HPU fails to utilise fundsmeant for Kangra paintings

  • Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times, Dharamsala
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2014 20:34 IST

The art of Kangra miniature paintings which is already on the verge of extinction has suffered another jolt as the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) has failed to utilise funds provided by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the promotion of dying pahari art.

The UGC had granted `35 lakh to HPU under its innovative scheme to start a two-year programme of masters of fine arts (miniature paintings). The course was initially started in the HPU's Integrated Institute of Himalayan Studies (IIHS) in collaboration with department of visual arts. Of the 20 sanctioned posts, 16 were filled up in the first year of inception of course.

However, sources said IIHS had failed to continue the project this year and till now no notification regarding admission to the course had been issued, even as the admission process in various other courses being run was about to complete.

Sources said the university had even received the first installment of `21 lakh to run the course. However, the finance office of the university was yet to transfer the grant to the IIHS. If the university failed to utilise the funds, within the stipulated time the grant would lapse and would be taken back by the UGC, sources said.

Recently, HPU had to surrender donation worth 1 crore along with interest donated by the family of a former vice-chancellor of the university. Discontented over the non-utilisation of funds the family had demanded back money donated for academic development. In the past too, many grants worth crores of rupees sanctioned by various agencies have lapsed due to non- utilisation.

“This is the state affairs in the HPU, which often cry hoarse over crunch of funds. The university has received grants worth crores of rupees from different funding agencies in the past years,” Rajan Harta, president, Student Central Association (SCA), HPU, said.

“It also poses a question mark over the inefficiency of university administration in general and vice-chancellor in particular as they have failed to make proper use of grants being received time to time, even as the students are reeling under various problems,” Harta said. Meanwhile, the university officials could not be reached for comment.

Pahari miniature Paintings

Pahari miniature painting, also known as Kangra miniature painting, is a unique form of art as everything is drawn from nature. The colours used in the paintings are made from stones and other natural resources, while paper on which the paintings are done is prepared from pine needles and brush from the hair of turtle dove bird. This form of art flourished under patronage of Katoch ruler in Kangra valley.

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