Nek Chand is first Asian to get International Living Heritage Medal


An ardent Nek Chand admirer, he has been promoting the Rock Garden for 15 years. Now, he has given Chandigarh more news to cheer about.

It was Rajer who documented Nek Chand’s artworks and recommended his case to the Living Heritage Society, which, he said, has only given the award to Europeans and Americans.

Nek Chand, for his part, was humbled by the gesture. All he said was, “The Nek Chand Foundation has done more than it could in promoting the Garden’s cause. I am touched.” Rajer, who is a special guest of Nek Chand, has, meanwhile, finalised the programme for the Rock Garden’s diamond jubilee year celebrations to be held in November next year.

He has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is likely to inaugurate the celebrations in Chandigarh next year. But before that, the Nek Chand Foundation (NCF) has planned several events, especially for December 15, which is Nek Chand’s birthday. Other events include a city-wide competition to design the official flag of the Rock Garden, a contest for children who will be asked to draw their favourite spot in the
garden.

The NCF has also instituted a special scholarship – the Cynthia Johnson scholarship — for those who work on the Garden with Nek Chand. Said Rajer,” Cynthia Johnson visited the Rock Garden in January, 2006. She was so overwhelmed that she donated money to the NCF to institute a scholarship and promote people’s interest in the Rock Garden.”

Back home in the USA, Rajer is writing a colour book on the Rock Garden. But t important to him and the NCF is the completion of Rock Garden’s Phase III, which is progressing at a snail’s pace.

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