Thursday, January 7, 2010

Heritage management plan

The site of Nalanda ruins is an Archeological site with tourist attraction and thus managed by ASI. But with the growing interest in the area and the site itself there are many other potential issues that needs to be managed than just the Ruins itself. Since the popularity of the site is growing exponentially and the needs of the site is very specific; a tailored management program needs to be built to handle all the other issues that lies outside the realm of ASI. And while all the issues are being addressed, the conservation of heritage and the sustainability of livelihoods have to be maintained at top priorities.

To seek the solution for the community and the heritage to coexist and flourish, the inspiration lies in the very heritage that we are trying to protect; and that would be engaged Buddhism; to find a middle way and coexist in the interdependencies. A Heritage management committee in the area would benefit the community and help increase the conservation of the heritage and prevent further exploitation. It would also be helpful in setting up a procedure for the maintenance of the new discoveries that are bound to come up in the area with cultural gems scattered all over the villages. This committee can further be instrumental in accounting for the intangible heritage of the area that lies in the crafts, culture, customs and lifestyle of the people. Care and maintenance of heritage must be entrusted to the local community, a method of cooperation involving community should be designed, and we can start with an informal arrangement which shall be eventually a formal structure with legal standing

Community needs to be strengthened so that it is strong enough to take care of the heritage it has been holding together for centuries. The people have to be aware of the privileges and responsibilities of the heritage that they are a part of, they need to take pride in their culture and be willing to share it with the world and maintain its sanctity. This would also remove the fear of exploitation by third parties and the risk of revenues moving away from the area.

The need to involve the community at the beginning stages is mandated for a successful plan because these are the people who will be instrumental in implementing it and then based on the escalating needs of the area be the judge for its success or failure. A proper representation from all stakeholder groups would result in conflict management at early stages and mark for a smoother execution of the final plan.

The idea of community ownership of heritage and its active management is the key to a sustainable long term plan. The current situation of things with negligible community involvement or input leads to an incoherent action plan that ends up as waste of effort and resources. To really make a plan go the extra mile, the people should be given a chance to voice their concerns and then involve them in the decision making process and make them aware of the issues and limitations and that would lead to a self managing, continually evolving action plan that takes care of the community and at the same time protects the heritage.

1 comment:

Kaushal Kishore , Kharbhaia , Patna : कौशल किशोर ; खरभैया , तोप , पटना said...

The idea of community ownership of heritage is praisworthy. however the community ownership should be in the overall framework finalised by the Govt ,incorporating experts opinion.
The Time is running out and if immediate action is not taken the archeological wealth - particularly sculptures which have withstaood the ravages of time and avlanche of invasions- may be lost irretrievably.
Here comes the idea of Community Museums for each of the village which has ancinet sculptures.we may two set of designs - small and big . the museums designed incorporating the temple/ Sangharama architecture of Magadh.
per site it may not cost more than Rs 5- 12 lakhs.Eventually with imaginative reclaimation of our heritage and marketing , these community museums may turn into great tourist site , bringing fantastic economic returns.
It can safely be conjectured that Gautam Buddha must have visited 100s of villages in Magadh area and must have crossed the " Path of Buddha " Patliputra , Fatuha , Diama , Telahada , Nalanda, Rajgir.
We may try to promote these places as जंह तंह पड़े चरण गौतम के . in the sacred land of Magadh.