Heritage means something inherited from the past. India is blessed with rich heritage having different religions but living with unity, different dance forms but performed on the same platform, different educational systems but with the same moral and so on. Ours is one of the world’s oldest living civilizations - which gave to the world - the concept of zero, the primordial sound Aum…Yoga, and Buddhism.
India’s heritage lies in its monuments and their architecture, classical dance forms, culture, tradition, the rich fauna- peacocks, Royal Bengal Tiger etc. The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, Mahabalipuram Monuments, Thanjavur as well as the Ajanta and Elephanta Caves are some of the monuments declared as World Heritage Monuments. They are all pride of our nation.
Unfortunately, much of India’s staggering heritage is in serious physical danger. About 249 monuments, protected by the Archeological Survey of India had been encroached upon. According to INTACH (Indian Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) there were 70,000 monuments in India of which only about 10,000 had been taken under protection by the ASI and the archeology departments in different States. The rest 60,000 were at the mercy of nature and needed immediate attention.
Tremendous effort is required to preserve our invaluable heritage. Inaugurating a global conference on Conservation of Heritage in New Delhi last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rightly observed that awareness should be increased to preserve heritage structures. He stated: “Our cultural properties have been exposed to various threats--natural and manmade. Over the centuries, conquerors, explorers, colonizers, vandals and thieves had added their bit to the vagaries of nature and the passage of times.” And, in developing countries like India, while attention was mainly focused on the immediate challenges of survival and development, little thought was given to larger issues such as culture and its preservation.
In my opinion, involvement of the community is very much essential for safeguarding the country’s heritage, which can be achieved through both education and awareness among the general public, particularly student community. As a step towards this, our school Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Jubilee Hills has set up a Heritage Club through which children are sensitized and trained to spread among the society, the importance of preserving our precious national heritage.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,
Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad.