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Museums are invaluable source of history, heritage of people, their civilization : Vice-President
TIWN
 Museums are invaluable source of history, heritage of people, their civilization : Vice-President
PHOTO : TIWN

Agartala, Sept 25 (TIWN) Good museums are also an invaluable source of history and heritage of a people and their civilisation, India’s Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari said here Wednesday after inaugurating the northeast India's biggest museum at 112-year-old Ujjayanta Palace, Tripura's royal mansion here.

He said : “The museums also provide wealth of information and required resources for academics, researchers and students of history, apart from helping the general economy by generating revenue and employment through promotion of tourism.”

He said that it is befitting that Tripura has now set up an important Museum in such an impressive heritage building as the ‘Ujjayanta Palace’, which once housed the royal family of Tripura and later the state legislative assembly, and will now serve as a memorial to the region’s glorious past.

Hamid Ansari, who came here from New Delhi shortly after afternoon, after dedicating the museum to the natyion, accompanied by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Higher Education Minister Bhanulal Saha inspected the museum and appreciated the it for its rich collection.

Ansari said : “The museum has also embraced a new approach towards its exhibits, having adopted a broader national perspective while remaining focused on Tripura and the northeast India. Given the cultural exchanges and intermingling of various cultures of the sub-continent and beyond over the centuries, this is a commendable step forward.”

“The Museum is also expected to serve as a centre for active research and cultural activities which will link culture and heritage to broader aspect of human development in the present day context. These are welcome steps and must be applauded,” the vice-president added.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said that more valuable artifacts would be collected for the museum from various parts of the country and abroad.

State’s Higher education minister Bhanulal Saha, Lalit Kala Academy Chairman K.K. Chakraborty, Tripura Chief Secretary Dr Sanjay Kumar Panda also spoke in the inaugural function.  


Set up over 800 acres of land in the capital city, Ujjayanta Palace was the command hub until the erstwhile princely Tripura's accession to India in October 1949.

"The museum will showcase the lifestyle, arts, culture, tradition and utility crafts, beside the customs and practices of various communities residing in the northeast India," Kishore Ambuly, Tripura's higher education department secretary, told TIWN.

"The state museum will exhibit cultural tradition and perception of spiritual life and rituals, religious beliefs, utility articles and aesthetic creative forms," he said.

The collections displayed in the 22 galleries of the museum include sculptures, terracotta figurines, coins, copper and stone inscriptions, bronze images, textiles, oil paintings, sketches and drawings, tribal ornaments, musical instruments, art and craft objects, folk articles and a number of other antique treasures.

"The sculptures mostly date back from 9th century to 13th century. A low relief Dasavatara panel (in stone) belonging to 18th century is an exquisite piece of local craftsmanship," Ambuly added.

A senior official of the Tripura government said : "The two-storeyed Ujjayanta Palace has been made the museum, as per an agreement signed with the erstwhile separatist outfit All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF) in March 1993."

The Tripura government's museum, which was established in 1970 at the heart of Agartala city, along with the state archives has also been shifted to the new museum premises.

Ujjayanta Palace, which was purchased from the royal family by the Tripura government in 1972-73 at a cost of Rs 25 lakh and housed the Tripura legislative assembly until July 2011, was constructed by then Maharaja Radhakishore Manikya Bahadur in 1899-1901.

The palace has three large domes, the largest of which is 86 feet high, and it reflects the combined influence of Mughal, Roman and British architecture.

In July 2011, the Tripura assembly shifted to a newly-built complex on the capital's outskirts.

Lalit Kala Academy chairman K.K. Chakraborty and experts from various parts of the country have guided the authorities in setting up the museum in the royal palace.

 

Following is the text of Vice President’s address :

        “I am happy to have been invited for this ceremony to inaugurate the “Tripura State Museum, Ujjayanta Palace” at this impressive building in Agartala. I convey my warm greetings and good wishes to the people and Government of Tripura on this joyous occasion, as we dedicate this Museum to the people of state and to the nation.

        The State of Tripura, nestled in this beautiful northeast region of our country, has a glorious history and rich cultural heritage which dates back to earliest of times. The region finds mention in the ancient epics such as the Mahabharata and in the edicts of Emperor Ashoka, which certifies the antiquity of the land.

        Over the millennia, in the course of its history, the diverse ethno-linguistic groups of Tripura have created a remarkable composite culture in the state which is replete with its own unique art, literature, music, dance and handicrafts. The State has abundant historical and cultural richesse which deserves to be shared with the rest of the country and beyond.

         It is, therefore, befitting that Tripura has now set up this Museum in such an impressive heritage building as the Ujjayanta Palace, which once housed the royal family of Tripura and later the State Legislative Assembly, and will now serve as a memorial to the region’s glorious past.

        Though the Tripura Government Museum, which was established in 1970 and was functioning ever since in a small building in the heart of the city, the new premises will add to its grandeur and its status as an important centre for showcasing the archaeological treasures, sculpture, paintings and the rich tribal culture of the state.

        I understand that the Museum has not only changed its premises but has also embraced a new approach towards its exhibits, having adopted a broader national perspective while remaining focused on Tripura and the Northeast. Given the cultural exchanges and intermingling of various cultures of the sub-continent and beyond over the centuries, this is a commendable step forward.

        The Museum is also expected to serve as a centre for active research and cultural activities which will link culture and heritage to broader aspect of human development in the present day context. These are welcome steps and must be applauded.

        The Tripura State Museum, Ujjayanta Palace which is destined to serve as a repository of history, culture and traditions of the state and the region, will help the people better understand and appreciate the rich history, traditions, art and crafts of this mosaic of highly evolved communities that have inhabited this land from time immemorial.

        A wise man had once said “a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. I am sure that this institution will help the people of the state and the region to find their roots as they look forward to a peaceful, harmonious and prosperous future.

        Good museums are also an invaluable source of history and heritage of a people and their civilization. They also provide wealth of information and required resources for academics, researchers and students of history, apart from helping the general economy by generating revenue and employment through promotion of tourism. It is in this context as well, that the Museum will serve the people of the state in the future.

        I am confident that in the years ahead the ‘Tripura State Museum, Ujjayanta Palace’ would continue to flourish and acquire due recognition as a serious cultural institution showcasing the rich history and traditions of this ancient land.

        I once again congratulate the Government of Tripura on this excellent initiative. I thank the organizers for inviting me for this ceremony.

 

        Jai Hind”

 

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