Thursday, April 18, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Day - April 18th

Today is UNESCO World Heritage Day, a day dedicated to raise public awareness about the importance and diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts which are needed by us to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability from various elements like encroachment, vandalism e.t.c..The theme for 2012 is 'World Heritage in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention'.

This is what we are fighting against.. Vandalism, Disrespect and Time !!
Clockwise from above - 'Vandalised Walls' of the Western settlement of Sultan Garhi; 'Cracked Pillars' of the 'brittle' cenotaph of Muizuddin Bahram Shah (brother and successor of Razia Sultan); 'broken bottles of beers and matches' lie littered in the Western Settlement Ruins of Sultan Garhi; the 'Vandalised information slab' for the tomb of Emperor Balban's son..

Conserving Heritage monuments is important because it is very important to know who we are, where have we come from, how has our knowledge evolved, how have we evolved and last but not the least.. do we have any lessons to learn from the past..

UNESCO World Heritage Day can also be a day to discuss  and debate one of the biggest topics amongst conservationists.. Whether to conserve the monuments as we see them or restore them, wherever possible, to their former glory..

The Humayun's Tomb and its restored ceiling (at the top) and the Lakkarhwala Burj and its restored ceiling (at the bottom)

Various tourism boards, state governments and NGO's in India are celebrating UNESCO World Heritage Day in their own way.. So while the Indian Government is throwing the doors open (ticket free entrance) to the visitors to all monuments, the Odisha Government organized a "heritage walk" rally, seeking public support for conservation of ancient temples and monuments, the Heritage Activists in Goa submitted a 16 point agenda to their Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, for protection of the state's heritage through conservation and enforcement of the law..

 A small example of our world's heritage which we need to conserve.. Clockwise from above - Rani of Jhansi's Fort, Red Fort, Qutb Minar, the alpine Yumthang Valley of Sikkim (which needs to be protected from Global Warming)

Internationally, the UNESCO World Heritage Day is being celebrated by all the countries in different ways - While Chile is hosting seminars and inviting young volunteers to clean 4 heritage monuments in Santiago as part of an Awareness drive, the United States is celebrating the 40th year by issuing passport booklets highlighting the United States 'World Heritage Sites' amongst other activities..

In the end I would like to wish you all a very Happy World Heritage Day !!