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5 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Preservation of heritage sites

The Cultural Ministry should make a list of such artefacts which are in shambles and start preserving and renovating these
Preservation of heritage sites

Bangladesh, as is well known, has numerous historical sites which the country can definitely be proud of. The remains of Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic structures dot the green and vibrant landscape of the country. At present the archaeology department owns 448 heritage sites. Unfortunately though, many sites throughout the country lay in a dilapidated state due to the negligence of concerned officials. Just recently there were media reports about the historic Jinjira Palace, just a few kilometres the capital being almost in ruins as there is apparently no one to take care of the historic edifice. The Chhoto Katara and the Bara Katara–once the pride and glory of Mughal Dhaka– are in shambles with people even taking its bricks out with no one preventing them.

The sad thing is that this state of affairs could have been prevented. The Ahsan Manzil is but one example of how an almost ruined structure was given back its former glory through the effort of the concerned department. This just goes on to show if there is will and sincerity of effort the old artefacts can be preserved properly.

Article 24 of the constitution of Bangladesh says that the state shall adopt measures for the protection against disfigurement, damage or removal of all monuments, objects or places of special artistic or historic importance or interest. We also have the Antiquities Act, 1968 that provides the modes of protection and preservation of things which are part of our national history and heritage.

 The Cultural Ministry should make a list of such artefacts which are in shambles and start preserving and renovating these. Of course it cannot be done in a short time but the process must start now.

We have an inherent responsibility to protect and preserve what we have been endowed with.  The preservation of cultural heritage sites is not only foundational to shape the philosophical vision of a nation, if conserved properly; it could also positively impact the growth of tourism industry in Bangladesh. Despite interests from local and global historians and researchers the major historical sites. According to a survey conducted by USG, some 40 buildings that were declared ‘protected’ by government authorities were demolished, partially destroyed or effaced. Experts and activists who are for long campaigning for proper restoration and conservation of these buildings state, the lack of coordination between the Department of Archaeology and the Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakkha is part of the reason that we are losing our heritage.

Heritage does not mean only built or natural wonders. It also refers to living heritage, like customs, rituals, literature and the performing arts.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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