Museum across the country are not functioning properly. According to the ICOM and UNESCO report, museums are in a stagnant state. Thirty-seven museums are closed. Moreover, it is out of 46 museums. It is due to a lack of funds. So, they are on the list of the abandoned museum. Only eight museums facilitate public viewing.
The setup of the museum started from the colonial period. They were open to the public for an entry fee. Pakistan became an independent country. However, this has not changed. Moreover, the value of museums has moved downwards. In addition, many see them as a financial burden. As Pakistan is a poor country. Therefore, people think that museums ought to be shifted elsewhere.
There was no concept of public galleries. In addition, museums in our part of the world are due to socio-cultural existence.
In the olden days, the treasures and the artifacts were in the possession of private individuals. Indeed they were wealthy ones. They hoarded them out of sheer love or the desire to be known as civilized. Only the dear and near could assess these artifacts. As the pubic had nothing to do with it. Nor were they could understand the importance of these treasures of history.
Our museums are familiar all over the world. They should not be abandoned museum. As they are the treasure trove of knowledge of the history of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Moreover, the Gandhara Civilization and the Mughal and Sikh periods. These are unique treasures throughout the world. We should proud of them.
But are we?
The people of Pakistan are struggling with the question of identity and roots. The land that a community lives in or has lived in could determine the identity. It is not derived from ideology. Many in the country have increasingly started to assert. So we do not proud of these artifacts.
An artifact is no more antiquity from the past. It is a piece that may have a monetary equivalent. Or it is a desire to merely reflecting the passion of a collector.
People recast the past in the image of the present. They should see the past a process of evolution. And the evolution that expresses the sensibility of the people who have lived here over the centuries.
Museums show our identity
It is a process that will continue as long as this earth survives. Humans live on the earth. They are not supposed to culminate at a certain time in history. A few people think that we have arrived at the finality of something. As they look into our political destiny, our religious flowering, and our ambitions.
However, to look into this matter in such a way is a denial of the historical process itself. There is something more than the frameworks that are imposed on it. As it was not an Ancient Pakistan in the political term. Therefore, it is unhistorical to call it Ancient Pakistan.
British colonial India ruled here. Before that, it was divided between the Sikh Empire and the rulers of Sindh. Before that, there were the Marathas. Moreover, before that, there was Mughal India. And before that the Lodhi India and so on. The political identity, if any, was through a dynasty. Similarly, many dynasties came and went.
That is why history tells the people that they do not have roots. Or that the roots lie elsewhere. Therefore, foreigners always fascinated us. Or something that is foreign. It could be different from the more advanced West. Similarly, it could be anything from the more conservative Arabia or even Turkey.
Who are important.
The land and the people who live here are important. These museums show the three-dimensional view of our past. This view is in terms of what was created and produced here. It connects us to the local identity that is very important.
Humans are living on this planet. So, all this becomes critically significant. Life is a constant flux. And maintaining the balance without denying is the trick that determines us. A desire to draw a fixed-line could be either imaginary or regressive in nature. The love and nature of the land as well as its people can lead to a broader understanding. Then, it is without a bias or sense of superiority. Being judgmental is antithetical to an evolving historical consciousness.
Therefore, the government must give importance to the abandoned museum. As they are not only museums but our roots and identity.