World Her­itage Sta­tus for two Mumbai clus­ters

Mumbai’s Art Deco build­ings are like Pi­casso’s paint­ings. Peo­ple will now start tak­ing note of these struc­tures around them.

Alive - - News - by G.V. Joshi

On Satur­day June 30, 2018, two build­ing clus­ters of Vic­to­rian

Gothic and Art Deco ar­chi­tec­tural styles, in Mumbai, In­dia’s busi­ness cap­i­tal and cap­i­tal of Ma­ha­rash­tra State were jointly in­scribed in the United Na­tions

Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UNESCO) World Her­itage Sites (WHS) List.

His­to­ri­ans and her­itage ex­perts of In­dia wel­comed the de­ci­sion, but said that preser­va­tion would be the harder part.

Gothic ar­chi­tec­ture is an ar­chi­tec­tural style that flour­ished in Europe dur­ing mid­dle Ages. It evolved from Ro­man ar­chi­tec­ture and was suc­ceeded by Re­nais­sance ar­chi­tec­ture. It orig­i­nated in 12th-cen­tury France and lasted up to the 16th cen­tury. Gothic ar­chi­tec­ture is most fa­mil­iar as the ar­chi­tec­ture of many of the great cathe­drals, churches of Europe. It is also the ar­chi­tec­ture of many cas­tles, palaces, town halls, guild halls, and uni­ver­si­ties. Many of the larger churches are con­sid­ered price­less works of art and are listed with UNESCO as World Her­itage Sites

Art Deco, some­times re­ferred to as Deco, is a style of ar­chi­tec­ture and de­signs that first ap­peared in France just be­fore World War I. Art Deco in­flu­enced the de­sign of build­ings, It took its name, short for Arts Dé­co­rat­ifs, from the

In the words of Ar­chae­ol­o­gist Ku­rush Dalal,” Apart from Mumbai, only Mi­ami in the U.S. has Art Deco build­ings in such a great num­ber. Mumbai also has a huge va­ri­ety of Gothic style build­ings built in the days of Bri­tish Raj. One feels that he is walk­ing on a Lon­don Street when one walks in Fort area.

Ex­po­si­tion In­ter­na­tionale des Arts Dé­co­rat­ifs et In­dus­triels Modernes (In­ter­na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion of Mod­ern Dec­o­ra­tive and In­dus­trial Arts) held in Paris in 1925. The Gothic and Art Deco clus­ters, which were given the UNESCO WHS sta­tus in­clude, build­ings such as the Univer­sity of Mumbai, Bom­bay High Court, and David Sas­soon Li­brary, El­phin­stone Col­lege and Ma­ha­rash­tra Po­lice head­quar­ters and the like Art Deco build­ings along Oval Maidan and Ma­rine Drive, and the Eros and Re­gal cin­ema halls.

Build­ing Struc­tures

Mumbai’s Art Deco build­ings listed above are like Pi­casso’s paint­ings. Peo­ple will now start tak­ing note of these struc­tures around them. The Fort area of South Mumbai, where these build­ings are lo­cated, was once part of the for­ti­fied city of Bom­bay, now Mumbai .Though its walls were torn down in the 1860s, the name 'Fort' per­sists on. In the words of Ar­chae­ol­o­gist Ku­rush Dalal,” Apart from Mumbai, only Mi­ami in the U.S. has Art Deco build­ings in such a great num­ber. Mumbai also has a huge va­ri­ety of Gothic style build­ings built in the days of Bri­tish Raj. One feels that he is walk­ing on a Lon­don Street when one walks in Fort area.

How­ever, many of these mon­u­ments are owned by trusts that don’t have enough re­sources to main­tain them in their

orig­i­nal con­di­tion. They are in poor con­di­tion. The gov­ern­ment should now pre­pare a plan to main­tain them in their orig­i­nal con­di­tion. Once a build­ing is listed as a her­itage mon­u­ment; there can­not be any changes to the struc­ture. Own­ers should be com­pen­sated by Gov­ern­ment in some way or other to main­tain them in their orig­i­nal con­di­tion or the Gov­ern­ment should main­tain them” He fur­ther added.

This is the third such hon­our for Mumbai af­ter the Ele­phanta Caves and the ma­jes­tic Vic­to­ria Ter­mi­nus now called Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji Ter­mi­nus (CST), Head Quar­ters of Great In­dian Penin­sula (GIP) Rail­way, now Cen­tral Rail­way, which earned the cov­eted sta­tus in 1987 and 2004, re­spec­tively.

What is Her­itage?

Her­itage is the full range of our in­her­ited tra­di­tions, mon­u­ments, ob­jects, and cul­ture. Her­itage in­cludes, but is much more than pre­serv­ing, ex­ca­vat­ing, dis­play­ing, or restor­ing a col­lec­tion of old things. Pre­serv­ing her­itage is an ac­tiv­ity with far-reach­ing ef­fects. It is both lo­cal and global. In­dia’s first two sites in­scribed on the list at the Sev­enth Ses­sion of the World Her­itage held in

1983 were the Agra Fort and the Ajanta Caves. Over the years, 37 sites have been in­scribed. The lat­est site Mumbai art deco and

Gothic build­ings in­scribed in 2018 be­came the 37th site. Of these 30 are cul­tural sites and six are nat­u­ral sites while one is a mixed.

World­wide there are 1092 sites of which 845 are cul­tural and 209 are nat­u­ral, the re­main­ing be­ing mixed. The idea of cre­at­ing an in­ter­na­tional move­ment for pro­tect­ing her­itage emerged af­ter World War I and II. The 1972 Con­ven­tion con­cern­ing the Pro­tec­tion of the World Cul­tural and Nat­u­ral Her­itage de­vel­oped from the merg­ing of two sep­a­rate move­ments: the first fo­cus­ing on the preser­va­tion of cul­tural sites, and the other deal­ing with the con­ser­va­tion of na­ture. The event that aroused par­tic­u­lar in­ter­na­tional con­cern was the de­ci­sion to build the Aswan High Dam in Egypt, which would have flooded the val­ley con­tain­ing the Abu Sim­bel tem­ples, a trea­sure of an­cient Egyp­tian civil­i­sa­tion. Con­se­quently, UNESCO ini­ti­ated, with the

help of the In­ter­na­tional Coun­cil on Mon­u­ments and Sites (ICOMOS), the prepa­ra­tion of a draft con­ven­tion on the pro­tec­tion of cul­tural her­itage. The idea of com­bin­ing con­ser­va­tion of cul­tural sites with those of na­ture comes from the United States of Amer­ica.

The Con­ven­tion con­cern­ing the Pro­tec­tion of World Cul­tural and Nat­u­ral Her­itage was adopted by the Gen­eral Con­fer­ence of UNESCO on 16 Novem­ber 1972. The in­scrip­tion of a site on the World Her­itage List brings an in­crease in public aware­ness of the site and of its out­stand­ing val­ues, thus also in­creas­ing the tourist ac­tiv­i­ties at the site. When these are well planned for and or­ga­nized re­spect­ing sus­tain­able tourism prin­ci­ples, they can bring im­por­tant funds to the site and to the lo­cal econ­omy.

Se­lec­tion Cri­te­ria

To be in­cluded on the World Her­itage List, a site must sat­isfy the se­lec­tion cri­te­ria adopted by the Com­mit­tee. As de­fined by Bernard M Fielden and Jukka Jok­iletho, a cul­tural mon­u­ment should be a mas­ter­piece of cre­ative ge­nius. It must have ex­erted great ar­chi­tec­tural in­flu­ence and be as­so­ci­ated with ideas or be­liefs of univer­sal sig­nif­i­cance, or it may be an out­stand­ing ex­am­ple of a tra­di­tional way of life that rep­re­sents a cer­tain cul­ture. A nat­u­ral site may rep­re­sent ma­jor stages of the earth's his­tory, be a sym­bol of on­go­ing eco­log­i­cal and bi­o­log­i­cal pro­cesses, and con­tain the most im­por­tant nat­u­ral habi­tats for con­ser­va­tion of glob­ally sig­nif­i­cant bio­di­ver­sity, or it may be a set­ting of ex­cep­tional beauty. In short, it is a place of out­stand­ing cul­tural value.

When a site on the

World Her­itage List is se­ri­ously threat­ened, it may be added to the List of World Her­itage Sites in Dan­ger, which en­ti­tles it to spe­cial at­ten­tion and in­ter­na­tional as­sis­tance. When a site is added to the list, the gov­ern­ment of the coun­try should send reg­u­lar re­ports on the con­di­tion of their sites, on mea­sures taken to pre­serve them, and A nat­u­ral site may rep­re­sent ma­jor stages of the earth's his­tory, be a sym­bol of on­go­ing eco­log­i­cal and bi­o­log­i­cal pro­cesses, and con­tain the most im­por­tant nat­u­ral habi­tats for con­ser­va­tion of glob­ally sig­nif­i­cant bio­di­ver­sity, or it may be a set­ting of ex­cep­tional beauty. In short, it is a place of out­stand­ing cul­tural value.

When a site on the World Her­itage List is se­ri­ously threat­ened, it may be added to the List of World Her­itage Sites in Dan­ger. on their ef­forts to raise public aware­ness of cul­tural and nat­u­ral her­itage. These re­quire­ments are taken se­ri­ously by most of the coun­tries since the World Her­itage Com­mit­tee could be alerted - by in­di­vid­u­als, non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions, or other groups - if mis­man­age­ment oc­curs.

If the alert is jus­ti­fied, and the prob­lem se­ri­ous enough, the site will be placed on the List of World Her­itage in Dan­ger. This list is de­signed to call the world's at­ten­tion to nat­u­ral or hu­man-made con­di­tions, which threaten the char­ac­ter­is­tics for which the site was orig­i­nally in­scribed on the World Her­itage List. En­dan­gered sites on this list are en­ti­tled to par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion and emer­gency ac­tion. In ur­gent cases, such as out­break of war, the Com­mit­tee will make the list­ing it­self with­out hav­ing re­ceived a for­mal re­quest. This is what hap­pened with the Cul­tural Land­scape and Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Re­mains of the Bamiyan Val­ley at Afghanistan. The World Her­itage sta­tus can be re­moved from a site if the coun­try is not ful­fill­ing its obli­ga­tions un­der the Con­ven­tion.

Bom­bay High Court (Vic­to­rian Gothic).

Mumbai

Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji Ter­mi­nus in night.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.