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Protect Dogra heritage

The prestigious heritage of Dogra rulers of Jammu, namely Mubarak Mandi, which happened to be the seat of the rulers has fallen on bad days despite the tall talks of politicians that the Government is committed to the preservation and maintenance of heritage monuments. Ten years ago, the project of maintaining Mubarak Mandi Complex was mooted and Archaeological Survey of India, the prestigious organization of the Union Government was approached to collaborate in the project of maintenance. The Governing Body of Mubarak Mandi Jammu Heritage Society was designated to monitor the progress of maintenance and preservation of the monument which has numerous phases and aspects.
From day one the complex has become the victim of apathy and negligence and only a small fraction of sanctioned grant of rupees Rs 298.86 crore has been released which has brought down the work on the complex to snail’s pace. During the past nearly 10 years an amount of Rs 21.26 crore was released for the renovation work under different heads.
Mubarak Mandi complex is not one structure though it may be called one block. It used to be the seat of the Dogra administration as well as the official and private residence of all Dogra rulers up to days of Maharaja Hari Singh who had moved out and established the residential royal palace at the present site on the mountain overlooking River Tawi. The question is that after all structures when out of use easily become vulnerable to the vagaries of weather and decay sets in quickly. Mubarak Mandi Complex could not escape the fury of weather and the vagaries of human nature. It is true that with the passage of time more and more decay will set in and if the present tardy speed of performance is adhered to then the day will never come when we can say the entire complex has been insulated against the vagaries of weather.
Two factors are primarily to be taken into account while discussing the future of Mubarak Mandi Complex. The foremost is of funding. We don’t know what the general policy of releasing funds for the project is, yet all that we can presume is that funding for the project has been far from being satisfactory. Funds are released in piecemeal manner. From what we gather from some of the concerned functionaries and those who are actually at the helm of affairs is that there is no regular system of releasing the installments of funds. There is much fluctuation in the norms adopted for releasing the installments. We have been watching the scheme and the progress made in the project for last one decade but we do not see any regular and standardized policy towards the release of funds in favour of either the ASI or other agencies.
It is a matter of surprise that in the beginning much was said and spoken about the richness of Dogra cultural heritage and pledges were made to do all possible in preserving and maintaining the iconic cultural symbol of Mubarak Mandi. But when things came to brass-tacks, the story suddenly changed and the euphoria shown by Government circles and even the civil society evaporated in thin air. Procrastinating and delaying the work of preservation of Mubarak Mandi is insult to the pride of the people of Jammu region because apart from the heritage of Dogra rulers, the history of Jammu region was enacted on the lawns and portals of Mubarak Mandi. It has become part of State history and as such it has not to be meted out scurvy treatment.
We appeal all concerned whether at the level of State functionaries or civil society not to be complacent about the importance of preserving the complex. It has various facets and the ASI has reedy conducted study in detail before agreeing to partner in the exercise. We will highly appreciate if bottlenecks in the matter of release of funds are removed once for all and the work on completion of the project is resumed with full fervour.

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