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Sorry state of our monuments

Posted April 18th, 2017, 12:32 PM IST

Sorry state of our monuments

Hyderabad has always taken pride in its culture and heritage, be it the beautiful Golconda Fort, the Qutb Shahi Tombs, the poetic pavilions of Taramati Baradari or the iconic Charminar. However, even as the UNESCO celebrates World Heritage Day today, the monuments in and around the city are crying for attention.Telangana is also one of the few Indian states to not have any UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Although many dossiers had been sent earlier to the UNESCO, none of Hyderabad’s monuments made it even to the tentative lists.

As per UNESCO, for a monument to be included in the World Heritage list, it must be well-preserved — Sajjad Shahid, historian
As per UNESCO, for a monument to be included in the World Heritage list, it must be well-preserved — Sajjad Shahid, historian

“Encroachments remain a major issue. As per the UNESCO guidelines, for a monument to be included in the World Heritage list, it must be well-preserved. There should also be a comprehensive heritage policy for the State to protect these monuments from encroachments and work on restoring them. Until these things are taken care of, thinking about a world status is a far away dream,” says the city’s well-known historian and author Sajjad Shahid.

Visalatchy N.R.
Visalatchy N.R.

Restoring the monuments will also help the tourism industry. Dr Mohammed Shafiullah of the Deccan Heritage Trust feels that the government should see this as an investment that will fetch them handsome returns. “Though successive governments have been vying for a few monuments to be included in the World Heritage list, they do not fit into the guidelines given by the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the agency that inspects the proposed sites and gives them the tag of World Heritage Sites. Also, unless we improve the infrastructure, how can we expect to improve the tourism industry? There are no washrooms, cafeteria, or even a souvenir shop near any monument in the city, which is the basic requirement for any tourist,” he says.

he city has grown a lot and the growing population has taken up the empty spaces around the monuments, leading to encroachments — Anuradha Reddy
he city has grown a lot and the growing population has taken up the empty spaces around the monuments, leading to encroachments — Anuradha Reddy

Proper planning of the city is also very important for saving the monuments. “After the ‘70s, the city has grown a lot and the growing population has taken up the empty spaces around the monuments, leading to encroachments. The sites must be saved from further encroachments,” says Anuradha Reddy of the Hyderabad chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

Citizens also seem to be lacking in basic civic responsibility. “People should not write on the walls of the monuments. Many even spit on the walls. There should be heavy fines to stop people from doing these things. It is important to save our heritage structures,” says Sajjad Shahid.However, the government seems to be hopeful about the Qutb Shahi Tombs getting the World Heritage Site tag.

“Getting a UNESCO tag is not easy, and getting one for a single monument is even more difficult. As per ICOMOS, we have started conservation work, and have also started the process of re-submitting the proposal to the authorities for Qutb Shahi Tombs, Golconda Fort and Charminar. The deadline for submission is February 1, 2018, and we are very confident that we will get the world status,” says Visalatchy N.R., Director of Heritage Department of Telangana State.

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