Custodians of art and culture

In a rare recognition of academic research into India’s cultural heritage, 33 doctoral degrees and 152 masters degrees were awarded by the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Culture and Museology on June 3rd for scholarly work ranging from studies of Old Delhi’s havelis to the country’s modern installation art.

The National Museum Institute, India’s premier educational institution for preservation and conservation of the country’s art and cultural heritage, conferred the degrees at its 10th convocation ceremony held in the national capital.

“You have to be an important part of the nation building process through your respective capabilities that you have acquired here and elsewhere,”said Chandresh Kumari Katoch, Union Culture Minister and chief guest.

“It is a privilege for you to have studied at this institute,” she said while exhorting the graduates to retain in them ‘“a spirit of trusteeship” while contributing substantially “to your roots, the society around, the institutions that brought you up and the nation at large”.

Founded on January 27, 1989, the National Museum Institute became a deemed to be University two months later while leading a path of transformation into a centre of excellence for students in the field of art history, art preservation and museology ever since.

In his convocation address, Shashi Tharoor, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development, said there was an urgent need to remind ourselves about the importance of the country’s cultural institutions.

“Museums in India have acted as custodians of art and culture so far but their activities should not be limited to only collect, preserve and share objects and materials of cultural, religious and historical importance. In the 21st century, museums need to strive to become agents of change and development,” said Tharoor.

Among the scholarly works that were awarded doctoral degrees were areas like Deccani miniature paintings, provincial art and architecture of Kota, folk art of Bhils, Christian art of Goa, comparative study of traditional practices of palm leaf manuscripts in India and conservation of Indo-Islamic carpets.

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