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Heritage tips from land of Kautilya

- Govt to ask Taxila curator for advice on upcoming Bihar Museum

Patna, Nov. 28: The Bihar government will seek advice from the curator of Taxila Museum in Pakistan on management of its proposed Bihar Museum.

A decision to this effect was taken after the recent visit of chief minister Nitish Kumar to the neighbouring country during which he also visited the Taxila heritage centre, located about 20km from Islamabad.

“I was extremely happy to see the way Taxila Museum has been kept and maintained,” Nitish told The Telegraph. “Its upkeep and maintenance inspired me to invite the Taxila Museum curator to Bihar and give his suggestions.”

“The people of Pakistan take pride in Taxila and other ancient treasures and so do we,” he added.

Taxila is also the place where Kautilya taught and from where he travelled to Patliputra and became Chanakya, the philosopher whose wisdom gave Chandragupta an empire.

A source in the chief minister’s secretariat said the offer to the curator would be made through the consultant for the Bihar Museum. The consultant’s brief is to bring different experts on board and get their suggestions on how to make the museum one of the best in the world.

Canada-based Lord Cultural Resources has been made the consultant for the proposed Bihar Museum and the invitation to the Taxila curator would be sent through this agency. Nasir Khan is the curator of the Taxila Museum at present.

The Bihar government has authorised Maki and Associates of Japan with preparing the design of the museum building.

“The design of the museum building has already been approved by the government and the firm has now been asked to finalise the detailed project report,” art, culture and youth affairs minister Sukhada Pandey told The Telegraph. Pandey was part of the delegation that visited Pakistan along with Nitish.

The Rs 400-crore museum project entails construction of a world class heritage hub on Patna’s Bailey Road that would depict the contribution of Bihar to world history. It would come up on a 13-acre plot. Pandey said the government wants to have the museum in place by March 2015.

Experts said seeking suggestions of the Taxila curator was a good idea. Historian and director of Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library, Imtiaz Ahmed, said: “The moment one enters the museum, one finds a model which gives a birds eye view of entire Taxila which had three cities, three monasteries and one Greek settlement.” Ahmed was part of the delegation that visited Pakistan.

He said all the statues of Buddha and other items related to Taxila have been displayed in the museum in a well-planned manner. Each item has a caption giving detailed information. “The Taxila Museum is a well-planned and well-organised place and it is a visitor’s delight,” he added.

Some other experts The Telegraph spoke to, however, said that while the Taxila curator’s views were welcome, the government should seek suggestions from the those in charge of the top museums in the region such as the ones in Beijing or Shanghai or Singapore. Some members of Nitish’s delegation had themselves admitted that even the Nalanda ruins were better maintained than the ones in Taxila.