The art gallery of the department of cultural affairs, archaeological and museums here has been lying closed for the past about 10 years due to the shortage of staff. The gallery has a number of antique pieces of art and culture and rare manuscripts of old scriptures.
The only employee, who also takes care of another museum related to the Anglo-Sikh war at Ghal Khurd village in Ferozepur, opens the gallery for one day in a week only to clean it.
“I open the gallery for one day in a week to clean it as for the other days, I am at Ghal Khurd to look after a war museum,” said Sundar Lal, the employee of the department.
However, in the absence of proper maintenance, the rare manuscripts are decaying and being damaged by worms.
Besides rare manuscripts, the gallery also has a lot of antique pieces of art. “The museum reflects the old art and culture of the country as it has a lot of things related to the old culture, art and pieces of old bricks, idols and some other items found during excavations of the ruins of old civilisations,” Sundar added.
The gallery is situated at the Baba Farid cultural centre in Faridkot, but few know that Faridkot has such a gallery as it has been lying closed for many years.
The gallery has two halls where many valuable old items have been kept. It has paintings, handwritten rare manuscripts, a minuscule Kuran Sharif (only 1.5 cm in size), old coins and currency, old ornaments and toys made from mud and many wooden models of men and women.
It has a handwritten copy of Guru Granth Sahib, which was reportedly written in the middle of 19th century, a white marble idol of Kali Devi, related to the 19th century, a cup made of iron (made in 1878), which is a symbol of Christian art, the Gita, written in 183 pages in 3.5X2.25 inches in size besides Ramayana and other rare manuscripts.
“Some of the items have been donated by lovers of art and some have been placed here by the department,” informed the caretaker.
“By seeing the pieces of art and culture in the gallery, we can imagine how rich and developed culture we had even centuries ago. But these pieces are not within the reach of the people. The government must open it by appointing a permanent employee at Faridkot. If the department cannot run it on its own, it may contact some social organisations to run it,” said Gurdit Singh Sekhon, a resident of Faridkot.
“Our children can learn a lot by visiting such art galleries and come to know about the richness of our old civilisation,” Sekhon said.
Malwinder Singh Jaggi, deputy commissioner, could not be contacted for his version.