Lost in Ludhiana: Nek Chand Works Disappear From University Campus
On a recent investigative visit to Ludhiana, members of the Nek Chand Foundation from the UK and India were shocked to find all Nek Chand statues had vanished from a small rock garden on the campus of Punjab Agricultural University. Around twenty to thirty statues and shaped rocks were once installed in the Nek Chand-landscaped area that is a popular meeting place for University staff and students.
‘Not a single sculpture remains’ said UK university academic and Nek Chand Foundation volunteer, John Cross. ‘We were contemplating setting up a program to train PAU students to repair the statues, or even removing them for restoration to the Rock Garden, Chandigarh, but the situation is worse than we anticipated’ said Tracey Shough, a France-based UK artist, currently in India with the Nek Chand Foundation. The garden and statues were a gift from Mr Nek Chand to late PAU Chancellor Dr. M S Randhawa.
Local sources blamed vandalism and deliberate removal for the loss. ‘It is very sad,’ said Mr Nek Chand, 87, creator and director of the internationally renowned Rock Garden, Chandigarh on hearing the news. ‘We will never give them any more statues.’
Chandigarh Nek Chand Foundation Officer Shifa Mahajan, said ‘If only we Indians were more appreciative of the value of Nek Chand’s work then this kind of neglect and damage would not occur.’