Commemorating 70 years of India's independence
A wide swath of the millennia-old Indian civilization came alive through a cluster of artefacts of astonishing brilliance as the National Museum, recently, began a nearly two-month transcontinental exhibition. The showcase takes the viewers on an intriguing and exhilarating trip of the country's spectacular past and its links with the outside world since antiquity.
'India and The World: A History in Nine Stories', the first of its kind event in India, marks an unprecedented collaboration in museum exhibition with the British Museum, London; National Museum, New Delhi; Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai; and some 20 private collections pooling in their resources for the phenomenal show.
Chief Guest Ram Bahadur Rai, President, IGNCA, formally inaugurated the exhibition, unveiling a unique line-up of around 200 ancient and modern exhibits which offer a chronological and thematic depiction of the evolution of India with multiple expressions of art and artefacts, stories and aesthetics.
Some of the eye-popping objects on display include the oldest known hand-axe in the world (1.7-1.07 million years) from Attirampakkam, Tamil Nadu, a replica of the dancing girl of Mohenjodaro (2500 BC), a gold-horned Harappan humped bull (1800 BC), a Mughal miniature-inspired work by Rembrandt, an Ashokan edict (250 BC); and an imprint of the Constitution of India having more than 50 paintings supervised by the renowned artist Nandalal Bose.
Rai described the exhibition as a "journey through history", taking Indians to "moments in history that are a matter of pride for us".
"This is also a celebration of cultural exchanges and a moment to remember that our civilization has existed for millions of years and what it has given to the world in terms of culture, science and spirituality," he said.
In a message, Matt Hancock, UK Secretary of State for digital, culture, media and sport, said: "Culture is at the heart of the UK-India relationship and the living bridge that connects our two nations. This exhibition not only explores our shared history, but shows how our institutions are building partnerships that will last well into the future. I am delighted that it has reached new audiences in Delhi and I look forward to seeing it myself when I host a launch event next week."
A host of dignitaries, including British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith, L.N. Sharma, Chief Post Master General, Delhi Circle, Dr Hartwig Fischer, Director, British Museum, and Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director General, CSMVS were present at the inauguration.
On the occasion, National Museum released three books: Divyambara: Masterpieces of Costume from the National Museum Collection by Lotika Varadarajan; Kaivalyam: Jain Painting in the National Museum by Dr S.V. Tripathi and Pawan Jain; and An introduction to the Indus Valley Civilization by Sanjib Kumar Singh and Gunjan Kumar Srivastava.
Unveiling a special postal cover brought out by the Department of Post, L.N. Sharma said the exhibition showcases Indian history from two million years ago to the present day, not just displaying the regional connects but global links that provide visitors with a lifetime opportunity and a great learning experience. The exhibition will run till June 30 from 10 am to 6 pm, except on Mondays and public holidays.