Fresco of Ranjit Singh era destroyed

Mr Jasbir Singh Bhatia, a research scholar on Sikh portraits brought the broken pieces to The Tribune office, revealed that this was the rarest wall painting and seemed to be made during Maharaja's era. He said the painting has shown Maharaja Ranjit Singh in white and black beard and also having a halo behind his head which is rare to be found. In t of paintings Maharaja is shown in white beard and halo.

Mr Bhatia expressed his anguish over the attitude of Government which had failed to preserve such rarest treasure. He said government should have identified such heritage and preserve them with available latest techniques.

He said the painting seemed to have been made before 1830-32 when Maharaja Ranjit Singh was alive. He said majority of paintings found were of after 1838 having the influence of British painters and made after his death. He revealed that in 1838, Emily Edan, a British painter had painted a picture in a pose which became very famous and adopted by many artists later on. However, this painting had not such influence as this had shown Maharaja Ranjit Singh holding a rose and a man waving a cloth 'chanwar', he added.

Mr Bhatia said Maharaja has been shown a s sitting on Golden Chair embedded with various precious stones along with Maharaja Kharak Singh, Maharaja Sher Singh, Maharaja Naunihal Singh, Sardar Lehna Singh etc. He said in the facial expression and cloth wearing style showed their status in the Darbar.

He said the painting seemed to be the result of Rajput artisan having Rajasthan technique. The base of painting have been prepared with successive layers of limestone, brick powder, white clay mixed with coat of bone and shell powder, curd, milk and honey. This technique is known as 'Pore' technique of Rajasthani art in vogue before the beginning of 20th century.

Ms Mejinderpal Kaur, Director, United Sikhs Organisation, a human development organisation said that their organisation would do their best to play any role which they were asked to play to preserve such structures and paintings. She said it would be short-sightedness of us if we failed to appreciate and preserve them. She expressed dismay over the government's attitude towards preserving our heritage.

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