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December 2018

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Next generation must help calligraphy survive digital age: Artists, experts

Seeking to promote calligraphy among school children, Delhi-based Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) organised a two-day workshop for over 100 students from 30 schools. Delhi-based calligrapher Mohammad Zubair says he counts himself among the last few artists in the city who practice the centuries-old art of decorative handwriting in an era in which keystrokes and smartphones are guiding the future. Zubair, 36, who has been practising calligraphy for the past nearly 20 years, admits that the society has to embrace technology to move ahead but asserts "computers will never be able to match the capabilities of calligraphers". "This iconic art form saw its heyday even till 1980, until when computers arrived. Calligraphers were earlier employed by government agencies, civic bodies to design boards and signages, but with technology, our master prints are just taken on a CD and then replicated," he told PTI. "So, the earnings dropped significantly, as artists were being paid just for a one-time project. And, sometimes, clients just download prints from computers and print them. Calligraphy is not being patronised as it should be. Our youth should help this art form survive," Zubair rued. Seeking to promote calligraphy among school children, Delhi-based Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) organised a two-day workshop for over 100 students drawn from 30 schools in Delhi and neighbouring cities, which ended Friday. Zubair, trained in this art from the Delhi Urdu Academy and currently an instructor at a National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) centre in east Delhi, was roped in by INTACH to lead the workshop. According to him, many students did not know about calligraphy and some knew about English one but not those done in Urdu or Arabic. "But, they were so fascinated that many told me that they wish to learn it over and above their regular studies. If youth like them, can understand the value of our precious heritage, calligraphy will thrive, along with technology," he said. At the workshop, students learned to hold the bamboo 'kalam' (wooden pen) and were taught to write Dilli-dur-ast, a famous quote of renowned Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya. Instruction material, along with 'kalam', was also distributed to them after the event. Calligraphy or the art of decorative handwriting in India dates back to the ancient era when Sanskrit manuscripts were being written and ornamentally illustrated, and then in Mughal era, it thrived with the patronage of the rulers, for Urdu, Arabic and Persian calligraphies, with many such old texts now a national treasure. Rajeev Kumar, 50, another Delhi-based calligrapher and an engineer-turned-graphic designer, who writes in 11 scripts including Tamil, Telugu and Gurumukhi (Punjabi), besides English and Hindi, however, feels "calligraphy need not fear technology". "Calligraphy and typography used for font designing in computer can co-exist very harmoniously. For mass production, calligraphy cannot be the right option, we need typographic technology to meet that logistical demand," said Kumar, who has been practising calligraphy for the last 25 years. Both Zubair and Kumar rued that in India, even well-known art and design educational institutions "do not have, even an optional course on calligraphy". "We can't fight technology, and so the only way to take this art to the next generation is through the channel of education. Our students don't know what are they losing, so how will they act on it. Also, once they have mastered the original art, they will do wonders with technology too," Zubair said. NIFT-Patna Director Sanjay Shrivastava emphasised that calligraphy is country's "priceless heritage" and needs to be preserved through practice and other means. Asked, if there was any course at the college on this art form, he said, "Students are exposed to it as part of fashion communications course, but, no there's no dedicated course or elective on it." Brand strategy expert and visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) here, Ramesh Tahiliani, said calligraphy is very much alive in the age of digital era, and having esoteric purposes for its use, allows to "keep its exclusivity". "So, be it special weddings cards or certificates of many institutions or logos of various brands, especially some of the luxury brands, calligraphy finds its place and importance and charming appeal, which it would not have if the scale of production was large," he told PTI. Bahrain-based Asgharali Perfumes, founded in 1924, uses a lot of calligraphic art on it designer bottles and promotional material. "Our company focusses a lot on aesthetic appeal and calligraphy has that charm," an official from its marketing department said. Airlines like Etihad and Emirates use stylised Arabic and have a high recall value. Search giant Google's logo is based on the calligraphy-inspired font, Catull BQ, according to creative platform 99designs.com. Zubair, who writes in five languages -- Urdu, Arabic, Persian, English Hindi and Punjabi, said calligraphy is not about just techniques, but also finer intricacies, like the slant, the size of 'nuqta' (dot) and where to exert pressure and where to go free hand. "If you do improper 'nuqta', 'khuda' can become 'juda'," he says with a smile. "Irrespective of the future that holds for it, I have decided to make my son a calligrapher too. I am very proud of this heritage," he said.

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/lifestyle/books/2018/dec/02/next-generation-must-help-calligraphy-survive-digital-age-artists-experts-1906256.html, Dec 3, 2018

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Rajasthan Assembly Elections 2018: Polls come and go, but Sahariyas’ plight still poor

The Sahariya tribal community of Shahbad region in Baran district, which recorded 47 starvation deaths during the 2001 drought, waits for concerted welfare measures that could take them out of poverty, unemployment and malnutrition. Though politicians have made a promise against starvation, the tribe’s economic condition is yet to reach a reasonable level. Though the 70,000-strong community has been classified as a particularly vulnerable tribal group because of its low development indices, the benefits of additional days of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the supply of essential items under the Antyodaya Yojana are not fully available to them. Lakhan Sahariya, a tribal activist from Unee village in Shahbad tehsil, says daily wage labour and agriculture are the main sources of livelihood in the region, but the payments under the MGNREGS are not made on time, while wheat and ghee are supplied on festive occasions. “The Sahariyas have benefited from special reservation made for them, but a lot more still needs to be done,” he said. Mr. Sahariya, 33, who earlier worked with the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, says several youth from the community have obtained government jobs following special efforts, but “concerted measures” are required for the welfare of the landless tribal people in the remote villages. In July 2012, 135 Sahariya families reclaimed land from the landlords with government help and started growing crops. The Congress candidate from Baran-Atru, Panachand Meghwal, told The Hindu during his election campaign in the city’s Cherighat locality that the Special Reservation Bill for Sahariyas, implemented by the Ashok Gehlot government in 1999, had immensely benefited the tribal people and opened new opportunities for them.

Party position

Though Sahariyas have been traditionally voting for the Congress, the reserved seat of Kishanganj was won by the BJP in 2013. BJP MLA Lalit Meena is pitted against Nirmala Sahariya of the Congress from Kishanganj this time. The three other seats in the district — Baran-Atru, Anta and Chhabra — are also occupied by the BJP. Mr. Meghwal said the BJP regime had distorted the Congress government’s scheme for supply of 25 kg of wheat in the region on each ration card by restricting the supply on the basis of number of members in a household. “As a result, the deserving families are not getting the benefit. This is one of the several instances of the BJP’s anti-poor approach. They remember Ram temple during elections instead of working for the betterment of the poor.” The Baran chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has taken up the task of preserving the tribal art of mandana, which is drawn on floor and walls as a mark of celebration and to protect home and hearth. INTACH district convenor Jitendra Sharma said each mandana painting was accompanied by a different song, which had been catalogued and recorded. Artist Kaushalya Devi recently drew mandanas at the Mini-Secretariat here on behalf of INTACH during a heritage week. Mr. Sharma said the preservation of tribal art would help protect Sahariyas’ identity.

- https://www.thehindu.com/elections/rajasthan-assembly-elections-2018/polls-come-and-go-but-sahariyas-plight-still-poor/article25649107.ece, Dec 3, 2018

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APS Jammu Cantt clinches trophy in INTACH Quiz

The students of Army Public School (APS) Jammu Cantt participated in Intach Heritage Quiz HP Chapter State final of which was held at Adhunik Public School, Sidhwari (Dharamshala) on November 29, 2018. The quiz was organised in collaboration with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. The students VaibhavJha of X-B and Radhe Shyam of VIII-A from APS Jammu Cantt participated in the quiz. They were adjudged third in the competition. It was a great opportunity for students to boost their confidence and achieve the Winner Tag in the State Finals.

- http://news.statetimes.in/aps-jammu-cantt-clinches-trophy-in-intach-quiz/, Dec 3, 2018

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Mughal era Kalai crumbling under encroachment, neglect

Various historical accounts reveal construction of ''Kalai'' was completed in early 17th century. Mir Mohammad Hussain Kanth, a Kashmiri, was appointed by the Mughals to supervise its construction. The massive wall, Kalai built around a hill in the middle of Downtown during Emperor Akbar’s reign has survived vagaries of centuries, but parts of this marvelous enclosure are crumbling amid neglect and encroachment. Building the 'Kalai' started on Akbar’s third visit to Kashmir in 1589 AD following the Mughal invasion of the region in 1585-86. Various historical accounts reveal construction of 'Kalai' was completed in early 17th century. Mir Mohammad Hussain Kanth, a Kashmiri, was appointed by the Mughals to supervise its construction. Over the centuries the massive stone and mortar enclosure protected many of Kashmir’s foreign kings who ruled from the fort atop the hill known both as Hari Parbhat and Koh-e-Maran. But now it is a crumbling structure shadowing shanties that have come up along its interior side right from Sangeen Darwaza and Kathi Darwaza, erstwhile gates to the ruling quarters inside the wall. Successive governments and authorities have failed to check the encroachment which has at places completely obliterated the heritage enclosure from view. The two main gates guiding visitors inside the Kalai area, Kathi Darwaza from Rainawari side and Sangin Darwaza from Hawal, still retain some of their old grandeur. Another gate, the Bachhee Darwaza towards the shrine of Hazrat Makhdoom sahib (RA) was reconstructed in late 90’s. Visitors can still see remnants of an entire city inside the Mughal enclosure. Mulla Akhoond Sahab Masjid or Mallashah Masjid and adjacent Hamam built by Dara Shikoh, the fort atop Koh-e-Maran hillock built by Pathan governor Atta Muhammad Khan adds to the historicity of the wall. The boundary of Kalai also overlooks Pokhribal lake on its eastern side and Waris Khan chah (well) on Badamwari side holding some important glimpses of Kashmir history under foreign rule. The Mallashah Masjid, Kathi Darwaza and Sangin Darwaza are officially under the protection and care of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), while Kalai rampart itself and the fort come under the domain of Department of Archives and Archaeology. Convener of the Kashmir chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Muhammad Saleem Beg, who has carried out extensive research on the 'Kalai' said the whole structure of the enclosure more than three kilometers long and its texture comprises of stone fitted with lime mortar as binding material. Historians say, Akbar realizing the strategic importance of the hillock in the middle of the city, erected the massive wall around it and then built a city complex Nagar Nagar inside. Some historians are also of the view that the Mughal emperor undertook building the Kalai to “alleviated the distress of the people during famine” by engaging them as labour, and built the city inside “with the view of attracting Kashmiris back to Kashmir, who had fled in the troublous times of the Chaks. High wages were given to men and women.” “The city complex was built by Akbar. He realised importance of the hill from a military standpoint. That is why he constructed a military cantonment here, which also served as sort of secretariat for his bureaucracy,” said assistant professor of History at Kashmir University, Sajjad Ahmad Darzi. “Since there was famine in the city, he (Akbar) sanctioned two crore rupees and sent off the money along with 200 artisans and 200 servants to built the city.” Other historians say Akbar build the insurmountable wall around the hill purely for military purposes as Kashmiri people had given a tough time to his forces resisting their occupation of the land. Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a prominent writer who lives in the vicinity of Kalai, said Kashmiris disliked the Mughal army, since it had invaded their land through deception, after it was defeated two times by them. “Kashmiris, particularly young men had launched a guerilla war for several years against Mughals. They were known as Dilawars. These Dilawars were persecuted by Mughals. Some hardened Dilawars were even taken to jail built by Mughals on islands inside Dal lake including Ropelank and Sonelank where they were tortured to death and discreetly drowned,” said Zareef. Zareef said resistance against Mughal army later became subtle and got reduced to Kashmiris name calling Mughals as ‘Shikas Mogul’ and ‘Poge Mogul’ to vent their anger and in a way console themselves. Union government in 2009 sanctioned a Nagar Nagar project for restoration of the Kalai, however it failed to achieve its aim owing to official apathy. In 2013 repair work of the wall was started, but it was stopped midway after it started crumbling down. Director, Archives and Archaeology, Muneer-ul-Islam said his department does not have adequate funds to carry out repair work of the Kalai. An official of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, wishing anonymity, said that “we are helpless to take action against encroachers, as it will hit the vote bank of some politicians.” "It is a huge task to remove existing encroachments from Kalai, while at the same time if government is serious to remove these it can do so easily. There are lot pressures from various quarters," he said.

- https://greaterkashmir.com/news/srinagar-city/mughal-era-kalai-crumbling-under-encroachment-neglect/304858.html, Dec 3, 2018

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Vadnagar‘s skeleton is 2,000 yrs old!

The skeletal remains unearthed from PM ‘s home town Vadnagar in north Gujarat has given a sneak peak into 2,000-year-old history. ASI sources said the skeleton, unearthed last year by the Excavation Branch of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) from Vadnagar, dates back to 2nd century BCE to 1st century CE. Dr Niraj Rai, senior scientist, Institute of Paleosciences (BSIP), Lucknow, said that primary analysis of the remains including profiling has been completed. “We had got two human bone samples from the site. Dating methods indicate its age at about 2,000 years – from 2nd century BCE to 1st century CE. Comparison of DNA profile reveals a match with reference data of western India‘s existing population,” said Rai, adding that further analysis is being done which is expected to throw more light on the population of that era. ASI sources said that the remains were found from cultural deposits belonging to Kshatrapa period (1st-4th century CE). For the researchers working at Vadnagar, the result means that the population profile has not drastically changed for the area over the centuries. In fact, the town is a unique site where excavation had established an unbroken cultural sequence for over 2,000 years. ASI is creating cultural profile of Vadnagar which is believed to have been developed at the same location for over two millennia. The skeletal remain was unearthed during the large scale excavation, taking place under leadership of deputy superintending archaeologist Dr Abhijit Ambekar, in the Ghaskol area – also the location of the only fully excavated Buddhist monastery by the state archaeology department. What started as a search for the Buddhist monasteries mentioned by 7th century Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang has now revealed multiple structures including a super structure dating back to 5th century on the banks of Lake. The excavations are already in its fourth season this year where the teams have identified areas in Vadnagar, nearby Taranga hills and Gunja lake. The team has already found another brick structure on the banks of Sharmishtha lake.

- http://www.mmahotstuff.com/2018/12/03/vadnagars-skeleton-is-2000-yrs-old.html, Dec 3, 2018

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A Book on Hazaribagh School of Painting written by Shri Bulu Imam, Convener INTACH

Hazaribagh School of Painting which was published in English by Lambert Academic Publishers in Germany has now been published in Hindi with over 50 colour photos of Hazaribagh Khovar and Sohrai village house paintings by the Information and Public Relations Department, Govt. of Jharkhand in a first edition of 10,000 copies and was released on 15th November at Sanskriti. The function was held informally at Sanskriti and attended by Shri Anand Priyadarshi, Dy.Director,IPRD, Govt of Jharkhand, Mr Jin Kuramae and Mrs Kyoka Ogawa of Tokyo, Ms Marilena Proietti, Ms Valeria Termolino of University of Rome, members of GRD School, Giridih, members of Sanskriti. The book carries messages from Shri Raghubar Das, Chief Minister,Jharkhand, Shr Sunil Barnawal, IAS,Secretary IPRD, Foreword by Mrs Vandana Dadel,IAS, Commissioner, North Chotanagpur Division, Shri Anand Priyadarshi, Dy.Director,IPRD, Hazaribagh. The book is for free distribution in Jharkhand.

- http://chapter.intach.org/pdf/chapter-30nov18.pdf, Dec 4-5, 2018

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Heritage conservation also about local know-how: EU-India panel

Cultural heritage is equally about community involvement and preserving traditional knowledge systems as about built heritage such as monuments. This was the crux of a panel discussion that opened a two-day conference on EU-India partnership on culture in the national capital. Speaking to a house full of European and Indian delegates in a conference on "EU-India Partnership for Cultural Heritage Conservation" at the National Museum, conservation architect Nishant Upadhyay built a case for cultural heritage as a catalyst for socio-economic development. The Unesco program officer elaborated on the lost royal gardens of Rajnagar, which were restored by the Belgian chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) starting 2003, with a focus on agro-forestry and community involvement in the area. Only a few minutes away from the globally known heritage site of Khajuraho temples in Madhya Pradesh, the Rajnagar gardens were "nature tamed to individual will" and were used for royal recreation. Upadhyay, while elaborating on the Bundelkhandi gardens, said that although the gardens are privately owned, a local farmers' community was still involved. Through reviving cultivation in those gardens, INTACH was able to apply local know-how in the landscape conservation work. "Conservation is not just about built heritage environments, but also about conserving traditional knowledge systems," a doctoral researcher said at the event. The case study supplied crucial information on how building local seed-banks and crop markets, and engaging potters and craftspersons to create material for each 'lost' garden not just generated employment but reinstated a community space and nudged organisation of music and organic food festivals in the gardens. Taking other conservation efforts as cases, his co-panellists elaborated on how culture and economy can thrive together, and because of each other. Panellists Juan-Manuel Guimerans and Debashish Nayak, who head the Valladolid City Council (Spain) and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation respectively, had partnered for an EU-funded project in Ahmedabad. Titled "Cultural Heritage Management and Venture Lab", the project encouraged entrepreneurial initiative in the Gujarat city that "loves business". The catch? The start-ups and projects must be about cultural heritage conservation. The Lab boasts of several initiatives that it sparked, including those around media, photography, theatre, food, and even tourist guides. The panel that discussed "enormous spillover effects" of cultural preservation, opened the conference set in motion by EU Ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski, Culture Ministry Joint Secretary Nirupama Kotru and National Museum Director General B.R. Mani on Tuesday. The conference marks in India the conclusion of the celebrations of the 2018 as the European year of Cultural Heritage, the objective of which has been to further cultural heritage as a bridge builder between the EU and its key partner countries, EU said.

- https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/heritage-conservation-also-about-local-know-how-eu-india-panel-118120400837_1.html, Dec 4-5, 2018

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Karan Singh writes to Guv on Mubarak Mandi condition

Former Sadar-i-Riyasat, Dr Karan Singh has urged Governor Satya Pal Malik to call all files connected with Mubarak Mandi and see what can be done to preserve this important part of rich Dogra heritage, which, he said, is crumbling before our eyes. Describing condition of the Mubarak Mandi complex as “deteriorating”, Dr Karan Singh asserted that more buildings are on the verge of collapse. Dr Karan Singh, a former Union Minister and Congress leader, has voiced his concerns over condition of Mubarak Mandi complex in a letter written to the Governor today. Dr Karan Singh said only last week yet another portion of the historic Mubarak Mandi complex has collapsed. “This huge palace complex was handed over to the State Government by Maharaja Hari Singh during his own rulership. For some years, it was used as a Secretariat but after 1947, it gradually fell into misuse and because of lack of maintenance, parts of the complex started collapsing,” Dr Singh said in his letter to the Governor, a copy of which has been released to the media. Noting that some years back, the INTACH was commissioned to renovate these buildings, he regretted that for some reasons, the process was discontinued. “An organization called the Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society was formed and the Archaeological Survey of India was also involved but despite these measures, the situation continued to deteriorate and more buildings are on the verge of collapse,” Dr Karan Singh wrote. He said one building has been restored, which was supposed to have become the ‘Jammu Museum’ but it still remain vacant and its condition has also started deteriorating. “I would urge you to kindly call for all the files connected with Mubarak Mandi and see what can be done to preserve this important part of the rich Dogra heritage, which is crumbling before our eyes,” Dr Karan Singh said.

- http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/karan-singh-writes-to-guv-on-mubarak-mandi-condition/, Dec 6, 2018

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The City of Culture on course to becoming truly ‘Smart’ – Anil Garg, Chairman, Lucknow Smart City Limited

Thanks to a number of path-breaking initiatives under implementation, the historic City of Lucknow is marching ahead to soon become a truly ‘Smart’ city, says Anil Garg, Divisional Commissioner, Lucknow and Chairman, Lucknow Smart City Limited, in conversation with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN). Give us an overview of the ‘smart’ projects undertaken by the Lucknow Smart City Limited. Lucknow Smart City Limited is extending its citizen centric services through various delivery channels. We are implementing Integrated Command and Control Centre to integrate various smart citizen centric solutions. This system will integrate all city specific IT-enabled services. Integrated Central Command & Control Centre is under construction on the B.N road and the Master System Integrator (MSI) project has been awarded to M/s Fluentgrid in consortium with M/s BEL. Integration of services like UP 100, The Women Power Line 1090, Drishti etc, along with existing and proposed ICT Systems and Utility will also be done under this project. The gestation period for this project is approximately 8 months. Close monitoring by Lucknow Smart City CEO and the PMC will be the key to the success of this project. Across ABD area, in six parks of Nagar Nigam, installation of Wi-Fi hotspots has been executed for providing free Wi-Fi services to the citizens. Underground distribution cabling & relocation of transformers has been done by the DISCOM in the Hazaratganj area. Upgradation of the substation in Kaiserbagh for SCADA system has been done. New transformers in Kaiserbagh area have also been installed. SCADA system for whole city of Lucknow is under consideration in collaboration with the Madhyanchal DISCOM. Under our ‘Solid Waste Management – GPS & ICT for user charge collection’ project, Smart Community bins are being set up. Under this, door to door collection has been started in 107 wards. 100 per cent coverage has been achieved in 76 wards. Mobile Compact Stations have been installed at 30 locations across the city. This work is being done in the PPP mode in collaboration with M/c Eco Green Private Limited and Lucknow Nagar Nigam. Waste to power plant at a cost of Rs 300 crores is under construction in this project. Waste to energy pellets and tilizers has already commenced. Solar Power plant in the PPP mode has already been installed at the Avanti Bai Hospital. This will reduce the electricity bills of the hospital in a big way. Waste water reuse systems are being installed in Balrampur hospital and Awanti Bai Hospital in the PPP mode. These will be local STP plants dedicated for the hospitals concerned. Smart roads and turnarounds works are being worked out by Institute of Urban Transport in collaboration with Municipal Corporation. Tender for Smart road for Daliganj is under process by Nagar Nigam. Smart roads, utility duct is being also done in three metro station areas in the ABD and near ABD area in collaboration with Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC). Smart bus shelter project has been awarded to the M/s Ozone Overseas Private Limited. The work has started with the identification of locations by Nagar Nigam, city bus service and traffic Police officials. GPS instruments have been installed in the city buses for the Vehicle Tracking System (VTS). Two more electric crematoriums are being given to the city under 14th Finance commission, one at Baikunth Dham and the other at Gulaila ghat.

Tell us a bit about the Smart City Surveillance Project.

This is one of the flagship projects, which is executed by Lucknow Smart City Limited. M/s Technosys Security System Pvt Ltd has been selected for implementing the Integrated Traffic Management System (ITMS) project. Salient features of ITMS include Adaptive Traffic Control System (ATCS), Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system, Red Light Violation Detection (RLVD) system, Speed Violation Detection (SVD) system, No Helmet Detection and Triple Riding Detection etc. The RFP for this project was made under the able guidance of ADG Lucknow Shri Rajiv Krishna. At present, the ‘DRISHTI’ surveillance project which has a total of 80 IP CCTV, Automatic Number Plate Recognition System (ANPR), Video Analytics, Mobile Surveillance System, Command Control Centre and Data Centre has proved to be very useful in curbing crimes in the city. At present, the project covers 70 junctions in Lucknow, with a dedicated focus on entry and exit points in the city, VVIP areas, and all critical and sensitive hotspots. Going forward with the ITMS project plans are in the offing to increase the number of cameras for the command system which will cover the whole city of Lucknow. This project will be also collaborating with the ‘Safe City initiative’ project which has been sanctioned for the district Lucknow by the Ministry of Home, Government of India. How are you planning to develop Kaiserbagh area of Lucknow city in a new way? With a view to preserve the rich heritage of the ABD area of Kaiserbagh, a number of projects are being implemented. The key components for retrofitting Kaiserbagh area include utility improvement, smart grid and infrastructure development for slums and urban poor. Work on building roads, community toilets, night shelters in the slums has been started by the Nagar Nigam. Under this scheme, there are also plans to cover nullahs (open drains), strengthen and augment the existing drainage network under the dovetailing with AMRUT. For water supply, we aim to strengthen and augment the distribution network, increase use of smart metering, and use Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). UP Jal Nigam is doing this project worth 40 crores of water supply in the ABD area. For improving the sewer network of Kaiserbagh area, project of worth around Rs 300 crores is being implemented by the UP Jal Nigam. Piped Natural Gas (PNG) supply work is being implemented in the Kaiserbagh area by the Green Gas Limited. They have started the work of survey after getting the NOC from Nagar Nigam as per the enabling government order in this regard. The work of preserving and utilizing the heritage buildings of this ABD area like Chattar Manzil, Roshan Ud Dolah Kothi, Kothi Gulestaan-e-eram and Darshan Vilas Kothi has been given to INTACH. MoU has been signed with INTACH to give the concept work and develop it further as the implementing agency after getting due approvals from the state culture department. For electricity in the ABD area, much work has been to improve underground distribution cabling and relocate transformers, and at the same time increase the use of smart metering by the MVVNL DISCOM. Further SCADA system in collaboration with MVVNL discom is under consideration.

What challenges do you experience in implementing the smart city projects and how do deal with multiplicity of organizations/ departments?

The projects envisaged as part of Smart City Project require funding and approval from state and other sources, hence better coordination among various departments like Health, Transport, Development Authority, State Archeological Directorate and PWD is vital to the success of plan implementation. Citizens’ participation is a pre-requisite for the success of smart city projects. Role of CEO smart city and the PMC is most important for the successful execution of the various projects which have started. Regular monitoring, day to day basis interaction with the various stakeholder departments and the citizens will be the key to the final success of this project.

What are the unique features of Common Mobility Card introduced for Lucknow Metro? Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) and Lucknow Nagar Nigam (LNN) joined hands by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for facilitation of payment of house/property taxes through ‘GoSmart’ card of Lucknow Metro at Metro Stations. The main objective is to propagate the idea of smart travel for which LMRC is making every possible effort for facilitation of additional customer services for the benefit and convenience of the Metro commuters. LMRC will facilitate the collection of tax payments of Nagar Nigam from its customers at its Metro Stations which will enable passengers to use their “GoSmart Card” to make payments for the property tax at ticket counters. LMRC will then forward the collections along with information to the Lucknow Nagar Nigam.

How do you visualise the role of PPP in the city’s development?

Thanks to the role played by the private sector in the city’s development, today’s Lucknow, in many ways, is a smart city in the making, with its rapidly growing physical infrastructure like the new international airport in the making, flyovers, upcoming metro rail, IT parks, sports stadiums, real estate development and growing social infrastructure such as state of the art hospitals and educational institutions. In a bid to further accelerate the city’s development and to fully harness the utility of Private sector in executing various citizen-centric initiatives, we have promoted publicprivate partnerships in many sectors such as Public Bike Sharing project, is being executed by M/s Zoom Car Pvt Ltd. on a pilot-basis in Gomti Nagar. Energy Efficient Street Lighting Project has been awarded to EESL on PPP mode. Waste water reuse, solar power plant is also being done in PPP model. Smart bus shelter is another project in this category.

- https://egov.eletsonline.com/2018/12/the-city-of-culture-on-course-to-becoming-truly-smart-anil-garg-chairman-lucknow-smart-city-limited/, Dec 7, 2018

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From scrap to sculpture: Story of Odisha’s waste to art museum in offing

The state’s first waste museum is expected to send the message that nothing is beyond the scope of art. Hemanta Pradhan visits the project site and finds common scrap being put to unusual use: The state’s first open-air waste museum will come up in the capital city on Tuesday. To be inaugurated by chief minister , the museum will display 21 sculptures and installations made out of waste by national and international artists. The artists began work on the sculptures from November 1, as part of the First organized by charitable trust Artists Network Promoting Indian Culture (Anpic) at the museum site at Sector-7, . The work of 14 international and seven Indian artists will find pride of place at this unique museum — the culmination of the public art symposium. Anpic will develop and promote the museum in collaboration with the (BDA). “The BDA has given over three acres of land for the open-air museum project. It has a boundary wall but we will need to carry out some beautification in and around the site to make it attractive,” said , managing trustee of Anpic. Mohapatra said the artists had used a range of junk — defunct car parts, autorickshaws, cycle parts and drums — to work on the sculptures and installations. “As we have spent so much money on creating art, we don‘t want to abandon it after the symposium ends. So we decided to turn the venue into an open-air museum,” he said. The art museum is expected to cost Rs 5 crore. “It is not a temporary thing. We will make it permanent and the BDA will maintain the art works,” the Anpic official said. Bhabani Shankar Chayani, member (enforcement) of the BDA, said Anpic would develop the museum and hand it over to it for maintenance. “People can visit it without paying any entrance fee,” he added. Khitish Das, an art enthusiast, said the museum would attract people, especially artists and art lovers, to this part of the city. “This will be an important stop for artists,” he added. With the inauguration approaching, the artists are racing against time to give final touches to their work. All 21 pieces are based on themes. While Paddy Bloomer from Ireland has created a piece using the axle of a truck, drums, car parts and wheels, Pruthiraj Sahoo, an Odia artist living in Gujarat, has built the replica of an elephant by using cycle parts. In Bloomer’s work, a cycle wheel is connected to the spherical top of the structure. If a person pedals the wheel, the spherical top will move and create drum beats. “Most of the art here is still so I thought of making art that moves. Children will love it,” he explained. Sahoo has sought inspiration from his childhood days. “In my village Khellar in Pipili of Puri district, I would often see elephants with mahouts atop them. People would give them rice and fruits. We would be on cycles, while the mahouts would be on the elephants. My art combines these two memories,” said the artist, who completed his master’s degree in sculpting two years ago. Chuguli Sahoo, another artist from Odisha, has created a peacock by using a defunct car, broken scooter, cycle wheels, damaged rods and oil drums. “A peacock is one of the beautiful birds on earth. I thought I could use waste to create something beautiful. I hope people will love it,” said Sahoo. Heidi McGeoch from Australia wants to recreate one of the pillars of Ashok, with ‘Satyameva Jayate’ written on it. To be around 35 feet tall, the pillar will use nine damaged oil drums. A wheel will be set on top. “I love Indian culture and chose peace and Buddhism for my art. It will look stunning after the light fittings are done,” she added. Anpic’s Mohapatra said the plan was to add to the collection in the coming years by organising similar art symposia. “An event involving over 100 international artists might be held in 2020,” he added.

- https://finexaminer.com/2018/12/06/from-scrap-to-sculpture-story-of-odishas-waste-to-art-museum-in-offing/, Dec 7, 2018

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Intach had raised alarm

The Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (Intach) had on Thursday raised the alarm on the irreparable damage caused to the main dome and the subsidiary dome of the iconic double dome structure of the heritage building. “We had visited and examined the site on Thursday. The historic dome has been punctured at multiple locations which has and will cause irreversible damage to the internal brickwork and hence the life of the dome and the deterioration will commence from here on as these are now vulnerable points for water ingress/ seepage,” leading architect Sanjeev Joshi, who is convener of Intach Vadodara and co-convener of Intach’s Gujarat chapter, who had shot off a letter to ASI, Vadodara circle and MSU, said. “Over the 136 years of this buildings’ life, various restoration works have been carried out in the past but this kind of negligent puncturing of the dome has never been done to support scaffolding. It is clear that the contractors have been extremely irresponsible and we are also shocked how ASI has allowed this,” Joshi’s letter to ASI’s superintending archaeologist said. “The central dome is a unique double dome structure and there is a gap and cavity between the outer dome and the inner dome and it is virtually impossible to access the inner surface of the outer dome from the inside to carry out fool-proof repairs. The repairs done now to plug these holes will only be superficial,” Joshi said. Requesting urgent intervention from ASI, Intach has sought advice from specific experts who can come and see the damage and how can it be made good permanently.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/intach-had-raised-alarm/articleshow/67006734.cms, Dec 10, 2018

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Assam author Lakhminath Bezbaroa’s house in Sambalpur undergoes renovation

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has started the renovation of the dilapidated house of the doyen of Assamese literature Lakhminath Bezbaroa here. Bezbaroa stayed in the house, located at Nelson Mandela Chowk, from 1917 to 1937. He had built another house in the city in 1924. The renowned Assamese litterateur lived in one house and used the other as his office. Member of INTACH, Sambalpur Chapter Deepak Panda said the house, which was used as an office by the writer, is being renovated. He said preliminary work for renovation of the building has already begun. It will be followed by the removal of old plaster from the walls and stitching of cracks. Panda said a paste prepared from lime, wood apple gum and jaggery will be used for plastering the walls of the building. “INTACH has set a target to complete the renovation of the building within six months,” he informed. Bezbaroa’s portraits, his literary works, old photographs and artefacts of Odisha and Assam will be displayed in the building after completion of the renovation work. INTACH will start the renovation of another building, where Bezbaroa lived after the current project gets over. Both Odisha and Assam governments have sanctioned Rs 50 lakh each for the renovation of both houses, he added. Earlier, it was planned to demolish the houses to pave way for a rotary junction at Nelson Mandela Chowk. However, the proposed demolition was opposed by a group of people. The Cultural Affairs Minister of Assam, Naba Kumar Doley, and media adviser to Chief Minister of Assam, Hrishikesh Goswami, had visited Sambalpur in October last year after news regarding demolition plan of both the houses was reported in media. They had also called on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the issue. Subsequently, a decision was taken to modify the design of the rotary junction and preserve both the houses.

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2018/dec/10/intach-starts-renovation-of-bezbaroas-house-1909549.html, Dec 10, 2018

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In Delhi’s ‘Steinabad’, buildings bridge tradition and modernity

Rather secluded, and a parking lot now, the Lodhi Plaza in Delhi was once imagined as a cultural space. A few steps away from the KK Birla Lane, it could possibly have become the nucleus of Lodhi Estate. Surrounded by the Alliance Française de Delhi, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) headquarters, the India International Centre (IIC) Annexe, and the World Bank Regional Mission, the plaza conceived by American-born architect Joseph Allen Stein, was to have a landscape garden with basement parking. What architects call “Steinabad” includes the buildings adjoining Lodhi Gardens, where Stein built several of them, over three decades, including the Glass House in the garden. “This place has a role in the urban design history of the city,” says urban planner KT Ravindran, leading a walk, organised by the Institute of Urban Designers India (IUDI)-Delhi chapter, along with architects Rajesh Dongre and Meena Mani. Ravindran recalls that earlier a canal cut through the land, which was carved from the Lodhi Garden to accommodate cultural institutions. The land was levelled, and roughly from 1962 (Ford Foundation) to 2004 (when Alliance Française shifted here from South Extension-Part I), the area grew into an institutional hub. In the early ’80s, Ravindran says, “Stein drew out a base line in terms of urban design that would become the guidelines that the Delhi Urban Art Commission approved for future buildings. From elevation control to setbacks and materials, Stein evolved a language for the entire precinct.” At that time, Ravindran says, “there were two strains of modernity in the Indian scene. Corbusier with his Brutalist buildings, and (Californian modernist Richard) Neutra-inspired Stein’s take on nature and architecture.” While the jaalis (lattice) at IIC echoed the Moorish architecture in Spain and Italy, the galloping arches and the curved building came from Neutra. Stein’s buildings thus bridged tradition and modernity with great efficiency. If IIC is a building in a garden, across the road, at the India Habitat Centre (IHC), built 30 years later, Stein made a garden in a building. Individual plots made way for an integrated development as institutions came together to make IHC. Mani says, “We opened the ground level for public functions to use the space after office hours.” With varying height levels of the buildings, Stein grew the garden over the car park. In the ambience of the “introverted” building, which has its back to the city, “the sun screens and trees create a unique micro-climate, making it cooler and conducive to hang around in,” she says. The building, thus, is a good example of incorporating natural light and common areas, which the urban models of institution complexes often compromise on. “IIC was a response to the context of the Lodhi Garden, with respect to the height of the tomb and echoing the monuments’ blue tiles. At IHC, he responded to the urban fabric to deal with density and car-parking issues,” says Dongre. Ravindran remembers what Stein had said to him once: “If architecture can’t take responsibility for nature, it will make itself irrelevant.” One wonders how this environmental architect would have reacted to today’s buildings, which are less informed of context and nature.

- https://indianexpress.com/article/express-sunday-eye/building-blocks-a-walk-in-the-park-5483453/, Dec 10, 2018

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Govt should take Mubarak Mandi Complex under ‘Adopt a Heritage’ Scheme: Uppal

Mubarak Mandi Palaces Complex is in a state of sad dilapidation because the Government of Jammu and Kashmir nor even the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has any concrete plans for restoration and conservation of this ancient monument. This was stated by Tarun Uppal, National Core Committee member of Anna Hazare Anti-Corruption Movement in a statement issued here on Tuesday. Uppal said “After 1947, Mubarak Mandi Palaces Complex was used by state Government as State’s civil secretariat. So many Government offices functioned from this complex. The elegance and the architecture of the complex was destroyed by altering everything by every department to house employees and files.” Raising serious concern over the deteriorating condition of Mubarak Mandi complex, Uppal said that the aforesaid building is on the verge of collapse. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) was also commissioned to renovate the heritage buildings of Jammu and Kashmir, but the process was discontinued, the reasons best known to the government, he added. Uppal asserted that the Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society was also formed and the Archaeological Survey of India was also involved but despite these measures, the situation sustained to get worse and more buildings are on the verge of collapse. He asserted that Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society could not played a significant role in fostering the promotion of such places of historical significance as a tourist destination. Uppal said that the Mubarak Mandi Palace complex should be handed over the corporate sector for its maintenance and preservation under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme which gives boost to the tourism of Jammu. Uppal urged upon the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Governor Malik to intervene in this crucial matter and handed over the Mubarak Mandi Palace complex along with all heritage sites of Jammu and Kashmir to corporate sector for its preservation and maintenance. Such type of heritage sites would play a major role in boosting the economy of the State and also help in resolving the employment issues, he added.

- http://news.statetimes.in/govt-should-take-mubarak-mandi-complex-under-adopt-a-heritage-scheme-uppal/, Dec 11, 2018

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Preserving Sanchipaat: How Assam’s centuries-old manuscripts will be protected

A two-roomed “treatment” centre has been set up under the National Mission for Manuscripts to conserve Sanchipaat, the centuries-old manuscripts of ancient Assam. It was on bits of tree bark that the Ahoms, under whom a 600-year-old dynasty flourished in Assam, communicated in the 13th century. These “tree-bark” manuscripts, called Sanchipaat, were made through intricate, laborious procedures, and had a variety of information on diverse topics: wildlife, medicine, rituals and legends of Assam’s longest ruling dynasty, all written by hand. Over centuries, the Sanchipaat has lived on: in private collections of old families, in the Satras (or the neo-Vaishnavite monasteries) of Majuli, Nalbari and Barpeta, and in libraries and museums. But many have disappeared too. At times due to a lack of proper conservation efforts, and sometimes because of a lack of awareness. In the past, there have been instances when hundreds of manuscripts were dunked into rivers in different parts of Assam. “One incident happened a few years ago in Nagaon — and local boys had to swim to retrieve hundreds of these manuscripts floating around the river,” said Jayanta Sarma of the Heritage Conservation Society of Assam (HeCSA). He explained how in the olden days, manuscripts were stored in kitchen ceilings (called dhuasaangs or smoke roofs), right above wooden choolahs (chimneys).

- https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/assam/preserving-sanchipaat-how-assams-centuries-old-handwritten-manuscripts-will-be-protected-5486996/, Dec 11, 2018

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International Mountain Day: Daylong workshop marks celebrations at Bhaderwah campus

The daylong national-level workshop, based on the theme of ''Mountains Matter'', was held at LalDed Auditorium of Bhaderwah campus. To celebrate ‘International Mountain Day’, Institute of Mountain Environment, Bhaderwah campus, in collaboration with PG department of environmental sciences, Jammu University, organized a workshop, here on Tuesday. The daylong national-level workshop, based on the theme of 'Mountains Matter', was held at Lal Ded Auditorium of Bhaderwah campus. Dr C M Seth, retired chairman pollution control board and chief wildlife warden, was the chief guest on the occasion, while R. S. Jasrotia, retired CCF, was the guest of honour. Chewang Norphel, an engineer by profession and widely known as the ‘glacier man of India’ was the special guest at the event. Besides, rector Bhaderwah campus, Prof Anil K Raina, presided over the function. Speaking on the occasion, the rector, while welcoming all the dignitaries who reached Bhaderwah despite harsh weather, said that almost one billion people live in mountainous areas and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy. “Yet mountains are under threat from climate change, land degradation, over exploitation and natural disasters, with potentially far-reaching and devastating consequences, both for mountain communities and the rest of the world, ”he said. He informed the audience that mountains cover around 22 percent of the Earth's land surface, host 25 percent of terrestrial biodiversity and 28 percent of forests. “Mountains also provide 60-80 percent of the world's freshwater- without which sustainable development, that aims to eliminate poverty and hunger, would not be possible. Besides, 20 important food crops originate in mountains. These include potatoes, maize, barley, sorghum, apples and tomatoes. Also, mountains attract 15-20 percent of the global tourism,” Prof. Raina said. The key note addresses were presented by R. S. Jasrotia, Chewang Norphel and Dr C M Seth, experts for the workshop. In their addresses, the dignitaries laid emphasis to protect mountains from the challenges they are facing. “Mountains are early indicators of climate change and as global climate change continues to warm mountains, people face even greater struggles to survive. The rising temperature also means that glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, affecting freshwater supplies downstream for millions of people. The mountain communities, however, have a wealth of knowledge and strategies accumulated over generations, on how to adapt to climate variability,” the experts said. Dr. Neeraj Sharma, head Institute of Mountain Environment (IME) Bhaderwah campus, while presenting the theme and inner report of the event said that IME Bhaderwah campus was established in 2011 and comprises of three faculties, faculty of life sciences, faculty of earth sciences and faculty of economics. "The institute aims to conserve high priority mountain eco-systems, increase environmentally and culturally sustainable livelihoods for mountain communities, promote support for mountain cultures and issues through advocacy, research and outreach," he said. Dr Sharma further said that the national workshop was organized with an aim to aware the people of Chenab Valley about the importance of mountains and measures taken to save these treasures. “Without these mountains, we can’t think of survival as the mountains matter for water, disaster risk reduction, tourism and food, particularly for Jammu and Kashmir and generally for the entire Himalayan region,” he added. To aware students about the importance of mountains, a debate/painting competition was also organized in the 2nd session. More than 40 students from various government and private schools participated in the competitions. In poster/painting making, Momina Malik, Tazium Fatima and Laiba Rehmat were declared first, second and third respectively, while as Fahad Irshad, Mohammad Rizwan and Sania Malik bagged first, second and third in the symposium competition. Later, in order to develop a better understanding of the changing scenarios, in terms of ecology, economy and culture, with special reference to Bhaderwah and Chenab Valley, a panel discussion was organized. The deliberations resulted in the formulation of a blue print for effective management and conservation of nature and natural resources across the mountains of north-western Himalaya. DFO Bhaderwah Khalid Metha, Dr. JatinderManhas, Dr. Kuljeet Singh, Dr. Rakesh Sharma, Bubloo Sharma, Dr Sunil Bhardwaj, Dr Mohammad Avias, ERO ArifHaleemKhateeb, faculty members, students and staff of the Bhaderwah campus were present on the occasion. The vote of thanks was presented by Chhering Tandup, assistant professor department of geography, Bhaderwah campus.

- https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/chenab-valley/international-mountain-day-daylong-workshop-marks-celebrations-at-bhaderwah-campus/305916.html, Dec 12, 2018

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‘Less than 1% of Pattanam excavated’

P.J. Cherian, the former director of Kerala Council for Historical Research, led the Pattanam excavations which provided evidence of trade links with regions spanning south of China to Gibraltar as far back as 300 B.C. He was in the city to deliver a lecture on ‘Muziris: The story and science of excavating an ancient port city’ organised by INTACH. He spoke to The Hindu about the work done so far. Excerpts from the interview:

From being a quiet and nondescript hamlet in Kerala, Pattanam has become an important place that connects the subcontinent to its past. How did it all start?

It was in the 1990s that information about people finding curious things in Pattanam started emerging. Pottery, bricks, and ornaments were reportedly found in the village. But it was only in 2006 that the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) stepped in and undertook a fullscale excavation of the place. I was leading the team then. The excavations continued for 10 years and we found archaeological evidence dating back to thousands of years. Over the years, the simple archaeological excavation has developed into an international collaborative project.

What were the most significant findings of the excavation?

The material evidence found at the site pointed to the transformation of an Iron Age settlement into a commercial port, whose reach went beyond the Indian Ocean. We found that Pattanam had connections with 40 other port sites stretching from south China to Gibraltar. Also, DNA studies on skeletal remains found at the site brought out the cosmopolitan composition of the people who lived there. Four remains belonged to people of south Asian origin, four to West Asia and three were of European origin. This has lot of contemporary relevance; it makes us question who we really are and where we originated from.

How much of the work at Pattanam has been done?

The archaeological mound in Pattanam extends to over 111 acres and there are 61 trenches. We have excavated less than 1% of the site. Pattanam is a treasure trove of antiquity and a lot of research needs to be done. Our next step would be studying contemporary site of Pattanam in Tamil Nadu.

How important has it been to involve the community in the project?

Community involvement is vital to ensure preservation of the site. We have started something called the green archaeology project where we are roping in the local community to take care of the site against the practice of evicting people. We are also trying to transform the site into garden of spices and medicinal plants, from which the locals can benefit. How did you establish the maritime connection between Pattanam and other continents? (optional, can be cut) We believe that Pattanam could have been or was part of the fabled port site Muziris. To establish the transoceanic connections, we conducted excavations in sites in Hepu in South China. We found ceramic items and gold ornaments which bore similarities to those found at Pattanam. In another site in Khor Rori in Amman, we again found material evidences in form of ceramic and frankincense, which were found in Pattanam as well. We also found Tamil Brahmi inscriptions at the site. This established the connect between the South-Arabian region and South India. Similar archaeological studies were conducted in Berenike in Egypt, where we found evidences of Indian communities living there. Well preserved Chera coins, pepper and teak wood were found at this site. There are enough evidences to show Indian presence in these places 15 centuries before Vasaco Da Gama’s expedition. Also, it shows how globalisation was at work even thousands of years ago.

- https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/less-than-1-of-pattanam-excavated/article25753933.ece, Dec 17, 2018

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Revamp ‘may ruin‘ Chandni Chowk’s historic fabric

The reflection of the moon in the tree-lined canal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s daughter Jahanara, is believed to have given its name. The evocative name could, however, puzzle future generations. The latest redevelopment of the area is obliterating all hints of the water body that ran the length of the busy market. In its path will be a wide central verge that will hold utility ducts, transformers, sub-stations, police stands, even toilet blocks. Not surprisingly, historians, conservationists and heritage lovers are up in arms and anxious about what this will do to Chandni Chowk’s historic fabric. On December 1, bulldozers and excavators moved in to implement the redesign of the esplanade. The plan is to pedestrianise the 1.5-km esplanade from and have wide walkways of either side of the central verge. A dismayed Navin Piplani, conservation architect and principal director of Intach , said, “The existing median is being destroyed to lay underground utility cables. Archival images of Chandni Chowk show a canal running past where the central verge currently lies. This is what Chandni Chowk is. It is a ceremonial path from Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid and should not be altered or destroyed.’’ Architect Pradeep Sachdeva, the man behind the redevelopment design, argued that space constraints necessitated the moving of utilities and toilets to the central verge. “We presented a number of alternatives to UTTIPEC. We need to prioritise today’s needs and so the idea is to maximise pedestrian areas. The transformers and toilet blocks would have blocked entries to shops and proved a nuisance to pedestrians.” UTTIPEC clears all projects related to transportation and transport engineering in the city. If it is any consolation to the historically inclined, Sachdeva said the redevelopment will pay a tribute to the long-gone canal through a symbolic pattern and landscaping. “By not allowing utilities on the footpath, the plan designers have been able to provide two rows of trees along the length of Chandni Chowk,” he added. Most heritage experts agree that this plan is “destroying” Chandni Chowk. “Why weren’t heritage conservationists and experts involved in planning the revamp?” asked historian Sohail Hashmi. “Inputs from experts were required, not bureaucrats and engineers sitting in a closed meeting.” Urban planner AGK Menon added, “The stream passing through Chandni Chowk cannot be recreated, but it is our job to preserve what is left of the legacy of Chandni Chowk.” Swapna Liddle, Delhi convenor of INTACH, said that redevelopment plans needed to balance today’s needs while preserving yesterday’s stories. “Though the canal ceased to exist after the 1857 uprising, it still is integral to the history of the stretch,” she reiterated. “Many would want to see the original footprints of Chandni Chowk.” And while Alka Lamba, MLA of Chandni Chowk and director of Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation, like Sachdeva, argued that the focus should be on what is more importance today, K T Ravindran, urban designer and former chairman of Delhi Urban Arts Commission, countered, “When you think of Chandni Chowk, you think of the visual linkage with Red Fort and that should not be altered. Transformers can be modernised into small boxes so they needn’t be visually unappealing. You have to respect the past and think of modern innovations to meet future needs.” The traders lining the avenue are themselves in two minds about the changes. Sanjay Bhargava, president of Chandni Chowk Sarvyapar Mandal, wondered at the prudence of having huge power transformers on the central verge. “The first redevelopment plan had earmarked a multi-utility zone for transformers and toilets on the northern carriageway. Such a zone has now been moved to the central verge,” Bhargava said. “But which shop owner will want transformers to be located in front of their shops? A report had proposed moving the transformers underground, but apparently Delhi government rejected it because it was too costly.”

- http://yomiblog.com/2018/12/17/revamp-may-ruin-chandni-chowks-historic-fabric/, Dec 17, 2018

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10 monuments adopted under 'Adopt A Heritage' project: Culture minister

Ten monuments have been adopted under the central government's 'Adopt A Heritage' project, the ministry of culture informed the Parliament on Monday. The project had come under scrutiny after the Red Fort was adopted by cement manufacturers Dalmia Group. Responding to a query in the Lok Sabha, culture minister Mahesh Sharma said the 'Adopt A Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan' scheme, launched in September, 2017, was a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), states and Union territories. He said it envisages development and maintenance of tourist amenities at heritage sites and makes them tourist-friendly, as well enhances the tourism potential and cultural importance in a planned and phased manner. "The project primarily focuses on providing basic amenities that include cleanliness, public conveniences, safe drinking water, ease of access for tourists, signages, illumination and Wi-Fi," the minister said. Sharma said the Archaeological Survey of India has identified 100 monuments as 'Adarsh Smarak' for upgradation of existing facilities like wi-fi, cafeteria, interpretation centre, brail signage and modern toilets on the basis of actual requirement and feasibility on a case-to-case basis. He said the 10 sites include - Red Fort (Delhi) and Gandikota Fort (Andhra Pradesh) adopted by Dalmia Bharat Limited; area surrounding Gangotri Temple, Trail to Gaumukh in Uttarakhand and Mt Stok Kangri Trek, Ladakh adopted by Adventure Tour Operators Association of India; Jantar Mantar, Delhi by Apeejay Park Hotels; Surajkund in Haryana by Bliss Resorts; and Qutub Minar, Delhi, Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra, Leh Palace, Leh, Jammu & Kashmir and Hampi (Hazara Rama Temple), Karnataka adopted by Yatra Online.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/10-monuments-adopted-under-adopt-a-heritage-project-culture-minister/articleshow/67132866.cms, Dec 17, 2018

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Intach had raised alarm

VADODARA: The Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural (Intach) had on Thursday raised the alarm on the irreparable damage caused to the main dome and the subsidiary dome of the iconic double dome structure of the heritage. “We had visited and examined the site on Thursday. The historic dome has been punctured at multiple locations which has and will cause irreversible damage to the internal brickwork and hence the life of the dome and the deterioration will commence from here on as these are now vulnerable points for water ingress/ seepage,” leading Sanjeev Joshi, who is convener of Intach Vadodara and co-convener of Intach’s Gujarat chapter, who had shot off a letter to , Vadodara circle and MSU, said. “Over the 136 years of this buildings’ life, various restoration works have been carried out in the past but this kind of negligent puncturing of the dome has never been done to support scaffolding. It is clear that the contractors have been extremely irresponsible and we are also shocked how ASI has allowed this,” Joshi’s letter to ASI’s superintending archaeologist said. “The central dome is a unique double dome structure and there is a gap and cavity between the outer dome and the inner dome and it is virtually impossible to access the inner surface of the outer dome from the inside to carry out fool-proof repairs. The repairs done now to plug these holes will only be superficial,” Joshi said. Requesting urgent intervention from ASI, Intach has sought advice from specific experts who can come and see the damage and how can it be made good permanently.

- http://flintweekly.com/2018/12/19/intach-had-raised-alarm/, Dec 19, 2018

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Deccan Sultanate monuments may get Unesco tag

Karnataka and Telangana have together nominated the forts and monuments of the Deccan Sultanate for a global heritage tag from Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). The monuments proposed include Vijayapura’s Gol Gumbaz, the Haft Gumbaz tombs of Kalaburagi district and the Bidar Royal Citadel. The Deccan Sultanates were five dynasties that ruled Bijapur, Golconda, Bidar, Ahmadnagar and Berar. The kingdoms became independent in the late 15th and early 16th century as the Bahmani Sultanate broke up. Although rivals, they came together to ally against the Vijayanagara empire in 1565. The kingdoms were taken over by the Mughals in the 17th century. Their architecture is predominantly Indo-Islamic, with influences from Persia and central Asia. Venkatesh T, commissioner of department of archaeology, museums and heritage, told TOI that in coordination with the Telangana government, the proposal has been prepared and sent to Archaeological Survey of India in New Delhi a few days ago. If approved, it will be sent to Unesco. Monuments and forts of the Deccan Sultanate capitals were included in the tentative list in 2014. A final nomination dossier is expected to be submitted before February 1, 2019. The Deccan Sultanate capitals characterise an ensemble of royal, religious, funerary monuments (tombs and mausoleums), defence structures commissioned for the royal citadel and urban quarters. They bear a testimony to the distinct cultural traditions of the sultanate kingdoms within the context of both Indian and Middle Eastern cultural traditions and their influence on art, music, languages and literature. Each of the components – Kalaburgi, Bidar, Vijayapura and Golconda – represents different origins and attributes of the architectural and cultural traditions of the Deccan Sultanate.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/deccan-sultanate-monuments-may-get-unesco-tag/articleshow/67169016.cms, Dec 19, 2018

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3rd century Buddha sculpture unearthed in Guntur

R: A Buddhist sculpture of Naga Muchulinda carved on a Palnadu limestone was found in Guntur city on Wednesday. Dr E Sivanagi Reddy, a Buddhist scholar and CEO, The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati visited the Agasthyeswara temple, in old Guntur and noticed the sculpture erected on a pedestal in the south-west corner of the temple. He was surprised to find the historical sculpture and studied its features. Dr Reddy said that the sculpture represented Naga Muchilinda, the mighty king of serpents, who protected the Buddha while in meditation under the Bodhi tree, four weeks after the enlightenment, from the prodigious rain with his hood. Dr Reddy said that it was heartening to see that devotees were engaged in worshipping the Buddha Padas (Buddha’s foot prints). He said it was very interesting that on one of the sides of the 3 rd century AD Buddhist sculpture was appropriated to engrave a 11th century AD Telugu inscription, which records donation of some land to the Agasthyeswara temple for its maintenance. Dr Reddy explained that similar sculptures of Naga Muchulinda belonging to the Theravada and Mahayana phase of Buddhism (1 st century BC to 3 rd century AD) were reported from Amaravati, Chandavaram, Ghantasala, Nagarjunakonda, Pedakallepalli and Goli, earlier. Dr Reddy appealed the officials of the temple and archaeology department to protect the sculpture and make it visible as it represents the last phase of Amaravati School of Art of the Ikshwaku period. Dr Reddy asserted that old Guntur served as a Buddhist site and contemporary to Nagarjunakonda, 1800 years ago.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vijayawada/3rd-century-buddha-sculpture-unearthed-in-guntur/articleshow/67162948.cms, Dec 20, 2018

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Motivating kids in Ambala to preserve heritage

INTACH has started 25 heritage clubs in schools

The Ambala chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is playing an important role in preserving heritage and culture by educating children about it. The chapter was established in 2000, and it has over 60 members today. It has started over 25 heritage clubs in various schools, and motivated youths to become heritage ambassadors. It has been conducting various activities such as heritage walks, quiz, painting competitions with heritage themes, skits and debates involving schoolchildren and has won awards at the national level. Nitika Bhatt, a Class IX student of PKR Jain Senior Secondary School, won the national award in the heritage painting contest "Route to Roots" this year. There were over 13,000 entries and Nitika was among the first top 15 winners from across the country. Lately, the CJM School team from Ambala won the Haryana state round at Chandigarh on November 26. It would now go for the national competition. Around 130 children from 17 schools participated in a heritage quiz conducted in Ambala on August 8. Col RD Singh (retd), convener of INTACH Ambala, says, “INTACH was established in 1984 while its Ambala chapter was started in 2000. It aims to preserve our rich national heritage and culture in all forms, and impart heritage education, and awareness. Today, INTACH has over 200 chapters across India and three overseas, with 9,000 voluntary members.” INTACH aims to conserve heritage based on the belief that living in harmony with heritage enhances quality of life. It sensitises people and instills a sense of social responsibility towards preserving heritage. Col RD Singh says, “Ambala is rich in heritage and is doing very well. There are several important sites in Ambala, including St Paul's Church built in the decorated Gothic style in 1855. It was indiscriminately bombed during the 1965 war with Pakistan and being a magnificent symbol of the past needs to be restored. There is the British Cemetery where heroes of the Anglo Boer war of 1899-1902, and also some Dutch prisoners of war were buried. This cemetery is of historical and emotional value, and needs to be maintained.” “Similarly, one Kos Minar, milestones on the Mughal Highway, still stands in the cloth market, Ambala City, and requires to be preserved. There is also the Handesra water works that was based on the duct system and supplied water to Ambala from 1870 to 80 and thereafter. Shallow wells, a steam engine chimney, and underground ‘pucca’ wells can still be seen, though in ruins. If this heritage marvel is restored, it can be a big tourist attraction,” he adds.

- https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/weekly-pullouts/haryana-tribune/motivating-kids-in-ambala-to-preserve-heritage/702112.html, Dec 21-24, 2018

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Rock art emerges again,this time in Sindhudurg

After the historic discovery of ancient rock art in the Ratnagiri and Rajapur areas just three years ago, the state Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has now indicated that there is strong evidence in Sindhudurg district as well of more petroglyphs to be found in the region. Officials also said that these could be an extension of the finds made in 2015. Petroglyphs, or drawings carved out on rocks, are a form of art from the prehistoric era. Pune Mirror had reported the momentous finding of two individuals on May 20, 2015, in a report titled ‘History, on the rocks’ Tejas Garge, the state head of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, spoke to Mirror about the latest development, saying, “Sindhudurg is adjacent to Ratnagiri district, and it is no surprise that such a form of art may have extended over neighbouring parts. Pictures of these rocks have been received by the department from farmers and locals in the region.” He added that the images were from at least six different spots, and are similar to those found in Ratnagiri, further dating back to around the same time — 10,000 BC to 2,000 BC — making them a whopping 8,000 years old. “A team will be sent next week to verify all the spots and put them on the record. So far, these petroglyphs have only been found by amateurs. This will be the first time the department is taking systematic steps and a scientific approach towards these new findings,” added Garge. In the 1990s, petroglyphs were found in Goa, and later came into the limelight once again in 2003, when a discovery was made by the Deccan College of Archaeology, Pune. Garge further informed that a proposal has been sent to the state government about documented petroglyphs in Ratnagiri and Rajapur. “The state needs to recognise and label these as ‘state-protected monuments’ in order for them to be conserved by the archaeological department,” he said, adding that once the government bestows heritage status on these petroglyphs, proposals could also be made to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to bag them world heritage status, which would in turn help attract international tourists. In this vein, a workshop is to be held starting from December 23, wherein 11 scholars and around 250 participants will work together for a week to understand the protection, conservation and ways to promote these petroglyphs from the perspective of global tourism. Confirming reports, assistant director of state archaeology, Ratnagiri, BV Kulkarni, said, “Land records are being called for the petroglyphs at Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg. Twelve instances have been found at Sindhudurg so far, and experts invited to verify the time period of their origin.” Experts also shared that identifying the period for these petroglyphs is a challenge. “Looking at the drawings, it is clear that society then was not ‘civilised’, as animals were not tamed. So, they definitely date back to before the Harappa time,” said Sachin Joshi, a researcher at the Deccan College of Archaeology here. He added that the challenge is mainly due to there being no evidence of the tools or materials used to carve these drawings. “The stone on which they are cannot inform us about the era, and there are no strong means to decipher the period these were worked upon,” he said, mulling that the petroglyphs could belong to the Neolithic Age, which falls after the Stone Age and before human ‘civilisation’ began.

- https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/rock-art-emerges-againthis-time-in-sindhudurg/articleshow/67221311.cms, Dec 21-24, 2018

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Rs 376 crore lifeline for Delhi waterbodies

Delhi Jal Board has approved a budget of Rs 376 crore for the revival of 159 waterbodies across the capital and the creation of two lakes near sewage-treatment plants at an additional cost of Rs 77 crore. Delhi government has stated that these facilities would not only act as reserves to be utilised in times of extreme water scarcity, but also help recharge the fast-depleting groundwater levels. A recent NITI Ayog report had warned that based on current levels of exploitation, Delhi’s groundwater reserves would be completely exhausted by 2020. A senior Delhi government official said: “The creation of two mega lakes at Nilothi and Rohini STPs will cost the exchequer Rs 77 crore. The total number of lakes to be created in Delhi has now gone up to five. The creation of lakes near Dwarka and Najafgarh STPs has already cleared and a similar lake at Timarpur is likely to be approved.” The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), IIT-Delhi and WAPCOS have been roped in as consultants for this mega revival project. “These 161 lakes, both revived and artificially created, will have a cumulative area of over 350 acres with a water potential of 1,581 million litres or 135 million gallons. The waterbodies will be designed scientifically to recharge groundwater to the maximum extent possible,” the official added. DJB is looking at three modes to revive the lakes — redesigning of slopes and nearby drainage areas for natural revival by rainfall; bringing in treated sewage water from STPs; and pumping of excess water from upstream Yamuna towards outer Delhi. “Once the project is completed, the excess water from the ground will be taken out to augment Delhi’s water supply,” the official said. Considering the city’s poor record, the ambitious project of rejuvenating 200 waterbodies as announced by the CM in July, still seems an uphill task. Experts said there were 607 active large waterbodies in 1991, but now there are only 480 left, with more either drying out or getting encroached upon every year. Of the 480 waterbodies, most are located in west Delhi, while the rest are spread out in parts of south, southwest and north. The Central Ground Water Board, in its latest submission, highlighted that around 15% of the capital has groundwater 40 metres below ground level. Intach’s Manu Bhatnagar, who successfully worked on reviving the Hauz Khas Lake, said Delhi required proper planning and utilisation of STPs to revive waterbodies and maintain them. The 15-acre lake, which had gone dry in the 1960s, was revived by INTACH using highlytreated sewage water from Vasant Kunj STP. The revival led to return of aquatic birds and significant groundwater recharge. Other lakes have not been as lucky. Bhalswa Lake — an oxbow lake on the Yamuna floodplain — is Delhi’s largest surviving one. While an arm of it became a part of the Bhalswa landfill, it continues to see inflow of sewage and waste from the nearby colony. It also becomes near-dry during summer.

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/rs-376cr-lifeline-for-delhi-waterbodies/articleshow/67237233.cms, Dec 26, 2018

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Did you know Ahmedabad has the only plaque dedicated to a sparrow? See viral post

Revealing deep love for nature and all living beings, a unique plaque dedicated to a sparrow in Dhal Ni Pol, Astodiya, Ahmedabad has gone viral on the internet. Shared by a Twitter user named Sumit Khanna on the social media platform on December 23, the picture reveals the plaque engraved with messages written for a sparrow that was killed on March 2, 1974 during the 'Roti Ramkhan (Navnirman Movement) in a reckless police firing in Gujarat at 5:25pm. Along with the post, he wrote, "Ahmedabad is probably the only one in the world where there's a plaque remembering a sparrow." What's heart touching about the post remains the minute details about the little sparrow's death like time and cause that are mentioned on the cemented tomb. The Twitter post that has gone viral, has garnered heart-warming responses from people, exposing a completely different side of human sensitivity. While the upper part of the structure contains messages engraved both in English and Gujarati, the lower part of the structure features a tiny sculpture of a sparrow, surrounded by leaves like that of a wreath.

- https://www.indiatoday.in/trending-news/story/did-you-know-ahmedabad-has-the-only-plaque-dedicated-to-a-sparrow-see-viral-post-1416466-2018-12-24, Dec 26, 2018

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11th-century Chalukya era sculptures found in Gadag district

Sculptures and inscriptions dating back to 11th century have been unearthed at a heritage site in Lakkundi of Gadag district. Jain sculptures belonging to Kalyani Chalukya-era were found when workers were digging earth to lay the foundation for a toilet on Sunday evening. Lakkundi, the historic village located 12 km from Gadag, is known for heritage structures and step wells, also known as kalyanis. The area where the sculptures and inscriptions are found is located near Naganath temple. The findings include sculptures of Yaksha and Saraswati, Tirthankaras idols, three unclear inscriptions and many broken sculptures. Somanayak Bilekudari, who has been constructing a house near Naganath temple for the last three months, said his labourers told him about finding a stone, which looked like a part of temple. ‘Then we slowly cleared the mud and found sculptures one after another. We informed the officials and more number of idols were discovered after that,” he said. “We found sculptures at a depth of six-feet and immediately informed the Archaeological Department. We are from Lakkundi. Hence, we know the value of each and every sculpture. Many sculptures and inscriptions are hidden beneath Lakkundi,” he added. After hearing the news about finding old sculptures, several people from surrounding villages and Gadag city started thronging the spot. Assistant Archaeologist Prasannakumar from Dharwad Archaeology Survey of India and B Pramod of Gadag Archaeological Department visited Lakkundi and examined sculptures and took them into their custody. Speaking to TNIE, Pramod Bingi, senior conservation assistant director of Archaeology Department, said, “We got more than 50 broken sculptures and three inscriptions. Most of them belong to Jainism and they may be belonged to Kalyani Chalukya reign. We are examining all in detail and it will take about a week to examine them by history experts.” The history lovers from Gadag are demanding a systematic excavation in Lakkundi. “Earlier the place had layers of fort, which are now missing. A road has come up in between the heritage structures, causing threat to the monuments, which are thousands of year old,” said a social worker from Gadag.

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2018/dec/26/11th-century-chalukya-era-sculptures-found-in-gadag-district-1916474.html, Dec 26, 2018

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INTACH deliberates on heritage practices

The Heritage and Communication Services (HECS) division of Indian National Trust of Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Delhi conducted a joint workshop for the INTACH district convenors of A P and Telangana states with the active cooperation of the state convenor, M Gopalakrishna, co-convenors Sushakumari AP and Anuradha Reddy Telangana at Hyderabad recently. The workshop conducted by Purnima Dutt of HECS Delhi and her team of Shivaa Rawat and Teresa Pallavi covered important aspects of protection, preservation, conservation and development of heritage. The need for proper upkeep of heritage sites and prevention of encroachments was stressed. Heritage sites and heritage walks could attract a large number of tourists. With good protection and upkeep, many heritage sites in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states could qualify to become World Heritage sites. The role of government, society, corporates and citizens in safeguarding heritage was stressed. The participants decided to instill in young students and citizens, love for natural heritage, built heritage as well as tangible and intangible heritage. Setting up of heritage clubs in school and colleges and organising heritage exhibitions was flagged; heritage, art and culture should become part of the school curriculum for students. The Superintending Archeologist of Hyderabad Circe of ASI, Dr Milan Kumar Chauley, explained the problems encountered and need for securing the cooperation of the public and the support of the State government. Shankar Narayan, an architect talked on the problems relating to the protection of heritage sites in urban areas where there is pressure on land. He stressed the need to resolve conflicting requirements of Heritage Protection and Urban Development with better design, use of 3D images.

- https://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Telangana/2018-12-28/INTACH-deliberates-on-heritage-practices/465821, Dec 27, 2018

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Art and culture

Odisha’s art, culture and heritage scene saw many highs this year barring the Sun temple controversies. Diana Sahu lists major happenings in the field

Heritage Cabinet for language

State Government constituted a Heritage Cabinet to preserve Odia language and culture. The Cabinet with eight members is headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and will work towards preservation and promotion of Odia language, culture and literature.

Foundation stone laid for Odia University

The Chief Minister laid foundation stone for Odia University at Satyabadi in Puri district, the same place where Bakula Bana Vidyalaya was set up by ‘Panchasakha’ in 1909. It will offer higher studies and promote research in Odia language and literature.

Pension for artistes

The State Government launched Mukhya Mantri Kalakar Sahayata Yojana (MMKSY) to provide monthly assistance of Rs 1,200 to 46,000 artistes. Earlier, only 4,000 artistes used to get the assistance. The aim is to lend a helping hand to all artistes who are promoting art and culture of the State despite all odds.

New museums inaugurated

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the archaeological museum in Lalitgiri that houses ancient Buddhist relics excavated from the site by Archaeological Survey of India. The Capital city of Bhubaneswar also got two new museums - Kala Bhoomi and the Waste-to-Art Museum.

Tribal language dictionaries

In a first of its kind initiative, the Academy of Tribal Language and Culture published 21 bilingual tribal dictionaries to preserve and promote Odisha’s ethnic languages. These dictionaries will be used in multi-lingual education at the elementary level in tribal-dominated districts of the State. Top awards for Odia litterateurs Four authors were selected for Sahitya Akademi awards. While educationist Dasarathi Das will receive Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, Gaganendra Nath Das has been selected for Sahitya Akademi Bhasa Samman 2018. Haladhar Nag and Dr Prafulla Tripathy will receive Koshali Sambalpuri Bhasa Samman 2018.

Similarly, eminent poet Ramakanta Rath was conferred the State’s highest literary award Atibadi Jagannath Das Samman for 2018. Noted writer Chandra Sekhar Rath, freedom fighter Bhabani Charan Pattnaik, Kotpad weaver Gobardhana Panika, sculptor Pravakar Maharana and noted film director Sisir Mishra received the Padma Awards.

Paika Rebellion commemoration

The Prime Minister released a coin and postage stamp to commemorate Paika Rebellion. The Union Government also agreed to the State’s proposal for setting up a Chair on Paika Rebellion in Utkal University at a cost of Rs 5 crore.

New look for heritage structures

After years of negligence, the Government decided to restore the dilapidated house of doyen of Assamese literature Lakhminath Bezbaroa in Sambalpur. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has been roped in for the restoration work. A musical fountain project was inaugurated at Bindu Sagar pond and a special illumination project implemented in Ananta Basudev temple in Old Town.

Kalinga Studio opens its gates

Shooting of a film started in Kalinga Studio which had remained closed for many years. Film makers Dilip Panda and Ramesh Rout shot some scenes of their movies in the studio this year. The Government has decided to develop the studio on the lines of RK Studio and Gemini Studios.

Sun temple fiasco at Konark

Tourism Ministry’s ‘Adopt a Monument’ scheme received flak after Sun Temple at Konark was put up for adoption by a private company. Replacement of sculpture panels from the temple in the name of preservation by ASI was also protested by many.

- http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2018/dec/29/art-and-culture-1918023.html, Dec 28, 2018

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Terracotta tales: Ancient idols wash up at Pamba river basin in Kerala post floods

When a few fishers from Kerala decided to visit the Pamba basin in Aranmula last month, little did they expect to stumble upon a piece of history hitherto unknown to the world. As they rowed toward the part of the river bank that had sunken-in during the floods, they came across ancient terracotta artefacts stuck between roots of trees that were uprooted. Excited to discover a secret buried in the river bed for so long, the fishermen immediately contacted the archaeological department to further excavate the area. A month post this incident, the Kerala Department of Archeology has now begun a rescue excavation to uncover more hidden terracotta treasures. “We knew there was something here and it wasn’t a hoax as we had discovered terracotta figurines from this region earlier also,” Krishnaraj K, professor of the archaeology department told TNM. The work, currently in progress at the Kozhipalam region in Aranmula, has led to several more terracotta idols being recovered from the trenches. Krishnaraj, who is also part of the excavation team, said that the first samples of idols that were found by the fishermen were stuck inside the roots of trees that had been uprooted by a flood induced landslip in the region. Upon further excavation, the team recovered more clay idols, most of them having similar patterns. “Mostly, the idols had seven faces. A group of seven women sitting close together was a prominent kind of figurine. We also found male figurines and Naga (serpent) figurines. The idols look like they belonged to a place of worship — like a sacred grove for the naga gods (pambin kavu). The concept of Sapta Kanya (seven virgins) or Sapta Matrika (a group of mother goddesses) is a common theme in the idols. Votive sculptures or shilpams used for idol sacrifice was also excavated from the region,” he said. However, the archaeology team is not sure if this can be termed as remnants of the Pamba valley civilisation. “Saying that is a bit much. A civilisation stands as a huge era in history, consisting of many generations of people and their progress. Here we are talking about small tribes living close to the river. The idols found are mostly used for worship,” Krishnaraj added. A few of the figurines have been currently preserved at the Vasthu Vidya Gurukulam, a local institute in the area which teaches vastu, architecture, culture etc. Another small sample of the idols is with the Directorate of Archaeology as they were taken for initial inspection. The excavating team has also kept all the idols they found and unearthed from the basin. “We are going to send them for Thermoluminescence dating, a process used to determine the exact age of the figurines by identifying the time elapsed since the material was exposed to sunlight or heat. We will be sending the samples to Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in Dehradun,” he said. The team along with local conservationists group Aranmula Pamba Paithrika Samrakshana Samithi have decided to build a museum in the region to preserve the findings from the river basin.

- https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/terracotta-tales-ancient-idols-wash-pamba-river-basin-kerala-post-floods-94124, Dec 28, 2018

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Kacheguda railway station completes 102 years of service

Kacheguda Railway Station is one of the major terminals in the twin cities. It was built in 1916 as the headquarters of the Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railways. It has completed over 100 years of service and has reinvented itself to give the best experience to thousands of rail users everyday. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) awarded the station, and it has earned a new grace last one year with a complete makeover of its precincts which showcase a fine art comprising Cheriyal, keeping alive the tradition and culture of Telangana for passengers who come from all over the country to experience. The South Central Railway (SCR) has taken up several initiatives to develop Kacheguda Railway Station in terms of passenger amenities, facilities, green initiatives etc., particularly in the last 4 years. Kacheguda Railway Station is identified as the first-of-its-kind Railway Station of Indian Railways to introduce DigiPay for Rail customers. Point of Sale (PoS) Machines have been put up at different cash transaction points, including at ticket counters, parcel office, cloak room, food court, parking stand, retiring rooms, pre-paid AC Waiting Hall, tea stalls, fruit and juice centers, catering units, book stall and dairy parlor. Lifts and escalators on all platforms, complete cover-over sheds, renovated retiring rooms at affordable price, electronic train information and reservation chart display system, coach guidance boards, POET, ATVMs, CTVMS, Navras app, rail station info app, lounge for short duration stay are some of the amenities provided at the station. Application-based cab facility (Call/Radio Taxi), prepaid auto booth, mobile movie theatre, rail museum, exhibiting the heritage old railway equipments, also enthuse visitors at the station.

- https://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Telangana/2018-12-31/Kacheguda-railway-station-completes-102-years-of-service/467156, Dec 31, 2018

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Mumbai’s pride Flora Fountain set to spout back to life in a week

Flora Fountain is synonymous with Fort. In fact, when restoration work began on the fountain in 2017, a special scaffolding was constructed with a photograph of the fountain printed on it so that tourists wouldn’t lose their bearings as they navigated the city’s heritage precinct. Thus, it’s ironic that this iconic Fort landmark – inaugurated on 18th November 1869 – was originally intended for Byculla. It only ended up in Fort because the Agri-Horticultural Society, which commissioned the fountain for Byculla’s Victoria Gardens (Rani Bagh), suffered a cash crunch even as the cost of the fountain soared from 2,700 to 9,000 pounds sterling. They approached the Esplanade Fee Fund Committee to pay off the pending amount and erect the fountain on its present site, writes James Maclean in his ‘Guide to Bombay’. A plaque on the fountain also credits Seth Cursetjee Furdoonji Parekh with donating Rs 20,000 towards the construction of the fountain. The scaffolding is finally off and in a week’s time, this three-tiered fountain will sputter to life. “The BMC is putting a lot of emphasis on heritage restoration,” says ADMC Idzes Kundan. “And Flora Fountain is the pride of Mumbai.” The second phase, which includes the construction of a plaza, dotted with heritage lampposts and paved with basalt stones crisscrossed by tram tracks unearthed during construction, will continue into 2019. The entire project, which was commissioned in 2008, cost Rs 3.5 crore. “One of the toughest parts of the restoration process was figuring out how the fountain’s water system functioned,” says conservation architect Vikas Dilawari. Investigations revealed that the fountain has a central shaft from which four pipes radiate outwards. The water is then carried to the topmost fish-shaped spouts through the fountain’s Portland stone pillars. From the fish spouts, the water flows into clam shells and then into an ornate tray from which it spurts out of lion heads and into the lowest tray before overflowing into the marble trough. “There are 64 spouts in all,” says Dilawari, adding that the fountain is designed with “eyebrows” to protect the carvings from the constant flow of water. Subrata Sen, a senior conservator from INTACH, says his team took 15 months to remove the 25 layers of paint covering the original Portland stone. They used steam to clean the statues and brought in specialized sculptors to reconstruct Flora’s broken nose. It has an abundance of floral motifs crowned by a statue of the Roman Goddess of Abundance (Flora)

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/mumbais-pride-flora-fountain-set-to-spout-back-to-life-in-a-week/articleshow/67305631.cms, Dec 31, 2018

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ASI declared 6 monuments of national importance in 2018

The 125-year-old Old High Court Building in Nagpur, Maharashtra, and two Mughal-era monuments in Agra — Haveli of Agha Khan and Hathi Khana — are among the six monuments declared protected and of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 2018.

Heritage sites

The ancient Neemrana Baori in Rajasthan's Alwar district; the Group of Temples at Ranipur Jharail in Odisha's Bolangir district; and the Vishnu Temple in Kotali, Pithoragarh district, Uttarkhand, are the three other monuments that have been listed. In 2016 and 2017, no new monument was included in the list of sites of national importance. The last monument to be included in the list, in 2015, was the Vishnu Temple in Nadavayal in Kerala's Wayanad district. The list was presented in the Lok Sabha on December 24, 2018, by the Ministry of Culture in response to a question by the Shiv Sena MP from Ramtek, Krupal Balaji Tumane. Replying to the question, the Ministry said that the ASI takes up a survey for documenting/reporting ancient monuments/sites through exploration, and that a village-to-village survey and conservation of monuments is a continuous process. According to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, an “Ancient Monument means any structure, erection or monument, or any tumulus or place of interment, or any cave, rock-sculpture, inscription or monolith which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been in existence for not less than 100 years." There were 3,686 centrally protected monuments/sites under the ASI in the country; the number has now increased to 3,693. Uttar Pradesh (745 monuments/sites), Karnataka (506) and Tamil Nadu (413) have the highest number of ASI-maintained sites. According to information available with the Ministry of Culture, 321 of these sites have been encroached upon.

- https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/asi-declared-6-monuments-of-national-importance-in-2018/article25874815.ece, Dec 31, 2018

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Over 3,000-year-old dagger, bangles found in Gorewada

In a first-of-its-kind project in the Indian sub-continent, Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) in a tie-up with Pune’s Deccan College of Postgraduate & Research Institute, has taken up in situ conservation and protection of Megalithic burial site inside Gorewada Reserve Forest on the outskirts of the city. A part of the Gorewada International Zoo, excavation of two burial sites near AAM Nullah in the tourism safari route has unearthed numerous artefacts and objects depicting Megalithic traditions attached to burials 3,000 years ago in this Peninsular part of India. “Vidarbha is one of the important regions where one finds this type of stone circles site. The artefacts, some of them found for the first time, show cult of dead (ancestral worship). These objects used to be buried with the dead with a strong belief that there is life after death,” says Dr Kantikumar Pawar, project in-charge, Gorewada Archaeological Theme Park (ATP). ATP is a Rs8.5 crore project. A part of the excavated material from burial sites will be displayed in the theme park. FDCM managing director Dr N Rambabu said, “FDCM signed an MoU with Deccan College for archaeological theme park in June 2018. The actual excavation started on November 3. Apart from tourism, the burial site will help understand relations between different rural communities situated in cluster such Megalithic sites excavated in the 70s in Junapani, Mahurzari, Vyhad, Dhamna Linga, Hirapur, Khopdi and Naikund near Nagpur and Chandrapur.” Gorewada divisional manager Nandkishore Kale informed that both the burials will be conserved for tourism purpose and these will be covered with huge glass tombs and pathways for tourists. “This is the first kind of attempt in the Indian sub-continent. Such projects need to be taken up in other forest areas to tell visitors about our rich cultural heritage,” he said. TOI visited the site on Saturday and found at least 13 students and trained labourers involved in unearthing artefacts. Half of the first burial contained black cotton soil, which is an unusual feature in Megalithic culture used for covering the dead bodies. The other half had rubbles and cobbles. In another burial, two big oblong pits were found in which two pits contained human skeleton remains. “After excavation, ceramics and metal objects were recovered. One of them is an iron dagger with copper handle with repeating technology and may be of the chieftain of the community. Such an object has so far not been recovered anywhere at such sites. In Mahurzari, a simple dagger was recovered,” says Pawar, who is also professor of archaeology with Deccan College. Pawar said discovery of copper bangles at second site shows it must be a woman’s burial. It also indicates two bodies of some important people among the community were buried here. Recommended By Colombia Condition of the objects show that the people were rich in metal technology. In 2014, scientific work carried out by a Korean professor Jang-Sik Park and Deccan College University vice-chancellor Vasant Shinde shows these people were best iron and steel producers in Indian sub-continent “These objects will be analysed using various scientific methods like residue and geo-morphological analysis and dating will be undertaken to find exact age of this burial. Deccan College is also excavating their habitation sites located towards extreme north of Gorewada,” says Pawar. This means that our people in our beloved India three thousand years ago knew how to make iron and steel because iron daggers with copper handles were found. Government of India should market such “We have found evidences of floor, chulhas along with utilization pots. Some of the terracotta beads are important findings during excavation. Now, these findings will be helpful to know relation between burial objects and habitation data,” said Pawar. Even Ismail Kellellu, authority on Megaliths and retired HoD of ancient Indian history, culture, and archaeology, Nagpur University, said, “The work carried out at Gorewada is unique as it is difficult to excavate object in black cotton soil. It is a 3,000-year-old burial site from early iron age period constructed by community efforts. These people lived in small huts but gave honourable burial to their kin believing life after death. So, these objects were as a symbol of implements of future life journey of the dead.”

- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/over-3000-year-old-dagger-bangles-found-in-gorewada/articleshow/67315259.cms, Dec 31, 2018

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