Saturday, April 17, 2010

Preserve, conserve, celebrate

Preserve, conserve, celebrate

International World Heritage Day is celebrated across the world every year on April 18 to raise awareness of the diversity of cultural heritage and the steps that are being made to protect it, conserve it and promote understanding of it. Showcasing some of the city's heritage sites

Ronnie Johnson

War Memorials are physical historical documentations of our past, a legacy that cannot be swept away and forgotten. Lewis Rice, CIE in 1906 mentions details of a Cenotaph that was erected near the Halsur Gate (opposite the Corporation Office — Hudson Memorial Church), which commemorated the loss of soldiers, both Indian as well as European, who fought to capture Bangalore from Tipu during the Campaigns of 1771-1791. It is unfortunate that this beautiful memorial was torn down around 1964, and for many years there was utter confusion as to the management of traffic on the convergence of six roads. Now it has been replaced by a towering obelisk that has somewhat sorted out the traffic flow. There is no trace of any of the original slabs or ornamental flower pots that surrounded it. There are many memorials to this period of time that can be found in the Christian Cemeteries around the city.
War Memorials are not just statues for pigeons to alight on. All over the world, war memorials are well-maintained. Minsk Square did have a beautiful ambience of flowering trees and when they bloomed, they brightened the place with mauve, red and pink backgrounds to the memorial. This memorial has now been removed and placed in the Indira Gandhi Memorial Park.
The British War Memorial Obelisk was constructed by the NCOs 42 Company of Royal Engineers in the memory of their comrades who died in peace and war while serving with 42 Company, Royal Engineers. This was erected in the year 1884. This Memorial was inside the Kalpally Cemetery adjacent to MEG & Centre, and was later shifted to the present location next to the Madras Sappers Museum Complex in 1987.
Then there is the memorial originally constructed on the north-western part of Ulsoor Lake in 1922 in memory of these who laid down their lives in World War I. This war memorial faces the Parade Ground of the Centre.
Another memorial is to the Mysore Lancers and Transport, and is located near the TV Tower, and another on Brigade Road which is that of the Pioneers, covering the theatre of war in Mesopotamia, Afghanistan, Burma and East-Africa.
There are plans to create a new war memorial for soldiers and para-military personnel of Bangalore and Karnataka, but there is stiff resistance as some trees have to be cut down. This new proposed memorial could be ideally placed in the Agram Cemetery, ASC Officer's Mess, where space is not a problem and no trees to be cut down.
The writer is a citizen who cares for Bangalore's heritage


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