AGARTALA: An NGO condemned the Tripura government for using the Durbar Hall of Ujjayanta Palace, home and headquarters of the erstwhile Manikya dynasty of the previous princely-ruled northeast state, for hosting dinner for the delegates of the Science-20 conference under India's G20 presidency in Agartala.
Royal scion and convenor of the Tripura chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), M.K. Pragya Deb Burman, condemned the hosting of dinner on April 3 at the Durbar Hall of Ujjayanta Palace, saying that, as the name indicates, the Durbar Hall was not merely a room but a historical and sacred place. "Durbar Hall has been held dear and has been respected for over 122 years in our state, by one and all. It was used for the coronation of the rulers of Tripura, which was religious in nature, and for important, official purposes, never for entertainment or dining," she said.
With the participation of 150 delegates, including delegates from 12 G-20 members, including China, the US, UK, Australia, and Brazil, the two-day Science-20 conference, held under India's G20 presidency, was held in Agartala on Monday and Tuesday. Deb Burman said that even when the Ujjayanta Palace was used as the state assembly building in the past, prior to becoming the state multicultural museum in 2013, it was used for official purposes by the Speaker of the Assembly.
"Unfortunately, the identity of the Durbar Hall is being tarnished now by the state government, and this has shocked us. On the one hand, they speak of respecting our centuries-old Indian culture, the visionary Maharajas, and our rich historic past, but on the other hand, parties are held; such hypocrisy must be known and be condemned by the people," the INTACH convenor said.
She said that the dinner can be hosted in a hotel, but the authorities suddenly decided that the Durbar Hall should be used for the entertainment of the delegates.
"The horribly placed statue where the throne used to be and the gaudy dining arrangement in the hall are insulting and show disrespect to our heritage. I sincerely hope that this sacred space will not be converted in the future into a party or dining room. There were plans by the Museum authorities to recreate the Durbar Hall for the purpose of educating our fellow citizens, but with this attitude, we fear the worst and ask the state government of Tripura to honour our historic spaces and give them the dignity they deserve," Deb Burman said in a statement. (IANS)