Nek Chand’s rock garden lies in neglect, PAU says no funds to maintain it

The industrial city, like Chandigarh, was fortunate enough to have a small Rock Garden created by Nek Chand almost 35 years back.

However, due to the callous attitude towards art shown by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), a small beautiful patch of land behind College of Agriculture, once filled with Nek Chand's sculptures, now lies in a state of neglect.

It was in the 1970s when Dr M S Randhawa, the then vice-chancellor known for his love for art and culture, made all the efforts to gift Ludhiana with this Rock Garden and Nek Chand was invited to design it. He also gifted some of his sculptures to the varsity. The garden was named 'Nek Chand Rock Garden', the name still etched on one of the stones lying there.

"Randhawa was my dear friend and invited me two-three times to visit the garden. I gifted some sculptures to PAU but after his demise, all I have heard is all the sculptures are missing from there. No one contacted me after Randhawa's demise from PAU," Nek Chand told Newsline from Chandigarh.

Asked about the attitude shown by the varsity, he said, "I need an answer from them. Where have all the sculptures vanished? Do they have an answer? One thing is for sure, we are not gifting anything to PAU now."

Drooping plants, broken lights, dysfunctional fountains and stagnant water under the rock bridge — that is what remains now.

Dr Jagtar Dhiman, now additional director research, who was then a student, said, "I remember the musical lights and sound of water flowing from fountains and students studying in groups in the garden. It was our favourite spot at PAU."

A team from India and UK of the Nek Chand Foundation which visited the varsity on March 2, 2012, in its remarks, said "not even a single sculpture was found in garden".

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