• Historians’ Appeal to Government

    "If the amendment is given effect, new construction will take place in the immediate vicinity of protected properties of National importance."

    June 30, 2017

    Hauz khas ruins

    Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust

    We have received with great dismay  the  recent news report that the Union Cabinet has approved amendment to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 2010 and that  it has been decided to allow centrally funded projects to be set up in the prohibited area of the nationally protected monuments.

    The act that was passed in 2010 has the stated objective ‘ to preserve, conserve, protect and maintain all ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains declared of national importance, and their surrounding areas up to a distance of 300 Mtrs ( or more as may be specified in certain cases) in all directions’. The act replaced the ordinance, AMASR(Amendment and Validation) Ordinance promulgated by the President of India on 23 January 2010. The rationale for preservation of the monuments and sites  of national importance is brought out very appropriately   by John Ruskin and  quoted in the  committee report that formed the basis of the 2010 amendment  ‘it is   no question of expediency or feeling whether we shall preserve the buildings of past time or not. We have no right whatever to touch them. They are not ours. They belong to those who built them, partly to all the generations of mankind who follow us’. Constitution of India, in seventh Schedule  declares built heritage as a significant public good.

    If the amendment is given effect, new construction will take place in the immediate vicinity of protected properties of National importance ,i.e. ‘prohibited areas’, that is, within hundred metres of their delineated boundaries. Historic structures and archaeological remains are considered to be the most susceptible to heavy vibrations, chemical effects or mechanical stresses in this zone. In most sites, un excavated  structural remains that open up avenues of further research  also fall within these prohibited zones. Construction activity of any nature will inflict irreversible damage to the monument as well as to the prospect of future study and understanding of the historic context of the site.

    We the signatories seek indulgence of the Central government and demand that the amendment as above may not be pursued . We also appeal to the parliamentarians belonging to various political parties  to show their continued resolve to preserve and protect the monuments and sites of national importance.  These  are significant part of the soft power of India as also  collective universal cultural assets and physical memories of  our glorious past.


    M Saleem Beg, former director General Tourism and Member National Monuments Authority(NMA).

    Meera Das, former member NMA

    Bharat Bhushan, former member, NMA

    Shalini Mahajan, former Member, NMA

    Pukhraj Maroo, IAS, rtd and forme rmember, NMA

    Romila Thapar, Historian

    K. M. Shrimali, rtd Professor, D.U.

    AGK Menon, Conservation Professional

    Ram Rahman, Photographer, Designer

    M. K. Raina, Theatre & Cinema Personality

    Geeta Kapur, Art Historian

    Irfan Habib, Historian

    Sucheta Mahajan , Historian

    Nadeem Rezavi, Historian

    Shireen Moosvi, Historian

    Mridula Mukherjee, Historian

    Raj Rewal, Architect

    Parul Kiri Roy,Assistant Professor, Architecture, SPA

    Anuradha Chaturvedi ,Associate Professor ,Department of Architectural Conservation , SPA

    Priyaleen Singh, Professor, SPA

    Anisha Shekhar Mukherjee ,SPA

    Vishal Dhar, Architect

    Kanishka Prasad, Architect

    Vertika Chaturvedi, Architect

    Dr. Aruna Ramani Grover, Architect-Planner, Noida

    Amar Farooqui, Historian

    P K Shukla, Historian

    Sohail Hashmi, Historian and Heritage Expert

    D. N. Jha, Historian

    Bhairabi Prasad Sahu, Historian

    Ranjit Hoskote, Art Historian and Critic

    Soumya Sahai , Historian

    Ishrat Alam, Historian

    Narayani Gupta, former member of Delhi Urban Art Commission and Heritage Conservation Committee of Delhi

    Vikramjit Roop Rai, Founder ,Youth for Heritage Foundation

    O P JAIN, Sanskriti

    Ratish Nanda, Agha Khan Trust

    Suneet Mohindru,Principal,ORACLES Landscape Design, Planning & Conservation

    Vishwa Mohan Jha, Histotian

    Vikramjit Singh Rooprai, Founder, Youth for Heritage Foundation

    Nikhil Kumar, Communications professional

    Tazeen Hussain

    Vivan Sundaram, Artist

    Parthiv Shah, Photographer Designer

    Monalisha Choudhury

    Shubham Acharya

    Chavvi Malik

    Prabhat Patnaik, Emeritus Professor JNU

    Ira Bhaskar, Professor, JNU

    Kavita Singh,Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU

    Mishty Varma, Journalist and public affairs specialist

    Zartab Haider Jafri, Managing Director-Maksus Mimer Energy Solutions India Pvt. Ltd

    Seher Agarwala, Columbia University

    Arjun Dev, Former professor NCERT

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    Website: www.sahmat.org

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