Pearl Narang

Pearl Narang is a final year law student of B.B.A.LL.B (Hons.) at Chandigarh University, Mohali and is currently interning as a Trainee in Business World Legal Community. She is also pursuing a diploma in Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She is passionate about both law and writing.

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Amritsar Based Artist Claims Copyright Over Iconic Jallianwala Bagh Painting

Local Artist Atul Mehra wrote a Facebook post claiming that he had the right to call himself as its creator since he was responsible for restoring the vivid painting from damage.

The Jallianwala painting dates back to 1970s

The Jallianwala Bagh Painting is a masterpiece that depicts one of the most harrowing tragedies in Indian history. It was created during the 1970s.  

During a visit to the memorial, civil servant Dr MS Randhawa conceived the idea of a museum. Several well-known artists were invited to send sketches on the theme. Some of the most prominent artists sent sketches, but Jaswant Singh’s work caught eyeballs.   

Artist claims copyright for repairing damaged painting at the Jallianwala Memorial 

Atul Mehra, an artist from Amritsar is the head of one of the oldest schools of painting — the Indian Academy of Fine Arts in Amritsar. The artist in his Facebook posts stated 

“noteworthy paintings can be found at the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial in Amritsar. The 17.5-foot-long canvas depicts the stark reality of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The vivid portrayal of General Dyer’s men shooting every Indian at sight wrenches the heart of every visitor to the memorial even today”.

Mehra went on to claim that decades back the painting was damaged by termites. This is why Sukumar Mukherjee requested him to repair the damaged painting. On being questioned how he could claim it was his creation, Mehra said since he had restored the painting by repairing the damage, he had the right to call himself as its creator. 

Jaswant Singh’s son expresses shock over copyright claim over his father's original creation

The claims made by Mehra left Jaswant Singh’s Delhi-based son Harinder Singh and daughter-in-law Aparna Caur in shock. The son of the late artist described Atul Mehra's campaign as a malicious one. He affirmed that the copyright of the painting belongs to his father.The Tribune quoted his son Harinder Singh saying,

“It is a moral and legal offence to copy a dead painter’s work, present it as your own and put it at the same public place where the original has been placed.” He further said, “The painting was commissioned to my father by Dr. MS Randhawa. Atul Mehra is blatantly bragging on Facebook that it is his painting. This is shameful on his part and also for Punjab and the Central Government to allow such a malicious campaign. This is my father’s copyright because he is the creator of the painting.”  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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