ASI may be doing great work, but it shies away from accepting that it can do a lot more, according to Dilawari, who has worked towards restoring important properties like the Aga Khan Palace in Pune, which was declared unsafe, but was given the Nationally Protected Monument status by ASI, after restoration. “The UNESCO sites are already well looked-after, but the ones outside its realm are hardly cared for. Majority of the funding goes as the salary of the custodians of these properties, but many times the monuments themselves are neglected. Forts are a big example; those that are perched on hilltops are difficult to tend.
“Some have been encroached, and bastis have mushroomed all around the vicinity. Jogeshwari Caves in Mumbai is one such structure that’s seen a lot of encroachment,” says Dilawari, the conservationist responsible for giving a fresh lease of life to the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, the Byculla and the Esplanade House, the original residence of J N Tata, all in Mumbai. An ideal case would be when a monument’s health is looked after in a scientific manner, a good example of which is the restoration of Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, by the Aga Khan Foundation that followed a master plan, he says.
The brain behind which was Projects Director of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, India, Ratish Nanda, who vehemently supports the government’s decision to allocate funds for the nine listed sites. “It’s only rarely that conservationists have reason to rejoice. This is one such moment,” he says. Leading a team of conservationists, he helped conserve the Humayun’s Tomb. He argues that the government’s efforts shouldn’t be trivialised by focusing on the heritage sites the finance minister hasn’t included in his budget speech.
Discover, Explore & Learn more via The New Indian Express | The Great Revival Challenge
By Ayesha Singh | Published: 14th March 2015 10:00 PM | Last Updated: 20th March 2015 12:53 PM
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