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DB”s heritage concerns

A PIL is filed before the High Court seeking court’s intervention in bringing about complete restoration and preservation of art, museum and archives in the State including the historic Mubarak Mandi Complex, which once happened to be the seat of the Dogra rulers when they were at the peak of power. Way back in 2006, the State Government constituted Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society and Archaeological Survey of India agreed to collaborate with the Society in restoration and preservation of the entire complex, which has been showing signs of wear and tear owing to passage of time and vagaries of weather.
The presentation made by the Society before the Division Bench did not give any satisfaction to the court that the Society was moving with desired speed in achieving its goal. During eleven years of his life, the Society has hardly achieved 10 per cent of its objective and 90 per cent of tasks related to repair and preservation of the heritage. If the work is to be done at present speed, then observed the court, it might take the department not less than 90 years to complete the task assigned to it. Consider whether the complex will survive at all for another 90 years if left in present dilapidating conditions. The court has asked the Government to propose timeline for the completion of the project,
We have repeatedly said that despite being a necessary and highly relevant subject, the manner in which repairing and preservation work of the complex are run gives no assurance that the assigned work will ever be completed. The project is given a scurvy treatment. Sometimes the complaint is that flow of funds is not smooth. At other times there is complaint about the ASI not contributing it share. Difference of opinion among the members of the society on various aspect of the task in hand is also reported. The entire project is beset with hassles with the cumulative result that authorities are not showing the kind of interest they should in the matter of preservation of the heritage. This is unfortunate and intriguing as well. For one hundred years, Mubarak Mandi Complex has been the seat of the rulers of the State. It is a complex of massive buildings of olden day designs, hundreds of rooms, walled compounds, royal apartments, fortification, large audience halls saloons for auxiliary staff etc. The complex cannot bear the wear and tear caused by vagaries of weather and changing climate. If the work of repair and renovation goes on at snail’s pace, as it does at present, the state of this prestigious monuments and the heritage complex all put together shall be in the throes of dilapidation.
J&K State, with all the three regions, as whole, is rich in terms of heritage. The museums in Leh, Srinagar and Jammu are by themselves, unique and rich in every respect and true epitomes of the cultural life of the people of concerned regions. These museums were raised during the rule of the Maharajas and have been preserved till date with much care and consideration. However, the science of musicology in modern times has gone through big change because nations across the globe are keen preserve their heritage fund for future generations. Mubarak Mandi Complex and other manifestations of our cultural life need to be traded on modern scientific lines to give them longevity of life. These, n fact, have the potential to become spots of visits of large number of tourist from different parts of the country. It is our responsibility to divert all efforts towards their preservation. There is the need of allocating annual grants under the heads heritage complexes and related matters. The court is worried about preservation of huge records of historical value, and feels that three halls provided for the preservation of records are not sufficient.  It was told that a total of 33, 88,734 pages of the archives have already been digitized. About 12 lakh pages remain to be digitized. There appears a long pause in the digitization activities because of non-availability of a server and procurement of the server should not pose any problem and the same ought to be done immediately.

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