Monday, October 26, 2020



Karuna Goswamy(1940-2020)

This girl from Amritsar who came to Chandigarh to do her MA in history, finally married  the world  renowned art historian ,writer ,  scholar and teacher ,  Padam Bhushan Dr B. N. Goswamy  in 1964 .Dr B N Goswamy taught at  Punjab University , Chandigarh  where he spent his entire career, with short stints in universities of Heidelberg, California and Zurich.

  Dr B. N.Goswamy and Karuna  devoted their life  to Indian Art and created some exceptional books on Pahari   and Minature  Art in particular. The couple wrote about thirty scholarly books on Art  . 

While Dr B N Goswamy rediscovered Nain Sukh,Shiv Raina and Manaku, Karuna brought forth some unknown facets of Kashmir Art  in her book "Kashmiri Paintings " . The couple toured many places within the country and outside  spreading glory of  Indian Art more specifically the  miniature art of Himalayan hills. Karuna also became a member of the Faculty of Arts at Punjab University, Chandigarh.

As art historian, Karuna Goswamy's  work is distinguished by the use of materials and sources too often ignored by others. I have always admired Karuna's capacity to elaborate and go deep into her subject. This is evident from  below listed eight   books that she authored after extensive research.

(1)“Vaishnavism in the Punjab Hills and Pahari Painting” .This book is based on  thesis for her doctorate degree.

(2)‘Wondrous Images: Krishna seen as Shrinath-ji (Pichhwais of the Vallabha Sampradaya)’.

(3)‘The Dussehra of Kulu: History and Analysis of a Cultural Phenomenon’ 

(4) Kashmiri  Paintings.

(5) Sacred Trees And Indian Life.

(6) The Glory of the Great Goddess. An illustrated manuscript from Kashmir from the Alice Boner Collection in the Museum Rietberg Zürich.

(7) Diliparanjani (An 18th Century Chronicle of a Hill State in Verse)

(8) Wall Paintings from Sujanpur Tira .

Karuna loved music,dance and poetry. She lived a happy and contented life devoting more than eight  hours per day to her work.She had friends all over the world that included some well known artists and art historians. She delivered  lectures  in many well known universities world over , attended conferences and presented papers on Indian Art.

Devoted to arts, Karuna and Dr B.N. Goswamy would give classical music and dance concerts to each other as birthday gifts.

As philonthropist ,  Karuna was associated with many causes.She contributed, both monetarily and with her time, to these causes, in a self-effacing manner.  Open any book of Indian Art written after 1980 , you will find its author expressing gratitude to Dr B.N.Goswamy or Karuna for the liberal help that came  his way from either of them .
The Goswamys settled in  Chandigarh ,a city that gave them everthing. They raised two children, Apurva and Malavika, who chose their  independent career paths. Karuna was a cheerful grandmother.

Karuna’s father, Dr Shiv Kumar, was a distinguished physician of Amritsar . she was the eldest of four sisters and a brother.  She studied at the Sacred Heart School in Amritsar.

She breathed her last yesterday  at PGI , Chandigarh where she was admitted with multiple respiratory problems. She was admitted to PGI , Chandigarh after testing positive to Covod-19 .

Karuna, who had retired as a Professor at the department of History, PU, Chandigarh would have turned 80 next month.

Peace be upon her soul. 

(Avtar Mota)


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