Friday, December 30, 2005

No history please! We are Indians.

No other people seem to have more history and less concern for it than we Indians.

Relics from the past are strewn all over the place, over the length and breadth of the country. They appear out of nowhere, where you least expect them. Alas, there is no one to care for them.

Some of them are lucky enough to get some attention, if a scene from some movie has been shot near them. The insistent guide will tell you which sequence from what movie was shot there. Let the architect who built the place or the brave lone woman who defended the town with nothing more than a pestle be damned.

We are also the people who are inordinately proud of our history, even when we know nothing about it. All we need to know is that we have a “recorded history of more than 5000 years”. That is a good number. To hell with everything else!
Here is the latest instance of our (un)concern.

The (un)concerned authorities are installing cable cars in Shravanabelagola, the fears of the Archaeological Survey of India notwithstanding. These are not ‘fears’ as in phobias – irrational. ASI fears that the rock on which the monolith, Gomateswara, stands may crack when the hill is drilled to erect the cable car towers. The site, which is essentially a religious place, will become another ‘fun’ place where tourists throng. There is a chance that the site will declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO and that may not happen if cable cars are installed. These genuine fears of the ASI are ignored and the planned installation is on.

Does anyone care? Do the residents of the temple town have a say in the matter at all? What does the Jain community at large feel about this? No one knows.

When we did take note of such matters, we were aghast that the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan were destroyed by the Taliban.

Are we any better?

1 comment:

  1. More such examples exist. If you go to Mudabidri you would find a whole street flanked with beautiful Jain temples on both sides all in various stages of neglect. Same is the case with exquisite Hoysala temples in Karnataka - strewn around Mysore. People only see Belur, Halebidu and Somanthpura - there are at least 50 Hoysala temples which lie locked in villages, with nobody looking after them. Similar story unfolds in Chola Nadu - in the Cauvery delta - where almost every village seems to have a beautiful Chola temple.