By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 1 Sep: Dr Sarla Raman (1926-2022), former Head of Department, Drawing and Painting, DAV (PG) College, Dehradun, breathed her last on 24 August in Mumbai after a prolonged illness as a result of age-related health issues.
Her sound proficiency in being among the earliest tabla players of Dehradun, who in the 1950s had been invited to and participated in musical conferences of those years; accompanied with an expansive understanding of Hindi literature, enriched her expression as a creative artist. She was a ‘Sangeet Visharad’ in music along with a Masters in Hindi Literature as well as in Fine Arts. Her pioneering research on the art forms of Garhwal, titled “Garhwal ki Lok Kalaon ka Shastriya Adhyan”, was immensely appreciated in literary circles, and earned her brilliant academic success along with a Doctorate in the discipline.
The DAV (PG) College, Dehradun, was one of the earliest institutions where courses in Drawing and Painting were started and she, along with her late husband Prof Ranvir Saksena (an artist of repute), were instrumental in ably initiating and teaching these in the early 1960s. As a result of this initiative, most of the early practitioners of fine arts in Dehradun or the Northern region benefited from their tutelage and encouragement.
Her holistic understanding of art practice, philosophical and aesthetical indulgences, not only made her an able and loved teacher, but also provided a new thrust towards research in the field of fine arts. As a result of this, she remained a guide and mentor to a large number of academicians heading the discipline in the universities of Northern and Central India, along with several practicing artists.
Her personality emitted affection, understanding and concern, and possessed a ‘Sahridaya Vyaktitva’, admired by people from all walks of life in the several decades of her artistic and academic career. She lived a fulfilling life of 96 years and can be considered an assimilation of the finer aspects of creative and aesthetic sensibilities.
Her life was a true celebration of creative achievements. Her ability to accept challenges with confidence and a smile made her an able administrator with the single- minded aim of celebrating the creative spirit.
Her loss is deeply mourned by her students, admirers, friends and members of the family.
Her immediate family comprises Somitra Saxena, Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Consulting, Kaiser Permanente, Northern California, USA; Sanchita Saxena, Executive Director, Institute of South Asia Studies and the Director of the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies at the UCLA, Berkeley, USA; Rashmi Raghuram, Director, Rupang Centre of Performing Art, Mumbai; SK Raghuram, Country Director, Infineum India Additives Private Limited, Mumbai; Rajeev Lochan, former Director, National Gallery of Modern Art, Union Ministry of Culture; and Yuriko Lochan, eminent artist,
Also mourning her loss are grandchildren Samir Raghuram, Aarti Raghuram, Rohil Saxena and Sanil Saxena.