For the Present

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Artefacts and souvenirs on display at the NGMA.

In August last year, a 15-member delegation representing village chieftains from Nagaland, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express their support for peace process in their home state. Dressed in traditional bright red Naga jackets, decorated with shells and motifs, they had brought one of those for the PM as well.

Almost a year later, the red Naga jacket, along with 300 other artefacts and souvenirs gifted to the PM by visiting delegates or during his visits to various parts of the country, are on display at Delhi’s National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA). Later this week, all these souvenirs will be e-auctioned to raise funds for charity. Even as the specific cause for charity is yet to be decided, a source from the Ministry of Culture has told The Indian Express that the proceeds are likely to go for the Namami Gange project.

The collectibles include several hand-painted and wood-carved depictions of the PM, besides mementoes, photo frames, musical instruments, masks, colourful turbans, shawls and angavastrams presented to Modi by various temples and social organisations. According to a statement by the NGMA, “the gifts reflect the vast geographic diversity of the country, as there are objects from almost all Indian states, be it Nagaland, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh or Daman and Diu.” It also says that the dates for the three-day e-auction have not been finalised yet but it is likely to start this weekend.

Gifts presented to the Prime Minister during his state visits and by visiting delegates are on display at the National Gallery of Modern Art in the Capital. (Source: Express Photo)

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The exhibition also features pictures from famous places of worship such as Ajmer Sharif, Golden Temple and Somnath temple among others Besides these, there are photographs of historical and political figures such as Swami Vivekananda, Sardar Vallabhai Patel. There is also a picture of Prime Minister Modi with his mother, Heeraben Modi. Other noteworthy portraits on view include one that shows the PM walking on a railway platform along with other passengers, and another that shows him with a statuette of Mahatma Gandhi.

The show has been curated by the NGMA and the articles have been supplied by the PM’s toshakhana (treasury). “These are all the presents received by the PM during his current term,” says a Ministry official.

The base price for each of the 2,136 gifts, which as per NGMA, will be on rotational view in the exhibition space, has been fixed by the PMO, say officials from the Ministry. Starting from Rs 500, the prices of the gifts go up to Rs 5,000, with a large chunk of objects priced at Rs 1,500. The hand-embroidered woollen shawls — as many as 30 of them on display — have a base price of Rs 3,000 each. “The objects pertain to all art forms of India — oil canvases, sculptures, textiles and embroidery, and digital prints. In terms of geography and traditions, they represent India in a nutshell,” says an NGMA official.

In 2015 too, a three-day exhibition was held in Surat for the various gift articles received by the Prime Minister. The proceeds from the auction were contributed to the Clean Ganga Fund. At the time, as many as 460 gift articles were put up for display and auction. As per a statement on narendramodi.in, at the closure of the process, a total of 1852 bids for those articles were registered. Modi had tried something similar during his term as the Gujarat Chief Minister, between 2001 and 2014, where the money was donated to Kanya Kelavani Nidhi. The auctions raised a sum of almost Rs 95 crore over 13 years towards girl child education.

For the upcoming e-auction, the NGMA has tied up with the postal department to deliver gifts to successful bidders. Explaining the process, a curator says, “Currently, details of the works as well as pictures and dimensions are being uploaded on the website. The bids are open to all, and one person can bid for as many items. At the end of each day, successful bidders will be informed and they can make the payment digitally.” The e-auction will be held on https:/openauction.gov.in The exhibition is on till October 31, from 10am to 5pm, at NGMA, near India Gate, Delhi. Entry is free

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