Saturday, April 17, 2010

City trapped in its own growth and gloss


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: It's not just Bengaluru’s green cover which is vanishing as the city expands its horizons and gains flyovers, subways and a Metro rail.
The few historical buildings that are still left in the city, too are under grave threat. But while a hue and cry is raised every time a tree is cut, there is not as much protest over the disappearing heritage monuments. Historians lament that as the city is losing one such monument almost every month, preserving its heritage does not seem to be high on the priority of the local government. “If we lose even more of the heritage buildings, which give Bengaluru its character, it will soon be unrecognisable,” they warn.

Many fear that with time not just monuments of

archaeological importance, but also several parks, lakes and tree-lined avenues which the city inherited from its forefathers and visionaries of old, may die out if the socalled march of civilisation is not checked.
While preserving heritage holds meaning for the elite and intellectual, for the common man it boils down to building a fence around a historical structure taking away from its value, observes Arun Prasad, research head, Discover Bengaluru .

“The last standing fort gate, Halasuru Gate, built by Kempe Gowda in the 1500s was removed from near the Corporation in the seventies. Since then there has been an onslaught on Bengaluru’s historical structures. The Begur temple where the inscription of Bengaluru was first discovered is in a terrible state. While the stone carrying the inscrip

tion is now part of a city museum, the temple is almost in ruins," says Mr Prasad .
Architect V. `Naresh' Narasimhan who has been assigned the job of designing the Kempe Gowda museum for the city, says there is a crying need to restore the cultural heritage of the city which not many people are aware is over 460 years old. "If we lose our heritage, the younger generation will not be able to connect with its past. Heritage lends continuity and offers future generations something to carry forward," he points out.

"Development can't be stopped but more effort needs to be put into preserving what is left of our heritage. Its identity cannot be killed because if that happens, some day there will be no history left at all," warns S.K. Aruni, assistant director, ICHR.


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