Standing in queues for hours at a go, in the scorching heat of Delhi to see the so-called wonder ‘Red Fort’, I was highly disappointed when I finally went into it.
As marvelous as Delhi’s ancient monuments look from the outside, all that remains on the inside is blackened walls and broken window panes.
About one-third of it was broken by The British to create barracks. The place where once lied “The peacock throne” was now replaced by a marble platform. All the carvings in the ‘Diwan-i-khaas’, which were once studded with gold and precious stones and Persian marbles, were now empty and had no appeal.
The dancing place which was covered by sheesha all over, such that a single ‘diya’ could light the whole place at once was now deprived of all the ‘sheesha’.
The ‘Naubat Khana’ was in such a bad condition last century that the American Mission refused to accept it as a gift.
Since December 4, 1981, Qutub Minar has been inaccessible to the visitors from inside after the stampede which took the life of 45 people. The Architectural Survey of India has not put in the effort to open the doors for the visitors to climb those gallantry steps once again to have a 360-degree view of the city.
Apparently, the stampede was caused because of a power failure and it is amusing to see that the history bears testimony to the fact that monuments were never paid much heed. Had heed been paid to these monuments, there would surely have been provisions for emergency lights and would have also saved many lives.
The government of India spends less than one percent of its GDP on cultural maintenance, even though the cultural heritage of India could be a major source of revenue from tourism if maintained well.
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From centuries ago, Delhi has been ruled by the best rulers of the times who had built numerous marvelous monuments in the name of love, exquisiteness, and luxuriance. Delhi has over twelve hundred monuments with three which are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
Should a little heed be paid to such artistic and cultural monuments, Delhi could become a tourist hotspot.
However, it is not only the Government’s minimal budget spending on cultural preservation that is creating such a scenario. Increasing pollution, of course, is another important factor as well.
The government of London has maintained the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, and other historical places to preserve their heritage and it also brings a huge amount of revenue for them.
As Arvind Kejriwal famously said in March 2017, that he would convert Delhi to be as beautiful as London. Well, we don’t see that happening in this horizon, or any other for that matter.
SYMBOLISM OF MONUMENTS
Cultural heritage showcase the roots of our civilization. Not only does it require government help but also public support to maintain the monuments.
In today’s world, the conflicts arising from man-made or natural conflicts become so overpowered that these monuments lose their meaning. Preserving this cultural heritage demands serious effort from both ends.
There are three things which need to be kept in mind if conservation of nature is a priority. Firstly for conservation, the corporate sector needs to club with the government. Second, Conservation and development of these monuments should go hand in hand.
Other countries like the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland do not have an elaborate history like ours but they have preserved it well.
We have seen how Mother Nature comes back with a stronger force if not handled properly. The Kedarnath cloudburst is a robust example to prove that nature is capable of taking revenge and will destroy it if not handled properly. Protection of these monuments should be our paramount responsibility as it is an integral part of Delhi.
Image Sources: Google Images