The lessons of history

Anjali Jhangiani, Mid Day, 17th January, 2012

Frenchman Francois Gautier has set up a museum that brings out the Vedic point of view of history

"From the integer zero to complex mathematical calculations and even surgical techniques, the contribution of the Vedas is integral to the entire world," claims Francois Gautier, founder of FACT foundation, an organisation that brings attention to forgotten or neglected issues through awareness campaigns, conferences, exhibitions, films and research papers on art, culture, history and human rights abuse.

The organisation has set up a museum in Wadagaon, near Marathwada Mitramandal Institute of Technology, which displays paintings, photographs and films based on themes that cover the spectrum of Indian history, from the Vedas to a peek into the future of India.

Launched on January 14, the museum is akin to an art gallery. Adjacent to the museum, there is a temple dedicated to Mata Bharati and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, as an initiative by FACT to revive the worship of Mother India and get inspired by historic personalities who have contributed to society. Pune-based architect Sheetal Harpale has designed this Sri Yantra temple. Visitors are also welcome for the aarti, which is performed at the temple at the time of opening and closing of the museum.

"Entry to the museum is free for all. The aim is to bring forth historical facts to create an awareness about heritage and history from the Vedic point of view," informs Gautier. Spread across five acres, the museum highlights several dark periods of history such as the Inquisition in Goa by the Portuguese, the Sufi persecution, the Ahmedi persecution, agitation against Buddhism, the prosecution of early Syrian Christians of Kerala and more. The aim behind showcasing the tumultuous episodes is to remind people of the consequences of division and thereby inspire a sense of brotherhood and mutual love for cultures, races and religions.

"Currently, we are displaying exhibitions based on themes revolving around Shivaji Maharaj, Hindu tolerance throughout the ages, Aryan invasion along with 10 rotating exhibitions," says Gautier.

"The rotating exhibitions will feature paintings, photographs and films from our archives at FACT. We have a team of historians in Rajasthan who commission painters to illustrate their research work on different aspects of Indian history. Now, we have displayed exhibitions on topics such as the issue of Naxalites, Kashmiri Pandits, minority communities in Bangladesh and more," he adds.

From 9 am to 6 pm, all seven days of the week. At Wadagaon Shinde, ahead of Marathwada Institute of Technology, Wadagaon, Shinde Road. Call 9970204411

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