Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee

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Museum

Museums are important, because they not only preserve the past but also are one of the means of cultural exchange, which leads to enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding. This in turn brings peace among peoples.

Every year World Museum Day is celebrated around 18 May. It is heartening to note that participation in International Museum Day is growing.  In 2016, more than 35,000 museums all over the world participated in the event in some 145 countries. (To know more see:  http://network.icom.museum/international-museum-day)

The theme chosen for 2017 is ‘Museum and Contested Histories: Saying the unspeakable in Museums’. The theme is important and relevant in present times in India as myth tends to replace recorded history. In a situation like this, museums work as vanguards of truth.

India is perhaps one of the largest repositories of tangible heritage in the world. A major part of this heritage is preserved in her monuments, sites and antiquities of varied nature. The range of such relics, from the past is vast and covers a long span of time: prehistoric to colonial times. But ironically we have very poor sense of history bordering almost on apathy. That is the reason why we need to have more awareness for building, maintaining and enriching museums to preserve our heritage.

Indian Museum, Kolkata, established in 1814 is the oldest and the largest museum in India. there are many unique museums in India. From Rail Museum in Mysore and Delhi to Toilet Museum in  Delhi (run by the Sulabh International, which is dedicated to the global history of sanitation and toilets) the list is impressive.

But even as Archaeological Survey of India, State Archaeology Departments and other bodies are trying to preserve they can only do  little looking at the scale of the things. Moreover most of the artifacts have not been documented in a uniform format which can provide a common platform to the scholars, researchers and planners for reference, research and its management in a diligent manner.

To address these issues, National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA) has been set up by Government of India with the objective to document unprotected monuments and sites from both secondary sources and antiquities from primary source in a prescribed format. There are various available sources for documenting this heritage which needs to be utilized and collated through a Mission approach to create a credible National data base. This will take shape of State wise as well as National register of unprotected monuments, sites and antiquities.  (To know more about NMMA see http://nmma.nic.in/nmma/antiquity_event.do?method=news)

Another important initiative is The National Portal and Digital Repository for Indian Museums.  Developed and hosted by Human-Centred Design & Computing Group, C-DAC, Pune as per the agreement with Ministry of Culture, Government of India it has developed JATAN: Virtual Museum software which is used for creating the digital collections in various museums and digital archival tools that are used in background for managing the national digital repository of museums.

Presently as a part of the digitization efforts of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India the digitized collections of 10 selected Museums, are placed in the digital repository for Indian Museums and also on the National Portal developed by C-DAC, Pune in consultation with the Ministry of Culture along with technical help from the Art Institute of Chicago in the first phase. The ten museums are: Allahabad Museum, National Museum, New Delhi, Indian Museum, Kolkata, Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, Goa Museum, ASI, Nagarjunakonda Museum, ASI Hyderabad, NGMA, New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The plan is to subsequently make available the digitized collections of the remaining museums under the Ministry of Culture/Archaeological Survey of India also on the National Portal. (To know more see http://www.museumsofindia.gov.in/repository/page/about )

We must know the past. There lies the key to the future.

Soft drinks

These days soft drinks are considered hep. Where ever you go, any social do, you are offered soft drinks. Thanks to the television advertisement urging the youth to drink soft drinks, kids are guzzling it by gallon. The grownups usually indulge the kids.

Soft drinks impact our health in more ways than we tell ourselves. It impacts our tooth enamel. It affects the functioning of the kidney. It makes us fat. It increases risk of diabetes. It impacts heart and reproductive organs.

Despite everything we continue to guzzle aerated soft drinks. I am beginning to believe that we are a race with suicidal tendency.

Cognitive dissonance

You have often heard this: Cognitive dissonance is growing in modern times. Cognitive dissonance is a fancy term for mental disharmony or a lack of peace of mind. If we consistently fail to do what we know is right, and/or keep doing what we know is wrong, we will lose peace of mind and experience cognitive dissonance.

Because we can’t stand living this way, instead of correcting our behavior, we repress and deny our feelings, rationalize our behavior, justify our actions, start believing our own lies—and end up with a hardened heart and dead conscience. It is a dangerous course to follow, which leads to self-destruction.

Therefore do what your conscience says is right.

Tail piece: Kim and Trumph

North Korea Premier Kim Jong-un announced in a news conference that North Korea would be sending a man to the sun within ten years!

A reporter said – “But the sun is very hot. How can your man land on the sun?”

 

There was a stunned silence. Nobody knew how to react.

 

Then Kim Jong-un answered “We will land at night”.

 

The entire audience broke out in thunderous applause !

 

Back in the White House, Donald Trump and his entourage were watching the news conference on TV.

 

When Trump heard what Kim had said, he sneered – “What an idiot. There is no sun at night time !”

 

Now, his cabinet broke out in thunderous applause

(Courtesy: Social Media forward)

Tailpiece

Meine Sapne Me Bhawanji Se Puchha- Tumne Roti Ko Insaan Se V Kyun Bada Banaya…..??

Bhagawan Ne Kaha- Meine Toh Insaan Ko Hi Bada Banaya Thaa, Magar Insaan Ne Bhukh Ko Bada Bana Diya…..Bhukh Ke Chalte Roti Toh Kya, Daaru-Saaru, Meet-Murga, Rokda-Paisa Sab Mahan Ban Gaya…!!

( Courtesy: Sudhansu De​o)

 

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The columnist, a journalist-turned media academician lives in Dhenkanal, a dist HQ town n Central Odisha. He can be contacted at mrinalchatterjee@ymail.com

 

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