Maintaining balance between personal and professional life has always been considered as a challenge. But with the bonding of the family, many women have paved their way to success and Mallika Mitra is no exception for setting another example to the younger generations.
Mallika is serving as Director of The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) since last 21 Years. As Chief Conservator, she has been working on conservation of manuscripts, paintings, restoration of buildings and monuments, museum establishment.
Besides, she was a visiting faculty for conservation of art and material heritage.
Though she has been doing a lot of assignments, Mallika gave all the credit to her family. “I am thankful to my parents for having groomed me to adjust and educate myself,” she said.
She also said, “My mom in law is the greatest support for me who has actually persuaded me to get into this profession. My husband is an all-time support pillar.”
A confident Mallika says “I love to live my family life in a joint family of 8 members and proud to be a mother of a single daughter,” she added.
Mallika did not forget to thank her best friend who has been an inspiration for her to smile in the most difficult situations.
In an interview to Sefali Suman, she shared about her professional as well as her personal life.
- You are a student of science. How is it that you got interested in culture and heritage?
Being born and brought up in Odisha, I always loved the rich cultural heritage of the State. As a matter of fact soon after completion of my Post Graduation in Chemistry which is a scientific study, I got involved in conservation of cultural heritage and this helped me in my profession.
- INTACH has developed Raghurajpur, the village of Pattachitra artists and Padmanabhpur village of Ganjam, famous for its weavers and folk dancers. What other projects INTACH in Odisha has undertaken?
INTACH in Odisha after Raghurajpur, has taken major projects like restoration of Jobra Irrigation Workshop and its Establishment into Odisha State Maritime Museum, restoration of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Birth Place at Cuttack, restoration of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Parental house in Puri and its eventual conversion into Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Museum.
We have also done conservation and restoration work of more than 30 important protected temples and monuments of Odisha.
Besides, the INTACH has also taken steps to conserve and restore Ranimahal palace at Sambalpur, VSS town hall at Sambalpur, British Building at Hukitola, Kendrapada and Ganjam Fort at Potagarh etc.
- Odisha has a rich cultural heritage. But it is felt that the monuments, temples, etc have not been properly maintained. What is your view and what steps should be taken?
More and more public awareness should be created. Custodians of heritage property should allocate funds for the regular maintenance, cleaning and periodic conservation of the property.
- Whether the State Government cooperates and assists in preserving cultural heritage? What is the plan of INTACH, Bhubaneswar for developing the heritage sites of Odisha?
The state Government has been very kind enough to entrust INTACH Bhubaneswar/ Odisha with the responsibility of carrying of conservation and restoration work of its major important sites.
INTACH proposes for conservation of the heritage sites but summiting detail project reports, then executes the conservation work if approved by the competent authority, proposes the maintenance proposal after completion of conservation work.
Awareness on heritage through school children, programmes, teachers’ training, heritage academy etc should be spread.
- There are many palm leaf manuscripts of ancient poets of Odisha. How are they being preserved?
There is a specific scientific procedure for conservation work of palm leaf manuscripts starting from their opening , chemical consolidation and cleaning, repair and reinforcement, storage etc.
- Conservation of culture heritage sites and its publicity will attract tourists. What steps are taken in this regard?
The Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Odisha are taking adequate steps for conservation of the cultural heritage sites. INTACH is involved in proposing conservation and adaptive reuse plan, execution, planning for maintenance and revenue generation for future maintenance.
- Last but not the least, as a working woman, how you have maintained your personal and professional life?
It is fairly difficult but when maintained the balance between the personal and professional life, it becomes easier. Moreover, the cooperation of family plays a vital role in maintaining the equilibrium.