"You can't save what you don't love, and you can't love what you don't know."
Heritage comprises built, natural and cultural history and it is the duty of the city and its governance, particularly the most microscopic yet powerful platforms ie the Ward Committee to preserve, promote and protect it. If we follow the civic structure of city governance, with ward committees as its base, not only is it more effective, but we are better served & organised. Funding as needed, can follow as well.
Wards & Corporators have to look at #Heritage along the following lines :
This is key to any form of ward level heritage preservation. The RMP31 has a listing of all the heritage spaces in the city. Once the listing is set , it is easier to take the next steps. The wards should sort the heritage sites applicable to THEIR ward and ensure the concerned authorities are formally aware of the same.
Special Heritage zones declared by BBMP should be specifically listed.
Every attempt should be made to have detailed information, write ups and detailing on these heritage spaces, so that the ward and community are made aware of the rich history around their homes. Public information and historians particularly informal storytellers in the community/ward should be encouraged.
A historian, civic minded official can be appointed the Ward Heritage Marshal, so there is accountability and proper overview. We are sure that this position will be heavily vied for.
It is also critical for the wards to make all provision with organizations like Intach #HeritageBeku ASI and PWD to ensure that the heritage spaces in the world are protected against disuse, disrepair vandalism, defacement interference, encroachment and spatial incongruity.
Once the comprehensive list is available , ward committees should do everything they possibly can to ensure they proactively and assertively protect the same. Keeping BBMP and other parastatals posted about the location and preservation needed is important.
Any departure or heritage breach should be dealt with strongly and penalties be stringently invoked, so that there is awareness and a strong message on respect for heritage.
Each ward must take great pride in the history that is resident by ensuring regular walks, proper signage interface with local schools and colleges, working with RWAs, apartment associations to be guardians or sponsors of each space.
The very character of the ward lies imbued in the heritage of each space. Creating spaces around that meld and integrate with the heritage character of its history adds value and tremendous increase in the ward ownership and pride. Given that the spaces of history come from different spaces, religions and perspectives it is a natural way to integrate the community in a more holistic and meaningful way.
Restoration & Upkeep
Without scientific upkeep and restoration valuable Heritage can quickly disintegrate irrevocably. Leaning on experts in organisations like ASI, Intach, #HeritageBeku , historians and involving government is important. The need to ensure it is done as per global standards will not only ensure a greater sense of community and ownership but also create more footfalls, conversations, tourism and related benefits to the community. An update on each heritage location should be part of what committees quarterly reviews. They should also be listed on the Wikipedia ward details so that the public is aware.
Funds required for specific heritage spaces, should be budgeted by the ward or via a larger city or BBMP Heritage Corpus
Homes or institutions which preserve places of heritage should be recognized in an annual ward event every year. We would also encourage Intach, #HeritageBeku and BBMP to encourage applications from wards and ward marshals who have done extraordinary work in preserving, maintaining, promoting the community heritage by annual awards and special mentions.
To conclude, annual appraisals and mapping will showcase wards who have preserved their ward heritage as well as all other ward level parameters on water, power, waste, welfare etc, and this is a much desired governance outcome.