From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Monuments of National Importance
Mains level : Monuments of National Importance, Shedding the colonial legacy, Promoting India's rich heritage rationally
- The decolonization drive started by the present government in India to change the British mindset of those responsible for writing history books, which led to the neglect of important monuments and archaeological sites. The Economic Advisory Council’s report on Monuments of National Importance, which he sees as a significant step in the right direction for the preservation and designation of monuments that reflect Bharat’s history. There are some anomalies in the list of monuments of national importance and suggests changes in the way India looks at the preservation of monuments.
What are the recommendations given by the report?
- Rationalise and evolve criteria for India’s list of monuments: The report underlined the urgent need to rationalise India’s list of monuments of national importance and recommended that the ASI should evolve substantive criteria and a detailed procedure for declaring monuments to be of national importance.
- Book of detailed information: ASI should publish a book of notifications with detailed information about each MNI’s provenance, hand over protection and upkeep of monuments of local importance to respective states and denotify to the extent possible, all standalone antiquities like cannons and statues.
- Funds: Allocation of funds for the preservation of MNI should be increased and ASI should retain the proceeds generated from revenue streams like tickets, events, fees and other sources.
Neglect of Monuments and Archaeological Sites in Post-Independence India
- Inadequate efforts: After India’s independence, little effort was made to correct the British mindset of those responsible for writing history books, which resulted in the neglect of monuments and archaeological sites.
- British view of India: History books continued to teach the history of India’s defeats and its enemies’ victories, which perpetuated the British view of India.
The Decolonization Drive under the present Government
- National Heroes: The present government led by PM Modi started the decolonisation drive to bring out the sagas of King Suheldev, Rani Durgavati, and Lachit Barphukan, among others.
- For example: The government highlighted the story of the founder-king of Delhi, Anangpal Tomar, and declared the neglected Anang Tal as a monument of national importance.
- Names, sites, insignia of national importance: The government also held national and international events at the Sindhu-Saraswati site of Dholavira and unveiled a new Shivaji-era inspired naval insignia.
Significance of this Report
- The Economic Advisory Council’s report on Monuments of National Importance is a significant step in the right direction.
- The report will bring a whiff of fresh thinking in the direction of preserving and designating monuments that reflect Bharat’s history.
- All the recommendations made by the report can be implemented without amending the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act and need only executive orders.
Anomalies in the List of Monuments of National Importance
- There are some anomalies in the list of monuments of national importance.
- There is not a single monument connected with the struggles of Dalits and B R Ambedkar’s life that has been declared a national monument.
- Some monuments, like Tota-Maina ki Qabar and Dadi Poti ka Gumbad, have no history, and nobody knows whether they should be declared as Monuments of National Importance.
- Therefore, all agencies working on monuments be unshackled from the British slave mindset and given into the hands of those who know their subject.
- There is hope that the Bibek Debroy-Sanjeev Sanyal report will bring a whiff of fresh thinking in the direction of preserving and designating monuments that reflect Bharat’s history. There is the need for an Archaeological Foundation to preserve the civilizational and revolutionary monuments of India.
Q. Discuss the recommendations given by the Economic Advisory Council’s report on Monuments of National Importance and its significance in preserving and designating monuments that reflect Bharat’s history.
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