Apathy towards Heritage is deplorable

Officials the world over seem apathetic to dealing with heritage

Officials the world over seem apathetic to dealing with heritage
Officials the world over seem apathetic to dealing with heritage

Concluding part of the topic How Chandigarh is losing its pride of possession. Here is the first part – Corbusier heritage being auctioned off…

Meanwhile auctions are going on regularly and now the next auction of Chandigarh Heritage items is on 10th September in USA  and estimate value of the items being auctions is about $55,000.

The story of foreign countries is no different; recently French President François Hollande was to visit Chandigarh on 24 January, 2016 during his three day visit to India. He was the guest at the Republic Day Celebrations at Delhi and at the same time some heritage items were being auctioned in France at Paris. So I thought of presenting the matter to the French Prez and wrote to their Embassy in India, and they reverted back with first talking to an Advance Group Delegation, to which I agreed and they gave me three dates to choose from. I opted for 21 January, 2016 and confirmed the meeting. Meanwhile I also wrote directly to President Hollande that please help as Indian Heritage is being sold in France, so intervene, make an inquiry and ask concerned authorities to act. Now this matter was published by the famous English daily ‘The Tribune’ through a news items titled as Stop auction of heritage furniture, French Prez urged. Thereafter all communications with the advance group came to an end as there was no further communications. Auctions are still continuing in France, apart from other countries like the United States.

Surely it looks like 2G Scam as Government property for example a ‘manhole’ designed by Le Corbusier was sold at Rs 300/- in India and then the buyer exports it to UK and further auction it there for Rs. 11.87 lac . So similar story that government property is sold for few hundreds and the buyers are taking abroad and selling it for more than thousand times than its purchase cost. Instead of investigating the matter, saving heritage and preventing huge financial losses, the matter is still moving around and no one is taking responsibility for investigating. The crime has been reported and confirmed but the authority to look into the matter is still not clear. We are bringing GST to say single window for all taxes but from criminal activities there is no single window but countless windows with no action. Its long wait to see some authority take up this patriotic act and ensure that there should be no auctions of our heritage. Amazingly the Constitution of India has given a mandate to the nation in this regard as under

Article “49. Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance.—It shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest, declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.”

51-A. Fundamental duties.—It shall be the duty of every citizen of India—

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(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;”

On 3 February, 2015, a bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel held that preservation of rich heritage and culture of the country is a constitutional mandate, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation. But still things are not happening in the right direction. The Constitution has legal provisions, the state has a duty and the citizen has informed them countless number of times in advance, of such auction of nation’s heritage but nothing is moving. But looking at people like Dr. Subramanian Swamy, one becomes a believer and follower of the principle of Lord Krishna i.e. Karam Kiye Jaa Phal Ki Chinta Mat Kare Insaan. So action is in our hand, which we must do but the result is in the hands of God. So the effort goes on……

To find the perfect and exact Government Authority, who can take up the matter for investigation, regarding continuous trafficking of cultural property is a real herculean task.


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