Alma Mater, which literally means “benign mother”. Indeed, one’s school and/or college is a benign mother that grooms us to face challenges in life by nurturing us right from our childhood to adulthood.
This realization has been at the core of this book. Even as I began my teaching career at the Government College of Art, Chandigarh, a desire had started taking root in my mind to bring forth the history of this institution, garnished with bio-sketches of important personalities associated with it. How and from where had our institution originated? Where are its roots? Students of art and art lovers alike wanted to read the authentic history of this institution: its source, its founders, its makers, its vision, and its growth.
Today, the GCA continues to uphold the progressive vision propounded by John Lockwood Kipling about 140 years ago. Though academic, rather art-and-craft-oriented in approach, the college remains a cultural hub of excellence, which with time has extended its range and is willing to take up fresh challenges to sail towards new frontiers of multi-form creativity.
I started working on this book in the year 2009, when I took over as Principal of this institution. It has taken a rather long time to complete because every time I thought I had completed the project some new development would impel me to rethink, research and write further about my alma mater. In the course of collecting material for this book, I was fortunate to travel and interact with the eminent students produced by our institution and meet accomplished pupils of those teachers who were as much dedicated to their profession as they were artistically gifted. It was both a pleasure and an honor seeing their personal works in their collections and listen to their families about their illustrious ancestors. This extended exercise, which imparted a new perspective to this narration, required several revisions.
A thorough research, writing and compiling of this book became possible because of the generous support and encouragement of friends and well-wishers. I wish to acknowledge and express my gratitude to all the individuals who have contributed towards the making of this project, which appears in a coffee-table book format.
I have tried my best to collect and document as much information as possible. I own up all omissions and commissions, which the discerning reader might come across in this book. Since this is a pioneering effort, there will certainly be many shortcomings. Any feedback on this score, as well as any other relevant suggestions and information, shall enable the updating the contents in future editions. I am sure the perceptive readers would oblige me with their candid comments, suggestions, and additional information.
Any unintended omission may please be forgiven.
Prof D S Kapoor