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April 2017

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INTACH to hold prayer meet at Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali's grave

The Hyderabad chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) will hold a prayer assembly at the grave of Hindustani classical music maestro Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan at Daira Mir Momin in Hari Bowli of Charminar on Sunday to mark his 115th birth anniversary. The prayer session will begin at 10.30 am. Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, though born at Kasur village (now in Pakistan) of undivided Punjab on April 2, 1902, he spent a considerable time in Hyderabad where he passed away in 1968. The Ustad, who belongs to the Kasur Patiala Gharana, is considered as the Tansen of the 20th century. The state government named a road after him. His grave now lies in utter neglect. The Ustad served in the special department of music and arts of the Nizam government. The Nizam had both Western and Indian music units. The Indian unit had 108 employees on its rolls including Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Other great musicians like Pandit Maniram, Pandit Motiram, and Begum Akthar were also part of the Nizam's music department. News archives reveal that the highest salary offered was 50 a month. The Ustad and other maestro also received special allowances for every appearance.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/intach-to-hold-prayer-meet-at-ustad-bade-ghulam-alis-grave/articleshow/57970243.cms, April 3, 2017

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Dara Shikoh’s library to get fresh lease of life

Before being killed in a battle of succession by his brother, Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Mughal emperor Shahjahan, known as a man of intellectual pursuits, had established a library in 1637 near Kashmere Gate. The books have long been lost, but the building stands even today. Last month, the Delhi chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) began work to restore the historic edifice to its former glory. After the prince's death, the library building changed hands several times. According to historian Swapna Liddle, it was given to Donna Juliana, the Portuguese governess of the royal Mughal children and the name behind Sarai Julena near Jamia Millia Islamia. It remained in her family till Nawab Safdarjung purchased it in mid-18th century.

After that, the building morphed into the first British residency occupied by Sir David Ochterlony and then in subsequent years into a government college, a municipal school, office of the state archaeology department and finally into an archaeological museum. Liddle said that Ochterlony, after buying the building with personal funds, transformed it by incorporating European features while revamping the building. "The original fluted pillars and arches were covered over to produce a facade of pillars in the neoclassical style," explained Liddle. The building is unique for the mix of Mughal architectural features, such as baluster columns and scalloped arches, and colonial additions like the Roman pillars with Ionic capitals.

"INTACH hopes to conserve this unique hybrid of architectural styles," said Liddle. The series of columns and arches found on the lower level constitute what was perhaps the Qutub Khana, or library, which originally housed the books, most of which were destroyed after the events of 1857. In 2011, the Sheila Dikshit government decided to convert the library into a city museum in collaboration with INTACH with "the intention of preserving and promoting cultural heritage". The state archaeology department will display around 2,200 artefacts, including excavated coins, stones and other antiquities from ancient and medieval times. The museum will also familiarise visitors with the history of the seven cities of Delhi.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/dara-shukohs-library-to-get-fresh-lease-of-life/articleshow/57980576.cms, April 3, 2017

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Remembering the legend, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

To commemorate the 115th birth anniversary of legendary Hindustani classical vocalist Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, a prayer assembly was held at his grave at Daira Mir Momin in Hari Bowli, Charminar on Sunday. Fazle Ali Khan, the great-grandson of the legend and Samina Ali Khan, his grand daughter-in-law graced the event organised by the Hyderabad Chapter of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Heritage). After the customary floral tribute, Fazle Ali Khan paid a musical tribute to the legend with some mellifluous compositions. Talking about his Hyderabad connection, Fazle Ali Khan said, "Ustadji came to Hyderabad because of Nawab Moin-ud-Dowla Bahadur, who heard him sing on radio and sent someone to Pakistan for him. Moin-ud-Dowla is also my great grandfather from my mother's side. They came to Hyderabad and stayed for a very long time. He loved this city a lot compared to Bombay, Delhi and Kolkata. It was his wish to be buried here."

Ustadji died at the Basheerbagh Palace in Hyderabad. There is a road in Basheerbagh named after him in his honour. Anuradha Reddy, convenor of INTACH Hyderabad chapter said, "This burial place has historical significance too. Daira-e-Mir-Momin, situated in between Charminar and Salar Jung Museum has the graves of five prime ministers belonging to Salar Jung family who ruled Hyderabad under the Nizam's domain. This shows how much the city loved and valued him." Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, who is remembered for his compositions in the classic movie Mughal-e-Azam, kept himself away from films for a long time. At last his resolve broke in 1960 when K Asif, producer of Mughal-e-Azam persuaded him to sing two raga based songs, Prem Jogan Ban Ke and Shubh Din Aaya Raj Dulara. But then he demanded an exorbitantly high price. "Actually he didn't want to sing. Our family isn't much into commercialism. That time he didn't want to sing for any commercial movie. So to avoid further offers he charged `25,000 per song," said Samina Ali Khan.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/remembering-the-legend-bade-ghulam-ali-khan/articleshow/57993825.cms, April 3, 2017

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A Forgotten Heritage

By D.N.Singh The splendor of the dawn was mesmerising. Sun was about to pop out from behind the hazy horizon and as moments passed, the majestic corridors of Hukitola Palace was slowly getting lighted. The huge rooms were yet to recover from the misty quilt of the dawn. Arch shaped windows were shepherding the dim illumination into the rooms that were not only majestic but awesome as the roof of each chamber measuring 30 feet from the ground level. Stepping out of the Hukitola Palace was an ethereal experience. The morning breeze from the ocean was serenading the landscape as we noticed hundreds of red crabs flitting all over the sea bed, retreating back to their holes sensing human foot steps from a distance. The tall trees surrounding the palace were beaming to life bathing in the morning light and innumerable birds like parrots, sparrows and many others producing a lyricism stirring the early dawn tranquillity. A view through the gaps in the dense wood surrounding the palace was something different and the structure’s antiquity takes the clock back to over a century when the Britishers built it for maritime purposes.

Located at the Jumbo Island in the Bay of Bengal in Odisha, was in ruins but the wonderful structure’s dilapidation had a gravity in itself which for years remained an attraction for students of history and nature lovers. The Britishers had arrived on this island way, way back in 1750 and subsequently had built a port for mechanized trade. Measuring 11, 250 square feet the structure stands a testimony to the technical brilliance of the British architecture of that time. It is 150 sq feet long and 75 sq feet wide having 11 large and 9 small chambers. The height of the roof measures 30 feet from the ground level, obviously manifesting the gorgeousness of Hukitola palace. The arch shaped windows and ventilators on the corridor are reminders of an era of elegance old time architects used to pride of. Having built the transit structure in the middle of the ocean, the engineers of that time had it so designed to solve drinking water crisis.

In fact, its roof is sloppy so that the rain water from the roof flows down into four big pots. And the mariners and merchants used this water for drinking purposes. Hukitola palace was built in the year 1866by the Britishers as maritime transit point and store also. It really bears the testimony to the advances made in construction skill in the 19th century. Going by the records Hukitola palace was built as per the wish of Captain Harris and the structure was designed by then Birtish time Collector of Cuttack John Beams and the chief engineer of Irrigation J Huki Waker . However the place suffered neglect after the British built another port at false-point and subsequently in 1992 the government of India set up Paradeep port.

The structure’s importance also started shrinking till recent years. Better late than never and it did dawn upon the State to rescue the historic monument from its ruinous continuity and an amount of Rs.one crore was earmarked for the renovation of the structure and refurbish the entire landscape by the Indian National Trust For Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH) . The work goes on under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and it must remain a rendezvous for nature lovers for times to come. Pic credit: Rajesh Behera)

- https://www.nyoooz.com/news/bhubaneswar/772679/a-forgotten-heritage, April 3, 2017

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Saving charm of old Kolkata

Any function of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) invariable turns out memorable with its meaningful content. If it was the Teacher Training program for Heritage Clubs which saw a heritage walk clubbed, the inauguration of Heritage Clubs in KLE International Bharatesh Central School, Halaga, Dnyan Prabodhan Mandir and Bharatesh English Medium School was where students presented about local heritage, Monday’s event was on par. As part of the INTACH Founder’s day function, INTACH organized a small event at the office of Freedom of Association (FOA) on Picket road, Camp ( Besides Hotel La Camp). If you’ve passed by and wondered about this unique looking building, you definitely missed the event. Vinod Doddanavar, Co-convener of INTACH Belagavi chapter, presented on his experience with restoration of temples at Halasi and Beniwad (Hukkeri Tk).

It is one thing to intend to do something and another one to actually rustle up restoration work. His anecdotes on how they kept the temple’s old charm intact while embracing new techniques and the help that came about in fund raising was worth giving a ear. And then the FOA team presented their experience of restoring a dilapidated but rustic building, replete with large windows, arches, the quintessential backyard and the wood work. Sadiq Desai and Bharat Gouripur shared their experience with local materials in creating some conversation-starter pieces like the Waffle Table, the use of huge unpolished copper roundels for lamps, the fancy looking wall which is infact all the old layers of paint scrapped, the earthy feel of the floor and the walls all decked up in pristine white, adorned with awesome clocks.

The place is a showpiece of how some bright brains can change the look of a building with local materials. Both the restoration works speak of passion and dedication and screams ‘Focus’ in bold. Persons interested in conservation of Heritage of Belgaum can join the active team of INTACH which is routinely conducting, and further intends to conduct, meaningful activities like heritage walks, guest lectures, training programs, heritage clubs in schools, etc. (contact: 0831-2421513) Sculptors, painters, artists can connect with the team of architects at FOA to showcase their works at their Camp office.

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/saving-charm-of-old-kolkata/article17759700.ece, April 3, 2017

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In neglected Burhanpur, where Mumtaz Mahal once rested

Rabindranath Tagore called the Taj Mahal “a teardrop on the cheek of time”. But spare a thought for the neglected land where the initial tears of a grieving husband and children first fell. It was this trail of tears that led me to the small town of Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh. When Khan Jahan Lodi rebelled against the Mughal empire, little did he know of its impact on the life of the emperor and eventually India. Shah Jahan moved to Burhanpur to quell the revolt, and as was her norm, Mumtaz Mahal, though pregnant with her fourteenth child, went with him. She stayed in the Badshahi Qila, which had been built by the Faruqi rulers of Khandesh, who had ruled Burhanpur from the 14th to 16th century. Akbar’s army occupied Burhanpur in 1599 and it became the Mughal capital of Khandesh. Akbar’s son Daniyal was made the Subedar of the new province. The shikaar -loving, pleasure-seeking prince built an Aahukhana, or deer park, opposite the Badshahi Qila in the village of Zainabad on the banks of the river Tapti. When Shah Jahan was the governor of the Deccan, he added various buildings within the Badshahi Qila, including a once-gorgeous and now deteriorating hammam, for his wife’s relaxation. The hammam is beautifully painted and one of the fading frescoes has a building which looks remarkably like the Taj Mahal. It was in this palace that Mumtaz Mahal died on the night of June 16-17, 1631, after giving birth to Gauhar Ara Begum.

In the middle of nowhere Shah Jahan had least expected this complication and was inconsolable when his beloved wife left for the next world. Mumtaz Mahal was laid to rest in the Aahukhana. A week later, Shah Jahan came to the Aahukhana and recited the fateha for his wife’s soul and wept over her grave. As long as he stayed in Burhanpur, he came every Friday to recite the fateha. Locals tell me that Shah Jahan had initially decided to build a grand mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal on the banks of Tapti, but due to difficulties in transporting marble from Markana, and the composition of the soil which had termites, he selected Agra. One local heritage enthusiast even told me that the image of the mausoleum would not fall on the Tapti, so the idea was abandoned. Unfortunately, logistics stole Burhanpur’s place in history and bestowed it on Agra.

Whatever the reasons for building the Rauza-e-Munawwara (the original name of the Taj Mahal) in Agra, the Aahukhana beckoned me. It seemed like I was in the minority, though, with only a few heritage-lovers, who are fighting to preserve their city’s heritage, for company. The Aahukhana, where Mumtaz Mahal’s body lay for six months before being transported to Agra, lies in the middle of nowhere with a dirt track leading to it. The baradari, which by consensus is the original resting place, is within an enclosed compound. Its boundary wall and iron gates are worse for wear, with the walls breaking up in quite a number of places. There is wild overgrown grass and a dirty dry tank, which was once a source of delight to visitors to the garden.

The pleasure palace built in front of it is now a place which brings displeasure: it is dirty, dank, smelly and covered with graffiti. The baradari has long since lost its roof. Its beautiful columns sag under the burden of sorrow. They have been roughly propped up by bricks to prevent further destruction. It is a picture of desolation. Bemoaning the state of heritage I was taken by my guides to another ruinous building a little further away from the baradari complex that was also part of the original Aahukhana. It has a small tank and mosque. The guides told me that this was the site where Mumtaz Mahal was given her ritual funeral bath. Burhanpur heritage enthusiasts claim this is the actual grave. I could not meet Shahzada Asif, a resident who is said to have identified this place and who observes Mumtaz Mahal’s urs , or death anniversary, every year on June 7 in this place, but Hoshang Havaldar, a local hotel owner and heritage enthusiast, told me about it.

I stayed in his hotel and we spent the evenings bemoaning the state of Burhanpur’s deteriorating heritage. This building has no boundary wall and cotton farming is being done on its grounds. A rusted, decrepit board with barely distinguishable letters outside it proclaims in Hindi that this is Begum Mumtaz Mahal ki Qabr. On December 1, 1631, Mumtaz Mahal’s body was taken out of the baradari and sent in ceremony to Agra accompanied by her son Shah Shuja, her lady-in-waiting Satti-un-Nisa, and Hakim Alimuddin Wazir Khan. They arrived in Agra 20 days later.

There are many theories of how her body was embalmed. Some say it was kept in a sealed lead-and-copper coffin filled with natural embalming herbs as per Unani techniques. Since the coffin was never opened, one doesn’t know the state of decomposition or preservation of the queen’s body. But whatever state she may be sleeping in her grave in Taj Mahal, I am sure her soul cries at the wilderness and neglect of her original resting place in Burhanpur. Rana Safvi

- http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/in-neglected-burhanpur-where-mumtaz-mahal-once-rested/article17760690.ece, April 3, 2017

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Patna Museum to turn 100 today

Bathed in blue lights with rangolis around, the Patna Museum, also known as Jadu Ghar, is decked up to celebrate its 100 years on Monday. The museum’s official song would also be launched on the occasion, an official said. The three-day programme would be inaugurated by state youth, art and culture minister Shiv Chandra Ram on Monday evening. Though the museum remains closed on Mondays, it would be open and people have been given free entry this Monday to celebrate the occasion. Dignitaries from all over the country have been invited to give lectures on museum, archaeology and history. The list of speakers includes adviser at the directorate of archaeology in Chhattisgarh, Padma Shri AK Sharma and former director of Archaeological Survey of India Amrendar Nath.

A play christened ‘I am Patna Museum’ would be staged by the members of Ekal Abhinay. On Tuesday, a programme named ‘Patna Museum through the eyes of kids’ would be held in which schoolchildren would read essay on Patna museum and top three of them would be awarded on the third day. On Wednesday, a painting exhibition would be organized along with a poetry writing competition, assistant curator of the museum Shankar Suman said. Talking about the history of this museum, Suman said it was started on April 3, 1917 by Sir Edward Albert Gait in a small room in the Patna high court after Bihar and Orissa were separated from Bengal province. In 1925, the museum was allotted the plot on Budh Marg and was constructed under the guidance of architect Rai Bahadur Bishnu Swaroop. The construction, which has both Mughal and Rajput styles of architecture, was completed in 1929.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/patna-museum-to-turn-100-today/articleshow/57979543.cms, April 3, 2017

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A historical tomb in ruins

The gigantic Ghulam Ali Khan Gumbaz, situated near Srirangapatna in Mandya district, has come under the plague of neglect, and is perhaps on its way to extinction. Built in 1790 by Ghulam Ali Khan, Tipu Sultan’s home minister, this structure was in a good state until 2005. The peepal and banyan trees that have grown over the roofs and minarets due to lack of maintenance have weakened the structure. Of the four pranganas, two have been destroyed completely, while the other two have developed cracks. As many as 16 pillars of the 36 pillars, that this magnificent structure once stood upon, have fallen down. The 70-feet-high structure is surrounded by wild growth of weeds.

The Archaeological Survey of India, Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage and the Tipu Wakf Board seem to have missed noticing the state of neglect of this monument. The 225-year-old monument has become a mere home to bats and pigeons. Tipu had entrusted Ghulam Ali Khan with the responsibility of building a memorial for the former's parents — Hyder Ali and Fakhr-un-Nisa Begum. Ghulam Ali Khan, who belonged to the Shia sect, constructed a five-door gumbaz as per his tradition. But as per Sunni tradition, which Tipu followed, a gumbaz needs to have four doors. Hence, mullahs advised Tipu to construct a different memorial altogether. The five-year effort of Ghulam Ali seemed to have gone in vain. He had purchased tens of acres of land near the gumbaz and eventually set up gardens all around the gumbaz. In 1799, Ghulam Ali Khan fled to Tamil Nadu, after the fall of Srirangapatna. After he died (after 30 years), his relatives buried him in this mausoleum. “The hard work of hundreds of people lie behind this gumbaz.

It has a special vastu style too. Hence, we must protect it,” says historian Professor Karimuddin. According to N N Gowda, an official at the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, this has never been considered a memorial. “This does not come under the list of memorials. This lies in the land under the jurisdiction of the Wakf Board. That is probably why it has slipped out of our department’s focus,” he said. “It is said that Ghulam Ali betrayed Tipu Sultan during the fourth Anglo-Mysore war.

He conspired along with Mir Sadiq and was responsible for Tipu’s death. There are several evidences in this regard. That is why the Wakf Estate has chosen to neglect the garden,” said Irfan, secretary of the Tipu Wakf Estate. Built in the Indo-Islamic style, it has been constructed out of mud bricks, stones and concrete (a mix of cement, burnt bricks and tree sap). Stone has been used to construct all five of its doors. Although there are Islamic style carvings inside, they now appear masked. Popularly known as gumbchi by the local population, the gumbaz is situated in the middle of an agricultural land. It is locked all the time and to visit the monument, one has to obtain permission from the owner of the land.
(Translated by Deepika Nidige)

- http://www.deccanherald.com/content/604496/a-historical-tomb-ruins.html, April 3, 2017

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UN team to visit Mumbai for inspection of area around Oval Maidan for heritage tag

The government’s attempts to get a World Heritage tag for the Victorian and Art Deco district around the Oval Maidan have received a boost, with the World Heritage Centre, Paris, expected to send a mission to inspect the site by September-October.The UN Centre has communicated to the government that the heritage dossier submitted by India has been found to be complete. The site was sent as a nomination for a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) accreditation earlier this year. “The World Heritage Centre, Paris, has written to the Government of India confirming that Mumbai’s dossier for the Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble has been found to be complete in the document check, and that they are expected to send a Mission in September or October this year to inspect the site and see its management framework,” conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah, who has prepared the heritage dossier, said.

The dossier has the support of several citizens’ associations at Churchgate, Oval and Cooperage areas, and Nariman Point. “The mission is expected to meet government officials, mainly from the urban development department,” said Lambah. The visit to the sites will be organised by the Archaeological Survey of India. This area has Gothic buildings, such as the High Court and Rajabai Tower on one side, and art deco buildings on the other. In fact, Marine Drive has the second largest art deco buildings in the world after Miami. The heritage precinct in south Mumbai is protected under the city’s heritage regulations. Construction here started from 1860, after the old fort walls were torn down under the governorship of Sir Bartle Frere.

- http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/un-team-to-visit-mumbai-for-inspection-of-area-around-oval-maidan-for-heritage-tag-unesco-world-heritage-4596891/, April 3, 2017

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INTACH invites entries for media award

INTACH has invited entries for an award for English and Telugu print media journalists for their outstanding contribution towards protection of natural and cultural heritage of the region. Published articles in newspapers and journals that have appeared over the last one year can be sent along with a covering letter. The articles may be in Telugu or English. The entries should be submitted to Susarla Ramgopal, co-convenor, INTACH – Vizag, 48-9-16, Dwarkanagar, Visakhapatnam. Phone: 0891-2754098; 9394254098

- http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/intach-invites-entries-for-media-award/article17836768.ece, April 6, 2017

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Hyderabad of minarets living up to its name!

There is good news for heritage lovers. Minars, magnificent doors (darwazas) and domes that dot the city are getting a facelift thanks to philanthropists, custodians of monuments and the Department of Archaeology and Museums. Hyderabad gets the sobriquet ‘the city of minarets’ due to its onion shaped domes and minars that dot the skyline and custodians of old mosques are leaving no stone unturned to make sure that the Qutub Shahi architecture lives on. Jama Masjid at Osmangunj is one among the oldest mosques in the city dating back to over 200 years. The minars were falling apart the trustees decided to stay with the old style and now the mosque stands tall and is good for another 100 years. Amin the president of Jama Masjid Osmangunj says, “We spent Rs 15 lakhs to bring back the original style.

We could have built a new mosque but it was a unanimous decision to keep the old style of architecture.” He adds, “The only regret is we could not do it with lime plaster but the distinctive feature of the domes and minars are there to be seen.’ In the 1950s, the administration had decided to bring down the Purana Pul darwaza to ease the traffic movement and the noted historian Haroon Khan Sherwani rushed to the spot and stopped the move. Cut to 2017- the Department of Archaeology and Museums is conserving the darwaza and the bastion using traditional material such as lime. The Purana Pul darwaza is one of the few gateways left. There were 13 in all built as a part of the walled city in 1724 by Mubariz Khan, the Mughal warrior after the Golconda conquest. P Anuradha Reddy, convenor, INTACH Hyderabad says, “It is a reminder of a glorious past that withstood the ravages of nature and also the 1908 floods. It looks like a mini fort with canons atop the bastion.”

- http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Telangana/2017-04-05/Hyderabad-of-minarets-living-up-to-its-name/291439, April 6, 2017

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SLATHERING ON CEMENT IS RESTORATION, BBMP STYLE

By: Kushala Satyanarayana
We salute those who govern BBMP, for their capabilities are truly legendary. A case in point is renovation of Annasawmy Mudaliar Dispensary on MM Road in Frazer Town, a heritage structure on which concrete plaster is being used instead of following norms. Annasawmy Mudaliar Dispensary on Madhav­araya Mudaliar Road (MM Road), Frazer Town, dates back to 1909 and has a strong connect with the area. The 108-year-old structure, flaunting an old-world charm with high Madras roofing, lime mortar walls, arched verandas and monkey tops, has been bracketed as a heritage structure. The dispensary is under the care of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the old structure has been taken up for renovation. But it looks like the definition of “heritage’’ doesn’t have any meaning for the BBMP – the lime mortar walls are being replaced by cement plastering, which is a strict no-no in the books of heritage conservation. And plans are afoot to concretise the roof, replacing the Madras tiles. The quaint dispensary building, which no longer functions as a primary health centre, is situated between the two lanes of Madhavaraya Mudaliar Road (MM Road) and was built by late Rao Bahadur Annasawmy Mudaliar, a construction businessman whose rags-to-riches story is still a household tale among old Bengalureans. Mudaliar acquired large patches of properties in the old city area as well as the Cantonment, and his family runs many charitable institutions. One among them was the dispensary, Annasawmy Mudaliar General Hospital and a high school on Moore Road, essentially started for the underprivileged and children of night soil workers. The dispensary was taken over by the erstwhile city corporation and the family had handed over the building, too, long ago. With the building renovation currently on, stacks of cement bags lie in the premises and the lime mortar plastering – a characteristic of the heritage structure – has been torn down. Oblivious to the structure’s heritage status, workers are mixing cement and carrying out the plastering work.

Dr BA Anantharam, the great-grandson of Annasawmy Mudaliar, who is now the director of Annasawmy Mudaliar General Hospital adjacent to the dispensary, says he also noticed the cement plastering work sometime back. “Some days ago, members of INTACH had come to visit the dispensary and I was at the hospital. I went to meet them and saw that the cement plastering work was in progress. Unlike other institutions that belonged to the Mudaliar family, the dispensary had long been handed over the city corporation and we have no say in its functioning or the building’s upkeep. The building’s architecture is characteristic of all Mudaliar constructions,’’ explained Dr Anantharam, a well-known plastic surgeon. The building boasts of typical features of that time – the monkey top, windows, lime mortar walls, Madras terrace roof with intersections, and Kadapa stone flooring. According to conservation architect Meera Iyer, the repair work that BBMP is carrying out is against the basic principle of restoration, which amounts to changing the characteristics of the building.

“There should have been regular maintenance; instead, lime mortar walls are getting cement plastering. There are plants growing on the roof, which shows how badly the structure has been treated,’’ pointed out Meera Iyer, also the co-convenor of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Bengaluru. However, the BBMP remains oblivious to the building’s rich heritage. While the area engineer Neelakantaiah had no information about the renovation of a major landmark in his jurisdiction, he pointed towards a certain MPED section (supposed to be ‘multi-purpose engineering department’). The official concerned, Girish Shetty, too said his department has not taken up any work on the dispensary. After much efforts, an officer working under the zonal chief engineer informed BM that the dispensary work has been taken up like any other listed in the budget as “building repairs” work. So much for preserving a precious little piece of history!

- http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/slathering-on-cement-is-restoration-bbmp-style/articleshow/58054030.cms, April 6, 2017

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Mobile app to help tourists explore Raj heritage sites

When everything is driven by IT, how could Rajasthan tourism overlook its application in facilitating tourists? Now tourists visiting the state wouldn't have to solely depend on tour operators and guides to show them around. All they would have to do is download the application on their phone and go around site seeing with 'TripMyWay' a mobile application supported by the tourism department of the Rajasthan government. "Rajasthan Tourism has pioneered this effort to bring world class travel experience to India with TripMyWay. This mobile application focusses on creating self-guided in-trip audio and visual guides. These are accessible to travelers on their mobile devices. To the traveler, it offers a unique way to experience heritage and explore a city along with the freedom and flexibility of a mobile phone based app. It also, provides rich and immersive experience for the travelers' visiting a city," said Nupur Aggarwal co-founder of the App.

Founded by two IIT'ians - (Rachna Pande & Nupur Aggarwal) the App aims at revolutionizing how heritage is experienced in India. "We have been working with Rajasthan government for the past year and after through evaluations our App has been awarded the status of Rajasthan Tourism Official App. TripMyWay is powered by the IthakaTales team. IthakaTales is a startup founded by engineers from Indian Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NYU Stern who have returned to India to collaborate with Department of Tourism, Rajasthan to use technology to bring alive heritage and travel," said Nupur. The new app aims at creating young and fresh ways for locals and travelers to access the rich heritage of Rajasthan. The content are GPS enabled in various multimedia formats and there is an offline mode for users to download audio tours and bookmark their favorite places in their itinerary. Add to that there is also interactive maps to tap on the place you are interested in exploring. "To facilitate tourists'on an E-Platform, the state tourism department has supported vendors for mobile app so as to dissiminate information about tourist places in the state,"said Sanjay Pande, additional director tourism.

The duo have worked with the Department of Tourism Rajasthan, Department of Archaeology and Museums, Rajasthan on multiple sites in Rajasthan including Jantar Mantar, Amer Fort and Pushkar. "We are receiving very good response from travelers. 12 cities and 150 points of interest in Rajasthan are already on the App and more cities and sights will be added each week! This app is for travelers interested in the travel highlights and off the beaten track experiences and all free to begin with," she said.
Features: • Interactive
• Researched Unique Audio Tours authenticated by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).


- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/mobile-app-to-help-tourists-explore-raj-heritage-sites/articleshow/58036958.cms, April 6, 2017

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BWW Previews: FESTIVAL OF PLACES at IGNCA

A festival exploring how public places form an integral part of a community and reflect the cultural ethos of a time and place will be held in the capital city of Delhi. This three-day event titled Festival of Places will focus on the legendary cities of Delhi, Kolkata and Lucknow. As each of these cities have a riveting and interesting history and a rich cultural heritage, the festival will go on to dedicate one day to each of these cities. During the event there will be talks, discussions, short film screenings and live singing performances that will mark and celebrate the history and culture of each city. The festival will be held at Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts (IGNCA) from 7- 9 April. This is the inaugural edition of this festival that aims to promote the unique cultural nuances and performing arts of various places in India. The festival will also bring together architectural and photographic exhibitions and various showcasing of shorts films besides renowned artists from these cities who will show their rare talent. Classical dancer Manjari Chaturvedi will perform the Lost Songs of Awadh and a dastangoi session of Ismat Chugtai's Gharwali and Mughal Bachcha will take place.

Name of the event - Festival Of Places
Duration- 7th to 9th April , 2017 (9:00 AM Onwards)
Venue: Indira Gandhi National Centre For The Arts (IGNCA),11 Mansingh Road,
Near Andhra Bhavan,Delhi 110011
Theme- People , Places , Memories

- http://www.broadwayworld.com/india/article/BWW-Previews-FESTIVAL-OF-PLACES-at-IGNCA-20170404, April 6, 2017

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NGMA New Delhi celebrates 63rd foundation year with historic exhibition of sculptures by modern masters

Drawn from the rich archives of the institution, the show features works by 22 legendary sculptors and has been conceptualised and curated by Adwaita Gadanayak, the new director-general of the institution. Walking within the old wing of the National Gallery of Modern Art is like entering a time capsule. In 1954, on March 29, India’s vice president, Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan inaugurated this very space with an exhibition of contemporary sculptures—works which are now considered seminal for their Modernist language. These include Winnower by Raminker Baij, Toilet by Sankho Choudhuri and Triumph of Labour by DP Roy Choudhury that were showcased to mark the occasion. Today, 63 years later, a new generation of art enthusiasts is treading the same corridors of the gallery, to view these treasures in all their glory, as part of the exhibition, Itihaas. rawn from the rich archives of the institution, the show features works by 22 legendary sculptors, and is conceptualised and curated by Adwaita Gadanayak, the new director-general of the institution. One of the first sculptures, which catches the eye is After Bath by Choudhury, not just for the celebration of the feminine form, so beautifully fashioned by the artist in bronze, but also for the presentation of the work on boxes in which it was kept in the archive, instead of the usual pedestal. The idea works beautifully, as the presentation is arresting, adds to the tactility of the work and is extremely relatable.

The lighting varies in the rooms—some are brightly lit, some feature dim lighting, with the boxes casting shadows all around. “If you go inside, there’s a bit of darkness. It’s a metaphor for history. You need to go inside and search deeply,” says Gadanayak. As one walks through the maze of rooms, viewing sculpture after sculpture and also a small cache of paintings and drawings by the sculptors, it’s like whizzing by milestones in the history of modernism. For instance, you get to see three generations of sculptors placed together. “So, you get to see works by Prodosh Dasgupta, who was Choudhury’s student. And you also get to see works by Uma Siddhanta, who was Dasgupta’s student,” says Uma Nair, who has written the historical essay. “Also, Dasgupta was the curator of the NGMA between 1957 and 1970. It was during his tenure that maximum number of treasures were acquired.” It’s also interesting to note that a majority of these sculptors brought together the training of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, with the Modernism of Paris, where most of them worked initially in their careers.

One can also see an influence of Auguste Rodin in the anatomical perfection of their works. “It’s such a beautiful co-incidence that the show comes in the year, which marks the death centenary of Rodin, says Nair. Amidst the flux of contemporary art exhibitions that have been taking place at the NGMA since 2014—starting with the Atul Dodiya retrospective and major shows of contemporary masters such as Subodh Gupta, Sudarshan Shetty and recently, Jitish Kallat—this show comes as a surprise, as it takes visitors back to the world of modern masters. I ask Gadanayak about his vision for the institution. “It is necessary to see both the past and the present,” he says. To elucidate the point, he talks about why artists like Dasgupta and Kallat are equally important. “You will find the flavour of India in both their works. Both draw heavily from texts such as letters by Mahatma Gandhi, but the medium, material and treatment is different. In Jitish’s work, it is the concept that is of utmost importance and in Prodosh’s work, it is the material,” he says. At the moment, all his efforts are focused on making the NGMA more accessible to the public. For instance, on opening day, a music recital by a flautist replaced long speeches.

A canopy of ghatams lined the entrance, with each ghatam dripping colour onto a large canvas placed underneath. The spectacle served to attract visitors to the exhibition. “Sometimes the artists also need to go closer to the public. Both need to find a meeting point where their thoughts and ideas can merge,” he says. Gadanayak plans to get artists from remote locations, such as the northeast, to interact with the visitors. “We could even design an NGMA-on-Wheels, which could travel from Jammu & Kashmir to Pondicherry—like a mobile exhibit,” he says. He recalls his student days at the Slade College of Fine Arts, when classes weren’t necessarily held within the institute but at galleries such as the Tate. “I want the NGMA to become a place where students, philosophers and artists converge to create a new synergy. I want to create a sculpture garden in the open where people can sit in the lawns and see the works,” he elaborates. Gadanayak also has a word of advice for emerging artists: “As a sculptor, I work with stone, which is the oldest material on earth. You decide which stone to use based on its sound and texture. You need to merge with the material, otherwise you will end up being a designer and not an artist. That sense of perception and feeling is of utmost importance,” he says. Itihaas can be viewed at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi until May 2017.

- https://www.architecturaldigest.in/content/ngma-new-delhi-celebrates-63rd-foundation-year-historic-exhibition-sculptures-modern-masters/#s-cust0, April 6, 2017

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Purana Qila in New Delhi set to get a makeover Multiple organisations join hands for restoration project

The Purana Qila (Old Fort) is scheduled to get a makeover as part of a public sector construction undertaking funded by the NBCC under its CSR operations. The sustenance endeavour will have NBCC providing INR 14.35 billion over the next five years. To mark the purpose, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), National Culture Fund (NCF) and NBCC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), according to an official report. The agreement was signed by Rakesh Singh Lal, Additional Director General (ASI), KL Dhingra, CEO, NCF and Rajendra Wanchoo, CGM, NBCC (India) Limited in the presence of Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Dr Mahesh Sharma. The project execution will be done in three phases, starting with basic conservation and restoration methods, revamping and extending the museum and parking space and will finally focus on excavation and display. The manoeuvre order came as a breather for Delhi Tourism Board, which has been seeing upsetting figures in terms of revenue generated from tourist activities in the Purana Qila. The Purana Qila lake, a popular tourist destination, which garners a huge revenue, has dried up.

A Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) official reported, “Boating used to earn us INR 600,000 per month, on an average, and during the peak season, it would go up to INR 900,000. Our monthly electricity bill to maintain the facility comes to around INR 45,000 and with 70 boats, we have assets worth INR 2 crore lying unused.” The Purana Qila is the perfect amalgamation of Islamic and Hindu architecture, and has several spots of touristic interest like the octagonal Sher Mahal, originally constructed for entertainment purposes, the museum which has a vast array of Mughal artefacts for display, the Purana Qila Lake, where films like ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’, starring Kangna Ranaut and R Madhavan, were shot and the Qila-i-Kuhna Masjid, a prayer hall erected by Sher Shah Suri. DTTDC anticipates better footfall owing to development of various tourist related amenities in and around the Qila. They believe that the signed project will bring about the highlight in terms of historical and cultural exploration and value. The project also ensures advanced preservation and presentation of the monumental complex.

- http://mediaindia.eu/art-heritage/purana-qila-in-new-delhi-set-to-get-a-makeover/, April 6, 2017

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Meet the 9-year-old girl who has taken the Indian Government to court for not taking Climate Change seriously

In recent times, there have been several news reports of children coming out and fighting for a cause they believe in. This particular story is of a nine-year-old girl from Uttarakhand who decided to take matters into her own hands and hold her ground for what she believed in. Ridhima Pandey recently filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the Indian government for not taking any major steps to tackle the adverse effect of climate change. The NGT is a specialised court set up in 2010 to deal with only environmental cases. Ridhima's petition prompts the green panel to seek answers from the environment ministry on the raised issue. She has asked the court to order the government to lay out the carbon budget and a plan for national climate recovery to ensure that the carbon dioxide content reduces to 350 parts per million by 2100. The petition has been filed through Ridhima's legal guardian. She also wants the government to work on environmental problems like the protection of forests, keep away from fossil fuels, and carry out extensive reforestation, among many other things.

Ridhima told the Independent, A notice has been issued to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Central Pollution Control Board, asking them to respond in two weeks, by the bench headed by NGT Chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar. Ridhima has made it her mission to ensure that the government takes measures to prevent environmental degradation till she is old enough to help reshape the environmental policies of our country.

- https://yourstory.com/2017/04/girl-petition-center-climate/, April 6, 2017

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Chamba's dying art of rumal embroidery on display (With Images)

Often called 'Paintings in Embroidery', the art of Chamba rumal is losing its relevance and the skills required for it are fast disappearing. A skilful blend of painting and embroidery, these handkerchiefs are handcrafted by artisans and are a beautiful representation of the rich art traditions of Himachal Pradesh. Earlier, Pahari miniature artists used to draw the outlines on fine handspun and hand woven unbleached muslin. Traditionally, women of the upper classes then embroidered upon these compositions using untwisted coloured silk floss. The double satin stitch technique used is known as do-rukha and ensures exact duplication of the image on the reverse. The elaborate floral borders, ornamentation, portrayal of figures and animals reflect the sophistication of these miniature paintings. An ongoing exhibition here infuses a fresh lease of life into this dying art. The exhibition "Raas: Life to a Dying Art", being organised by Delhi Crafts Council, is on at the India Habitat Centre till April 8. "It would have been a pity if this beautiful art form was left to die. In the absence of any institutional support or avenues to help them market their art form, many artisans had given up this tradition," a representative of the Delhi Crafts Council said.

"However, we decided to renew this tradition and revive it by initiating a series of measures, including training and skilling of artisans in this traditional art form, and efforts to popularize them," she added. These rumals (handkerchiefs) are embroidered square cloths from chamba. They are generally used for covering platters, as gifts for auspicious occasions and for offerings to a deity. During weddings, rumals are exchanged between the families of the bride and groom as a token of goodwill. The exhibition here is showcasing a range of these handcrafted 'rumals' along with honouring artisans and craft persons, who have endeavoured to keep this unique art form alive. A detailed study of old rumals in the collections of various museums across the country and abroad was undertaken for the show. A core collection of selected rumals was then re-created by the artisans from Chamba and exhibited at various cities across India.

- http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20170407/3087914.html, April 7, 2017

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TBI Blogs: Why Arabic Calligraphy & Phad Painting Are the Perfect Representation of India’s Religious Harmony

Several Indian art forms have suffered a steady decline as the years have passed. Two such iconic art forms are Arabic Calligraphy and Phad Painting, both strong representations of India’s rich spiritual and cultural heritage. India has been a country with a very rich history, and a much richer heritage. India’s heritage has been a part of many art forms which have been brought to and developed in India, and some of which are born in India itself. Even today, the country is home to numerous cultures that have been an umbrella for various art forms. Prepare to follow the journey of two major art forms of India—Arabic Calligraphy, adapted in India, and Phad Paintings, born in Rajasthan, India. Originating in the deserts, both Arabic Calligraphy and Phad Paintings share the same core purpose for existence—spirituality. Arabic Calligraphy hails from Arabia and was introduced in India around the 7th century by early Arabic traders. The practice was initiated to preserve the scripts of the Holy Quran, and since then, the art form has emerged as a mainstream art. The various dynasties of the Delhi Sultanate made several contributions to the development of Arabic Calligraphy in India. For example, the Qutub Minar built by Qutubuddin Aibak is decorated and covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Quran. Thus, the art form flourished under the reign of the Delhi Sultanate. It is prevalent in India’s monumental heritage, like Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, and coins recognized by the Mughals. Therefore, the establishment of Muslim rule in India established a diversity of culture, and also laid the groundwork for the permanency of the then-fresh ink of Arabic Calligraphy. On the other hand, Phad Painting is an astonishing art form born and brought up in Rajasthan, India. It serves as a unique mobile temple depicting the glorious past of the state. Artists use Phad, meaning ‘fold’ in the local dialect, as a canvas, in the form of a large scroll. Phad Painting has prospered as an art form for more than 700 years in Rajasthan.

The canvas, or the scroll, is mainly 12-15 ft. long, where the artist paints the entire life of the deity. Divided into many sections, the entire procedure is very long and elaborate. The artists take a month or more to complete one Phad Painting with proper precision, using the hand-spun cotton cloth as the canvas, and natural colours. The most interesting part of a Phad Painting is its existence as a Mobile Temple. After its completion, Bhopas (singer-priests) carry the scroll and unroll it after sunset, perform customary rituals, and start narrating the epic stories of the folk deities. Both Arabic calligraphy and Phad painting represent the virtues of religious and spiritual aspects of life. One is a simple, yet highly artistic, illustration of text from the Holy Quran, and the other is the design of epic stories of Pabuji. Together, the art forms are proper expressions of diversity. However, despite the significance of these art forms in our heritage, they have been declining steadily in the modern era. Revival is important. We have to preserve the drying ink of Arabic Calligraphy and the fading touch of Phad Painting. Bringing back our dying heritage has to be a major call. The souls at Nazariya have pledged to do so. Nazariya, as an organisation, is on a drive to revive the substantial art forms of India. As a part of the drive, we have been conducting workshops on Arabic Calligraphy and Phad Paintings with our artisans, with the motive to connect the youth with Arabic calligraphy and Phad Painting.

- http://www.thebetterindia.com/93758/art-forms-arabic-calligraphy-phad-painting/, April 7, 2017

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Excavation at Narmeta sets back region’s history to 3,500 years

The ongoing excavation at Narmeta and Palamakula villages in Nanganur mandal of Siddipet district may set back the history of the region to at least 3,500 years as the excavation site belongs to Megalithic period. Burial site The Department of Archaeology and Museums has taken up excavation at Menhir burial site at Narmeta, located between Siddipet and Husnabad. Two burial sites – a Menhir and a Cairn burial –were selected for excavation. The sites were named Meg-I and Meg-II. The excavation at Meg-I was done adopting quadrangular method. This Menhir burial has double circles of boulders. The diameter of Meg-I is 14 metres and it has 24 boulders forming the inner circle and six boulders on the outer circle. It has the Menhir planted on the northern side, which measures 2.9 metres in height and 95 cm in width. A capstone found at this site measures 6m long, 4m wide and 65cm deep. Beads made of bones and used as ornaments were found at the burial site. Similarly, four fire stands and two conches were also found during the excavation. The officials believe this would help throw some light on the culture of that period.

Cultural phase According to the officials of Archaeology Department, Megalithic excavations are marked by a tomb, built of huge stones either dressed or undressed. These tombs built in south India represent a distinctive cultural phase which succeeded the primitive Neolithic culture. Also know as Iron Age, the Megalithic period is dated between 1,000 BC and second century AD.

Interesting artefacts “The Meg-II is located on the northern side of Meg-I and has diameter of 10m. There are no boulders at this site. At a depth of 1.3 metres, we found an oval shape pit with loose soil. We were able to collect redware pots, pointed-shape iron arrowheads and conches,” Assistant Director (Archaeology) P. Nagaraju told The Hindu. “The excavation that took place at Pullur banda indicates that it belongs to 500 BC and people might have migrated from north west of India. Eleswaram in Nalgonda district dated back to 1,200 years and we believe that this site may belong to 1,500 BC. However, the actual date can be ascertained only after carbon-dating,” said Niraj Rai, a senior scientist from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/excavation-at-narmeta-sets-back-regions-history-to-3500-years/article17855770.ece, April 7, 2017

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Delhi's Lodhi Garden completes 81 yrs

Described as the 'best urban oasis in Asia', city's iconic Lodhi Garden, home to historic tombs and some of the most exotic plants and bird species, today turned 81. The horticultural delight, nestled in the heart of Delhi, bordering the posh Lodhi Estate and upscale Khan Market, was opened on April 9, 1936 as 'The Lady Willingdon Park' named after the then Vicerine of India. Covering an area of 90 acres, this garden was laid out after shifting what was then the village of Khairpur, on the outskirts of New Delhi. "The garden happens to contain an unusually rich variety of architectural styles, ranging from Sayyid and Lodi to Mughal. The present landscaping was done by American architect Joseph Allen Stein (in 1968), and modified by a group of of Japanese landscape designers," according to INTACH. Incidentally, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Delhi-based non-profit body, which works for preservation of unprotected heritage in the country, is located in the vicinity of the garden.

Iconic post-colonial buildings in Lodhi Estate area -- India International Centre (IIC), India Habitat Centre (IHC), Ford Foundation, designed by Stein, sit handsomely with the old garden. With its beautiful flora and fauna, the garden is a favourite of many for their morning and evening walks as well as for picnickers and tourists. Besides, scattered monuments, a variety of plants and trees can be found here, such as neem, jamun, royal bottle palm, bamboo, eucalyptus and numerous birds, including parakeets, mynahs, kingfishers, babblers, and hornbills. Mohammed Shah's (the last Sayyid dynasty ruler) tomb was one of the earliest ones to be built in the Lodi Garden (renamed post-Independence) in 1444. The octagonal tomb situated near the periphery of the garden on the Lodhi Road side, is one of the most photographed monuments of the garden, and has been featured in various films and advertising campaigns as well. It also contains the tombs of Sikander Lodi, besides Sheesh Gumbad, Bara Gumbad and a mosque. The monuments are embellished with intricate stonework and calligraphy. "The garden also has a stone bridge 'Athpula', built over a stream, which was a nullah at the time the village was there.

Hence, it is also called as the 'Khairpur ka Pul'. "It is indeed an oasis in the time of growing urbanisation and people must celebrate it," says city-based activist Vikramjit Singh Rooprai, who conducts regular heritage walks. The old wrought-iron entrance gate of the garden that opens on the Rajesh Pilot Marg (old name South End Road) has stone-built pillars, on each side, which says, 'The Lady Willingdon Park' and '9th April, 1936'. "But, people hardly pay attention to it. One reason is that the main gate is now on the other end of the road, but yes, we do tend to forget history. And, that is why awareness and heritage walks are important. "We remember birthday of our political leaders and cricket icons and film stars and show our love now on social media too. It should not be hard to remember birthday of our city landmarks, not for the sake of remembering, but really to celebrate our history and heritage," Rooprai said.

- http://www.ptinews.com/news/8590524_Delhi-s-Lodhi-Garden-completes-81-yrs.html, April 10, 2017

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FEST & FEAST: TASTE OF OLD BENGALURU IS HERE

Food lovers would know that there’s always some good news in the kitchens of colonial Anglo-Indians, Syrian Christians or the Malayalis and Tamilians living in the ‘old towns’ of Bengaluru. The weekend after the next, you too can partake of it. A bunch of children from the cantonment area will be on a food hunt, visiting the neighbourhood grande dames and listening to their gourmet tales. At the end of it, expect a culinary collection that will be a part of a two-day culture and heritage festival, starting April 22. The Indian National Trust for Cultural Heritage (Intach), Bengaluru chapter, is celebrating World Heritage Day this year in a unique way. It is organising a heritage and culture festival called ‘Towns of our city’, a flashback into Fraser Town, Cooke Town and Richards Town, through its many pictures, stories, recipes, architecture and more. The two-day event includes photography workshop, mapping the neighbourhood and parks, heritage, architecture and tree walks.

Food is an important marker of the cultural history and diversity of any area and Pallavi Varma Patil, an avid researcher in food and identity and a faculty member at Azim Premji University, wants to get the best out of this. Patil had taken her students on a food walk in the cantonment area and is coordinating the food hunt now. “About 20 children living in the old town will go around the neighbourhood, visiting families and gathering some of the family recipes that have been passed on from generations. Along with this will come the fascinating stories around those recipes, how it came to be, and so on. With this food hunt, the culinary collection will have the right way to make that chicken pot roast, the crumbed lamb chops, roast pork, trotter’s soup, jams and jellies, and guava cheese.

Along with Patil, the project is coordinated by two residents of Cooke Town, Aashti Mudnani, who runs Lightroom Bookstore, and Kavita John, a member of the residents welfare association. The cantonment areas, which were dominated by colonial Anglo-Indians and Christians earlier, have changed over the years. Today, they may be a mix but have still maintained the original charm. Apart from this, another interesting highlight of the event is the architecture walk -- led by architect Vijay Narnapatti, who will give a low down on the architecture of colonial bungalows and changing environment. When Paul Fernandes brought out the famous coffee table book about the city, ‘Bangalore: Swinging in the 70s’, the cover had an illustration of an overcrowded BTS bus , a girl happily cycling, a Victorian lamp post, all in the background of a little European bungalow. These bungalows and their architecture were the characteristics of the old towns of Bengaluru which have stood the test of time and lure of real estate. Fraser town, Cooke Town, Richards Park, Benson Town, Cox Town are still known for their sprawling bungalows and through the architecture walks around these bungalows, one can get a glimpse of the dwellings of a certain period.

Vijay Narnapatti explains that these bungalows were built on a vast space, with large gardens, verandas which are the primary feature of a Portuguese concept, Mangalore terrace, red oxide and concrete tile flooring. “Many of the bungalows that were unmanageable have become high-rises over the years. Some have changed to suit the modern-day needs. Like earlier, the kitchen and toilets were outside the house. We plan to take the walkers to some of the bungalows that have now been let out on rent as commercial space,” says Narnapatti. More details can be had on the Intach website.

- http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/fest-feast-taste-of-old-bengaluru-is-here/articleshow/58117598.cms, April 10, 2017

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Holy Trinity Church in Hyderabad all set for a facelift at 170

The iconic 170-year-old Holy Trinity Church at Bolarum is getting a facelift. The church, constructed in the Victorian Gothic style, was personally funded by Queen Victoria and built on land donated by the Nizam of Hyderabad. Located in the army cantonment, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, the church is a beautiful structure. The church has been whitewashed entirely and repairs on the roof and in the portico area are being done. Mohan Das, the secretary pastorate of the church, said cleaning work is regularly carried out during Easter, but this year the roof top repair has also been taken up. “The church has always been well maintained and it’s visible to anyone. The wooden roof, the brass plaques with names of British, and the pipe org-an in a pristine condition gives an immense feeling of joy to anyone who visits this church,” he said. Whatever work has been done to restore the beauty of this heritage structure has been carried out by the church management.

“The walls are painted white, both inside and outside, and there are no visible cracks which are commonly found in other sites. This church was awarded with the INTACH heritage site award in the year 2007,” Mr. Das said. The most beautiful and enduring part of the structure is the teak wood us-ed for the false ceiling. These days, false ceilings are made of pre-fabricated gypsum panels, but the dark brown and polished ceiling gives the church a royal look. “There were a few spots in the roof that required attention like in the portico area and altar. We are carrying out these works because monsoon will be here soon and we don’t want any problems then,” said K.P. John Milton, a member.

- http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/090417/holy-trinity-church-in-hyderabad-all-set-for-a-facelift-at-170.html, April 10, 2017

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Lack of conservation knowledge hurts pvt collections

Temperature, humidity, light, pollution and insects pose threats to artefacts, antiques and heirlooms in private collections in Kolkata. But it is the collectors who often end up causing the most harm, said museologists and conservation experts at an interaction with the city's private collectors on Monday. "There are many challenges in private conservation. The biggest of them is a collectors' awareness or the lack of it. When collectors ask domestic help or untrained staff to take care of the collection, they risk causing more harm to them than leaving the items untended. For in their honest attempt to ensure that the objects stay clean, the over-zealous staff may rub, wipe and even scrub an object, unknowingly causing grave harm. If one is passionate about the collection, one must look after it as no one will value it more. Or employ someone who has necessary knowledge on conservatin," said Vinod Daniel, chairman of AusHeritage, a network of Australian cultural heritage management organizations established by the Australian government in 1996. Owners, Daniel said, also tend to damage their collections by displaying them in drawing rooms where the air-conditioner is switched on. "Exposing collections to varying temperature and humidity causes expansion and contraction that leads to cracks. If one wishes to display items, putting them in a glass case that reduces the variance is a good idea," said Daniel, who is also the vice-chairman of the International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation.

Another common mistake by private collectors is the wrong use of lights. High-intensity light on a painting or artefact leads to damage from ultra-violet rays. And open displays are susceptible to insect infestation, something that can be solved with periodic pest control. With 90-99% of collections of any country in private hands, Daniel's suggestions are pertinent. As Jayanta Sengupta, director of Indian Museum, recounted, several private homes in Kolkata had fantastic collections but struggled to manage them. "Last year, I saw an exhibition of private collections where Kolkata's social and cultural history was showcased. The collections were fascinating. But one thought that struck me was how to make private collectors part of a conservation network so they could take better care of their treasures at home. Often, when we inherit something, we do not know how to preserve them. Since private individuals are also custodians of our heritage, we are trying to increase their awareness about preservation," Sengupta said. Sekhar Chakraborty, a resident of Prince Anwar Shah Road who has a collection of Indian flags, including artefacts, manuscripts and newspaper clippings, said the absence of trained hands posed a problem for the likes of him to manage their collection. "There are people who have studied museology, but hardly anyone who knows the science of preservation."

Rene Hoppenbrouwers, director of Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg in Maastricht, The Netherlands, said collectors need to undertake preventive conservation to extend the lifetime of objects. At times, there is need for interventive conservation when some damage requires fixing. "If you don't have the skills, don't do anything. Very often, a poor attempt at restoration does considerable damage. Always seek expert advice. The best thing is to prevent any major damage and that is through preventive conservation," said Hoppenbrouwers.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/lack-of-conservation-knowledge-hurts-pvt-collections/articleshow/58116393.cms, April 10, 2017

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Back to the Future: NGMA has on display sculptures by 22 celebrated artists who participated in its inaugural exhibition 63 years ago

These artists gave Indian art a new language; all of them worked with metal in the 1950s. With just an hour to go for the exhibition to be formally inaugurated, as one got a sneak peak inside the galleries at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), it felt like a work-in-progress. In all the five rooms of the old wing, there were wooden trucks waiting to be opened, and one wondered how deadlines would be met. But when the exhibition opened, the reality of it unfolded. In a unique display, the 22 sculptures were mounted on wooden trunks that had preserved them for so long. “These boxes have witnessed the journey of each of these sculptures. They have different addresses, dates and stamps on their surfaces, which says a lot about where these works have travelled and how have they done so far,” says Adwaita Gadanayak, Director-General, NGMA, who has conceptualised the display. He adds, “Like we take out heirloom from trunks every few years, look at our priced possessions and put them back, similarly, these artworks are our priced possessions.” The exhibition, aptly titled “Itihaas”, marks 63 years of the institution’s existence, and the 22 sculptures on display are by 22 iconic artists whose works featured in the NGMA’s inaugural exhibition on March 29, 1954.

Besides sculptures, it comprises drawings, paintings and random notes by the same set of artists, taking the total number of displayed items to more than hundred. The NGMA, New Delhi, was inaugurated by the then Vice-President, S Radhakrishnan, in the presence of the then Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. All the prominent sculptors of the time, such as Devi Prasad, Roy Chowdhury, Ramkinkar Baij, Sankho Chaudhuri, Dhanraj Bhagat and Sarbari Roy Chowdhury had showcased their work in the exhibition. So on display at the current exhibition is Baij’s celebrated 1949 work, the bronze bust of Miss Madhura Singh, placed on a wooden trunk. Besides, there’s Dhanraj Bhagat’s famous 1967 work Musical Construction, a tall sculpture made of wood and steel. The exhibition also includes DPR Chowdhury’s Triumph of Labour, Sarbari Roy Chowdhury’s bronze work Composition, Pradosh K Dasgupta’s bronze work Fallen Figure, and Sankho Chaudhuri’s path-breaking stone sculpture, Toilet. Gadanayak adds, “These artists gave Indian art a new language; all of them worked with metal in the 1950s.

It translates the truth of Constantin Brancusi’s words: ‘The artist should know how to dig out the being that is within matter’.” Also tucked on one side at the beginning of the display is a collection of newspaper cuttings, showing reportage of the big inauguration day in the leading dailies of independent India. Some of these articles highlight the significance of establishing a national institute dedicated to the arts, in a country which had just found its feet. For instance, one of them quotes S Radhakrishnan stating, “Great works of art were created only in such periods when people were moved by deep faith. The masterpieces of Indian art, from Ajanta to the Mughal times, or of the medieval Christian era in Europe, testified to this.” The establishment of the NGMA at the iconic Jaipur House building in central Delhi also highlighted the importance the government of the day had accorded to the arts, while also making the Capital a hub for the arts. In the years to come, Delhi was to get a National Museum as well as a National Theatre School, which we now know as the National School of Drama. As artist Humayun Kabir, who was India’s Cultural Affairs Minister at the time, had remarked at the inauguration, “Delhi could not establish its claim till it had national galleries of art, museum, theatre and library. The government was happy to be able to make a beginning with the National Gallery of Modern Art.

This would be followed by a National Museum, of which a beginning would be made within the next two years.” The inaugural exhibition was also laid out in the same five rooms of the gallery wing on the ground floor. It comprised 65 contemporary sculptures, contributed by 37 artists from across India. These exhibits were also entered for an all-India competition, and 10 cash prizes were awarded. Interestingly, DPR Chowdhury, principal of Madras Art School, won the first, fourth and fifth prizes for his works Triumph of Labour, Mr. Tampoe and When Winter Comes, respectively. The second prize had gone to Toilet, while the third was bagged by Chintamoni Kar’s Megh Dut. The exhibition is on at NGMA till May 29, 10 am to 7 pm. Entry is free

- http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/back-to-the-future-ngma-has-on-display-sculptures-by-22-celebrated-artists-who-participated-in-its-inaugural-exhibition-63-years-ago-4606663/, April 10, 2017

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Manipuri Is A Classical Language

What is the oldest language in the world? Historians remain inconclusive and indifferent because of fragile and conflicting evidences. However, we can mention some of the oldest languages like – Hebrew, Harappan, Mesopotamian, Mayan, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Chinese, Tamil, Egyptian, Nordic, Latin, Greek, Tibetan, Persian, Africans and many others. Of course, Manipuri is also one of the ancient languages of the world. Some languages are still alive and many have vanished in the course of history. In addition, there are innumerable dialects of which thousands have died and many are still struggling to survive and a few are on the verge of extinction. Languages which are more than 2000 years old are considered to be ancient and classical. Manipuri language is more than 2500 years old. So, it is certainly an ancient language and it is also different from any other languages of the world. Some scholars try to classify it as a Tibeto-Burman language. But recent experts maintain that the Manipuri language is unique and non-comparable. What is more significant is that it had an unusual ancient script (which is now in the process of revival in the State of Manipur by making it compulsory in formal education). It may take one more generation to completely revive the original Manipuri script. Language is very significant in one’s life. It is very close to his or her heart. In fact, language always remains a sentimental and emotional issue throughout the world. I am basically talking about one’s mother-tongue. A person is very much attached to his or her own mother-tongue. Even if they become linguists they have special connect with their mother tongue. French people are generally very proud of their language, culture and fashion. They believe they are the best. Perhaps they have a superiority complex particularly about their culture and fashion. The world also recognizes (willingly or unwillingly) Paris as the fashion capital of all. By chance I had been to Paris with some of my friends. When we landed at Paris we had a tough time in terms of communication with the people out there. When we enquired about something in English nobody responded properly. If we start the talking in English their response was lukewarm or they became completely reticent. We finally got the help from an African who knew both French and English. Manipuri ( Meiteilon) is still the lin gua franca among different ethnic groups of the state of Manipur. If a Kuki is to talk to a Naga they will chat in Manipuri. If they know English, they may converse in English; if they don’t know English they will certainly converse in Manipuri.

Similarly, if a Meitei-pangan (Muslim) wants to talk to a Manipuri-Nepali they will definitely communicate in Manipuri. Today the Government of India recognizes six languages as classical languages. They are namely – Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Odia. Tamil was declared as a classical language in the year 2004. To my surprise, Sanskrit was made a classical language in the following year. The number of classical language is growing year by year. There is a yardstick for awarding an Indian language a classical language status:1. The language must have a recorded history for more than 1500 years. 2. It must have a huge volume of ancient literature or text which is a heritage of the present generation. 3. It must have an original literary tradition independent from other communities. 4. The language’s ancient literature may be distinct from the modern form but its modern form can be an offshoot of its ancient version. Manipuri language has fulfilled all the criteria of being a classical language. The volume of ancient Manipuri literature is less and it is because of the event of “Puya Meithaba” when the ancient literature, chronicles and texts were burnt by a warrant from the then competent authority. And those who were caught with the ancient scriptures were punished and their literature destroyed.

That is the main reason why Manipuri language lacks hard copies of ancient texts and literature. However, the ancient poetry and folklore are still preserved in its oral tradition linked with “Laiharaoba” (the festival of local deities). “CHING DA TABA WAKON NA TAMDA TAGE MAHAI RE, TAM DA TABA WAKON NA CHING DA TAGE MAHAI RE” (the bamboo clusters of the hills want to come to the valley and the bamboo clusters of the valley want to go the hills). Forget the faulty translation; let us try to comprehend together the underlying meaning of this age old “Laiharaoba” hymn. This is not only a reflection of an ancient literary work but also an embodiment of the true spirit of hill-valley unity.

- http://kanglaonline.com/2017/04/manipuri-is-a-classical-language/, April 10, 2017

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The Little Known Story of Himachal Pradesh’s Unique Handkerchiefs That Were Embroidered by Queens

For most of us, the humble cloth handkerchief is just another nondescript item of everyday use. Bearing a monogram or delicate design in a corner—these hankies are usually plain, perfect for the mundane act of wiping hands and faces. But the Chamba Rumal (rumal means handkerchief) is no ordinary hankie, and certainly too rare and precious to wipe your face with. The Chamba Rumal gets its name from Chamba, a hill-station in Himachal Pradesh, where it has been practised for centuries. The earliest records of the region dates back to 2nd century BC, making it one of the most ancient destinations in the state. The region is known for its history, architecture and landscapes but the local community is also known for its arts and crafts, in particular the miniature Pahari paintings. The Pahari school of art has received royal patronage since the 17th century when it is believed to have originated in the region. Though miniature Pahari paintings are most commonly recognised, the term encompasses a variety of forms from murals to paintings. The impeccable needlework on the Chamba Rumals too is derived from the art movement, combining miniature art with embroidery. Chamba Rumals are typically made in square or rectangular fabric of varying sizes. The base art, characterised by intricate lines, is traditionally drawn by miniature art experts. Once the art is complete, the embroidery—usually undertaken by women—is meticulously executed on the fabric. The earliest example of the embroidery incidentally can be found in Punjab — Bebe Nanki, sister of the Sikh spiritual leader Guru Nanak, reportedly embroidered one in the 16th century and the item was preserved in the state’s Hoshiarpur shrine. Another handkerchief made its way to Britain in 1883 when Raja Gopal Singh presented a Chamba Rumal to the British, embroidered with a scene from the Mahabharata, which was later added to the collection of London’s Victoria & Albert museum. The tradition gradually made its way out of palace walls and began to be practised by local craft clusters.

The Rumals came to be an integral part of weddings, exchanged by the bride and groom’s families as a sign of goodwill. In his book Chamba Himalaya: Amazing Land, Unique Culture, KR Bharti draws attention to the painstaking process of Chamba Rumal embroidery — using naturally dyed silk floss on mal-mal or khaddar — and the distinctive double-sided technique seen in the designs. The motifs on these handkerchiefs have traditionally drawn from indigenous tales, including the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The figures of Krishna and his accompanying Gopis are leitmotifs in this embroidery tradition, and the subject also draws from the Bhagvad Puranas, nature and the lives of the local community members. Practiced actively till early 20th century, declining patronage from royal quarters led to the art slowly dying in the second half of the decade. Even as local artisans like National Award winner Maheshi Devi, Lalita Vakil, Chhimbi Devi and others have won laurels for their embroidery, the Chamba Rumal faded from public consciousness, even making way for cheap and inauthentic imitations. The tableau of Himachal Pradesh featuring a Chamba Rumal installation at the Republic Day Parade 2017 in New Delhi.

Source: PIB Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, freedom fighter and crafts revivalist, was among the earliest who took up the onus of keeping the art form alive in the years post independence. In 1992, Delhi Crafts Council (DCC) stepped in to revive the dying art form, and promote the little-known art form at a national level. Their first exhibition in 1999 showcased the recreated Rumals and travelled to many cities around the country. DCC also established Charu, a training centre to equip craftspersons with the art form and enable them with the right resources for a sustainable means of livelihood. The organisation hosted its recent exhibition and sale of Chamba Rumal embroidery this April at Delhi’s India Habitat Centre, complete with guided tours and interactions with local artists. In recent times, one of the greatest impetuses to the art came in 2007 when the Chamba Rumal was accorded the Geographical Indication (GI) patent by the Geographical Indications Registry. It helped to curb the sale of inauthentic items and also brought the art form back into the spotlight.

At the 2017 Republic Day parade, Himachal Pradesh showcased a tableau for the first time in four years, showcasing a massive installation of the Chamba Rumal designed by Prof Him Chatterjee, head of Himachal Pradesh University’s visual art and painting department. The greatest challenge faced by the Chamba Rumal embroiderers today is keeping the craft flourishing in a new age. Their strides towards revival may be small and measured, but the region’s dedicated karigars and revivalists have ensured that the embroidery tradition, often known as needle wonder, is being passed to future generations.

- http://www.thebetterindia.com/95481/chamba-rumal-himachal-pradesh-craft-embroidery/, April 11, 2017

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Odisha starts process to get GI tag for century old palm leaf etching craft

After stone carving of Konark, applique work of Pipili and Pattachitra of Raghurajpur, Odisha government has started preparation for filing application for Geographical Indication (GI) registration for palm-leaf etching craft. GI tag for the dying art form will help in reviving the age-old traditional craft and improving in the economic standard of the artists. "Existence of palm leaf manuscripts is dating back to the time of Ashoka's in Odisha. There are lakhs of texts containing temple architecture, flora and fauna, Ayurveda and miniature paintings on palm leafs which have attracted many a researchers over the years. But due to lack of patronage and promotion the century old cultural heritage is on the verge of extinction. The initiative for GI tag may revive the art form," said Soumendra Kumar Mishra, researcher, Jagannath Sanskuta Mahavidyalaya. A preliminary survey of palm leaf artists revealed that there are around 1000 palm-leaf artists are in Puri, Khurda and Cuttack districts.

Special Officer, state handicrafts department, Sanatan Nayak said "The state government is planning to get GI registration of the unique craft of palm-leaf etching. The co-op society has been given the task of compiling a detail report on the process and preservation of palm leaf crafts in the state." GI tag will help in protecting the products and its techniques from infringement and will give a special status to the product belong to a particular area. Besides, GI tag will enhance demand in international market, create opportunities to use a special mark on the product and strengthen the productions base and glorify the traditional aspect. "We have been documenting the process of production of palm leaf etching craft. Besides, the diversified products on palm leaf including fan, puppet, lamp shed and gift boxes will be displayed along with books and publications on palm leaf manuscripts and the craft. The GI tag will ensure financial viability of the artists by proper training and marketing," said Devi Nanda of Puri Creative Handicraft Co-Op Society Ltd.

Sources said, there are as many as three lakh palm leaf manuscripts in Odisha of which 37,000 manuscripts of 27 different categories are in the State Museum. There are hundreds of manuscripts in different libraries of universities and also in temples, mutts and as individual collections. "Palm leaf manuscripts are treasure house of knowledge which were documented centuries ago by scholars. But unfortunately many of these scripts have not been preserved deciphered properly. GI tag for palm leaf etching is the need of the hour," said Bhagyalipi Malla, superintendent of State Archives.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/odisha-starts-process-to-get-gi-tag-for-century-old-palm-leaf-etching-craft/articleshow/58113176.cms, April 11, 2017

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445 yrs on, Mughal-era gates still serving as police chowkis

Four Mughal era gates which were constructed in Ajmer by Akbar almost 445 years ago for policing continue to carry out the same function with Rajasthan police converting the historic structure into chowkis. While the open vaulted gates housed 'shahi' (royal) guards whenever Akbar visited Ajmer, they also served as a checkpoint to stop criminals and unwanted elements from entering the city. They were retained as chowkis even as the reins of power passed on to the Rathors, Marathas and the British. This function remains unchanged in the present times as well. Each of these arch-shaped gates - 25 to 30 meters high - were built between 1571 and 1572 by Akbar, for whom Ajmer was special because it houses Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti's dargah. Big enough for an elephant to pass through, these gates were shut after sunset for all travellers during Akbar's regime and thereafter. Rooms were constructed adjacent to the gates to house the guards. One of them, Delhi Gate, has three rooms constructed within the main structure which become visible only when one stands below the arch. "The innermost room was for keeping arsenal while the middle room served as a resting space. The outer room was for the guards," said Om Sharma, a local historian. Of the four gates, Delhi Gate and Tripolia Gate are Aracheological Survey of India-protected monuments but repeated requests to the state police to vacate the same have not yielded any result. Repeated renovation and drilling in the walls pose a serious threat to all the four gates.

A police officer posted at the Delhi Gate chowki said it was virtually impossible to give in to ASI's request because the area was communally sensitive. "It is at a strategic location. Keeping an eye on elements threatening peace is more important than restoring history," said another police officer. Another Mughal era gate, Madar Gate, has lost its heritage look with cemented plaster replacing the stone structure several years ago. PS Sriraman, superintendent, ASI, Jodhpur circle, said it was unfortunate that the district administration was not responding to ASI's directions to vacate the structures. "The Delhi Gate chowki is crumbling and requires immediate attention. Our plan of restoring it in its original form is ready," he told TOI. Other open vaulted gates-Diggi Gate, Bass Gate and Usri Gate - constructed by the Marathas and the British were demolished to facilitate smooth traffic in the city as it spread.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ajmer/445-yrs-on-mughal-era-gates-still-serving-as-police-chowkis/articleshow/58139376.cms, April 12, 2017

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Vizag’s heritage sites cry for attention

For many, the city of Visakhapatnam appears to be a modern city that has come up over the last few decades. The city, with a hoary past, is much smarter today, but its heritage sites have not been protected, as desired. Basically, the heritage of the city can be divided into two. One that is ancient and the other are the remnants and edifices of the colonial era. On the eve of World Heritage Day, which is celebrated world wide on Tuesday, the overwhelming feeling among historians, architects and heritage conservationists from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) is that heritage sites in the city, especially those of the colonial era, are subjected to gross neglect and the officials concerned have turned a blind eye. According to Intach, there are about 95 heritage buildings and precincts in Visakhapatnam district and 168 under the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region (VMR). While most them are from the colonial era, a few such as the Buddhist sites of Thotlakonda and Bavikonda are over 2,000 years old and a few temples such as Simhachalam, Appikonda ane Embarmannar Venkateswara Temple are dated between the 700 and 1,000 years old, said Prasad, convener of Intach, Vizag. The ancient ones come under the purview of the Archaeological Survey of India and are taken care of, but the colonial ones are under threat, said Mr. Prasad. Symbols of neglect. According to Intach, of the 95 sites, about 27 are in Bheemunipatnam that date back to the Dutch period. “Of the 27, about 90 % are either in dilapidated condition or have been demolished,” said Edward Paul of Intach. The same is the condition of heritage buildings in city limits. The Kurupam Market has been demolished, and buildings such as the Town Hall and Queen Mary School need immediate attention, said Mr. Paul. The activists feel that for the sites to be conserved and renovated, the edifices have to be listed under the heritage list of the urban authorities. Echoing their views, Prof. G. Viswanadh Kumar of the Department of Architecture, Andhra University, says as per the VUDA master plan that was formulated in 2006, a heritage conservation committee (HCC) should be created. And it is the HCC that lists the buildings after following some standard procedures that include a public hearing. Almost every city has got a HCC. The HCC is very strong in Mumbai, but in Vizag it is yet to be formed, said Prof. Viswanadham.

- http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/vizags-heritage-sites-cry-for-attention/article18097418.ece, April 17, 2017

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Walk in free into any Delhi monument today

The Capital is all set to celebrate World Heritage Day today, with heritage walks, photo-exhibitions, quizzes for school students and free entry to any monument in the city. The Archaeological Survey of India's (ASI) Delhi Chapter has put up a photo exhibition at Red Fort, covering all the heritage monuments in the country. Visitors to the exhibition, which will be open for public from Tuesday, will see past and current pictures of the monuments with detailed text explaining their history. The chosen heritage theme for this year is 'Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development', inspired by United Nations' International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. ASI officials say that special focus will be put on school-children. "We have invited 20 physically challenged students from a Delhi school to take part in a heritage quiz in a bid to raise awareness about the city's history," said Doctor Deepti Agnihotri, Archaeologist, ASI, Delhi-Circle. Apart from the quiz, INTACH Delhi-Circle, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, has organised a walk for 250 school kids at the President's Estate. "We will show these kids the house, gardens and the restoration work INTACH has done in the President's estate," says Priya Sinha, Senior Project Manager, INTACH Delhi-Chapter. Keeping this in mind, different cultural and heritage groups are coming forward to educate people through heritage walks. Sahapedia, a non-profit open online resource on arts, culture, and heritage of India, has lined up a series of week-long events focusing on history of various spaces in the Delhi-NCR region. They are also organising heritage walks at Feroz Shah Kotla and the Qutub complex, along with food walks through the streets of Old Delhi. "Heritage has to be made accessible to a larger audience," said Doctor Sudha Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director, Sahapedia. "And to help promote this objective, we have announced a fellowship program with the University of Rajasthan," she adds. HERITAGE LECTURE

Intach has also organised a lecture on Relevance of the study of Ancient Indian Heritage

Professor Vasant Shinde of Deccan College, at the India International Centre will speak

- http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-walk-in-free-into-any-delhi-monument-today-2405971, April 17, 2017

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SMD Little Champ students celebrate Baisakhi

Panchkula: Students of SMD Little Champ Smart School celebrated Baisakhi in style. They came dressed in colourful attire and performed folk dance items. They also coloured sheets. Teachers told them about the importance of the festival. Principal Deepika Luthra wished all students a happy Baisakhi. Naresh Gupta, director of the school, said, “We wanted to give parents and their children a platform to enjoy together.” tns Saupin’s-32 students bag prize for best heritage film Chandigarh: The Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage (INTACH) held its annual film festival (2016-17) at Bhavan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh, on April 11. Seven schools from the tricity participated in the project. Programme in charge was Purnima Datt, principal director, HECS, while Smita Mishra, principal secretary to the Government of Haryana, was the chief guest. The event started with a movie ‘Helping Hands for Heritage’ which introduced the project to everyone. Ten best movies made by the Chandigarh INTACH project schools were screened, three were made by Saupin’s School, Sector 32, Chandigarh. The school had made 17 films. Its students were given prizes and certificates. Tns

- http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/education/smd-little-champ-students-celebrate-baisakhi/392704.html, April 17, 2017

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World Heritage Day: A call to all to save our past

Tomorrow, April 18 is World Heritage Day . In 1982, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) based in France, announced April 18 as the "World Heritage Day", approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983, with the aim of enhancing awareness of the importance of the cultural heritage of humankind, and redouble efforts to protect and conserve our heritage. In 2017, the theme is "Cultural Heritage & Sustainable Tourism", chosen in relation to the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.What is heritage?What is Heritage in the first place? An explanation from the INTACH book titled "INTACH Jago" goes like this: "Heritage refers to something inherited from one's ancestors. It includes assets, natural or cultural, something tangible or intangible, that the community recognizes for its value as a witness to history and memory, while emphasising the need to safeguard, protect, adopt, promote and disseminate it. Heritage is anything that means something to us, touches us tells us something and makes us remember something or has to do with beauty, glorification and significance".Tangible and intangible heritageWe can categorise heritage as natural or cultural heritage. Examples of natural heritage would be rock formations, mountains, plains and plateaus.

- https://www.nyoooz.com/news/visakhapatnam/785853/world-heritage-day-a-call-to-all-to-save-our-past/, April 17, 2017

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No money for India's first architecture museum

India's first architecture museum is still waiting to be built though the master-plan is all ready. The idea for such a museum was mooted three years ago but has been gathering dust for want of money, despite an earlier flow of funds from the Council of Architecture (CoA), the statutory body for Indian architects. A brainchild of Greha, a Delhi-based non-profit knowledge-based society, the National Museum for Architecture was first pitched at a meeting of architects, engineers, artists, planners and academics in September, 2014 in the capital. Following this, the CoA promised a sum of Rs 7 lakh to the organisation for preparing a report on the project. According to Greha's founding member M N Ashish Ganju, the proposal ran into funding problems because of a change of guard in the CoA. "Originally, it was the CoA that championed it. They sponsored the report," he said. "But, unfortunately, the leadership of the council changed last year." He said the concept of the project had been worked out. All it needs now was funding. "But now, as in politics, the new leader says that they will go against anything that the old leader has done," he said. The CoA, however, said an initial amount of Rs 7 lakh had been pumped into the project. "We were not the only authority that was supposed to fund it. But none of the others came forward. We, on our part, gave them over Rs 7 lakh as initial funding. But it did not move ahead because we asked them to present a detailed project report, which they never did," said CoA vice president Vijay Garg. Ganju now hopes to bring other bodies on board to help raise funds for the project which, according to the report, will cost Rs 1,200 crore in the first five years. The proposal, which was supported by bodies such as the Indian Institute of Architects and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) right from the start, has now found new collaborators including the Indian Institute of Interior Designers (IIID) and the Institute of Landscape and Architects (ISOLA). "This idea is important because in India, we just don't celebrate our architects and their art the way we do arts, poetry or music," said Jasleen from ISOLA. "In last couple of years India lost their biggest icons in architecture -- from Charles Correa to Professor Mohammad Shaheer -- but there was hardly any mention of them. This museum will help people know and appreciate such talents." Having identified a 1.3-hectare plot of land, belonging to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), in Mehrauli for the museum, Ganju said he was hopeful that something would work out. A project of such magnitude could only be completed with government support, he added. "We are in touch with private agencies, but the government has to spearhead this project. And the route to the government is through the council. I am hopeful that we will somehow work around them," he said. Ganju called the project a "network of inspirational sites", and distinguished it from traditional museums. "The concept of having a building in which you show buildings is funny. So this is simply not a building which is a storehouse of artefacts. It is a place of learning where people will be introduced to a whole world of architecture, Ganju, who taught in colleges of architecture across India and Europe, said. Greha works in the field of environment development, habitat design and architecture.

- http://www.ptinews.com/news/8616422_No-money-for-India-s-first-architecture-museum.html, April 17, 2017

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Sorry state of our monuments

UNESCO celebrates World Heritage Day today, but none of Hyderabad’s glorious monuments have earned the tag of a World Heritage Site. Hyderabad has always taken pride in its culture and heritage, be it the beautiful Golconda Fort, the Qutb Shahi Tombs, the poetic pavilions of Taramati Baradari or the iconic Charminar. However, even as the UNESCO celebrates World Heritage Day today, the monuments in and around the city are crying for attention.Telangana is also one of the few Indian states to not have any UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Although many dossiers had been sent earlier to the UNESCO, none of Hyderabad’s monuments made it even to the tentative lists. “Encroachments remain a major issue. As per the UNESCO guidelines, for a monument to be included in the World Heritage list, it must be well-preserved. There should also be a comprehensive heritage policy for the State to protect these monuments from encroachments and work on restoring them. Until these things are taken care of, thinking about a world status is a far away dream,” says the city’s well-known historian and author Sajjad Shahid. Restoring the monuments will also help the tourism industry. Dr Mohammed Shafiullah of the Deccan Heritage Trust feels that the government should see this as an investment that will fetch them handsome returns. “Though successive governments have been vying for a few monuments to be included in the World Heritage list, they do not fit into the guidelines given by the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the agency that inspects the proposed sites and gives them the tag of World Heritage Sites. Also, unless we improve the infrastructure, how can we expect to improve the tourism industry? There are no washrooms, cafeteria, or even a souvenir shop near any monument in the city, which is the basic requirement for any tourist,” he says. Proper planning of the city is also very important for saving the monuments. “After the ‘70s, the city has grown a lot and the growing population has taken up the empty spaces around the monuments, leading to encroachments. The sites must be saved from further encroachments,” says Anuradha Reddy of the Hyderabad chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). Citizens also seem to be lacking in basic civic responsibility. “People should not write on the walls of the monuments. Many even spit on the walls. There should be heavy fines to stop people from doing these things. It is important to save our heritage structures,” says Sajjad Shahid.However, the government seems to be hopeful about the Qutb Shahi Tombs getting the World Heritage Site tag. “Getting a UNESCO tag is not easy, and getting one for a single monument is even more difficult. As per ICOMOS, we have started conservation work, and have also started the process of re-submitting the proposal to the authorities for Qutb Shahi Tombs, Golconda Fort and Charminar. The deadline for submission is February 1, 2018, and we are very confident that we will get the world status,” says Visalatchy N.R., Director of Heritage Department of Telangana State.

- http://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/viral-and-trending/180417/sorry-state-of-our-monuments.html, April 17, 2017

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World Heritage Day: 10 must visit UNESCO heritage sites in India

On April 18, 1982, International Council on Monuments and Sites organised a conference and came up with a suggestion to celebrate the day as ‘International Day for Monuments and Sites’. The suggestion was accepted by UNESCO in 1983. Since then the day is celebrated as ‘World Heritage Day’ with an aim to raise awareness about cultural heritage and the need to protect and conserve such sites. India is home to 35 World Heritage Sites approved by UNESCO which brings cultural and natural glory to the country. Today on the occasion of World Heritage Day here are 10 heritage sites in India that are a must-visit.

Rock Shelters at Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh
Located 45 km South of Bhopal at the Southern edge of the Vindhya hills, the area is covered with thick vegetation, natural shelters and rich flora and fauna. The shelters were discovered in 1957 and were added to heritage list in 2003. The name ‘Bhimbetka’ has been associated with ‘Bhima’, the hero-diety of Mahabharata and the name literally means ‘sitting place of Bhima’. The place is a magnificent repository of rock paintings within natural rock shelters. These paintings depicts man’s experimentation with creativity and belongs to different prehistoric periods, including Late Paleolithic Period i.e. Old Stone Age that consists of large represntations of rhinoceroses and bears. Paintings from Mesolithic i.e. Middle Stone Age consists of animals and human activities, Chalcolithic i.e. early Bronze Age consists of agriculture, early historic and medieval consists of religious motifs and tree gods.

Rani ki Vav, Gujarat
Located on the banks of Saraswati river, Rani ki Vav (Queen’s step well) was built in 11th century AD in memory of King Bhimdev I. Stepwells are a distinctive form of water storage systems that have been in existence since the 3rd millennium BC. Rani ki Vav is designed into seven levels of stairs with more than 500 principle sculptures and over thousand mythological and religious works. The site has also been felicitated with the ‘Cleanest Iconic Place’ title by the Indian Sanitation Conference (INDOSAN) in October 2016.

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is located around the Pavagadh hill and is known for its archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties. The history of this site dates back from the 8th to 14th centuries. The park is studded with eleven different types of buildings including temples, mosques, tombs, wells, walls and more.

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka
The heritage site is named as ‘Group of Monuments at Pattadakal’ by UNESCO as it houses nine Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary that potrays an amalgamation of architectural features of Northern (Nagara) and Southern (Dravida) India. Eight among the nine temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and the ninth is Papanatha Temple, a shaivite sanctuary. Apart from the major temples, several small Shiva shrines are seen here.

Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho Group of Monuments are popular for its artistic magnificence rather than religious aspects. The site comprises of 22 temples. It is said that initially there were about 82 temples built. The temples belong to the Hindu and Jain community and have an amazing fusion of sculpture and architecture. Every evening the Khajuraho temple complex organises a light and sound show in the open lawns in English and Hindi. Besides, The Khajuraho Dance Festival is held every year in February that features classical Indian dances.

Mountain Railways of India
The Mountain Railways of India represents a collective listings of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (West Bengal), the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (Tamil Nadu) and the Kalka-Shimla Railway (Himachal Pradesh) and were recognised to the UNESCO’s heritage list in 1999, 2005 and 2008, respectively.

Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim
Khangchendzonga National Park (former Kanchenjunga National Park) also known as Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve is the first ‘Mixed Heritage’ site of India. Located in the Himalayan range, the park is home to plains, glaciers, lakes and valleys. Animals like snow leopard, red panda and musk deer are spotted here regularly. Besides, the park is home to several rare and threatened plants and animals.

Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara, Bihar
The ancient Nalanda University or a large Buddhist monastery located in the Souteast of Patna was a centre for learning in the seventh century. The site comprises of stupas, shrines, viharas and several art works in metal and stone. The site stands out as the most ancient university in the Indian subcontinent. It is also said that the site was an organised mediation of knowledge over 800 years. The historical development of the site proves the development of Buddhism into a religion and its educational traditions.

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Uttarakhand
The heritage sites comprises of two core areas -Nanda Devi National Park and the Valley of Flowers National Park -about 20 km apart. The Valley of Flowers is popular for its natural beauty and endemic alpine flowers. While the Nanda Devi National Park is known for its wilderness and spectacular topographical features including glaciers and moraines. Both the parks are blessed with high diversity of flora and fauna, with a notable number of globally threatened species including Himalayan musk deer and various plant species.

Mughal Gardens, Jammu & Kashmir
The Mughal Gardens in Jammu & Kashmir comprises of six gardens -Chashma Shahi, Shalimar Bagh, Pari Mahal, Verinag Garden, Achabal Gardens and Nishat Bagh. Apart from possessing exceptional beauty these gardens are irreplaceable physical evidence to the understanding of history and evolution of Mughal Gardens in India. These gardens also demonstrate brilliant engineering skills of the Mughal architecture.

- http://www.freepressjournal.in/webspecial/world-heritage-day-10-must-visit-unesco-heritage-sites-in-india/1053825, April 17, 2017

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Ahmedabad stepwells vie for attention

While Gujarat is famous for its Rani ki Vav and Adalaj Vav, the city offers an eclectic mix of stepwell architecture for both history lovers and those interested in ancient architecture. Ahmedabad has over 14 stepwells, important among those include Bai Harir ni Vav at Asarwa, Amrut Varshini Vav at Panchkuwa, Mata Bhavani ni Vav at Asarwa and Ashapura Mata ni Vav, Bapunagar. Lesser-known stepwells in Vadaj and Maninagar are also part of the larger ecosystem of the city that not only chronicles expansion of human settlement and ancient trade routes, but also the intricate relationship between water and society. Conservationists based in Ahmedabad said that barring a few, most of the stepwells are in dilapidated condition and are thus off the tourist trail. Each stepwell has a unique story to tell - right from the architectural style to the legend attached to it. But while encroachment is rampant, information and accessibility is another issue, they added.

Book throws light on facets of Rani ki Vav
Who was Queen Udayamati who had commissioned the Queen's stepwell or Rani ki Vav, now a Unesco World Heritage Site? Why are the interiors of the stepwell considered literally a 'time capsule' of 11th century Gujarat? A book titled 'Vishwa Virasat Gujarat ni Asmita Ranivav' by Professor Ramji Savaliya, director of BJ Institute of Learning and Research, tries to answer some of these questions. The book was jointly published by the BJ Institute and state archaeology department. "The sculptures are best-preserved representations of 11th century style that was at the pinnacle of Gujarat's artisanship and craftsmanship. It is widely believed that the stepwell, commissioned by Queen Udayamati, was her tribute to her husband Bhimdev I," said Savaliya. "The daughter of a Sorath ruler, she envisioned one of the biggest and most embellished stepwells that represents all possible gods and goddesses of Hindu pantheon in its forms as per shilpshastra," he said. Selfie for a cause Atulya Varso, a city-based organization working to promote heritage, organized a 'Selfie Walk' from Dalpatram Chowk in Lambeshwar ni Pol to Manek Chowk on Monday evening as a precursor to the International Day for Monuments and Sites. Over 30 citizens participated in the initiative. Kapil Thakar, who initiated the walk, said that the idea was to engage youths who can take their pictures against the backdrops of various major monuments of the walled city and post it on social media, with a brief history to promote cultural heritage and sustainable tourism - this year's theme. The participants took the walk and captured pols of the walled city along with city landmarks on their mobile phones.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/city-stepwells-vie-for-attention/articleshow/58230583.cms, April 17, 2017

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Reviving Residency

On this day celebrated as World Heritage Day, when we rejoice at the efforts of Reviving Residency by the Department of Archaeology, Government of Telangana and the World Monuments Fund, let us take a moment to remember all those who protested and prayed for the health of the Residency. In the city of the Qutb Shahis and the Nizams, the colonial history of the Residency was brought to limelight by many scholars and authors. While Dr Sarojini Regani, Dr VK Bawa, Dr Omar Khalidi’s works, the unpublished doctoral work of Dr Ashwin Kumar Bakshi, are valuable resources, Bilkiz Alladdin’s romantic drama, ‘The Love of a Begum’, set the mood in 1989, William Dalrymple’s historical fiction White Mughals, published in 2002, pushed the Khairunnisa-Kirkpatrick love story onto the world arena. Originally, built by the Fifth British Resident in Nizam’s Government, James Achilles Kirkpatrick for his Khairunnissa Begum, between 1803-1806, the Residency complex was expanded and developed over the years by the succeeding Residents. Remains of the old structures of the Residency, such as Clock Tower, Gate of Kabutar Kahana on the Bade Chowdi lane are still standing. When the British left Hyderabad, after a brief discussion, in 1949, it was decided the Koti Residency Campus was ‘handed-over’ to Women’s College, established in 1924. Between 1949 and 1952, the Residency buildings were modified and ‘adapted’ for the use of Women’s College. The Residency buildings were maintained by the Nizam’s PWD and later by Hyderabad and AP Government’s PWD, the present Roads & Buildings Department. The office of the Chief Engineer, R&B maintained the Residency campus through the Osmania University Buildings Division till the 1960s, when the total maintenance was shifted to OUBD. So, from the 1960s onwards the OUBD was solely responsible for the maintenance and non-maintenance of the historic Residency complex. It is noted from archival research that the Residency Campus was only ‘handed-over’ to Osmania University for use and the legal ‘Transfer of Ownership’ did not take place. The present ownership status of the Residency grounds should be verified from revenue records. The grand buildings of the Residency are closed to the public view by the fort-like walls surrounding the campus. On an average, about three thousand students pass out of the Koti Women’s College, which makes it about 2 lakh alumni of the college. People who have visited the Residency and girls who grew and built their dreams in the corridors will agree that it is painful that the condition of buildings has only become worse in the last six decades. The Former British Residency found a place on Hyderabad Heritage List in category II-B, in 1995. In 1997, when Osmania University Buildings Division was demolishing the roof of the western wing of Durbar Hall for laying of RCC roof, activists and media protested for not seeking permission from the HUDA Hyderabad Heritage Committee. In 2001, the Residency was put on the 2002 and 2004 World Monuments Watch List as ‘Osmania Women’s College’. With this, a new story of conservation began. In 2003, the WMF announced a grant of Hundred Thousand Dollars through American Express for the restoration of Durbar Hall building only. The WMF released Twenty Thousand Dollars to Osmania University. A PIL was taken up by the AP High Court in 2006 seeking a National Monuments status to Hyderabad Residency on par with Lucknow Residency, an upgradation from the local HUDA Listed Buildings Grade-II Status. The Archaeology Survey of India denied the status stating that the 1857 Mutiny did not take place in Hyderabad while the Lucknow Residency played a key role and Hyderabad Residency cannot be a National Monument – a logic which needs to debated. However, Hyderabad Residency was declared a State Monument by AP High Court Order in 2007. In 2009, the High Court further directed the State Department of Archaeology to immediately take up the emergency repairs and expedite the restoration project. The Department of Archaeology sanctioned an amount of Rs 1 crore for taking up restoration. In 2015, an anonymous donor, with the condition of raising matching grants, gave one million to the WMF. It took twelve long years since the listing of WMF and more than thirty years of protests and activism, for the restoration of Residency to begin. In these years, Vice-chancellors and Principals changed, Consultants and Governments changed. The historic core of the complex now only left around Darbar Hall and empress gate within the college campus. The efforts of restoration are limited to the Darbar Hall building, the small Model in the Garden and the Cemetery, which should be extended to all other historic buildings in and outside the women’s college campus. A protected monument zone should be delineated and opened to public – the heavy compound wall should be pulled down to be replaced by an iron fence and made visible to transit public – This will be a valuable addition to the urban open space in the crowded, polluted area of Koti. The Residency complex shrunk over the years. Poor maintenance led to the collapse of structures – mathematics and sociology blocks and the Principal’s lodge, were pulled down and replaced by new buildings. The Koti Women’s College is definitely an important part of Hyderabad’s history. But the Hyderabad Residency being an architectural marvel and historical landmark needs to be prioritised to be preserved for posterity. After many long years of waiting, the Hyderabad Residency is in the able hands of Department of Archaeology, Telangana Government, and the World Monuments. It certainly augurs well for the complex. - The writer is Conservation Architect and Urban-Regional Planner. By Vasanta Sobha Turaga

- http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Telangana/2017-04-18/Reviving-Residency/294106, April 17, 2017

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Cultural Heritage & Sustainable Tourism is the theme for 2017 International Day of Monuments and Sites

According to International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the theme for 2017 has been chosen in relation to the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. To mark the occasion, Le Prince Haveli, one of the most beautiful painted homesteads of Shekhawati, Rajasthan, which is undergoing extensive restoration, will open its door for a day on Tuesday for public viewing, according to an events list published by ICOMOS. Another special event will be held in Kohima Nagaland, where an International Photography Exhibition titled "A Walk into a Fading Heritage" will be held. Donin Yeng, a Travel Photographer from Imphal, Manipur (North East India) and based in Dimapur, Nagaland, aims to bring people from around the world closer to north-east India through his hotographs. On Monday, a photographic exhibition titled "A Tale of Two Cities: Hamp and New Town" will be inaugurated at the Indian Museum, Kolkata, West Bengal. According to the ICOMOS website, "The exponential growth in tourism and particularly cultural tourism has been a major influence in encouraging an ever increasing range and scope of cultural encounters both formal and informal. Cultural exchange is the currency of cultural tourism. Cultural exchange fosters peaceful coexistence and has never been more important in a world beset with insecurities."

- http://www.indiablooms.com/ibns_new/life-details/AC/2752/cultural-heritage-amp-sustainable-tourism-is-the-theme-for-2017-international-day-of-monuments-and-sites.html, April 17, 2017

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Intach awards six heritage structures

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) on Tuesday presented awards to six exemplary heritage structures and precincts which include Osmania University's Central Library and a Sufi hospice. Co-convener of the panel, Sajjad Shahid, asserted that the state government should involve stakeholders in the protection of state's cultural heritage and that its decisions should not be unilateral. Addressing a gathering of heritage aficionados, Shahid, while presenting the awards on World Heritage Day said, "Earlier (in undivided Andhra Pradesh) our pleas were not heard. This should not be the case now. We hope at least the Telangana government listens to us. For God's sake let us stay together and work for the cause of heritage and not be divided." Responding to his remarks, TSRTC chairman S Satyanaraya, who was the chief guest, said that people of the state would be together and that the recently passed Heritage Act would protect the state's cultural heritage. Central Library was presented the award for preserving memorabilia pertaining to the establishment of the Osmania University. This includes copies of the firm and of its establishment and original sketches of N S Jasper, the Belgian architect who was commissioned to plan the varsity's new campus. The Khankhwah of the Dargah Hazrat Shah Khamosh, a structure within the precinct of Mecca Masjid, also presented the award. The hospice, which is said to house strands Prophet Muhammad and Hazrat Imam Ali's hair, is a blend of architectural styles. The 25 feet high EME War Memorial too was presented an award for honouring martyrs of the corps which was raised in 1943 and for 'meticulous care'. INTACH also awarded Lepakshi building opposite the Department of Archaeology and Museums. Maulana Azad National Urdu University (Manuu) was awarded for preserving distinctive rock formations within its 200 acre sprawling campus. The Ravindra Bharathi was also presented an award.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/intach-awards-six-heritage-structures/articleshow/58251438.cms, April 18, 2017

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Jayshree Hatangadi, INTACH Member – Woman on Top

Having been in Vizag for many years, Jayshree Hatangadi is the name that comes up when one speaks of heritage walks in the city. Meet the crusader who has dedicated herself to causes within the city and around.

Work-wise
Having worked across the country, my tryst with Vizag restarted in 2006 when I returned post-retirement to start primary schools in the remote tribal areas. In 2008, I became the Director of School Year Abroad’s Indian operations. We would take US students with a US curriculum for extensive learning from the host country, in our case India. Along with the usual subjects they would learn everything that was culturally rich to gain from our country. After this program I got deep rooted into the aspects of Vizag’s Heritage and became an INTACH Life Member. Today I enjoy taking Vizag residents and their visitors for the ‘Vizagapatnam One Town Heritage Walks’ , understanding the learning and living of monks at 2nd & 3rd BCE Buddhist Heritage Sites and sharing the essence of life, tradition and language of our district’s tribal areas. I am involved with 3 Residential Tribal GTWA schools and their villages. The attempt is to assist these tribal girls to help improve their education and bring in hygiene and literacy wherever I can. And the impact that little effort creates is the impetus that moves me forward.’ Challenges and Agenda 2017 Many of us see things around us that we don’t like. We often only complain about them, but I try to take action in whatever little way I can. So I choose a few causes, and then do whatever I can to make things better. Whether it be heritage walks, education for tribal schools or saving heritage sites, I just go ahead and do what needs to be done. I’ve never really faced problems per se. In fact people are supportive and welcoming. The administration, whether it is the Collector, ITDA, all extend their support.

Gender talk
We’ve always been a matriarchal society, where the role of the mother has been central. I think gender bias was never there in the past. In fact, it is a more recent phenomenon that’s come about with media and television which show the bias more than anything else. Even in the tribal areas, I don’t see discrimination against girls and women. All work in the fields, and work at home, as equals. In my life too, I haven’t been discriminated based on my gender.

Woman speak
Recently at a mall with my mother, the product-promoter girls walked up to me, and seeing my greying hair, and wrinkles started selling me creams and hair dye. I told them that these wrinkles have come from the numerous stories I had, and that I love myself. It’s grand and beautiful to be old at 60. You have the wrinkles that have been made of stories and experiences. So my message to women is that they love themselves for who they are. And I’d wish that every woman ask herself the question, ‘When was the last time that you did something for the first time?’ It’s a question that has always persuaded me to be fresh and different. It’s important to do something new every day.

- https://www.yovizag.com/heritage-intach-jayshree-hatangadi/, April 18, 2017

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1000-year-old manuscripts cry for attention in Osmania University Library

did you know the Osmania University Library houses manuscripts dating back a thousand years? Yes, the gloomy room chock-a-block with dusty wooden cupboards in the left wing of the 54-year-old library building, is actually a treasure trove filled with 6,428 rare manuscripts, dated between 11th to 18th centuries. They cover a plethora of subjects, from Puranas, Dharma Shashtras and Philosophy to Music, Astronomy, Lexicography, Medicine, Poetry, History and Biography. But the sad part is, they lie here in total neglect, gathering dust laments, Fazaluddin Ahmed, who has been in charge of the manuscript section for the past 20 years. "Since these manuscripts won't create doctors, engineers or IT professionals, they lie here in the darkness of locked almirahs, neglected. Bahut kam log aate hai padne ke liye. Aur padne layak scholars bhi hain kahan?" asks Fazaluddin, as he flattens out a crumbled certificate awarded to Osmania University Library by The National Mission for Manuscripts, to show us. "Our culture is what we neglect the most in our country. Bole toh shikayat karte hai.... But you tell me, can I even open these almirahs?" he asks, in the same dejected vein, as he points at a cupboard choked with piled up furniture. "Every time i want to open one of these, I have to first shift all the furniture. This shows how much people care. I have tried my best to preserve them; I even got into fights because of that!" he adds. "To preserve these manuscripts, Fahrenheit chloro benzene wrapped in a piece of cloth needs to be kept in the shelves. But no one likes it because they say it emanates a strong stench... They fought with me about it and said, 'Aap aise kyun kar rahe ho, aise toh koi nahi karta hai; kya zaroorat hai? We can't even sit here; we will fall sick...'" he adds, with a sad sigh. However, Anuradha Reddy, convenor, INTACH (Hyderabad Chapter) is a lot more optimistic, as she says, these books couldn't have been stored better. "You see, these cupboards especially made to store the manuscripts are weather proof, fire proof, water proof... So at least as far as their safety is concerned, we have nothing to worry about. But that's it. No further thought has been spared when it comes to these valuable documents. I think this is a good time to wake up and recognise the heritage in our possession, and give it the attention it deserves." But then, what's the point of books, if there's no one to read them? What is the purpose of all the preservation if no one can even access the manuscripts? Heritage activist, Sajjad Sahid, however, has a different take on that: "It's not a good idea to allow thousands of people to handle these delicate manuscripts. That would only ruin them further. The need of the hour though is to ensure that the manuscripts are digitised and made available to the public on the internet." Calling the manuscripts "irreplaceable assets of our heritage", which have to be conserved and preserved, Sajjad adds, "If Osmania University continues to be the custodian of these rare gems of literature, it is the responsibility of the university and the government of Telangana to ensure their preservation. Some grant had been released during centenary celebrations of the university, but I don't think even a rupee is being spent for preservation of this invaluable heritage that makes OU stand out."

WHERE THESE RARE MANUSCRIPTS CAME FROM
Many of these manuscripts originally belonged to various royal families of India. The seals and endorsements on the title pages support this claim. Among them are Kitab-as-Sahiih, which belonged to the Royal Library of Emperor Akbar, Qamus al-Muhet, which belonged to the Library of Adil Shahi kings and Kulyat-i-Urfi from the Royal Library of Tipu Sultan.

HOW THEY FOUND THEIR WAY TO THE OU LIBRARY
"In the year 1940, the then Government of Hyderabad State acquired the manuscript collection of one Hakim Mohd Kasim at the insistence of Dr Gulam Yazdani, the then Director of Archaeology, for Rs 30,000. The collection was divided between the State Central Library, Archaeological Department, Medical Department and Osmania University. The University paid Rs 16,800 for its share of 2998 manuscripts. Since then the University has procured more manuscripts, through gift or purchase, bringing the total number to 6428," says Fazaluddin.

ANCIENT ACCOUNTS IN 11 LANGUAGES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
The accounts are written in different languages. Sanskrit ranks first, with 2059 manuscripts, followed by Arabic (1673), Persian (1371), Telugu (337), Urdu (369), Kannada (295), Tamil (140), Marathi (131), Hindi (47), Turkish (5) and Hebrew (1). Interestingly, many Sanskrit manuscripts are written in Telugu and Kannada scripts.

THESE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE RARE MANUSCRIPTS LANGUISHING IN THE LIBRARY
A Mahabharata that took 29 years to be written; another that was written on the banks of Musi in 'Bhagyanagar'

Of the collection, two manuscripts of Mahabharata, are considered especially priceless from an artistic point of view. One of these contains almost the whole text of the Mahabharata with 17th century scholar Nilakanta Cathurdhara's commentary. every page is bordered with gold and silver, interspersed with floral designs and miniature paintings of the characters mentioned in the text. The manuscript contains two dates - Saka 1722 (A.D. 1800) in the beginning and Saka 1751 (A.D.1829) at the end, which implies that it took 29 years for the manuscript to be copied and illustrated. The second manuscript does not cover the whole text. It has one bundle of Bhishma Parva and the Bhagavadgita, with three commentaries. There are miniature paintings of Krishna and Arjuna on each page, in addition to different battle scenes. The cover pages of bundles are illustrated with panels, landscapes and representations of celestial beings. A note in the manuscript states that it was copied at Bhagyanagar (Hyderabad) on the banks of the Muchkunda (Musi).

A 64-feet-long scroll of Srimadbhagvata
The Bhagavata Manuscript is a 64-feet-long, 4-inches-wide illustrated scroll that contains the complete text of the 12 Skandhas of Srimadbhagavata. Its first 64 inches contain miniature paintings of Ganesha, saraswati, Lakshmi-Narayana, Shiva, Parvati and the 10 avatars of Vishnu, apart from paintings of Suka and Parikshit at the end, with miniature paintings marking the end of each Skandha. The scroll is an excellent specimen of calligraphic art. A gift from the Mughal Emperor. Tuti Nama, a work of translation of 'Suka Saptai' from Sanskrit to Urdu by Ghawwasi, the famous poet of Golconda Kingdom, The work composed in 1049 AH, was gifted by the Mughal Emperor to the commander-in-chief of the Mughal army, Bairam Khan, in 1556 AD.

Masterpieces on sufism in Persian and Turkish
n Asrar Nama: This body of work by famous mystic poet, Faiduddin Attar in 1229 AD, transcribed by Abu Ishaq in Persian in 1430 AD, deals with Sufism. n Mantiq-ut-Tair: Another Sufi masterpiece by Faiduddin Attar translated into Turkish by Shir Nawai in 1501 AD, it was once in the possession of Mughal emperors. Seals of Emperor Jahangir and other Mughal officials are found in the manuscript. A commentary on Krishnadevaraya's prabandha Amuktamalyadatika is an unpublished commentary by Rangacharya on famous prabandha by the Emperor poet Krishnadevaraya. The author is supposedly a native of Deccan.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/1000-year-old-manuscripts-cry-for-attention-in-osmania-university-library/articleshow/58224819.cms, April 18, 2017

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Capture trees near you and help find their roots

To mark Earth Day (April 22), TreesIndia, a group on the India Biodiversity Portal (IBP), is holding a week-long citizen science event in which participants can photograph, map and document trees in their neighbourhood.The Neighbourhood Trees Campaign which started in 2014 is a nationwide collaborative effort to map tree species of India. Through the 2017 edition, TreesIndia is envisioning to bring people from all walks of life to contribute and build a vibrant virtual community to document the natural and cultural history of all trees in the country.A community of more than 1,200 users comprising experts and enthusiasts helps identify the uploaded details of trees and curate the data. Over 90% of the 12,000 tree pictures uploaded has been identified. If you are knowledgeable in tree identification you too can help. Any participating user can annotate observations such as flowering or fruiting pattern, shedding or appearance of new leaves.This information will help in understanding the seasonality (phenology) of tree species.

- https://www.nyoooz.com/news/bengaluru/787916/capture-trees-near-you-and-help-find-their-roots/, April 19, 2017

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Heritage sites to get healing touch

On the occasion of the Word Heritage Day on Tuesday the art and culture department of the state has taken a resolution to protect important heritage sites and buildings. A few projects which are in the pipeline for conservation are residence of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the Bengali social reformer who spent 18 years in Jamtara district, and the historic Tagore Hill at Kanke Road where the elder brother of Rabindranath Tagore had spent some time of his life. Apart from this, the old Birsa Munda jail where legendary freedom fighter Birsa Munda was hanged will be also restored. Officials in the state art and culture department said they have selected 27 important heritage sites for restoration and conservation. Although the plan was mooted six years ago, many projects got delayed due to lack of funds. However, the century-old Laxmi Niwas at the Krishi Bhavan premises in the city — a red brick two-storeyed structural building owned by a Bengali zamindar in 1905 — and the Audrey House — built in 1854 by then deputy commissioner of Chhotanagpur Captain Hannyington — have been restored. Laxmi Niwas was conserved at a cost of Rs 2.4 crore while the department spent Rs 5 crore in the conservation of Audrey House. The department has roped in Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD) for the restoration of Maluti temples in Shikaripara block of Dumka district. Deputy director of the department, Amitabh Kumar, said, "Due to the delay in release of funds the conservation work has taken a back seat even as plans were initiated six years ago." "Our department took the responsibility to conserve Audrey House. For Birsa Munda jail and Tagore Hill agencies are in the process to prepare Detail Project Report (DPR). The estimated cost to conserve Tagore Hill is Rs 15 lakh while that of Birsa Munda jail is around Rs 6 crore," Kumar added. Shree Deo Singh, state head of ITHRD, said the Tagore Hill will be restored once the restoration work of Maluti temples is complete. He added there were 108 structural temples in Maluti out of which 62 are existing. "We believe the first phase of conservation work will be completed within three months," Singh said.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ranchi/heritage-sites-to-get-healing-touch/articleshow/58248263.cms, April 19, 2017

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See Pics: Rashtrapati Bhavan to get a facelift

Eighty years and 13 Presidents later, the iconic palace of the Indian head of the state is finally getting a facelift. The 330-acre Rashtrapati Bhavan that has 65 structures will undergo several phases of conservation. The Presidential Secretariat commissioned the conservation work to the Delhi chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). INTACH collaborated with the central public works department to create a plan for the first phase. The main building – The President’s House – will see work happening during the second phase of the facelift. A detailed project report (DPR) will be submitted next month for the conservation work on the building. Speaking to DNA, an official from the President’s House said that the main intent was to restore the original characteristics of Edwin Lutyen’s architecture. “While the buildings and the landscape retain their original flavour, the subject of additional functional requirements to cater to the needs of the President’s Estate need to be addressed,” the official added. Rashtrapati Bhavan is a Grade A heritage building, as identified by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation and is considered by many as one of Lutyen’s best works. “Although Rashtrapati Bhavan is a single, unified complex, it was decided to divide the project in two phases. The first phase will tackle the precinct and second phase will tackle the main building itself,” said Ajay Kumar, the project director at INTACH. Lime mortar mixed with jaggery and non-salty sand is being used in the conservation process. The main building has four floors with 340 rooms. The palace with two lakh square feet floor space has been made with 700 million bricks and 3.5 million cubic feet of stone, with some steel. The overall cost of restoration work, including adding the electrical fittings, is approximated at Rs 10 crore. “The work at Rashtrapati Bhavan will hopefully serve as an example and model to encourage other institutions to adopt a scientific measure to conserve and manage heritage structures,” said Swapna Liddle, Convenor, INTACH.

- http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-see-pics-rashtrapati-bhavan-to-get-a-facelift-2409474, April 20, 2017

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Interpretation centre at Abdul Wahab tomb

The Abdul Wahab Khan tomb, a protected monument dating back to the 17th Century, in Kurnool town was renovated by the Archaeological Survey of India, said ASI Superintending Archaeologist of Amaravati circle N. Taher on Thursday. Mr. Taher inaugurated an interpretation centre in the monument, in which illustrative signages in English and Telugu on the history, architecture and concept of tombs and the Abdul Wahab Khan tomb etc. were put up. The ASI was protecting and conserving 137 monuments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, he said. The tomb was barricaded and the toilets in the premises were refurbished, Mr. Taher said. Disposable toilets to be used by inserting coins were set up at Charminar in Hyderabad, he said. Construction of roads, parks, gardens and fountains on heritage monuments may not be possible as they were supposed to be preserved as they were, he added.

Sound and light show
District Tourism Officer S. Venkateswarlu stressed the need for coordinated efforts by the ASI, tourism and INTACH. A sound and light show was sanctioned at the tombs but it made no headway, he said. A BT road around the Konda Reddy fort, hoisting of national flag atop it and sound and light show were proposed at the fort. T.G. Venkatesh and Butta Renuka, MPs, addressed the Centre on the matter, he said. Historian K. Maddaiah urged the State government to lay more emphasis on preserving and protecting monuments, heritage structures and forts. He wanted steps to preserve the tomb of Rasool Khan, who fought against the British. He urged Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to promote tourism and generate employment for youth. A.P. State Libraries Association president K.C. Kalkura said ancient monuments were the guide for the future.

“Check vandalism”
The engineering skills and knowledge of the ancient times must be inherited and vandalism of heritage structures checked. Mr. Taher presented mementos to the guests and teachers of the KVR school, Urdu school at Khadagpura, Arabic Urdu school and the Montessori school and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) members. ASI’s Senior Conservation Assistant Krishna Chaitanya, Abdul Wahab Khan Dargah Mutavalli Syed Meeram Basha Bukhari, Syed Waheed Basha Khadri, Intach members and school students participated in the programme.

- http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/interpretation-centre-at-abdul-wahab-tomb/article18170924.ece, April 20, 2017

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Restoration work begins at Dara Shikoh library

Built and named after Shah Jahan's eldest son, Dara Shikoh, a library which is almost four centuries old is finally getting some attention. After decades of neglect, the state archaeology department is now getting restoration work done at the library. Earlier this year, New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) had decided to change the Dalhousie road name to Dara Shikoh. However while doing so, little attention was paid by the concerned authorities to the existing library of the same name. Constructed in 1643, during Shah Jahan's reign, the library is currently an obsolete museum and stands in the Ambedkar University campus. "Our main focus is on replastering and waterproofing the terrace of the building to save it from the upcoming monsoon months," said Ajay Kumar, Director of Projects, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). "The modern paint will be removed from the walls and then lime plaster will be applied. We will be using organic colour after a lime wash," he added. Over the last 374 years, the library has seen many avatars. From being one of the best libraries with an estimated 2,50,000 books during Shah Jahan's reign, to becoming the residence of the Viceroy of Punjab, to becoming a government college and a Madrasa Zila Municipal Board to the Archaeological Survey of India's office. Each occupant changed it to their needs, Sir David Ochterlony, British Resident to the Mughal court, added a facade, a driveway and a staircase in 1803, In colonial architecture, the new facade gives it a colonial era building look. The restoration work will take four-five months to complete with a cost of over Rs 60 lakh confirms INTACH. Historians laud the move but say it has been long overdue. "The building requires restoration work foir a long time now- the Lothian pillars, hardwood planks, all need to be looked at," says Sohail Hashmi, renowned historian and writer.

- http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-restoration-work-begins-at-dara-shikoh-library-2410072, April 20, 2017

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1,100-Year-Old Inscription Found in India

The Times of India reports that a 1,125-year-old inscription has been discovered on the floor of the Arunachaleswarar Temple, one of the largest temple complexes in India. This inscription is thought to be just a few years younger than one discovered in the nineteenth century. “The inscription strengthens the theory that the temple was renovated a few centuries ago,” said Raj Panneerselvam of the Tiruvannamalai Heritage Foundation. This is because inscriptions are usually found on the walls of the temple, placed in chronological order. “The inscription was dismantled and discarded due to poor renovation work,” he explained. The seven-line inscription mentions “Tiruvanna Naattu,” the name of the city at the time, and states that 20 gold coins had been given for the maintenance of a water body. The name of the donor has been lost. For more, go to “Letter from India: Living Heritage at Risk.”

- http://www.archaeology.org/news/5500-170420-india-arunachaleswarar-inscription, April 20, 2017

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Six monuments of Hyderabad get heritage awards

Hyderabad: Six monuments of Hyderabad won the nominations of the 22nd INTACH Heritage awards, which were announced here on Tuesday. A function was held on the occasion of World Heritage Day in which RTC Chairman S Satyanarayana and INTACH convenor Sajjad Shahed presented the Awards. The awards are being presented by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) for the past 22 years. The Khanqah of Hazrat Shah Khamosh located behind Mecca Masjid, won the award. Maulana Syed Akber Nizamuddin Husaini Saberi Sajjada Nasheen Dargah Hazrat Shah Khamosh took the award. The other monuments which won the award include Maulana Azad National Urdu University for rock preservation, Central Library Osmania University, the EME War Memorial at Secunderabad, The Cottage Industries Sales Depot located at Gunfoundry and the Ravindra Bharati, designed by Mohammed Fayazuddin, the internationally renowned architect-planner of Hyderabad.

- https://www.nyoooz.com/news/hyderabad/789018/six-monuments-of-hyderabad-get-heritage-awards/, April 21, 2017

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Lucknow can be cultural capital of India

"Lucknow can be the cultural capital of the country if we strengthen its tourism. A plan that includes all its protected and unprotected heritage should be made and I will take it to the chief minister," said governor Ram Naik on Thursday while releasing a coffee table book on the city's heritage. "With five ministers including the deputy chief minister from Lucknow itself, they ought to be put on this task," Naik added. The governor was responding to a demand by the chairperson of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) Gen LK Gupta. Gupta had pointed out that with thousands of years of rich history, Lucknow has less than 30 protected monuments. "INTACH has identified 170 unprotected monuments that should be saved at the earliest under law," said Gupta. Convener of INTACH's Lucknow chapter Vipul Varshney spent three and a half years to bring together the book 'Lucknow: A City of Heritage and Culture'. Varshney, an architect, has proposed 18 heritage walks in the book that will now be taken to the tourism department as proposals for execution. "For the first time, Kakori Shareef, Bakshi ka Talab, Sikanderbagh, Charbagh and also the special temples of Lucknow including Aliganj Hanuman temple, Sheetla Devi temple and Shiv temple of Mohanlalganj have been synthesised in the heritage walk with their route map and history," she said. "Not just monuments, with photographs by Ajaish Jaiswal, we have also brought in the culture, intangible heritage, crafts, cuisine and anecdotes that are all Lucknow," she added.

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/lucknow-can-be-cultural-capital-of-india/articleshow/58288492.cms, April 21, 2017

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Six new reasons to go on a heritage walk in the city

Ticked off everything from the Charminar to Salar Jung Museum, and Golconda to Paigah Tombs from your 'must-see must-do' list of Hyderabad? Well, Indian National Trust for Arts and Heritage (INTACH) has just given us six more reasons to go exploring around the city again. At the recently held INTACH Awards, six little-celebrated landmarks in the city were conferred with awards. The winners of the 22nd edition of the heritage awards were declared in line with this year's theme of 'Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism' as affirmed by International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

"All the winners have bagged the awards for their distinctive contribution in making Hyderabad a heritage hub. While the Cottage Industries Sales Depot was a prime catalyst in revival of cottage industry of the erstwhile Hyderabad state, Ravindra Bharathi has an iconic status as the most prestigious cultural destination. So do other winners, such as the Osmania University Library, the Khanqah of Hazrat Shah Khamosh, EME War Memorial and MANUU rockscape. They all have made Hyderabad the heritage hotbed that it is," said Anuradha Reddy, co-convenor, INTACH (Hyderabad). A jury comprising eminent names such as ace architect Ar Nasir S Qureshi and Shahid Husain, renowned writer and former chairman of HEH The Nizam's Charitable Trust, conferred the awards to these cultural vestiges in an attempt to draw more attention towards their structural conservation. Khanqah of Hazrat Shah Khamosh. Located behind the Mecca Masjid, the Khanqah (a place where Sufi saints hold devotional meets and imparts education and guidance to their murids or disciples) was the home of the revered Hazrat Shah Khamosh for over 50 years, until his death in 1301 Hijri (1884 CE). The structure appears to have been composed of a single bay trabeated gallery with some parts enclosed to form rooms and the rest served as open verandas. The arrangement seems to have been modified during the Asaf Jahi period.

A repository of numerous holy relics, the Khanqah houses the wooden sandals of Hazrat Abdul Qadr Jeelani, an Ottoman candle once used to light the Prophet's tomb in Medina and the Gaddi Mubarak — the mattress seat and bolsters used by Hazrat Shah Khamosh. The Cottage Industries Sales Depot Constructed by the City Improvement Board (CIB) in Gunfoundry by the Department of Commerce & Industries of the Nizam's Government in 1936, the Cottage Industries Sales Depo was instrumental in minimising the exploitation of artisans by the middlemen and rekindling an interest in handicrafts of the Nizam's dominions. The unremarkable exterior that appears severe and exceedingly Spartan is to ensure that the structure doesn't become a source of distraction for the visitors from the awe-inspiring array of handicrafts inside.

The Central Library of Osmania University Situated in the Osmania University, the Central Library aka University Library boasts of over 5,00,000 books and a rare collection of manuscripts dated between 1100 to 1800 century. It also houses 'The Vision of Osmania', a museum set up following the Golden Jubilee of the University, that exhibits souvenirs from its early decades, including copies of firmans laying out the missions and objectives of the academic institution, sketches and engravings by the Belgian architect Earnest Jasper, who was commissioned to plan the University, the original model of the Arts College, priceless portraits, photographs and books. Architecturally, the library was built keeping in mind the changing socio-political scenario of Hyderabad. The Indo-Sarasenic arch — an architectural legacy of the Osmanian period — is completely absent in the 54-year-old building. Ravindra Bharathi. Built to commemorate the birth centenary of poet-seer Rabindranath Tagore in 1961, the Ravindra Bharathi is the first auditorium of Hyderabad.

dedicated solely to cultural activities, it continues to be a prestigious cultural destination in the city. Designed by internationally-celebrated architect-planner of Hyderabad, Padma Shri Mohammed Fayazuddin, it is also the first monumental building constructed in the city in the post Nizam-era. The EME War Memorial Erected in 1967 in memory of the martyrs of the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers who laid down their lives in the service of the country, the EME War Memorial is a 25 feet tall, four-sided tapering pillar of dressed granite rising from a square base on a large platform. Located in a garden, the memorial was designed by Eric Marret, a noted Anglo-Hyderabadi architect, who was then the chief architect of the state. Names of all the martyrs of the Corps are inscribed on the memorial and on tablets installed around it.

Rock Formations of MANUU Hyderabad has a beautiful landscape, dotted with ancient and unique rock formations, that date back to 2500 million years! Sadly, many of these rockscapes have disappeared due to the rapid development in the city. Which is why the Maulana Azad National Urdu University's efforts to conserve the rockscape inside the campus are applause worthy. Being around these ancient rocks can fill you up with a sense of wonder and awe!

- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/6-new-reasons-to-go-on-a-heritage-walk-in-the-city/articleshow/58314727.cms, April 24, 2017

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‘MAKE WILDLIFE EDU PART OF SCHOOL CURRICULUM’

City-based organisation Wildlife Orissa on the eve of the World Earth Day held a conference to deliberate on “Environmental Education in the State of Odisha,” here on Friday. A number of crucial recommendations emerged from the conference like the need for making environmental education practical oriented in schools, the devoting of more hours on the subject, need for elaboration on linkage between wild species and ecosystem and adequate space for schools for undertaking plantations and observing biodiversity. Besides, the speakers recommended conservation of biodiversity including wild animals, birds, reptiles and insects and need for inclusion of competitions relating to environment and wildlife in the school curriculums.

Further, the speakers said children need to be explained about indigenous plant species and about their regeneration, schools need to be associated in wildlife conservations programmes and community level environment protection initiatives, said the speakers. The proceedings of the conference will be presented to the Government for implementation, informed the organisers. Former DGP Amiya Bhusan Tripathy, former Home Secretary Sanjib Hota, former Chief Conservator of Forests Saroj Kumar Patnaik, IIIT Director Gopal Nayak, INTACH’s Anil Dhir, WWF India State director Michael Peters, chief spokesperson Wild Orissa Kulamani Deo and Wildlife Orissa vice chairman Nanda Kishore Bhujabal were, among others, present. Wildlife Orissa secretary Monalisa Bhujabal coordinated the event.

- http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/make-wildlife-edu-part-of-school-curriculum.html, April 24, 2017

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MAPPING OUR HERITAGE

Author Pilar Maria Guerrieri discusses with ANANYA BORGOHAIN how the maps of Delhi from the 19th century onwards document the evolution of the Capital through the Mughal era, pre and post colonial periods, and the contemporary times Please tell us a little about yourself. I am an Italian but since my childhood, I have seen my parents travel to India. I graduated in Architecture at Politecnico di Milano in Italy and joined the PhD programme immediately after. I got my PhD with honours in ‘Architectural Design, Architectural Composition, Criticism and Theory’ from Politecnico di Milano, in collaboration with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage in Delhi and Westminster University in London. My PhD thesis was focusing on the megacity of Delhi pre and post Independence and in particular, the impact of British and American cultures on its urban planning and architecture. My guides and mentors have been Prof AG Krishna Menon, Prof Paolo Ceccarelli and Prof Daniele Vitale. Since I finished my PhD, I have been teaching, currently as an Associate Professor in Delhi at the Italian-Indian GD Goenka University, branch of Politecnico di Milano in India. My teachings focus on Research Methods, Urban Studies and Cross Cultural Habitat Studies in the field of urban planning and architecture. At the moment I am also part of the UNESCO international project for conservation and regeneration of minor settlements: “Creative Small Settlements — Culture-Based Solutions for Local Sustainable Development”, and I have been nominated as an International Advisory Council Member of the Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD), which is specifically responsible for development of villages in India.

I have been leading and teaching environmental-based courses on Indian villages sites, taking the students for field researches and design workshops. Your book, Maps of Delhi (Niyogi Books), is a grand narrative of Delhi’s demography and evolution. It’s historical, geographical, socio-political, all at once. Above all, it’s the first of its kind. How did you come up with this idea? I came to Delhi to do my PhD research, which was focusing on pre and post Independence architecture and planning of Delhi (1912-1962).

While I was studying the Capital, I realised that even among scholars there was a lot of confusion on the development of Delhi pre and post Independence, so I began to look for maps to fill this gap. While I was searching specifically for the pre and post Independence maps in several Indian archives and institutions, I gradually found and started collecting all the other documents. How did your association with Delhi start? While studying architecture at Politecnico di Milano, the relationship between tradition and contemporary design was very much valued; it is still so. The effective metaphor “We are standing on the shoulders of the giants” was one of the sentences I have heard the most at school.

I always embraced the historical inclination of Politecnico towards architecture. Italy as a country is not growing much; it is more focused on conservation and reuse of existing structures. During my PhD, I was looking for a country which had a very strong tradition but at the same time was everyday challenged to decide how to build its contemporariness. Delhi is the vibrant growing Capital of India; not to mention the fact that it is a very interesting case study to analyse the relationship between the past and present. This curiosity kickstarted my journey/association with Delhi. How did you research for this book? The book came naturally out of the PhD. It took me a very long time to collect, select and put in order all the maps scattered in several Indian archives. It was an incredible experience sitting for hours in dusty but very rich archives, discovering precious maps, and every now and then drinking powder milk chai with those people taking care of the documents. This was the book I wish I had in my hands when I started studying the city of Delhi.

I am sure my research would have been much easier if I would have had a book like this at hand, and so I wish it will now be helpful for other scholars as well. The book takes into account maps published from the 19th century onwards. How old is the earliest map of Delhi? Different maps of Delhi are dispersed in all kind of archives, nationally and internationally, and it is very difficult to locate and say which is the ‘earliest’ map. The first map of this collection dates at the beginning of the 19th century, which is around when we know the British reached Delhi and the Anglo-Maratha War occurred. It is clear though, even from the book Mapping India by Manosi Lahiri that “mapping” began and is actually linked with colonialism. Mapping, knowledge and power have always been related.

How did you choose your maps? I chose those maps that were able to explain the major steps of the development or growth of the city, from the architect/planner’s point of view. In fact, with the same maps — which are valuable primary sources — a historian or a cartographer could have written a completely different story. As someone with an insightful understanding of the city and its growth over the centuries, how do you look at contemporary Delhi in terms of its housing facilities, pollution control measures, overused landfill sites, and population explosion? Nowadays, I am actively working on contemporary Delhi from 1991 to now, trying to understand more of all these topics you mention. History and ancient maps are particularly meaningful when they become active tools to understand the roots of contemporary developments. I have realised that many problems of the contemporary megacity lie in the wrong application of models (most of the time Western) to the local context. There is not enough attention towards the local context — its geology, climate and culture — in the field of architecture and planning. Moreover, there are not enough efforts of architects to work bottom up instead of top down. Clear demonstration of what I am saying are the latest, completely out of place, new, glossy, unsustainable glass and steel architectures of Gurgaon or Noida. Moreover, among young architects, there is still a strong aspirational value towards foreign models; their own history/heritage is not enough integrated in the syllabi of schools of architecture. Getting inspired and copying is fine as long as the young architects know what or why they are copying and if those choices really meet the needs of the people.

Unfortunately, this awareness is often not present among the youngsters. During the course of your research, which map fascinated you the most and why? The maps I like the most are the earlier ones, beautifully drawn by hand. In particular, the ancient map of 1807 makes me dream of Delhi when it was an amazing land of villages, waterways, canals, and fields. The ancient map shows the great respect urban planning had for geology/topography and how ancient cities like Delhi were actually built in tune with nature and not against it. See for example, the choice of Shahjanabad’s location: On a hill, naturally protected from floods. I believe architects and planners should be deeply inspired by the relationship the ancient Capital had with nature and work towards making a better and more environment-oriented city. Understanding and seeing Delhi’s beautiful past and maps may be a good booster. Please tell us a little about what you found most interesting about the map in the chapter ‘Siege of Delhi 1857’. How does it enlighten us about the First War of Independence and its consequences? The map ‘Siege of Delhi 1857’ shows the first position and settlement of the British cantonment.

The cantonment were placed north of Shahjahanabad, protected by the Ridge, and characterised by a very simple and functional grid pattern. More interesting to understand the Siege though, is the ‘Plan of the British Position at Delhi, June 8-Sept 14, 1857’, where the military event of the 1857 Mutiny is actually described in much more detail. The military maneuvers are visibly marked on the map, be it the ‘enemy’s trench’, the position of specific batteries or the indication ‘Left Breach’ or ‘Right Breach’. Here, the individual batteries are marked and designated as are the names of their commanding brigadier, showing a picture of the First War of Independence battle field. What do we learn about the present day mohallah system in Delhi from the map of Shahjahanabad published by William Mackenzie? We could learn from old Delhi and the ancient mohallah subdivision of the city of Shahjahanabad, the concept of shared space, of neighbours, embrace the mix of activity (production/commercial/residential), and experience a pedestrian city. Also the bazar model that characterises the ancient Indian cities and the complex segregation/organisation of different types of activities/products. All concepts that seem to have gone lost with the zoning principles and the colonies town-planning model. Delhi today is overpopulated; its landfill sites are outdated; its drainage system and water conservation facilities are questionable; its real estate industry has been accused of being corrupted and even dangerous; and so on. Do the maps give us an idea about when these problems started and why? The maps show when and why the problem of drainage system and water conservation facilities may have started. Since the British era, planning was most of the time done in contradiction with the geology/topography of land.

The British were great engineers and the drainage systems carefully designed by them were actually good enough not to generate issues. Plans of the colonies, instead, most of the times built in a hurry, are clearly superimposed on land and not in harmony with the characters of the territory, causing flooding and drainage problems. Walking in the city, one can clearly see the problems but cannot really understand why; analysing maps instead allows clarifying the cause of it and the disconnection between planning and geology/topography. More attention and study of the context is needed in order to solve and prevent these issues. As a researcher, could you suggest ways as to how these problems could be handled? Much more awareness and studies of the context/environment/geology/topography/citizens, I believe, is the way to handle many issues of the contemporary city development. Any interesting anecdote that you would like to share with us that you found while working on this book? There are many small fascinating historical events hidden in the maps that I discovered while writing this book: For example the sentence ‘Where Nicholson fell’ in map ‘Delhi 1857: A Plan of the City and its immediate surroundings, drawn in the Quarter Master General’s Office in the British Camp on the Ridge’ or the two small crossed swords marking the location of the Anglo-Maratha battle in map ‘The campaigns of Lord Lake against the Marathas: Battle of Delhi’. After you completed writing the book, how did your understanding of the city change? Did it also help you contemplate anything at a human level? The maps are visualising those theories of Delhi being a ‘city of cities’. Delhi is a city made of distinct parts, each with its peculiar characters and features; so peculiar that we are actually able to identify those parts as ‘micro cities within the city’. Not every city developed like this, by additional separate different nuclei, a city like Milan, for example, developed gradually just from one Roman ancient core settlement.

The nuclei way of development was there in the ancient cities of Delhi as much as nowadays. On a much larger scale, we can consider Gurgaon or Noida ‘cities within the contemporary megacity’ of Delhi. The seventh city of Shahjahanabad, the Civil Lines area, the eighth city of Delhi, each and every colony etc could be identified with their very peculiar location and characters in terms of planning. Different types of planning unveil different ways of how humans interact and experience the urban environment. In fact, we don’t have the same interaction among humans in the houses of Old Delhi and in the single-family houses of Sundar Nagar Colony. Which areas of Delhi would you call historically very fascinating, not just rich, and why? Delhi is so stratified and its layers of history are so many that it would be impossible to choose one specific area. I would say the whole of Delhi, in every small corner, hides a monument with a fascinating story to tell. It is just a matter of being curious and starting to explore. What have been the responses to the book? Very good so far, surprisingly from both academics and non-academics.
ananyapioneer@gmail.com

- http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/tarot/mapping-our-heritage.html, April 24, 2017

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Delhi: Pragati Maidan’s Hall of Nations demolition triggers outrage

About half a dozen bulldozers worked overnight on Sunday at Pragati Maidan to pull down five iconic buildings — Hall of Nations and Industry. Next to come under the hammer is Nehru Pavilion. Indian trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) razed the structures two days after their architect Raj Rewal lost the case in Delhi high court on April 20. Conservationists are perplexed as the demolition took place as one petition by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to save these structures is still being heard in the same court with next hearing slated for May 1. ITPO is setting up a world-class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) with project value of Rs2,254 crore. The complex will have hotel, mall/multi-level food court, water bodies display, helipad and other tourist attractions.

Read more: Pragati Maidan makeover mired in legal trouble, could miss deadline The five structures — one of Hall of Nations and four of Hall of Industries — were commissioned in 1972 and the architect claims that these were the world’s first pillar less concrete frame structures. AGK Menon, former convener, Delhi Chapter INTACH said, “It’s all over now. As the ITPO did not wait for the court to pronounce its decision, we have lost all hope. Hall of Nations was demolished quietly on Sunday night when the entire world slept. As these iconic buildings no more exist, we cannot move the apex court.” The Hall of Nations was the venue of Asia 1972 — the third Asian International Trade Fair coinciding with the India’s silver jubilee year of Independence. In a joint statement by architect Raj Rewal, structural engineer Mahendra Raj, former convener of INTACH, Delhi Chapter AGK Menon and president, Indian Institute of Architects Divya Kush said, “We consider the demolition of the Hall of Nations at Pragati Maidan an act of outrage. The case was being heard in the Delhi high court and the hearings were scheduled on April 27 and May 1, 2017.” “In fact as an answer to our letter to the Prime Minister, the ministry of commerce indicated to us to find an amicable resolution with the trade fair authority. But obviously somebody in the ITPO had other motives,” the statement said. In a written statement, ITPO CMD LC Goyal said the execution of IECC requires dismantling of Hall No. 1 to 6, 14 to 20 and state pavilions, including Hall of Nations, Nehru Pavilion and Hall of Industry — which he claimed are not classified as heritage buildings. “Earlier a PIL and two writ petitions filed by India Institute of Architects in Court of Delhi were dismissed.

Presently, a writ petition filed by INTACH is pending in the high court of Delhi. The high court on April 20, 2017, has dismissed another writ petition filed by Raj Rewal seeking to declare and preserve Hall of Nations, Hall of Industry and Nehru Pavilion as work of art of national importance. An appeal has been filed against the dismissal, but there is no stay granted by the court in any of the writ petitions against demolition of structures envisaged in the re-development of Pragati Maidan,” Goyal said. Goyal said the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) has maintained that only those buildings which are at least 60 years old can be considered for inclusion in the heritage list.

- http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/delhi-pragati-maidan-s-hall-of-nations-demolished-triggers-outrage/story-MBN29qKNgeXJ1PbCFb4pgO.html, April 25, 2017

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16th century Nandi idol surfaces at Neppali

A 16 century Nandi Idol depicting the Vijayanagara art style surfaced at Neppali Village during the renovation work of Old Sivalayam temple in Kankipadu Mandal of Krishna district. The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravathi (CCVA) CEO Dr E Sivanagi Reddy said that on the instruction of Irrigation and Water Resources minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao the team visited the spot on Monday. Dr Reddy said that, he along with a team consisting of Buddha Vihar chairman Golla Narayana Rao along with members of Buddha Vihar Gumma Sambasiva Rao, Venna Vallabha Rao and Chinta Venkateswara Rao visited Neppali village.

After a close study of the heritage structure of the village including the architectural members of a 16th century AD and a titled hares of Bhagya having a rich wood craft he added. Dr Reddy appealed the Minister to issue instructions to safe guard the Sculptures in the same village for posterity, under the campaign launched by the CCVA ‘Preserve Heritage for Posterity’.

- http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2017-04-25/16th-century-Nandi-idol-surfaces-at-Neppali/295612, April 25, 2017

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Man of the Cloth

Textile maven Martand Singh, who put Indian weaves on the global map, passes away at 70. His heart was in textile,” says veteran designer Ritu Kumar about Martand Singh — the man who sowed the seeds of textile revival in India. Fondly known as Mapu, he brought to life a part of Indian heritage that had lost all hope, and inspired an entire generation of fashion designers and textile artists. “In the colonial period, a lot of Indian textiles were not being woven, they were vanishing. Post-independence, in the late ’60s, Mapu began the process of reviving these textiles from every part of the country. He began working on the Vishwakarma exhibition in the ’80s, which put the spotlight on Indian textiles. He took a part of it to London and Paris as well,” remembers Kumar, a close associate of Singh. On Tuesday morning, Singh passed away, aged 70, at a hospital in Delhi, after battling pancreatic cancer. A protege of cultural activist Pupul Jayakar, Singh designed the landmark exhibition Vishwakarma – Master Weavers in 1982, was appointed chairman of INTACH (UK) Trust in 1993, and was art consultant to the United Nations Development Programme in 1995. Apart from this, he was also appointed trustee of the Mehrangarh Fort Museum Trust, Jodhpur, in 1993, and was Director of the Calico Museum of Textiles for more than ten years.

He also served on several boards and committees, such as the All India Handicraft and Handlooms Board, the Handicrafts and Handloom Export Corporation, and the Crafts Museum. Asian Heritage Foundation founder Rajeev Sethi, who was Singh’s junior at Delhi’s St Stephen’s College, remembers him for his “pehchan, the elegance of positioning. He could see who has potential, polish it and put it on a pedestal. He provided the vital fuel for Indian textiles.” Thirty years ago, designer Anju Modi held an exhibition, one of her firsts, which was attended by Singh, and that’s how Modi met her mentor. “I had worked with weavers from Kutch for this particular show, and when I met him, I asked what I should do next, where I should go and study. He simply said, ‘you already have the best teachers, these weavers’. I was a nobody back then and I was lost, and Mapu mentored me with such honesty,” says Modi, “I was enamoured by his knowledge, intellect and passion. He gave me real insight into the world of textiles.” Born into the Kapurthala royal family, Singh moved to Mussoorie a decade ago, and would visit the Capital in the winter. “In his last days, he was studying the history of jewels. He had fine taste and constantly wanted to do more,” says textile designer Tushar Kumar. Singh also wrote and edited books, one of them being Saris of India, along with fellow textile revivalist Rta Kapur Chishti. Textile artist Priya Ravish Mehra, who researched on the book with the two, says, “Under his mentorship, we researched on the textiles of Gujarat and Bihar for Saris of India. He knew the pulse of the country and was truly a visionary. Working with him was an eye-opener and a life-changing experience for me as he was so well-versed with all the aspects of textiles,” says Mehra.

Varanasi-based designer Hemang Agarwal refers to him as his “grand guru, as he was Rahul Jain, my guru’s guru. In an industry which doesn’t present itself as it really is, with Mapu, you could just be yourself. Every person who is now working in textiles was under his tutelage once. For someone who was not a textile designer or technician, it was magic that he brought to the table. For anybody who knew him, there is a part of Mapu in that person.”

- http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/fashion/man-of-the-cloth/, April 26, 2017

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Independent agency being considered for rail heritage conservation

If things work as per plans, an independent agency will be entrusted the task of rail heritage conservation. While countries like the United Kingdom and Australia have achieved commendable work in this regard, India’s rail heritage has largely been lost on account of official apathy. Approximately 5,000 odd steam engines existed in the inventory of the Indian Railways until the seventies, but majority of these have been cut up and sold as scrap. While the UK maintains and operate 1,000 steam engines, just about 10 of these “Black Beauties” remain in working condition in India. The clocks, caps, telephones or manual signalling systems of the steam era have mostly been lost. A mini steam loco numbered EIR-21—called the sister of the Fairy Queen (world’s oldest running steam loco)—has been lying at the Perambur workshop for the last several years. “Heritage conservation has been at cross purposes from the main responsibilities of the Indian Railways as a commercial organisation. Therefore, an independent body comprising experts, rail enthusiasts and other stake-holders looks a better option,” a senior ministry official said.

A proposal in the matter, drafted by a rail enthusiast and former finance commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee, is currently under the consideration of the Railway Board. The body, with representatives from the ministry of tourism and culture, should be empowered to identify and declare a rail asset as having a heritage status and also have freedom to raise funds from the market for conservation tasks, it has been suggested. After a gap of more than 10 years, the Indian Railways this year allocated a dedicated sum of Rs. 6.5 crore for the upkeep of 10 steam locos stationed at the Rewari steam centre and the restoration of certain other Black Beauties that have been lying abandoned at locations including Bhusawal and Lumding. “While financing has remained an issue, heritage tasks have also been neglected because such jobs have usually been assigned to officers as their additional responsibilities. With a few exceptions, railway officers have had little domain knowledge or interest in heritage related tasks,” an official admitted.

- http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/independent-agency-being-considered-for-rail-heritage-conservation/story-ULGYIlyTvni0wNiRHu1q1J.html, April 26, 2017

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10 nations, including India team up to protect ancient heritage from terrorism

China and Greece are leading the project, which will promote ‘dialogue in the face of fanaticism and culture in the face of terrorism’. Ten countries formed a new group on Monday aimed at protecting ancient heritage from extremism of the kind that saw the Islamic State group lay waste to Syria's historic Palmyra. Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Greece, Italy, China, India, Bolivia, Mexico and Peru -- all home to some of the world's most cherished archaeological sites -- have signed up to the "forum" launched in Athens by ministers and ambassadors from the nations. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, whose government is spearheading the project along with China, said the group would run joint projects to promote "dialogue in the face of fanaticism, and culture in the face of terrorism".

"We're only just getting started," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. Jihadists from the IS group seized the ancient ruins of Palmyra in May 2015, systematically destroying and looting the temples of the UNESCO World Heritage site. The group also ravaged the Assyrian city of Nimrud in Iraq using bulldozers and explosives, and ransacked pre-Islamic treasures in Mosul's museum. Bamiyan, in Afghanistan, and Mali's Timbuktu are other UNESCO sites to suffer destruction at the hands of Islamist extremists. The new 10-country group is due to meet again in Bolivia next year, the Greek foreign ministry said. Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said the project stood in contrast to the idea "put forward by several intellectuals of a clash of civilisations". "We support dialogue between civilisations against the intolerance of which Daesh is a symbol," he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

In March, seven countries including France and Saudi Arabia joined forces with US philanthropist Tom Kaplan to pledge $75.5 million (70 million euros) to a UNESCO-backed fund aimed at protecting the world's cultural heritage against war and terrorism. Their International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Zones, based in Geneva, aims to raise $100 million by 2019.

- http://www.deccanchronicle.com/world/europe/250417/10-nations-including-india-team-up-to-protect-ancient-heritage-from-terrorism.html, April 26, 2017

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A Maukaa to preserve Rajasthan’s dying art forms

Maukaa Art Foundation strives to give means of survival to Indian artists who do not see a future in passing the art form down to younger generations. Despite having a rich heritage of arts, culture, and tradition, Rajasthan still does not have a formal institution which hosts artists or students to study the Indian classical art forms. The artist and the art continue to face hardships and are today on the brink of extinction. Hence, with an aim to not only revive and preserve these traditional art forms but also to get them internationally recognised, Prerna Jain founded the Maukaa Art Foundation. ure and visits to revered art museums such as Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art fuelled her passion. She decided to leave her well-paying job and move back to Jaipur, her home town, after a nine-year stay in the United States of America. However, her decision to learn the most revered art form of her own country proved to be the most challenging part. With the aim of learning Indian miniature Art, 32-year-old Prerna scoured every street of the Pink City in search of art schools and artisans. Due to the lack of a proper institutionalised platform available in the state, she decided chart her own course to preserve Indian art and restore its lost glory. “Very soon, within a month of arriving, I had realised I was there for a bigger cause. I had to do something to create a multidimensional solution that would solve the problem of the declining Indian art and culture as well as restore the livelihood of the artists,” she says. With a team of five members, Prerna founded Maukaa Art Foundation in September 2016 to safeguard traditional Indian art forms from extinction by bringing them into the organised sector. They are working on developing collaborations between young artists and traditional artists to present the art forms in a contemporary manner. The foundation wants to create a complete 360-degree ecosystem which will bring about a sustainable, visible change.

Through Maukaa, she hopes to revive the dying Indian miniature art form and preserve this legacy of her hometown. Through crowdsourcing, the various projects undertaken by the team include the formation of an art League, where anyone can come and learn techniques of traditional Indian art forms; manufacturing and supply of organic and natural stone pigments using traditional techniques; documentation of methods and materials of all art forms through blogs, audio-visual capsules; and providing online training and assistance to artists and students. t forms like Miniature, Phad, Puppetry, Kavad and Kalamkari from extinction. Through exhibitions at international arenas like Affordable Art Fair and Art Biennales, the team will work to restore the identity and dignity of the traditional artists. To encourage the practice of authentic traditional art among young artists and students, they produce handmade stone colours, organic pigments, squirrel hair brushes, and wasli (sheet) using age old traditional techniques.

Further, by creating a database of all traditional artists and artisans, Maukaa aims to become a one stop place for Indian Art forms. India needs to promote art and relish its rich history Unlike the West, India is yet to celebrate art by preserving traditional techniques and passing the knowledge to newer generations. The USA, France, Netherlands, and Germany have various learning centres to teach classical American realism or Dutch painting methods to their art students. While India continues to lack in schools that teach classical art forms, Pakistan’s National College of Art in Lahore is perhaps the only institution in the world that still teaches the techniques of miniature art. Sadly, most of the rich heritage of our past remains only as references in art history books. There are no art schools in India specifically dedicated to traditional art forms. Schools such as MSU Baroda, Sir JJ Institute, Kala Mandir, and Shantiniketan focus on the history of these art works but not much on the craft. “We are so blessed to have such strong history of our culture and art. It is indeed an advantage for us that we don’t have to look anywhere else for inspiration to create art. We need to tackle poverty—the fact that we have conveniently turned people from artists to artisans is upsetting,” Prerna says. The steady decline in the number of artists who still practise traditional Indian art forms is a worrying trend. Indian miniature paintings, ancient and alluring, have today become extremely rare. Miniature art has a long history spanning centuries. Until 1300 AD, Indian artists painted religious texts either on palm leaves to create manuscripts or made frescoes. By mid-1300s, paper and pigments arrived to India from Iran (Persia), after which this art form flourished till the 20th century, primarily in the Northern parts of the subcontinent—India and Pakistan. Today, Prerna fears that this art is being practised by the last generation of artisans based in Rajasthan—Jaipur, Bikaner, Udaipur, and Jaisalmer. The skills and knowledge passed on through the generations have no takers left as the current practitioners themselves live a life of poverty as this art form fails to generate adequate revenue. “Making these paintings is not only difficult but also a time-consuming process. To think this art form will have no heirs because we, as a society, didn’t do enough is a wake-up call.

For obvious reasons, the artists no longer want to pass their skills to their next generations,” she adds. Today Art is a big industry in itself and with proper exposure and packaging, not will the traditional art forms get recognised but it will also provide the artisans income and better livelihood. Acting as an umbrella organisation. Maukaa aspires to be a ray of hope for the artists who do not see a future in passing the art form down to their younger generations.

- https://yourstory.com/2017/04/maukaa/, April 26, 2017

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Raampol- a heritage walk through a forgotten trek

The forest department, Mohanlal Sukhadia University and Mewar regional chapter of the INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) is organizing a heritage walk from the Doodhtalai to Raampol (DR) Trek on April 30. This trek has unique geo-heritage aspects that are visited by earth science students of over 20 universities across India every year. In a bid to make these aspects popular to general public and tourists a walk is being organized for the people.The present trek is part of Aravalli Hill Range , one of the oldest hill ranges that is now a denuded remnant of mighty mountains made up of rocks that formed nearly 2000 million years ago. "The DR trek is located along the western slope of a hill-Machhala Magra that houses the artillery fort Ekling-Gadh, which is strategically overlooking the city of Udaipur" retired professor of geology P.S Ranawat informed. Ripple mark on the sandstone deposited on the shores of Aravalli oceans (geo synclines) some 1800 million years ago, can be seen on the rock which has now been folded upright. Udaipur is safely located in an amphitheater valley that is protected by a range of hills -Guha-Durg as per ancient India classification of forts.

- https://www.nyoooz.com/news/jaipur/794890/raampol-a-heritage-walk-through-a-forgotten-trek/, April 27, 2017

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Patachitra: Ancient scroll painting of Bengal Storytelling through song and art

The patua scroll painting from eastern India, sometimes also called patachitra scroll painting, is a delightful traditional art which takes on a performative nature. Combining art and narrative through song, patachitra from West Bengal has its unique features, though similar traditions can be found in a few other places concentrated around the state, in states such as Bihar and Odisha. Approximated to be dating back to 13th century, this art form has reflected topics far and wide, from myths to current social issues. In times of change, with various initiatives, the practitioners of this pictorial narrative art have also diversified themselves to sustain. In a village in West Midnapore district in West Bengal, around 250 patuas or painters can be found keeping this tradition alive. More than just painters, patuas are also lyricists, singers, performers and true artists. This form of performative scroll painting can also be found in other districts of West Bengal, yet, this village can be considered a cluster of artists. Vibrant colours made from natural products such as vegetables and turmeric are used in making frames or paintings, which are joined together to make the scroll. Themes that define the painting vary from oral traditions of folk tales, mythological texts and scenes, sociological topics of interest as well as political happenings. Whether tales of Radha-Krishna (Hindu deities) or commentaries on the French Revolution, patua scroll painting-performance is a fascinating affair. Once the scroll is prepared, varying from 5 to 15 feet in width and 3 to 15 feet or more in length, often it is glued to something like a saree for ease of unravelling and storing. The traditional form has inspired many offshoot styles yet the performative oral tradition, synthesised with vibrant visual depictions of storytelling, is truly unique. To keep up with times, the patua painters are also taking to decorating handicrafts, household items and textiles for sustaining a living. Many patua painters have also now taken to painting only, rather than storytelling through singing, in an effort to sustain themselves economically.

Tradition in changing times
Even as performing arts and folk traditions remain invaluable intangible cultural heritage of communities all across, many are diminishing owing to rapid changes in the socio-cultural fabric of the world. Safeguarding efforts by local governments, international bodies such as UNESCO and various non-governmental organisations can go a long way in keeping alive traditions through time. The patua community in West Bengal has come under such initiatives by the Government of West Bengal, and NGO Banglanatak.com, which has also collaborated with bodies from the European Union in the past. Projects like Ethnomagic Going Global a few years ago and the government’s push to gain Geographical Indication tag for many rural crafts and arts, including patachitra paintings, gives hope to keep this lively folk tradition alive. The curious and enthusiastic lovers of art now await the Pot Maya, held annually since 2010 in the month of November, in the Naya village, a festive gathering where the ancient folk art performance enthrals all.

- http://mediaindia.eu/art-culture/patachitra-ancient-scroll-painting-of-bengal/, April 27, 2017

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World Monuments Fund launches Instagram campaign to save Modern buildings

The World Monuments Fund (WMF) launched its first Instagram campaign today, 26 April, to draw attention to the plight of the world’s Modern buildings, an increasing number of which are at risk because of the lack of regulations or political will needed to protect them. The fund kicks off the programme with a list of 30 sites nominated by architects, experts and students posted on its website and is appealing to the public to add to this list by submitting nominations via Instagram. Until 25 May, the fund will add five more buildings to its website each week drawn from the pool of public entries. The list will be sent to an advisory council formed of architects, including Annabelle Selldorf, designers and critics, who will advise the WMF on the next phase of the Modern Century programme. The WMF’s new initiative could not be more timely: within days of the campaign’s launch, the Indian press reported that developers had razed one of the buildings on the list—the Hall of Nations in New Delhi, India. The country’s first pillar-less building was demolished on 23 April, along with the nearby Hall of Industry and Nehru Pavilion, under the orders of the India Trade Promotion Organisation, a governmental agency, as part of a major redevelopment of the site. The Hall of Nations, designed by the award-winning architect Raj Rewal was part of an exhibition complex built in 1972 to mark the 25th anniversary of India’s independence. The buildings are less than 60 years old and so do not meet the country’s minimum age requirement to receive designation. Although the plan to demolish the buildings to make room for a mega exhibition and conference centre was met with harsh criticism from both national and international heritage organisations, on 20 April a high court rejected Rewal‘s petition to grant protection to the Hall of Nation, the Hall of Industry and the Nehru Pavilion. A joint statement, from Rewal and representatives from various Indian architectural and heritage bodies, published in the Hindustan Times calls the demolition “an act of outrage” and states that further hearings had been scheduled for 27 April and 1 May. The WMF’s president Joshua David, says the destruction “just days before its court hearing makes brutally clear the need to rally to protect Modern heritage sites. We hope that our Modern Century programme will raise awareness about Modern treasures like the Hall of Nations and save them from senseless demolition.”

• To submit a nomination via Instagram, use the hashtag #moderncentury and tag @worldmonumentsfund

- http://theartnewspaper.com/news/conservation/world-monuments-fund-launches-instagram-campaign-to-save-modern-buildings/, April 27, 2017

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Remembering 'Mapu' Martand Singh: My mentor, India's textile revival hero

From INTACH to inspiring designers and promoting weavers, his genius was unparalleled. Born into the royal lineage of Kapurthala, "Mapu" Martand Singh was not only born with a silver spoon, but also all comforts such pedigree bequeathed. The Doon School, St Stephen's College, exposure to world design trends in New York, Paris, Milan, what have you. He dined at the high table with The Beatles and badshahs, but there was no trace of ego or arrogance in him. Royal, refined, regal, but human, humble and herculean. His biggest contribution was to revive our textile design and arts under Pupul Jayakar — cultural adviser first to late prime minister Indira Gandhi and then her successor and son Rajiv Gandhi — whose right hand he became, while Rajiv Sethi was her left. Between these two, many institutions of national importance came up — National Institute of Design in Ahemdabad, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) in Delhi. Then National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). He was the czar of textiles art and design for two decades — from the 1980s to 2000. His understated aesthetics, and his genuine concern for the weaver also helped create the Weaver's Service Centre. He motivated many to create anew. He was the most supportive cultural icon of India. A mentor to many, he never desired attention. The Padma Bhushan he got 25 years ago was well-earned. His textile exhibitions travelled world over to the most prestigious places and institutions in Japan, China, Sweden, Italy, France and Russia. Mapu helped revive khadi in a big way. At an INTACH national meet by Ganges in Varanasi, he was hailed as Bapu. He was Gandhian in a special way. Though he was the badshah of colour, he mostly wore whites. Having worked for five years with him, between 1988 and 1992, I can say Mapu was my guru in design, crafts and cultural policy. I had just finished handling a huge festival of india in Sweden, when he and Pupul Jayakar spotted my work. He hired me without an interview in those days, saying my work spoke for itself. He taught me to be humble, simple and kind. Once, when I lost temper with a worker, he didn't say anything then. The next day, he casually asked, "Where does anger come from?" When I left INTACH because my father's vast dance collection needed looking after, he bade me goodbye and good luck and instead of getting upset, wrote a letter to me by hand: "Serving your parents is a noble mission. Your legacy is important." He always replied immediately. Those were the days when one typed written letters with carbon copy! His lesson in the pre-internet era was: tomorrow is another day. Kaal karre so aaj kar. No one went empty handed from his darbar. Once, when he was being driven in my car, a beggar came seeking alms. I was being haughty, not generous. He said: "If someone puts his hands out seeking help, always do. What do you lose? A coin? You are sitting in an air-conditioned car, that beggar lives on the road." Privilege had not made him blind to needs of others. He was a thinker. A very refined man, and handsome inside out. He inspired so many designers — the Prasad Bidapas, the David Abrahams, the Ritu Kumars and their students, the Suneet Vermas and the assorted Sharmas. He gave Rita Kapur, a maverick, the idea of work on the sari, which, with Amba Sanyal, became a lifetime obsession, translating into five seminal books. His books and catalogues were designed by another talent he promoted, Vinay Jain. In his last days, Mapu was suffering from pancreatic cancer and his elder brother Arun Singh, looked after him as did his friend of many decades, Raazi Rakesh Thakore. Mapu did not set the style. He was the Mr Style of India. In his death today, India has lost a genius. A giant. I am sure devalok awaits him to redesign their interiors, clothes and life. Mapu helped many Rajas and Maharajas turn their forts and palaces into profitable hotels. He advised them to retain the old interiors, upgrade the facilities and reposition them internationally. Many sought his opinion, because he also gave it for free — at no fee. A fakir at heart, although born a prince. INTACH was an idea in 1987. Today it is a movement. Then it was an act of drawing room conversation, today it is an act of public conservation. It had more than 150 regional chapters then. I was just 28, a young entrant at the time, but Mapu gave me the charge of 40 cities — from Cochin to Cuttack. I had no confidence to deal with the chief ministers and chief secretaries I was to become accustomed to meeting. Mapu said, "Like you, they have two eyes and two ears. Reach that! Let your work speak, you need not talk." INTACH helped save countless heritage buildings all over India. It helped revive local traditions and gave employment to many architects, who got a new lease of life. I saw him helping so many out-of-work photographers, whom he got international contracts, fame and name. He went on to establish the first generation of fashionistas and photo artists. And touched many, many lives.

- http://www.dailyo.in/arts/mapu-martand-singh-intach-textile-designers-khadi/story/1/16862.html, April 27, 2017

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Ancient walls, temples in Hyderabad get facelift

Conservation efforts by the Department of Archaeology and Museums has seen two structures, considered to be among the city’s oldest pieces of heritage, receive protective coatings and facelift. Work on the two structures — Puranapul Darwaza and Seetharambagh temple — was completed recently, with the Puranapul Darwaza receiving a lime plaster coating while restoration works were carried out at the temple. The Puranapul Darwaza, one among the few surviving historic walls of the city, was constructed in the 15th century, and had survived the 1908 floods, which incidentally had led to the gradual destruction of several other walls. According to official information, the Archaeology Department undertook ‘extensive conservation works’ to preserve this heritage structure in the old city. The front portion of the wall, side wings and parapet walls of the Darwaza have been given lime plaster coating, a post on the department’s official Facebook page stated. The Seetharambagh temple was built by Seth Puranmal Ganeriwala, and is located in Mangalhat. It is more than 180 years old, and is located on a plot that spreads over 25 acres. The temple is classified as a heritage building by INTACH. The mural paintings, stepped well, ‘mahamandapam’, stone-pillared ‘mandapam’ and other structures of the historic temple have been restored recently as part of the department’s conservation efforts.

- https://telanganatoday.news/ancient-walls-temples-in-hyderabad-get-facelift, April 28, 2017

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Photos: Turning pumpkins into tanpuras and India’s other living crafts traditions

Winners of the 2017 Neel Dongre Grant documented traditions of making musical instruments, sari weaves and embroidery. Photographer Ankit Agrawal has been visiting wild pumpkins in Miraj, in southern Maharashtra, for the past year to document their transformation into the tanpura, a stringed instrument essential to Indian classical music. The process begins with the selection of the right pumpkin, which is sun-dried for three-four months and then, after more steps, exactingly attached to the right sound board. Every stage requires patience and know-how. Even selling an instrument requires a degree of knowledge, said Agrawal: “It’s not like buying a standard order of a bucket of chicken at KFC. Before they sell you a tanpura, the makers need to whether you are a pro or an amateur.” Miraj’s tanpuras are popular among musicians. “There is a sense of pride associated with making a tanpura that meets the ustads’ approval,” said Agrawal, who began training in Dhrupad with Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar in 2011. In some families, the knowledge of making, and selling, the instrument has come down seven generations. Agrawal visited these families repeatedly over the past year, cataloguing their processes with his Canon 7D camera. Now, his series of 18 photographs is part of a group exhibition of works by the winners of the 2017 Neel Dongre Grant for documentary photographers. The show, Framing the Living Traditions, at the India International Centre, Delhi, also features images by Vikas Gupta, who chronicled studio photography in Kurukshetra, Haryana; Mrigank Kulshrestha who captured the process of making Muga, Eri and Pat silk saris in Assam; Taha Ahmad, who focused on a family of Mukaish embroiders in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and Bharat Tiwari, who documented Chanderi weaving in Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh. The Neel Dongre Grant began in 2011. Every year, photographers Aditya Arya and Parthiv Shah vet 25-40 proposals to select five-eight photographers, each of whom gets a grant of up to Rs 50,000. In previous iterations, the grant focused on themes like the recycling industry and bandwallahs. For the fifth edition of the grant, which is organised around the theme of living traditions, Shah said he applied two main criteria for selection: the first was to look at crafts which were lesser known. “More people know about Warli or Madhubani today than how a tanpura is made,” Shah said. “In the case of Chanderi, it is not talked about as much as, say, Banarasi or Patola, and Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh is not a tourist spot in the way that Varanasi is or Bhubaneswar is.” Shah’s second criterion was to examine the photographers’ technical expertise and vet their creative process. “We need to see how their eye works. Because, after all, it is a photography project. When the applicants send us eight to 20 photographs, we can see how they think and shoot.” In each of the five projects developed for Framing the Living Traditions, there is an attempt to build narrative through pictures. In Agrawal’s series, for instance, the documentation begins with the farming of pumpkins. Tanpuras are not made of garden-variety pumpkins – each pumpkin used for the instrument weighs 40-45 kg and has to be sun-dried just so to retain its shape. In Agrawal’s photos, visitors can see the pumpkins still on the vine, only vaguely resembling the final musical product. “I asked Ankit to go back and shoot the pumpkins in the farm, to give us a sense of where they come from and where it all starts,” said Shah, who also mentored the photographers over seven months, viewing and reviewing their work. Through this time, Shah said he encouraged photographers to go back to the same places, revisit the steps involved in the craft they were documenting. “You start seeing things differently the third time you visit a place.” Mrigank Kulshrestha, who spent days and weeks shadowing the silk threads which go into making Mogu, Eri and Pat silk saris in Assam, had a similar process. His travels began last September from Sualkuchi, where the handloom weavers live, and saris are sold. Kulshrestha then traced his steps back to the beginning, to the sericulture farms of Boksar and Rattanpur. From there, he followed silkworms to Tokradiya, where he said the livelihood options are limited to extracting silk thread from cocoons or fishing. Kulshrestha followed the threads back to Boksar, where they are straightened on charkhas, some of which he said are no more than rims from bicycle wheels. Finally, Kulshrestha shadowed the silk threads as they were dyed (except Muga silk, the most expensive of Assamese silks, beloved for its natural golden colour), photographed the weavers at work in Sualkuchi and then, returned to the market where he first saw the saris. “I must have walked kilometres on end,” said Kulshrestha, who is showing digital prints on photographic paper and pat silk at the exhibition. “In some of these villages, there is no conveyance, no roads even.” Each grant winner has exhibited a distinct style: Kulshrestha’s set of 30 images are installed as digital prints, as well as printed on Pat silk. Following the journalistic approach which has guided his work so far, Agrawal has not touched up his photos except colour-correcting them for the show. Taha Ahmad, who focused on a single family of Badla Mukaish embroiders for the project, shot the images on a D-7000 digital camera, but is showing them as black-and-white prints with sharp contrasts. This is a large show, from which visitors can expect to learn a great deal about the five crafts through picture stories. Anyone hoping, however, for a more nuanced approach on why these crafts are falling out of favour through these photos may be somewhat disappointed.

Framing the Living Traditions is on at the India International Centre in New Delhi until May 2.

- https://scroll.in/bulletins/53/how-technology-is-changing-the-way-indians-work, April 28, 2017

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