I read with dismay the news that politicians are asking the Chief Minister for funds to demolish and re-construct Devaraja Market and Lansdowne Building while we are all in the midst of this most terrible global pandemic (‘SOM’ dated May 17).
Politicians worldwide should be concentrating on the Coronavirus epidemic, not on asking for funds to demolish and reconstruct heritage buildings.
I do not have any solutions to this standoff between heritage conservation and development but here’s a thought:
Will every “improvement” to India’s infrastructure require us to give up more and more heritage buildings?
The preservation of Devaraja Market and Lansdowne Building must be on all our minds. There will be no chance to renovate or to save this historic site once it’s gone. And we can never be certain what will be valued in the future. This reality brings to light the importance of locating and saving buildings of historic significance ― because once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever.
The local Governments in India seem to be on a bulldozing-spree, targeting all historic buildings. This has happened because there’s little protection given to heritage buildings in India. All this will do is ring the death knell for many of India’s treasured monuments.
We have to and must preserve the monuments and showcase them to the next generation. The contributions and achievements of our ancestors worldwide are important. We need to care to make the past the present. COVID-19 has brought the best and the worst out in a society that we can see all around the world.
I urge the Chief Minster to kindly put on hold all demolition, expansion rebuilding plans in the whole of Karnataka while we deal with this worldwide terrible pandemic.
– Alyia Phelps-Gardiner-Krumbiegel, GHK Foundation, Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel’s Great-Grand-Daughter, UK, 18.5.2020
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