The Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture (Government of India) has been working in conjunction since 2002 to promote tourism among foreigners and put India on the world map of tourism. Apparently, the number of tourists has sharply increased since then (8.02 million tourists visited India in 2015). But the sorry state of the monuments in the country is still alien or an ignorant concept to most of us.
Monuments are part of the ancient heritage of India which brings the stories, history, tradition, culture, the art of the bygone era to the forefront. The architecture of monuments is unmatched and represents the political, cultural, historical significance. Various surveys have revealed that foreigners have monuments and old temples in their ‘must-visit’ list when they arrive here with Taj Mahal topping their list!
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) under the Ministry of Culture maintains and regulates the monuments, heritage and archaeological sites of national importance as per the AMASR Act 1958. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also taken a giant leap towards this. Companies like ONGC, NTPC, TATA group, GAIL have been assisting ASI with grants for the restoration and reservation works. ASI placed 50 monuments in the list of monuments to be protected. Taj Mahal (Agra), Humayun’s Tomb (New Delhi), Lord Jagannath Temple (Puri, Orissa) and few others are in the ambit of the 50 monuments to be restored. Coca-Cola (India) also helped in the restoration of The Sarai Bawari and Kale Hanuman Ki Bawari (Rajasthan) and creating awareness among the local community. Not to forget, we have a bewildering number of monuments in India (3650 monuments in 2010) divided among 24 circles across the country. Numerous monuments have been encroached upon and need urgent attention.
The industries should not be set up within the perimeter of these heritage sites. The air (stacks) and water pollution (effluents) pose a threat to the foundation, stones of such structures as observed in the case of Taj Maha. Another common problem observed in India is spitting and inscribing names/messages on these masterpieces.
- We must not forget that the visitors from other countries are not just adding to our economy (tourism generated 6.3% of nation’s GDP in 2015) but are appreciating the beauty of the country’s past.
- Monuments are also a source of employment for many people residing in their vicinity (8.7% of total employment in 2015).
- More and more companies can take up the restoration and preservation works of these sites as part of their CSR.
- Apart from chemical and structural restoration, thought must be placed to protect them from natural hazards (earthquake, tsunami, floods etc.)
As humans, we always play the blame game!!
Let’s Keep India Beautiful and preserve the monuments unitedly!
About the Author :
Neha Agarwal is pursuing her Internship from Keep India Beautiful. She has done her MS in Environmental & Water Resources Engineering from IIT Madras and B.Tech in Biotechnology from HIT (W.B.). She is passionate about environment. She loves reading, and getting involved in arts and craft activities in her leisure time.