India’s heritage seems to be in a major crisis.
As a nation, India has not really cared for its historical legacy and day by day, it seems to get worse. Recently Comptrollers and Auditor General of India came out with its take on how the historical sites and legacy is being maintained by the Government. What comes out is shocking.
Let us look at some of the examples:
This institutional malaise exists in the National Museum as well where, apparently, one-third of its 22 galleries were closed, some like the Manuscript Gallery for as long as eight years. The Art Purchase Committee of the Museum has been defunct for many years and an enquiry in 2010-11 showed that the last purchase of art objects was done in 1997. Then, there are major safety issues in India’s premier museum. The alarm system and the CCTV in the Coin Gallery was not working from 2007 till 2011 even while regular maintenance charges were being paid for them. Not surprisingly, there had been 156 cases of theft/loss of art objects with 122 in the Anthropology Department and 33 relating to coins. One wonders whether the devastating findings that the National Museum inspection revealed, are being addressed. (Hurting our Heritage)
Over 40% of the buildings have been encroached in Karnataka.
As many as 19 of 47 monuments jointly inspected had either been encroached upon or had buildings constructed adjacent to them. Most technical staff responsible for heritage conservation lack heritage management and have also not been trained.
This malaise and attitude is common in most states across India. For example the situation in Calcutta is very similar:
The CAG report (2010-11) on the National Library in Kolkata, is also an eye-opener. During 2003-09, the physical certification of the collection had only been done in two of the 39 divisions and revealed that more than 5% of the 70,000 books in the Old English Division were ‘missing’. Moreover, readers did not seem to be the library’s priority.
When the Government agencies cannot take care of our historical legacy, they should be made accountable and a total over-haul done in its organization and structure. This heritage could be a BIG money spinner, if used properly. But, instead, we are losing everything.
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