Our designation of national monuments must be freed from the ‘slave’ mindset

Source– The post is based on the article “Our designation of national monuments must be freed from the ‘slave’ mindset” published in “The Indian Express” on 18th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Indian culture

Relevance–  Preservation and management of historical monuments

News– Some historical monuments of great importance have not been given sufficient recognition by concerned government agencies.

How are steps taken by the current government contributing for preservation and management of monuments?

The current government has increased focus on decolonisation drive. It has brought out the achievements of King Suheldev, Rani Durgavati and Lachit Barphukan.

It has highlighted the story of the founder-king of Delhi, Anangpal Tomar and declared the neglected Anang Tal as a monument of national importance.

It held national and international events at the Sindhu-Saraswati site of Dholavira. A new Shivaji-era inspired naval insignia was unveiled.

What shows that some historical monuments of great significance have not given sufficient attention?

The samadhi in Satara of Maratha queen Tarabai Bhonsle, who fought the Mughals is in ruins.

There is not a single monument connected with the struggles of Dalits and B R Ambedkar’s life that has been declared as a national monument.

The birthplace of Adi Sankara, Kalady has not been declared a monument of national importance despite recommendations by the Governor of Kerala.

The Mangarh hillock in Rajasthan was recommended by the NMA, along with the Minister of State for Culture, to be declared a Monument of National Importance. This was the site of the massacre of more than 1,500 Bhils by the British army on November 17, 1913. No action has been taken.

There are more than a hundred monuments, like Tota-Maina ki Qabar and Dadi Poti ka Gumbad, which have absolutely no history. But, they are declared as Monuments of National Importance.

Not a single monument of national importance from Kashmir has been recommended to be declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There exists many important monuments like  Martand Sun Temple, Parihaspora and Harwan Monastery.

What is the way forward for management and recognition of historical monuments?

There is a need for a relook at the functioning and mandates of all the agencies working on monuments. They should be freed from the British slave mindset.

India needs an Archaeological Foundation to preserve its civilisational and revolutionary monuments of India. The monuments may be given a district-level archaeological tag.

The report by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on Monuments of National Importance should be considered. It is authored by chairman Bibek Debroy and member Sanjeev Sanyal.

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