Not Only Conservation But Also Respecting Our Cultural Heritage Is The Need Of Hour
Post on 16,April 2017   4:00 AM
By - PolyEyes Staff
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It is a fundamental duty as per the Article 51A (f) of Indian constitution i.e. to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.

Also it is an integral part of state and union list:

Union List

Ancient and historical monuments and records, and archaeological sites and remains, declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance.

State List

Libraries, museums and other similar institutions controlled or financed by the State; ancient and historical monuments and records other than those declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance.

Ministry of Culture has suggested amendments to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendments and Validation) Act, 2010 which will give legal powers to Central government pertaining to any modifications and new construction in protected heritage sites.

What is cultural heritage?

Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage.

Cultural Heritage can be distinguished in: 

Built Environment (Buildings, Townscapes, Archaeological remains)

Natural Environment (Rural landscapes, Coasts and shorelines, Agricultural heritage)

Artefacts (Books & Documents, Objects, Pictures)

Significance of heritage: 

  • Built heritage is a significant public good and is recognized by our constitution.
  • It nurtures our collective memories of places and constituent in the identity of particular city.
  • As part of human activity Cultural Heritage produces tangible representations of the value systems, beliefs, traditions and lifestyles.
  •  As an essential part of culture as a whole, Cultural Heritage, contains these visible and tangible traces form antiquity to the recent past.
  • It has invaluable potential to contribute to our knowledge of not just history and the arts, but also science and technology.
  • Several buildings and sites throughout the country, even entire areas or parts of historic cities, are examples of sustainable development.
  • Knowledge gained from such resources can provide constructive ways to address development challenges.

Conflicts arising from legalizing the amendment:

 If the 2016 bill is cleared by Parliament, such construction could happen in the immediate vicinity of protected properties of national importance and as we know historic structures and archaeological remains are most susceptible to heavy vibrations, chemical effects or mechanical stresses in this zone. It will degrade the environment and these sites remain prone to damage.

Giving legal powers to the Central government with respect to new construction in protected sites will suppress existing bodies like the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and National Monuments’ Authority (NMA) Proposals in the note, there are some proposals that seem to be unviable:

  • Construction of elevated road nearby Akbar’s tomb this would visually obliterate the historical structure: Traffic movement and automobile fumes would scar an elaborately painted gateway.
  • Rani-Ki-Vav in Patan, Gujarat is slated to be the site for a railway track: Cranes and piles operating in the vicinity will cause excessive vibrations.

Conclusion: Conservation of heritage should be seen as a priority to human need and development and therefore should be kept aloof undamaged. A survey and proper analysis of the sites is very important as the cultural heritage cannot be reconstructed once it is damaged, government as well as citizens should take the responsibility of safeguarding these exclusive heritage with rich history. Simply using these sites as bait for tourists is unethical and lead to unauthorized uncontrolled exploitation. Physical planning and urban development can keep heritage value aside.



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