Warming up the winter chill was, surprisingly, the art scene of Dehra Dun. Over the past few weeks painters and photographers have been painting the town red. A number of well attended exhibitions have been held both by individuals and associations. The newly formed Doon Art Society (President: Mrs Monica S. Talukdar, Contact No: 2654913) now has a membership of 24 and recently organized its first exhibition in Hotel Regent. Paintings displayed at the exhibition were beautiful beyond words and left one speechless.
The Uttaranchal Gramin Bank opened an Art Gallery at its Head Office at New Road, as a part of its Corporate Social responsibility and is offering it to artisans of Dehra Dun to display their creations. The gallery is an interesting example of creative use of unused office space and presently has amazing display of stunning photographs and paintings. A private art gallery is also scheduled for opening in Shasthradhara Road later this month.
These efforts of art loving people of Dehra Dun have unfortunately been met with stoic response from the Uttarakhand Government and Corporate World. Individual and NGO efforts to develop art in Dehra Dun need to be supplemented. Harsh realities of the world hit the Doon Art Society recently when it could not even afford to give advertisements of its first exhibition in the local press.
If the youth of Dehra Dun are to be weaned away from the culture of “Dhoom” then we need to give them an alternative. As of now, entertainment in our city means wondering in markets, movies or eating in restaurants. No wonder then so many youngsters get injured driving motorcycles around aimlessly.
What Dehra Dun needs is a Cultural Center. A Multi purpose auditorium is needed where the cultural side of Uttarakhand in general and Dehra Dun in specific is projected on a regular basis. Holding cultural festivals once or twice a year is not enough to ingrain in the youth of today a love for culture, nor does it allow the artisans of Dehra Dun to bloom. Having a professionally managed Multi purpose auditorium, working around the year, will give a platform to artists and other artisans. School and College children can be brought here on a regular basis to expose them to Indian culture. Workshops can also be held in such a center. With the passage of time, it will also become a tourist attraction, giving further encouragement to the artists of Dehra Dun.
Setting up such a center is way beyond the capacity of any individual, NGO or any organization. This is where the Department of Culture of Uttarakhand Government must step in. Preserving and encouraging art and culture is important in every society and it cannot be done by sponsoring a few short duration events. Unless we act now, very soon a time will come when the only culture people will know about will be “agriculture”.
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