This is a guest post by RAHUL SHARMA
Why do we, if at all we do, really care about our material cultural heritage? Is it because it reminds us of what was, and is, good and great in humanity? Or is it the case that we look at a cultural objet and recognise that it is the Ozymandias complex materialized, that even the great and the mighty fail? Or is it that we may never attain the great heights in purity, simplicity, or other qualities we idolize and project on the remnants of the times past?
Or maybe we just want the tourism dollars and euros. Be that as it may, only someone obtuse, or with exaggerated tendency towards the behavior philistine, would say that our cultural heritage, our miniature paintings, our ruins, our tombs, forts, wall paintings, temples, mosques , books, manuscripts, and other things this essay is too short to quantify, are not worth preserving. Also note here that I said we, because we might be a bunch of separate kingdoms and separate principalities earlier, but deep down, we were one people, separated by religion and language, but united (willingly or unwillingly), by the plain and simple fact that you can’t chose your neighbor.
Continue reading How We Destroy our Future by Proxy – On The Ruination of Ruins: Rahul Sharma
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) received a letter from the Jamiat-ul Ulama-e-Hind. The letter wanted 31 protected mosques to be opened for prayers. “Although the commission was not very keen that heritage monuments should be opened for prayers, it decided to suggest a joint survey for ascertaining the condition of these mosques.” Officials from the NCM, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Wakf Board will carry out the joint inspection according to the suggestion made by the commission in its letter sent to the Ministry of Culture towards the end of July.
This reference made by the NCM needs to be looked at a little carefully, because the issue is not likely to remain restricted to these 31 mosques nor will it remain confined to Delhi. The reference impinges on questions of law and will eventually inform our attitude to the wider question of heritage protection. Continue reading Saving our heritage
(First published in the May 2010 issue of Terrascape. Photographs by HIMANSHU JOSHI.)
I am old and cranky and am getting balder and cynical by the day, I have started looking more and more like the medieval ruins that I haunt. This haunting of forgotten ruins, is probably the reason why I am a little out of touch with T20, IPL and such other earth shaking events. This is also perhaps why I tend to get more than a little edgy when people begin to talk of memorable matches, great catches and those classic innings, the moment I say Firozeshah Kotla ! These gentlemen and ladies have, in most cases, nothing to do with the game, that G.B.Shaw despised so vehemently, and yet they are all chronic enthusiasts of the game. Continue reading Gallows, Memorial, Prison, Fort, Lost City