Preserve Past for a Better Future

Published on October 28, 2021 by

Heritage conservation is still a challenge in Bengaluru

Lack of a proper body to monitor heritage conservation threatens the existence of historical buildings of Bangalore. Recently BBMP razed an old building in Sivajinagar without taking its heritage value into consideration. Same is the case with many old structures in the city.

Years of neglect from the authorities now added with Smart city construction works is now threatening the building and the business of century old Russell market. Muhammad Idrees Choudhary, General Secretary of Russel Market Traders’ Association said, “The market is a historical market. It is a very old market. We don’t have any facility in the market. No security, no cleanliness, no proper maintenance, no water, no proper toilet. BBMP is least bothered. The old charm has vanished.”

The market was built in the 1920s to cater to the needs of the British cantonment area and is now a part of city’s glorious past. The well in front of the market, built during the reign of Haider Ali, is now a garbage pit. “This well was built over 300 years ago. Now they have kept it open they haven’t put barricade or closed it even after requesting. The well is ruined because of garbage,” attests Javeed Sait, a vendor in Russell market.

BBMP had planned to demolish Russell market in 2017.Now they want to retain the market as it is, but haven’t allotted any funds for its maintenance. Praveen J E, assistant engineer in BBMP said they don’t have any plans to demolish the structure. “We have given it for the renovation, but no grant has been allotted yet. This is a monumental type of building. If we have to give the facilities, we have to demolish some parts of it, right? Right now, there is no proposal for this.”

Bangalore doesn’t have a proper body to monitor heritage conservation in the city. According to Meera Iyer, Convener of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), Bangalore, “there are a number of buildings which are heritage but are not protected. Problem is that we do not have a BUAC – the Bangalore Urban Arts Commission. Once BUAC is set up they need to create this list of buildings which need to be notified as heritage.” She emphasized the importance of awareness as well. “You can’t just have laws and if people don’t care, that’s not the way to go right? People also should feel something for the heritage. When people know more about it then there is an emotional bond formed with the buildings. That also needs to happen”.  Legal protection combined with increased awareness can protect the historical structures of Bangalore.

As heritage conservation groups suggest, “A city’s future cannot be built on the grave of its past.”


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