ADOPT A HERITAGE SCHEME:
- Private businesses, corporations, and governmental bodies may reach agreements about the adoption and upkeep of state-owned historical sites or monuments. Companies that enter into these contracts are referred to be Monument Mitras.
The impending dangers:
- This project, which was launched in February 2023, aims to accept 500 protected sites by August 15 and another 500 sites right away. This number shows the tenfold rise in the number of locations covered in the contentious 2017 “Adopt a Heritage” campaign. The priceless pluralistic heritage of the country is at danger if the “revamped” plan is not abandoned.
- Businesses may utilise their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to build and maintain ticket booths, restaurants, museums, interpretive centres, restrooms, and walkways at specific locations under the recently amended “Adopt a Heritage” initiative. They may plan cultural events, excursions, maintain the equipment for light and sound displays, and illuminate important sites.
Corporate appropriation issues regarding national treasure:
- When businesses are given the option of constructing museums and interpretation centres and producing their own content instead of hiring educated professionals, the majestic monuments of India are put in danger.
- By abandoning the Sarnath Initiative, a set of rules developed by the ASI, the Getty Trust, the United States, the British Museum, and National Culture Fund to safeguard excavated objects and present them to visitors in an engaging way, the current strategy also disregards the mandate of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is another oversight in the strategy.
- The stupas at Sanchi, the Brihadeshwar temple in Thanjavur, and Akbar’s imperial capital at Fatehpur Sikri are a few of the monuments chosen for the initiative that have current tourism infrastructure.
- Another factor that worsens the condition of the neighbourhoods close to iconic landmarks is the “Adopt a Heritage” program’s offer for businesses to take prime public property and establish their own brands.
- Many of the monuments chosen for the “Adopt a Heritage” initiative are protected by the central organisation since they are on ASI lists. Protecting them is the responsibility of the other programme participants’ archaeology directorate. Many of the monuments chosen for the programme are neither located in states with archaeological directors nor protected by the ASI. Under the Union Ministry of Culture, businesses that adopt these monuments may be able to change their historical significance.
- The plan will harm nearby neighbourhoods and their ties to important historical sites. Large corporations that have been granted authority to adopt a monument may send employees there to lead tours that jeopardise the lives of those who originally resided there.
What will happen to a monument if Monument Mitras does not approve it in the allocated time?
- According to media reports, the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government has apparently started donating these monuments to the tourism division so they can be turned into hotels. The Nawabs of Awadh’s homes and the fort with a view of Barwasagar Lake, Chunar, are among them. Historical preservation is still placed below hasty economic and tourism interests in the strategy.
The conservation of corporate legacy in India is in the future:
- Companies can explain the importance of monuments to the general population. This can be accomplished by using CSR monies to fund grants for the development of innovative and successful historical teaching strategies as well as for the research, creation, and dissemination of top-notch textbooks.
- Traders and store owners can donate money to school libraries to purchase historical documents, such as books, maps, and old photographs, that are pertinent to the monuments in the area and will help students understand the worth of monuments.
- Businesses could choose to follow in the footsteps of Sudha and N.R. Narayana Murthy and make donations to institutions like the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune to assist its ongoing efforts to write history by rationally tying the literary record and the archaeological facts.
- Some schools’ arts and social science departments have stopped hiring since the COVID-19 pandemic started. These departments are being combined at other universities. By establishing fellowships, endowing professorships, and supporting research training programmes, corporations can revitalise them.
- By offering people a peek inside, industrial buildings can significantly aid in the preservation of historic structures. Their CSR funds can be used to buy new machinery that emits fewer toxic gases, which corrode and discolour marble structures, as well as fewer effluents into rivers, which reduces the likelihood that these waterways will serve as a breeding ground for microbes that accumulate on the walls of old buildings built on riverbanks and result in their decay.
- The time is now for businesses to assist interdisciplinary teams working at the Centre for Advancement of Traditional Building Technology and Skills and the Development and Research Organisation for Nature, Arts, and Heritage (DRONAH) Foundation to safeguard historical sites from impending dangers like climate change.
- India’s advancement in a number of areas is currently being acknowledged at G-20 meetings all throughout the country. Companies, governmental organisations, and civil society organisations may highlight India’s real accomplishments in this field by putting new historical preservation strategies into practise. Maybe the outcomes of their work may motivate more people to contribute to the urgent mission of preserving India’s illustrious heritage.