Web Site Story
by Dr. Raj Mehta

It was in July 1996, I invited Dr. Kalpana Desai to view the World Wide Web. Instantly, she was convinced of the suitability of Information technology, to the work of the Museum. Soon, thereafter, she arranged for the funds to start a browsing facility to be used by the members at the museum. It came to be known as Shrunkhala.

It was very clear from the outset that the time had come for the museum to reach out, through the use of Information technology. In addition to the museum being available to visitors, it was now possible to make its treasures accessible for anyone with Internet connection: to imbibe Indian Art, Culture & Heritage at a click of the button. The idea of museum having a WEB site was accepted right from the start.

Two hurdles presented itself, one that there were no digitized images available and of course no funds were available for this project. We looked close and far to find a way to get the images scanned. We even planned to send the images abroad to be scanned. But the copyright problem of the images of the treasures seemed insurmountable. To this day the problem remains unsolved.

Days and months passed and the WEB site remained as a idea in our minds. Finally mid-December I was determined to get some images out of museum and scan them one way or the other. I was given 17 images. I phoned a friend Jagdish Agarwal who had 35mm slide scanner. I scanned these and few more images personally. These images are used for this site.

Of course this project is yet to be funded. Different people pitched in with different types of help to bring this about, as they, like us, wanted Museum on the WEB. We are looking for sponsors, who would fund a full blown site.

There are couple of personal compelling reasons for working on this WEB site. First one has to do with my experience when I visit the museum. As I pass the treasures--be it a bronze figurine, a miniature painting or a jade plate, even a brief glance will lift my spirits and fill me with vitality. I encourage my friends to to visit the museum so they can also experience the same elation. I felt that by building a WEB site I will make it possible for friends, known and unknown, to partake in a similar experience.

The second compelling reason for working on the site, is related to my students days. When I was a graduate student at Stanford University in California, in 1960s, people used to ask me , "do snakes and tigers roam on the streets of Bombay?". There was no way I could convince them that India has very rich art, culture and heritage. Words were not enough. Nor was occasional visit from cultural ambassadors. In 1960 Mrs. Vijaya Laxmi Pandit visited Stanford Campus. I confronted her and whined that government of India should do something about the mis-information about India. She retorted, why wait for government, you can do something. Since then, the her statement has been motivating force to make information about India available to the West.

As we, Dr. Desai and I talked about the "raison d' etre" for the Website, it became clear that we did not want the site just for the sake of it. We wanted this site to have, two principal characteristics. One, it should be interactive (that you a visitor, interested in Indian Art , Culture & Heritage can send a question to us by email and a qualified personal from museum will attend to it) and second that the displays should have human interest content to it. We would keep these ideas as a guiding light to our endeavors.

This is a request to the visitors to this site to write to us and tell us what you would like to see so that we can update the site which is more suited to your needs and wishes. You can reach us at:rajm@giasbm01. vsnl.net.in

Above are some of the thought, feelings and events, which went into making of the site, that is in front of you.I hope you enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed the effort of creating it.

Jan 7, 1997

Design & HTML Coding 

Design Assistance 

HTML Coding Assistance 

Scanning Equipment for the Slides

Computer for producing these Pages

Dr. Raj Mehta

Dr. Kalpana Desai

Mr. Malav Ravel

Mr. Jagdish Agarwal

Mr. Neelkanth Shanbhag 


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