We, as the self-appointed guardians of heritage, zealously try to protect the vestiges of heritage in whatever forms – buildings, monuments, craft or textiles – which speak volumes of history, each a learning lesson for generations to come. Alas, most Indians do not share this passion. Take Chennai. Where do we have museums which showcase our rich tapestry of history? For instance, when we visited the museum in Pondicherry, I was pained to see the famed Arikamedu coins lying in a dusty glass case. So too were some old valuable paintings. This was a few years ago, and I hope things have improved. Why has the Museum in Chennai not given enough funding to showcase some of the finest craft and heritage textiles that we have? Yes, we have the finest of bronzes, but how are they showcased?
Most of the museums I have visited in the world showcase their heritage in a manner that just grabs the eyeballs. In Dubai, its history is so expressly recorded in its little museum that it is a joy to revisit it. Mercifully, however, some of us craft activists, while deploring the state of heritage consciousness – or the lack of it – in our country, are passionate about revival and resuscitating languished craft and textiles. Some of us work with leading craft NGOs like the Crafts Council of India, which today is a powerful apex body run by a group of dedicated, committed women.
Madras Musings, 2011, To read the rest of the article.