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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1.      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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.