Who should be blamed? Government or we who helped in forming the Govt?

Saturday, July 03, 2010 4 Comments

Recent news on the collapse of 500 years ancient, temple tower at Kalahasthi in Andhra and the cracks in Srirangam temple tower has been bothering me. What are we doing to protect these structures?



Sri Kalahasthi temple - before and after           

I don't understand, how such things can happen, after crores of revenue is being spent on renovation. Is renovation being done properly, or is it just giving a fresh coat of paint and cleaning the cobwebs on the tower?
“It is not right to blame the government. We are taking all measures to protect the structure,” said the endowment minister. A heritage building collapses and the member of the parliament says, the government should not be blamed. Then who will take the responsibility?

Are we really preserving Heritage buildings and monuments?

India is one among few countries, who has a glorious past. We Indians are always proud of our past, more than the present or future. Every one I know, always love to start a conversation, "on those days". But, do we care at all for "those days"?

Prof. A. L. Basham, in his "The wonder that was India", talks about the grandeur, glory and wonder that was India. It talks about our religion, culture, scripts. I wondered, when I first opened that book during 1993, why "was"? Since it talked about past, there was the "was", now I know all the glory and the remains of that glory is soon going to become ruins and turn out to be "was".

Any building for that matter, that almost close to a century old, should be preserved. But, we witness, one day it was there, the next razed out.  The 150 year old Chennai central jail, Kalaivanar arangam vanished over night.

I studied in a college called Queen Mary's (QMC), one of the oldest college for women.  A vast college, 110 years old building, facing the beach.  Though the college had 4 different wings,  My department functioned from the main wing.  My class room was in the front structure facing the entrance and the Bay.  Everyday, before entering the class, I used to stand at the balcony and look at the calm and silver, grey and turbulent, blue and bouncing sea at the morning and during the evening and anytime in between, whenever I had a break.

QMC Before



I remember the Bats, reigning my classroom and entertaining us. I used to wonder look at them in awe, at the way they sleep hanging upside down. I used to look at them with jealousy, at the way they sleep peacefully, when my professor goes on and on about the "The history of England". If only, "I am a bat", my mind will switch off to those dreary lectures and goes day dreaming, until of course, caught red handed and asked a question, while I stood, my heads lowered not knowing the answer. 

But the building is gone now, a new structure is in place now.  I caught this picture, while I was traveling by my office bus, my heart silently let out a cry. Missing the old bricks and paint, yellowed with age.  Should have protected it. While 10 years back, when they tried to demolish the building, thousands of us protested against this including the current government and the building was saved. But, the same Government today, replaced the building and we are silent.

Admiralty house, a colonial building, is being razed off.

The press does their duty, by bringing this to our notice. But we are too busy with our lives, and we feel it is not our responsibility to take a look at our surroundings, the society we live in and the good and bad things happening around us.

I am happy about the new sprawling structures, that decorate our city, but let us not allow to demolish the old structures to build new one.

Let us take an oath and save the buildings and monuments from the past.


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4 Candles:

Unknown said...

i agree with you wholeheartedly. the entire architectural scene and culture of chennai has gone for a big toss. and the government either says they are doing their best or that they dont have enough money. A short trip to Pondy would show them how well they maintain their heritage buildings...but our people would rather visit pondy for visiting the liquor shops than these..mera bharat mahan

Viji said...

It's sad Manoj.. Something should be done. I am here writing about it and replying your comment. What did i do? I should be filing a case against these things, but I try to escape saying that I don't have the time... I do have time, but not the heart to fight. I am to be blamed and everyone of us who are not fighting such issues are to be blamed too.

Opaque said...

Modernization is done at the expense of ancestral benchmarks, which is why I have always appreciated London.

Viji said...

Yes, AJ. I have lots of respect for London because of this. Even in Mumbai, they protect such buildings. chennai is worse when compared to all other metros in India.

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