Rahul Sankrityayana’s daughter seeks Centre intervention on shifting of antiquities from Patna Museum

Patna,(BiharTimes): The daughter of Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayana has expressed concern over the shifting of collections from Patna Museum to newly constructed Bihar Museum.

 In a letter to Union Minister for Culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma, Jaya Sankrityayana Parhawk said “scholars,historians and academics have been protesting the move to shift some 3,000 antiquities, including the Yakshini from Patna Museum’s corpus to the new Bihar Museum to be inaugurated on Gandhi Jayanti this year. There is consternation at the sudden closure of Patna Museum from 9th September 2017 until the 25th, ostensibly for the repair of its galleries.”

 The letter further said: “My late Father, Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayana’s conditional gift, the Rahul Collection is  housed at Patna Museum. I was told on the 8th September that an unspecified number of items from this Collection were earmarked for relocation. Not only would such a move have broken the integrity of the Collection, it was also against the donor agreement. Moreover, his immediate family was not told, let alone consulted about such a move. I immediately wrote an open letter to the Chief Minister Nitishji but unfortunately did not receive an acknowledgement, let alone a reply. Thanks to the intervention of people I approached outside Patna, I have heard that some of the Thangkas from Collection which were to be shifted have been dropped. However there is no way of verifying if other items like bronze images and coins have been left.  The importance of the Collection  is clarified in the document that I am attaching. Its true importance lies in its integrity for the purposes of research and this should be respected according to the vision of the donor.”

 Jaya, who is based in Dehradun, said “many historians and scholars from outside Bihar have approached me with the suggestion that the Rahul Collection should be properly preserved, documented, and catalogued and along with the Museum’s own corpus, become the nucleus for a centre for Buddhist studies at Patna Museum. Bihar was the epicentre of the teachings of the Buddha and scholars from India and all over the world would welcome such a move.”

 According to her a historic institution like Patna Museum has grown organically over time and the Who’s Who of Indian intelligentsia, academics, archaeologists, scholars and curators have devoted years to its development  ever since it was set up by a visionary like Shri Sacchidanand Sinha. Serious research has been done using its rich resources that link paleontology, geology and history in a flowing narrative. It is a national heritage  New ways to upgrade it must be found to give it a new vibrancy and relevance in its centenary year.

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