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Dr Kavita Singh, an art historian and a professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University recently delivered a lecture on the topic, ‘The Museum is National: National Museum in South Asia’ at the National Museum, New Delhi. Speaking at the event, Dr Singh said that with the help of institutions like the National Museum one is able to trace the history of any nation through their art.
She shared anecdotes on how India, Pakistan and Bangladesh founded National Museums in their respective territories after independence, adding that ‘heritage’ is only a part of past that we desire – a concept that has been picked by museums across the world.
In conversation with NewsGram, Dr Singh shared her views on how art is interlinked with politics and why museums have handpicked parts of their cultural heritage to showcase in their premises. Excerpts from the interview:
Nishtha: You mentioned throughout your lecture that while museums serve as a reminder of vast cultural past and heritage, the collections including the artefacts have been carefully selected for display. What is the reason behind such selection?
Dr Kavita Singh: While constructing a National Museum, you want to display a strand of your cultural past which is valuable and in some way will unite the people of the country. For that, you make certain selections. One tries to avoid certain parts of the past which might stir up unwanted emotions. So you pick your way through the past. For instance, there are enough evidences to prove that India has a long tradition of patriarchy. However, we do not want to be perceived in that light anymore. So we focus on collections that portray women in powerful light to show that we have a lineage of strong women. One will always look for those strands from the artistic heritage that are of value to them.
N: Several interesting incidents during the construction of National Museums in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh found mention in your lecture. Could you share some with our readers?
KS: Well, when the National Museum was being set up in Delhi, the authorities were having a tough time in convincing people to donate sculptures, manuscripts, paintings or any other article of historic value. All efforts were in vain. But, one day Maharaja of Kapurthala wrote to the authorities saying that he would donate all the manuscripts in his possession. When the officers reached the spot they realized that the Punjab Provincial Government was already present there. It was the property of the government, and not the Maharaja’s to give away. The manuscripts never made their way to the museum.
N: The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) was recently reconstituted and office bearers who were related with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were appointed. Do you think such a move implies that art and politics are interlinked?
KS: Art has always been linked with some form of politics or other. You may or may not recognize it. There might be concepts that you might be hearing from your childhood so you don’t consider them political statements. If you delve into the history, politics was connected right from the colonial government. For example, if you were living in Madras (now Chennai) under the British colonial period, there would have been a different sort of politics around art. The art politics was different in every region. More than the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) at the centre, the RSS has certain ideas about what art, culture and identity is. We certainly expect a lot of intervention in this issue soon.
N: The political wind especially around the independence shaped the Indian history and established our cultural identities. In the last three decades, we have seen significant political events with international relations with different countries improving. Do you think these changes are strong enough to create an impact on our heritage and culture?
KS: There have been moments where certain cultural relations became an important part of our diplomacy. In the 1980s, the festivals of India created an impressive impact and culture became an important part of our diplomacy since it raised the country’s profile internationally. But there has not been a major phase like that since then. Off late, we take up partnerships that are suggested by other countries. We simply agree to become partners. The festivals were an unusual thing where India stepped up to take an initiative.
N: Do you think India is making sufficient efforts to promote art, culture and heritage at a national and international level?
KS: We have a long way to go and there is no question about it. We have such incredible sources whether it is tremendous skills of our craftsman, monuments and manuscripts across the country – in places we can’t even imagine! Forget about museums, there are many collections in known and unknown temples and monasteries that we have no idea about. We need concrete and serious efforts.
By- Sunidhi Beeliya
Unconventional career choices might be challenging at first, however, the benefits associated with these are promising. Today's job opportunities are the ones that didn't exist a few years ago. Similarly, the pace of technological evolution would continue to generate millions of new jobs in the future that we can't think of today. Equipping oneself with relevant, unique, evolving, and out-of-the-box skills, is thus, an important aspect for young graduates aiming to start their own business or land a secure job. As parents, education institutions, and the government are now motivating the youngsters to walk an extra mile, think of new ideas, and explore new career routes, students have gathered the confidence and courage to pursue their interests. For those who don't align with the traditional work culture, believe in doing something revolutionary, aim to pursue their passion, and wish to make an impact, learning an offbeat skill could be exciting and rewarding. Here are a few more reasons that would add up to your decision of learning an offbeat skill.
1.Pursuing your passion - Whether painting, dancing, writing, scripting, anchoring or travelling, passion fuels your willingness to work. Mastery in an offbeat skill would help you turn your interests, passions, and dreams into reality. While working professionally in the field of your choice, you stay motivated, continue learning, experience a sense of accomplishment, feel positive and energetic, broaden your horizon, and constantly discover new career opportunities. For those with multiple interests or hobbies, you must first assess your strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats of building a career in those fields. This will help you to determine your capabilities, make the right decisions, and stay focussed, consistent, innovative, and dedicated towards your career.
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2.Earning potential - Delayed results, sleepless nights, lack of resources, hefty equipment costs, and fewer earnings initially, are a few complications associated with pursuing offbeat careers. However, once you build your recognition, loyal clients, and credibility, your craft will be appreciated by everyone. Unlike 9-5 jobs wherein your earnings would increase by 10-20% annually, earning potential in offbeat domains is humongous. Few photographers during weddings and festive seasons, scriptwriters working for top-notch brand ads, and animators designing their own video games, earn more than someone's 2-year package within 2-5 months. Your expertise, experience, knowledge of the field, quality of work, and ability to market yourself could help you fetch a lucrative amount once you are established.
Constantly learning new things helps to stay updated and meet demand Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash
3.Possibility to build a great network - Offbeat career choices like animation, photography, video editing, blogging, digital art, calligraphy, playing guitar, or creative writing feature a great scope for networking. You build your own professional portfolio, reach out to experts in your niche, connect with more people, do your own PR and marketing, build your visibility on social media, and develop long-lasting relationships that help you in career progression. You get access to more work, stay informed, get expert advice and suggestions, gain new insights, and strengthen your social skills that are essential for growth. Pursuing a career in an offbeat skill is thus an excellent way to meet new people, showcase your ability to the world, make lasting connections, and grow profoundly.
Also read: Skills You Can Learn At Home
4.Be your own boss - Offbeat fields have enormous choices when it comes to choosing the place, time, duration, and type of work. You can start as an intern or freelancer, can work on a contractual basis with private or government firms, work for multiple clients at a time, or can start your own business. You set your own short term goals, mission, vision, and deadlines, have the freedom to choose projects that excite you, and quote prices that justify your talent and skills. Unlike fixed commitments wherein the work is driven by company expectations, here you can connect with your clients and customers anywhere, anytime, enjoy a great work-life balance, do a variety of work, work in-office or from home, and live life on your own terms.
5.Constant learning and progress - As trends and technology keep advancing, success in offbeat careers require you to be dynamic, up-to-date, active, creative, innovative, and self-motivated. You need to master the latest trends, in-demand hard and soft skills, new software or tools, and analysis and marketing tactics to stay in the competition and have steady career growth. Obtaining certifications might also become essential to display your competency, validate your expertise in your domain, showcase your commitment, and assure your clients that your skills are worth considering. Thus, learning through part-time or online courses would become an essential element of your life once you start working in an offbeat field. You would be constantly eager to learn and acquire more knowledge, discover new techniques of working, compete passionately, and grow in your career.
Courtesy: Internshala Trainings (training.internshala.com) - e-learning platform to learn new-age skills from Internshala
Keywords: Passion, Techniques, Offbeat Skills, Career, Potential
By- Sunidhi Beeliya
Blogging has lately become a popular tool for building a positive online influence through legible content. As many young graduates are plunging on the startup bandwagon, it's evident that becoming an entrepreneur excites them more than choosing to work for someone else. The enormous inspiring stories of various multi-million businesses that started off as a blog initially, add up to their ambitions. Blogging helps drive traffic, promotes your content and offerings, and helps to instill trust among your target audience. Moreover, blogging is one of the most economical and effective ways to start sharing your ideas with people. Although good content writing skills are essential for starting your own blog, knowledge of marketing your content to the right audience is what helps you turn it into a business. So, if you are a budding blogger and are willing to increase your reach, here are a few marketing tips that would not let your blogging efforts go in vain!
1.Search and target keywords - Readers majorly consume content through search engines. Targeting top keywords and formulating your content around the same is essential for your blog to be seen, consumed, and shared. Set your content goals and expectations, understand different types of keywords, your audience's taste, your competitors' habits, things to avoid, and create a keyword research strategy. Regardless of the industry and niche that your blog is focused on, you must know about different keyword research tools and techniques, competitor keywords, keyword gaps, long-tail keywords, buyer keywords, related keywords, and low competition keywords. Strategic keyword research helps attract the interested audience, increases conversion, gives you an insight into market trends, helps in prioritising time and resources, and helps your blog to rank better.
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2.Leverage social media platforms - Unless you own a full-fledged website, opting for paid marketing alternatives might feel heavy on your pockets. Thus, social media is a vivid, free-of-cost, powerful, and highly engaging choice to reach out to your audience. To leverage the power of social media, it is imperative to not only share your blog on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, but to also create and optimise socially shareable content. Link your blog with social media posts and use relevant, intriguing, unique captions, and visually appealing images. You can use free tools to create infographics, GIFs, illustrations, and graphics. Integrate social media buttons on your blog, automate content sharing on social media, produce and share blog posts consistently, set an optimal time for posting based on your audiences' activity, and use relevant hashtags to ensure maximum reach.
Blogging helps with marketing with audience Photo by Fikret Tozak on Unsplash
3.Network with experts in your niche - Building meaningful relationships with experts in your niche gives you an opportunity to learn from more experienced and skilled content creators. Use your networking skills as a blog marketing tool by searching and connecting with influencers in your niche, mentioning industry experts in your blog posts, inviting people to write on your blog, hosting thought leaders in your niche through webinars or podcasts, and co-hosting with renowned brands in your industry. Building fruitful relationships will gradually help you to get mentions, tags, redirected audiences from other platforms, valuable insights and facts about your niche, business advice from experts, and would ultimately build the credibility of your content. You will be able to connect with a larger audience and have a good share of voice in the highly competitive market.
Also read: Essential Marketing Tactics For Any Start-Up
A pro tip: Learn professional marketing strategies through specialisation courses
For your blog marketing tactics to be on spot, honing in-demand marketing skills is important. While good communication, content writing, creativity, language, and editing skills are prerequisites for starting a blog and could be developed over time through constant practise, learning blog marketing skills on your own could be a hard nut to crack. Online specialisations are specifically designed to help beginners start their careers in the field of their choice. You can opt for a digital marketing specialisation which will not only boost your blogging and marketing skills but will also help you become an expert in content, email, and social media marketing. You can learn to create your own blog, publish posts, and use Google Analytics to track your blog performance. Concepts like SEO, Google Ads, ORM, social listening, marketing automation, strategic planning, and growth hacking, are also covered in the specialisations. Add on perks include continuous practice and assessment sessions, industry recognised certificates, and 1:1 Career Planning Sessions with industry experts that help you build professional knowledge and have a credible presence in the market.
Keywords: Blogging, Content writing, Networking, Social Media, Marketing
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said final congressional passage of the Biden administration's major infrastructure plan comes down to "a fundamental issue" of the lack of water brought on by climate change.
Harris made the comments Monday during a visit to Lake Mead, a man-made reservoir near the gambling and tourist destination city of Las Vegas, Nevada, which provides drinking water and electricity for more than 40 million people across seven western U.S. states and northern Mexico.
The U.S. government in August declared the first-ever water shortage at Lake Mead, which has fallen to record lows amid a two decade-long drought in the Western United States. The shortage has forced officials to impose water rationing next year for Nevada, the neighboring state of Arizona and Mexico.
A buoy once used to warn of a submerged rock rests on the ground along the waterline near a closed boat ramp on Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Friday, Aug. 13, 2021, near Boulder City, Nev. Water levels at Lake Mead Image credit: VOA
During the visit, the vice president promoted a $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, an agreement reached earlier this year between President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators. The investment includes tens of billions of dollars to shore up the nation's water infrastructure and protect communities against the impact of climate change, including lingering heat waves and droughts, along with investments in water recycling and technology to convert sea water into usable drinking water.
"This is about thinking ahead, recognizing where we are and where we're headed -- if we don't address these issues with a sense of urgency, understanding this is literally about life," Harris said.
The infrastructure plan has been approved by the U.S. Senate, but is stalled in the House over intense and increasingly bitter negotiations over funding for the president's $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan, which would provide a significant boost to the nation's social safety net. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Climate Change, Kamala Harris, Urgency, Infrastructure Plan