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Artistic community in thrall of Mallaah

August 11th, 2019

It was a great launch for the SGMF-commissioned Mallaah series by award-winning photographer Shibu Arakkal on August 11.

A project that is close to the hearts of the Founders and the ideals of the Foundation – to help preserve India’s intangible heritage – the photography series showcases one of the most talked about and well-chronicled events in Indian history: the Kumbh Mela.

Yet, that’s where the Foundation differs from the norm, and exactly why someone of the caliber of Shibu was chosen for the project. With Shibu what you see is not what you get, it’s how he perceives. Travelling to the Ardh Kumbh at Prayagraj earlier this year, Shibu captured the untold story of the Kumbh, the lesser-known facet of the humungous event, which captures and captivates not just our countrymen, but visitors from all over the globe.

It’s phenomenal; yet, Shibu has managed to unravel a mystery that’s been waiting to be revealed. The Mallaah are the boatmen who are intrinsically connected to the Kumbh, plying visitors and pilgrim’s day in and day out to the holy bathing site. They are a community that’s forever entwined with the Kumbh, but in the same context, they are seldom talked about.

There’s also the fear that they are a fast-vanishing community; the tricks and nuances of the trade having been passed on from generation to generation, from father to son there is this overwhelming fear - to those in the knowhow – that a day may come when the younger generation may move from the boats into the big, wide world.

What happens then? What happens to the Kumbh without these Mallaah? True, there is still time for that but for now we can be in a state of flux as the Mallaahs, so brilliantly captured by Shibu – from the wizened old ones in the trade to the innocent, young ones with hope in their eyes and hearts.

This is the fascinating story that Shibu has captured in the exclusive single-edition photography series.

The evening was well-attended one with artists from different genre making their way to the exclusive preview of the show. Senior artists and photographers like Milind Nayak, Sudhir Ramachandran, Gurudas Shenoy, and Waseem Khan had high praise for Shibu’s storyline and technical expertise.

Sandeep Maini welcomed the gathering and touched base on how the Foundation, the brainchild of Gitanjali Maini, endeavours to promote art and culture and how projects such as these are fulfilling. The founders were also highly appreciative of the artistic community that turned out in good numbers, giving the artist and thereby the Foundation the conviction and belief to pursue and execute projects of varied nature to preserve our country’s rich and intangible heritage.

RANGASHANKARA Theatre festival for children

July 14th-20th, 2019

Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation is proud to support the RANGASHANKARA theatre festival for children to be held between 14th and 20th July 2019 at Rangashankara.

Three Bestsellers In A Row

July 4th, 2019

Author Manu Pillai launched his 3rd book titled 'The Courtesan, The Mahatma and The Italian Brahmin: Tales from Indian History' on 4th July 2019, at gallery g. The event that was hosted by Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation (who supported the author in publishing his second book 'Rebel Sultans: The Deccan from Khilji to Shivaji') saw a packed house with an audience of more than 175 people in attendance.

The author was in conversation with novelist Anita Nair from Bangalore and Lakshmi Pratury, Founder of INKTalks. After reading a short excerpt from his book Manu took the audience through various instances and incidents from history that have featured in his stories.

There was much excitement in the audience as they peppered the author with questions ranging from history to politics and then some.

Supporting Art at the Florence Biennale

April 10th, 2019

Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation will support Bangalore-based artist Sangeeta Abhay for her participation in the upcoming XII Florence Biennale, to be held between 18 and 27 October 2019 at Florence, Italy. The Biennale, one of the most prestigious art events held in Europe, draws much participation from Indian artists. This year Sangeeta Abhay plans to display one work of art, based on The Buddha and his message of Peace, at the Biennale.

"Sangeeta has always thought differently and has strived to create a niche for herself in the world of art. She puts her heart and soul into her work, and it reflects clearly in the work she creates. I personally lover her style, her eye for detail and her penchant for perfection. It speaks highly of her integrity as an artist. The Foundation is very happy to support her for the Florence Biennale and we look forward to seeing her special creation that she has planned for display there," said Gitanjali Maini, Founder.

Gallery of Cultural Legacy of Raja Ravi Varma

April 2019

Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation has formally adopted the Gallery of Cultural Legacy of Raja Ravi Varma at Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village, Manipal. The museum, which houses the chromolithographic press equipment that was salvaged by Sri Vijayanath Shenoy from the Ravi Varma Press in Malavli, also has a collection of original chromist-made prints from the press, along with litho stones that were used in the printing press.

Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village is one of most well-maintained private museums in the country and the Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation is proud to have partnered with them to preserve this heritage gem.

Innovation in Education — The New Responsibilities of Teachers

February 2019

Sandeep and Gitanjali Maini Foundation was proud to be associated with the Centre for Cultural Resources Training, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, in the 445th Orientation Course for ‘in-service teachers’ in Bengaluru in February.

The 17-day long Orientation Program at the District Institute of Education and Training witnessed a sizeable participation from elementary and primary school teachers from across the country.

CEO TS Prasad gave an interesting talk on Innovation in Education — The New Responsibilities of Teachers. Given the current scenario and the changing dynamics of society which is moving at a fast pace there is an intense need for teachers to embrace the new-age philosophy with the children’s technological quotient being at an all-time high.

His talk centred around the fact that classroom teaching is no more a passive learning scenario and children being inquisitive in nature have to be dealt with a different approach.

The primary stakeholders, he felt were the institutions and he also urged the need to revisit the policy, curriculum to help both the educators and the students. Educators need to keep the instructions simple and provide real-time examples with graphics. Honing language and computer skills for the educators are necessary to keep up with the demands of the society.

“Innovation is not always expensive or larger-than-life initiative; on the contrary, the essence lies in creating maximum value from minimal investment of scarce resources,” said Prasad.

Fostering Art & Heritage at the KMB Students' Biennale 2018

December 12th, 2018

Conceived with the general idea of promoting art and culture and spreading educational activities, Kochi Muziris Biennale has become the talking point and destination for all artists, Indian and international.

Whenever we talk of art and culture, education, in general and pedagogy in particular is a way of elucidating and influencing the viewers through a narrative that is far-reaching and invigorating.

Having partnered with KMB, the country’s only art festival from the inaugural edition, albeit in an individual capacity until 2016, SGMF has been elevated to the level of Platinum Patron. The current edition of the KMB is under way at Fort Kochi and SGMF has strengthened its association and brand value by embarking on several measures.

KMB is widely acclaimed and has become a global talking point given that the country is and has been home to artists of all genres. SGMF, which firmly believes in supporting young talent, is one of the Education Partners for the Student Biennale which runs concurrently with the main theme.

Rebel Sultans, a box office hit

October 9th, 2018

Rebel Sultans by Manu S Pillai was formally launched in Delhi yesterday by Shashi Tharoor. Just three months since it’s release, the book is already in its 3rd print, making a total of 10,000 copies already.

The event was a runaway success and the hall was packed to the rafters, so to say, with the enthusiastic crowd jostling for every inch of space. Some even made it cool by sitting on the steps and the aisles!

Maini Divas Art Competition

July 15th, 2018

Maini Divas was celebrated with the usual pomp and splendour to celebrate Maini Group Founder Dr. S.K. Maini’s birthday. As has been the norm for the last 25 years, it was a day to rejoice, reminisce and be regaled as the event proved to be a runaway hit.

The Sandeep and Gitanjali Maini Foundation conducted an art competition for the children of the Maini Group employees to spot budding talents. There were plenty of takers as the young ones took the challenge to showcase their skills and let their imagination soar.

The theme for the competition was Environment Awareness and the winners went home with a goody bag and a smile on their faces.

Supporting A Classy Writer

July 5th, 2018

Author Manu S. Pillai released his second book, Rebel Sultans, on 5th July 2018. The book has been published by Juggernaut and is largely supported by the Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation.

Rebel Sultans is the second book of Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar winner Manu S Pillai. The book has already received praise from William Dalrymple, Muzaffar Alam, and others, and The Hindu carried a conversation between Dalrymple and Manu recently. It was released by former foreign secretary Ms Nirupama Rao, and the author discussed the book with The Hindu's own Vaishna Roy, editor of the Sunday Magazine.

The discussion revolved around the Sultanates of the Deccan, the Vijayanagar Empire, and various other issues.

This is the first time the Foundation has supported a literary work. Rebel Sultans, which released world-wide in June 2018, marked record sales when its first print line of 5000 copies sold in under a month. The book has already gone into second print and promises to be one of the fastest selling ones on the shelves.

A short essay based on the book published can be found on: also find an excerpt from a chapter published in FirstPost.

Promoting an Artistic Legacy

April 29th, 2018

The philosophy of the Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation (SGMF) has always been to promote art and culture, one of the most overlooked, but significant sectors in social development. In keeping with this ideology the release of ‘Hidden Truth’ Raja Ravi Varma: The Inside Story, a project undertaken by The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, was supported wholeheartedly by SGMF.

Rukmini Varma, chairperson of The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, who is also the author of this book, is an acclaimed artist in her own right, while also being the sole custodian of Ravi Varma’s artist legacy. Being the legendary artist’s great great granddaughter, she was privy to a lot of facts and stories narrated to her by her grandmother Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, the last Maharani of Travancore, and other elders of the family.

Rukmini Varma has chronicled facts about Ravi Varma’s inner psyche, offering a glimpse into the artist’s mind - how he thought, his inspiration and several other pertinent facts that offer a much deeper insight into his life and work. Much of what she has penned was jotted down by Ravi Varma himself in pages of a book that the author happened to chance upon.

‘Hidden Truth’ Raja Ravi Varma: The Inside Story was officially launched on 29th April 2018, the 170th birth anniversary of the artist. The audience comprised of art lovers who had deep appreciation for Ravi Varma’s work and were eager to learn more about him through Rukmini Varma’s book.

Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village

Hasta Shilpa or hand-carved art is an apt name as the founder, single-handedly, has come up with this Hasta Shilpa Heritage village in Manipal. Literally, it is the hands of Vijayanath Shenoy that has shaped this mecca of heritage in a single space. He took it upon himself as a personal crusade to reinstate the rich heritage of the state.

It goes unsaid that architecture is an integral part of a country’s history and prominence lie in its heritage. In simple terms, it speaks of the past glory through the heritage. It has painstakingly assembled rich culture, be it cuisine, customs, arts and of course, architecture.

Founders’ Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini visited Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village, Manipal. This is ongoing progression for promoting Art and Culture, while sustaining the historical conservation of Architecture.

SGMF, in its own humble way, helps keep the rich heritage alive. SGMF has provided Eco-friendly transportation buggies for the use of visitors. SGMF also provides financial assistance to help upkeep the place.

The foundation is constantly making an effort to propagate and spread awareness of the Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village in several forums.

Protecting the Asian Elephant

MSKK is actively engaged in supporting and protecting the Asian elephant, an endangered species whose numbers have dropped by a whopping 90% in the last 100 years. The NGO Elephant Family supports over 160 field projects across the world and they launched a public art event — Elephant Parade — in Mumbai in February 2018. The event was aimed to generate funds to secure elephant corridors across India. It witnessed 101 sculptures of richly painted elephants from leading designers which were auctioned to raise funds. MSKK bid for the artefact Elephant Rukmini in the paddled auction. A splendid creation with acrylic paints, colour stones and varnish by Vinita Chaitanya, Elephant Rukmini is a stunning royal blue, adorned with beautiful temple jewellery.

SGMF’s slice of history at Shravanabelagola

Shravanabelagola is one of the most prominent Jain pilgrimage centres located some 145 kms from Bengaluru. The small town houses the world’s tallest, 57-foot-high monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali.

The highlight of the town is the Mahamastakabhisheka that happens every 12 years. It’s a ten-day long festival that has put the town on the world map and this year’s event held between February 17-26 is reported to have attracted a global audience of around staggering 4 million.

The unique feature of this year’s Mahamastakabhisheka was an art festival on the sidelines of the grand event. The Sandeep and Gitanjali Maini Foundation (SGMF), sponsored a cause dear to it: art.

SGMF has been fostering promotion of art and culture in multiple platforms. True to our philosophy this grand event juxtaposes heritage and art seamlessly and endorses the spirit of Indian culture.

Celebrating with our extended family

Family & Staff Children Celebrate Sankaranthi 2018 together.

Sponsoring India's Future Athletes

Supporting an Indian Taekwondo Bronze medalist who has been invited to Mongolia for Asian Championships. His father is a painter.

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