SPS Museum in Shambles, History Dying
By Firdous Hassan
Srinagar: Sri Pratap Singh Museum the summer capital’s main museum may soon need to be placed in a museum of its own as the government seems to have forgotten that it actually exists.
Being the sole museum of the valley which stores the history and identity of Kashmir’s rich culture, it continues to disappoint the art and history lovers as the administrators of the museum hardly value what has been given to them for being taken care of.
Even after five years of the construction of the much hyped new museum building which was supposed to store all the antiques is still not fully operational.
An investigation by The Kashmir Monitor into the condition of the museum has thrown up shocking revelations. Priceless antiques are lying in piles of dust ,showing that they have never been cleaned.On top of that they are placed in a haphazard manner, not like a museum stores its antiques.
The world famous paintings of Maharaja and his times, Santosh and even M F Hussain are too lying in dust and uncared for.In todays market these would fetch millions of dollars.
The Kashmir Monitor spoke to some of the visitors who shook their head in disappointment. “We have been to almost every museum of the country but this is the first of its kind where the things are kept in a very shabby manner. Every antique has a history stored in it and here too these antiques narrate a tale but no one seems to be taking care of them”, said a group of local history lovers.
During this reporters visit inside the building, for an hour in the morning there was no lighting arrangement and most of the doors leading to the other sections of museum were closed even at 11:30am as the officials claimed that some of their fellow employees were on leave.
Moving ahead to the first section of the museum where most of cupboards were lying empty while as some of the mummified birds like ‘Jack Daw’ and other animals were found with broken necks and shelled bodies and all the rooms were without any fire extinguisher which the staff claimed to have been sent for the refill.
Furthermore the boat which was gifted to Maharaja Ranbir Singh by Queen victoria has been left in an open ground which has led to its weathering and has now become the resting place of stray dogs.
Unlike other museum of the country the museum also lacks a guide who could educate and inform the visitors about the antiques and paintings lying there.
When asked about the state of the museum, the curator Mushtaq Ahmad, said “We don’t know when the authorities will make the new building operational where all the antiques will be placed in a good pattern. Right now we have kept some of the antiques for rest.”
When asked about the dogs inside the lawn and the condition of the boat, he said, “This area is under Police and Housing Corporation.We don’t have any space in the museum for this boat and we can’t take it away from this place. So we are planning to make a small shed for it in the month of April.”