The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Preface

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ːSee also Responsible Development

Protecting the Varanasi Heritage[edit | edit source]

Hindu culture, have attributed supreme importance to the preservation of tradition Classical civilizations, and especially the Indian one, have attributed supreme importance to the preservation of tradition. Its central idea was that social institutions, scientific knowledge and technological applications need to use "heritage" as a "resource". Using contemporary language, we would say that ancient Indians considered, as social resources, both economic assets (like natural resources and their exploitation structure) and factors promoting social integration (like institutions for preserving knowledge and maintaining civil order). Ethics considered that what had been inherited should not be consumed, but should be handed over, possibly enriched, to successive generations. This was a moral imperative for all, except in the final life stage of the sannyasa

The purpose of the The Varanasi Heritage Dossier is ẗo launch a collective effort in preparing the dossier required for proposing Varanasi as World Heritage Site in the UNESCO list.

The work in progress by on the Wikiversity platforms is moderated by the Kautilya Society, it builds upon the draft prepared in 2002 by Vrinda Dar and Rana Singh for proposing the enlistment of the Varanasi riverfront Ghats in the list World Heritage sites of Unesco.,[1] , [2], [3]

The Indian Government could not forward this proposal because one of UNESCO's requirements is that the site is protected by policies, plans and legislations made by local Governments. It was not enough that the Varanasi Development Authority declared it a "heritage zone" [4] ; nor that the UP Government had issued an order (no. 320/9-A-3-2000-127 of February 5, 2000, and 840/9-A-3-2001 of April 11, 2001) prohibiting new constructions within 200 meters from the Ganges river front: because these were not implemented! And there was a widespread pessimism about whether they would ever be really implemented in the near future. [5] [6]

Vrinda Dar - Awareness, documentation, legislation, implementation, monitoring are the processes required in order to protect the cultural heritage

In order to react against such pessimistic sloth, the KS started conducting an awareness creation campaign to sensitise the population and to advocate with the Public Authorities that they implement existing laws and constitute a Heritage Committee that proposes new laws and adequate management plans. [7]

Vrinda Dar The PIL was started as a contribution for the candidature of Varanasi- यूनेस्को की विश्व धरोहर सूची में नामांकन के लिए जनहित याचिका शुरू की गई

Vrinda Dar, the General Secretary of KS, had been personally leading the KS activities for heritage protection. She believes that the only way forward for sustainable development is to involve local communities, build their awareness about the cultural and economic value of local resources, build on local resources and hold governments accountable for their policies and actions. She maintains a blog [8] where she informs about the progress on heritage preservation in Varanasi.

So the effort to enlist Varanasi continues on two frontsː

  1. The collection of information and knowledge for the preparation of a strong dossier that can be used for proposing Varanasi to the UNESCO
  2. Generating awareness in the people of Varanasi of the importance of preserving the architectural heritage of the city. With this aim the Kautilya Society is fighting a PIL in the Allahabad High Court against the negligence of the Varanasi Administration in implementing the existing legislation of heritage protection.

See more in The PIL for Varanasi Heritage

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Proposing Varanasi for the World Heritage List of UNESCO (PDF), Varanasi Development Authority
  2. Varanasi Dossier for the World Heritage List of UNESCO, Wikiversity
  3. Singh; Rana P.B.; Vrinda Dar; S. Pravin, "Rationales for including Varanasi as heritage city in the UNESCO World Heritage List", National Geographic Journal of India (varanasi) 2001, 47:177-200.
  4. Varanasi Heritage Zone (PDF), Varanasi Development Authority.
  5. Unplanned construction destroying riverfront majesty, The Times of India.
  6. थाती पर मंडराता खतरा (PDF), India Today.
  7. Ganga continues to be exploited, The Times of India.
  8. Banarasi Biradari (Varanasi community), Kautilya Society for Intercultural Dialogue.

External Links[edit | edit source]

Orders of the Allahabad High in the PIL Number 31229 Year: 2005