National Museum - Our National Pride
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Museums are the mirror of the society and mankind. It acquires preserves and exhibits the materials generally known as artefacts or objects for the purpose of study, education and entertainment of the global society. With this concept and aims and objectives the National Museum, New Delhi came into existence on 15th August, 1949 at Rastrapati Bhawan and travelled to the present premises on 18th December, 1960. Since its inception National Museum has been enriching its collection by acquiring different kind of artefacts or materials either natural or manmade within the frame of archaeology, art, anthropology etc. Now it has many sections, the objects of which are displayed in the different galleries namely Harappan, Mauryan, Shunga & Satvahana art, Kushana Art (Gandhara,Mathura including Ikshavaku), Gupta Art, Gupta terracotta and early Medieval Art, Late Medieval, Bronze, Buddhist Art, Indian Miniature Paintings, decorative art, jewellery, manuscripts, Central Asian Antiquities, coins, Maritime Heritage, Tanjavur and Mysore Paintings, Ajanta Paintings, Textiles, Pre Columbian and Western Art, wood carvings, musical instruments, tribal lifestyle, arms & armour etc, at its three floors.
Beside permanent exhibitions, National Museum periodically arranges temporary exhibitions on different theme and storyline. It also sends its exhibition abroad and receives the exhibition from foreign countries just to enhance the sense of belongingness and affinity towards the past of human life and civilizations.
I am fortunate enough to serve other institutions like the Archaeological Survey of India, INTACH, and Indian Museum Kolkata. Everywhere in the globe it is found that the people have great love for their past and belongings. All the museums are duty bound to cater the desire to know more about human’s past as well as contemporary happenings so that it could serve the global society for education and entertainment.And, National Museum of India is no exception. For example the Indus-Saraswati Civilization’s breast feeding mother, Yogic postures or Buddhist period’s sacred Relics of Lord Buddha etc. are vocal narratives. As we know that United Nation passed a resolution adopted by the UNICEF & WHO that breast feeding is best feeding (Stan paan amrit paan/ Maa ka dudh sarvotttam). Similarly UN passed that YOGA is best for health be it mental or physical. Many artefacts are there in the museum which explains the greatness of human history and of their thought processes.
The dedicated team of museum professionals are always trying to make the place vibrant and relevant for society, hence the footfalls are in millions. It not only exhibits but publishes the research publications and portfolios. It is said that exhibitions and publications are the fruit and flower of museology.
Any institution survives if it is prepared for all possible odds and problems. National Museum has withstood the vagaries and challenges of time. Its preparedness during emergency and pandemic are commendable as it makes all the effort to build a bridge between art & heritage lovers and museum. For instance the impact of present pandemic i.e. COVID-19, has seen the museum touch base with its visitors and art lovers by launching different digital steps and efforts such as virtual exhibitions, narrating its unique collection which were lying in the store, online display of important objects, online workshops etc, thereby infusing fresh contents and motivational storylines.
The author is the Museologist and Archaeologist at the National Museum, New Delhi, India