Hampi site, India
In India the size of historic monuments and cultural heritage centers is simply impressive: no less than 405 individual monuments and sites with new archaeological excavations and discoveries happening constantly.
Unfortunately, the damage to heritage sites it is not uncommon in the vast and highly populated country. Irresponsible tourism, inadequate renovations, vandalism or lack of knowledge are some of the causes to blame. But, as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) puts it, the biggest enemy of the monument is the scribbling on the monuments by students and other youngsters. To tackle this and other problems the ASI launched its ‘Adopt a Heritage’ program in a bid to involve the public in conservation of historical monuments that are not protected by any national or international body.
Under this program, the conservation work is carried out in three main broad categories:
1. Chemical Preservation
2. Structural Conservation
3. Contemporary Awareness Program
It is the third category that attracts my attention as I am convinced of the power of education to transform reality. To accomplish the Contemporary Awareness Program ‘‘the citizens of India in general and students in specific are being roped in by the government to spread awareness and advertise about the preservation of the heritage. Many seminars are being organized every year where the students are lectured not only about the basic steps each can take individually on this issue but also are made familiarized with the amount of money, time, expertise and labour that goes into protecting these structures via chemical and other methods’’ the ASI explains.
The Indian Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) goes further and ‘‘grants students better marks if they pledge and take the initiative to conserve the heritage sites’’.
‘‘he CBSE has instructed the schools to involve their students in the protection of monuments in their vicinity and encourage them to organize seminars, quizzes, skits and exhibitions on heritage conservation’’.
‘‘According to CBSE, organizing such activities will help the students to score better in their continuous and comprehensive evaluation from up to class X for social science’’. (Read the whole article here)
Some of the practical steps that the students are encouraged to follow are:
1. Prevent ourselves and others from scribbling on the walls.
2. Participating in the regular Cleanliness Drives.
3. Being a part of the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ initiative
4. Spreading awareness around about these monuments and their importance.
Rakhigarhi, India — Dating back 5,000 years, and one of South Asia's largest, oldest Indus Valley civilization sites. Under threat due to development pressures, insufficient management, and looting.
Rakhigarhi, India (http://www.tribuneindia.com/1999/99sep18/saturday/head14.htm)
India’s National Culture Fund
Archaeological Survey of India
Global Heritage Fund