More than six months after 6,000 books donated by Kapila Vatsyayan, founder-director of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), were removed from the centre’s galleries and packed into a godown, a spruced-up section in the centre’s library wing was inaugurated on Tuesday to house about 7,000 books and 3,000 periodicals donated by her.
About her collection finding space in a special section in the library, Vatsayan said that she “felt very strange, as one is just an instrument for all these things and rare works reaching the readers”.
In April this year, The Indian Express had reported that Vatsyayan, 89, considered close to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, was very upset over the news that her collection had been removed after having been displayed in the gallery for nearly a decade. She had reached the centre and protested till IGNCA member secretary Sachidananda Joshi apologised to her and assured her that her collection will be displayed in a better matter.
On Tuesday, Vatsyayan praised former PM Rajiv Gandhi and recalled how the idea of the IGNCA was to be an autonomous centre for arts and how Rajiv had left it to her to work out the details. “There was a three-page concept note and he told me he did not know of the details and I should just work it out,” she said. Vatsyayan also recalled how she returned from the US, determined to take forward and immerse herself more in Indian culture.
IGNCA chairman Ram Bahadur Rai, who also spoke at the function, said, “He (Rajiv Gandhi) did very good work with the right advisors like Kapila Vatsyayan, but when dalals surrounded him, they dragged him down,” Rai said.