INTACH, Tasneem Mehta may continue to run Bhau Daji Lad Museum

Updated: Nov 02, 2019, 10:02 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

While the former civic chief was not keen on having INTACH around, the trust seems to have impressed BMC boss Praveen Pardeshi

Bhau Daji Lad Museum. File pic
Bhau Daji Lad Museum. File pic

Contrary to the stand taken by former municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, the current civic chief Praveen Pardeshi is keen on keeping INTACH and the current director of the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Tasneem Mehta, involved in its running.

Since the agreement with INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) and Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation expired in September, the civic administration has been in the process of conducting an inventory of the artefacts stored at the museum.

In the last meeting of the trustees, which included members of INTACH and the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation, Tasneem had asked for the agreement to be extended. However, even though the agreement expired in September, no decision has been taken on the matter. Pardeshi, however, is impressed with the work done at the museum by INTACH and is willing to give them another chance. "We are planning to submit a proposal to the general body to keep INTACH involved in the maintenance of Bhau Daji Lad museum because they have done a good job," he said.

Tasneem Mehta
Tasneem Mehta

When contacted, Tasneem was happy to hear that INTACH may have a chance. "Our work is much more than just the restoration of the building. We have nurtured an institution for over 20 years and have trained a whole generation of curators and critics. We are very keen to continue the good work and hope the general body will decide in our favour," said Tasneem.

In January, the civic administration had planned to take over the museum. With the change of guard, the future of the museum remains undecided. In September, the civic administration had given the additional charge of the museum to Jyotish Desai, the chief archival officer even though he wasn't given any specific responsibilities.

A few days later, the civic administration started conducting the inventory process of all the artefacts in the presence of a vigilance officer and an audit officer. Desai, however, hasn't been a part of this process so far. The BMC had last conducted an inventory in 2008 before the charge of the museum was handed over to INTACH. The detailed inventory is expected to take another two to three months.

BMC corporators had in 2015 claimed that the museum has been hosting cocktail parties for the elite and is operating as an autonomous body despite being a public space. It was then that the process of bringing the museum under the civic body's control had started. However, the tug of war between the BMC and INTACH continues to this day.

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