State's cultural institutions on terminal neglect: reveals survey

State's cultural institutions on terminal neglect: reveals survey

Bengaluru, DHNS: Despite the tag of being the high-growth state, Karnataka has failed to nourish its cultural institutions that stand as a symbol of its proud history, charges a recent report.

Karnataka Knowledge Commission held a need-gap analysis of ten prominent art and cultural institutions such as Karnataka Sahitya Academy, Karnataka Lalithakala Academy and the Venkatappa Art Gallery and found to its chagrin that the towering centres lacked even the most basic things like skilled staff, infrastructure and specialized training.

The 17 government-run museums, for instance, received a consolidated investment of Rs 37 lakh. The academies, including the Department of Kannada and Culture, have no presence in social media.

Those managing the institutions are not in the government payroll and their meager salaries only discouraged them from improving the standards.

Nearly 15 employees in all academies have been working for 25 years without monitory benefit besides their barely manageable salaries, the survey has found.

"They are in a mess," observed Vikram Sampath, member-secretary of the KKC task team who authored the report. It's ironical that we have a large number of academies and our new policy is calling to create more."

Except for Karnataka Pustaka Pradhikara, whose mega events attract 10,000-15,000 people, the institutions are struggling to get more than 150 people.

The institutions are also paralysed by "communication gaps" between the Chairpersons and Registrars, respectively the creative and administrative heads.

"You don't just start an academy to rehabilitate somebody. Even bureaucrats deputed to cultural institutions see it as a punishment posting," Sampath rued.

The survey was part of a larger Karnataka Arts Management Strategy report submitted last month that urges the government to start short-mid-long term arts management courses.

It also suggested creation of a separate cadre Indian Fine Arts and Museum Service, on the lines of the IAS and IPS.

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