and culture, with a mission to preserve traditional paintings and art forms, folk arts, tribal art and craft, IGRMS, which is the Southern region centre located at Wellington House on Irwin Road, is realizing its dream by holding various workshops, seminars, cultural and education programmes, to introduce and promote the richness of Indian culture among the locals.

Several education programmes like embroidery works of Gujarat, Madhubani painting of Bihar, Nimadi painting of Madhya Pradesh, Patachitra of Orissa and Zardosi works of Madhya Pradesh, were held, covering all the Indian states, in 2008. Over 300 persons here have benefited from the 10-day education programmes.

In the previous year, an open air exhibition— "Janapada Kathe"— on folk beliefs of India, was organized in which artists from different states worked on their folk stories and displayed their works permanently at the Wellington premises. The outdoor exhibition is an added attraction to the museum as it is drawing visitors, including foreigners every day.

The display of art works, such as, iron and other murals, paintings, terracotta works, stone sculptures and photographs, tells the story of local traditions and rituals practised by people in a particular area, including the tribals. With all these, IGRMS is turning out to be an educational centre on Indian society.

"Ghotul" or the youth dormitory of the Muria tribal people (Bastar, Chattisgarh), a traditional institution for learning music, dance, and games, is depicted in the iron mural. Lillari Kothi of Madhya Pradesh has an interesting story. Inspired by an anthill, the Gond tribal women made the Kothi (mud granary) to store the grain safely. The depiction of snakes in the Kothi, indicates that snakes are allowed to stay inside the granary as it brings health and prosperity to the family and also prevents rats. Almost every member of the Gond community has a granary. There are also terracotta works from Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Bihar, displayed at the out-door expo.

IGRMS in-charge officer Vijaymohan told this correspondent that they conduct workshops, seminars and cultural events, regularly to preserve and revitalize India's rich cultural traditions. IGRMS was conceived as a museum to highlight India ancient and rich heritage through its initiatives, such as, education programmes under the "Do and Learn" series, cultural performances and exhibitions on various indigenous ways of life and practices and educate people.

"Our goal is to create a general awareness among the people on the validity of different local art forms across India. This also boosts the morale of traditional artisans in the country," he added.