Delhi Development Authority
Delhi Development Authority

Opinion | Save our heritage

It is in the national interest that buildings of historical value be preserved

That a 272-year-old heritage gateway in South Delhi’s Garhi Zharia should crumble speaks very poorly of our concern for old monuments. Its state of dilapidation was not news, but how its façade—and much else—came apart all of a sudden certainly was. The edifice was not among the structures that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was tasked with to protect. It was under the care of Delhi Development Authority’s architecture department. Either way, decades of neglect have taken their toll.

It is in the national interest that buildings of historical value be preserved. If civic authorities have too much else to do, then it might be best if the job is turned over to the ASI. Its list of protected monuments could be expanded to include the not-so-famous architectural marvels that dot our landscape. No doubt, the ASI’s own record is not blemish-free. Its defenders say that with 3,600-odd monuments to look after, it can’t do much with its meagre resources. Still, it’s a key responsibility of the 158-year-old organization. As a thumb rule, perhaps the ASI can take charge of all that was built before it was set up. Future generations would be thankful.

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