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
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
Vivan Sundaram, Artist
Parthiv Shah, Photographer Designer
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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