Management and Education
Role of local communities
Local communities or individuals must be entrusted with responsibilities to conserve their own heritage. Where outside expertise is necessary, local stakeholders must be made active participants at all stages of the conservation process. All decisions regarding the conservation and management of heritage must be taken in consultation with local communities in consonance with the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution of India.
Role of INTACH
The role of INTACH is to institutionalise the conservation of the unprotected architectural heritage all over India. It should accomplish this objective by establishing Local Chapters.
INTACH’s local Chapters should promote the culture of conservation (Article 8), and make an inventory of architectural heritage (Article 5). They should develop ways and means to conserve local architectural heritage in consultation with INTACH’s Regional and Central offices.
Each Local Chapter should compile an annual “State of the Architectural Heritage Report” for its area and submit annual and quinquennial plans for conservation works to be undertaken in its locality.
INTACH’s Regional and Central offices should compile this data to produce an annual national “State of the Architectural Heritage Report” which should highlight heritage in danger and formulate conservation strategies for its protection. To further facilitate its goal of protecting architectural heritage, INTACH should establish inter-disciplinary Advisory Committees at the regional and national level. These Committees should act as clearing-houses for awarding grading for listed buildings and sites, conservation plans, assessment reports, scientific studies, funding proposals, legal and administrative measures for conserving the unprotected architectural heritage.
INTACH should facilitate and coordinate its activities with the Government and other interest groups, local, national and international, which are concerned with the conservation of architectural heritage.
INTACH should establish appropriate benchmarks for professional fees for conservation work and promote adherence to this scale in all conservation projects (see Article 9.1.8).
INTACH should review this Charter and if necessary, make amendments to it every five years.
Innovative financial schemes must be offered to individuals or communities in order to encourage their involvement and interest in the preservation of their own heritage. INTACH’s Advisory Committee should engage in dialogue with the Government to initiate the formulation of appropriate fiscal policies to promote conservation.
INTACH should lobby for the provision for a ‘Heritage Fund’ to be included in the annual or quinquennial budgetary allocations of Central and State governments. It should endeavour toensure that local governing bodies have access to these funds through transparent mechanisms.
The policy of the ‘adoption’ of historic buildings/areas by competent and concerned community groups, trusts or private entrepreneurs of repute, that in no way harms the interests or well-being of the heritage or the society in which it exists, must be encouraged.
The owners or caretakers of listed heritage should be offered incentives by way of favourable tax rebates, grants, loans, transfer of development rights and so forth, in order to encourage and foster their interest in the conservation of their cultural property.
Public authorities, private companies, governmental bodies and non-governmental organisations should be encouraged to offer adequate financial assistance to traditional craftspeople and agencies involved in craft promotion and trade.
The strong affinity between tourism and heritage should be leveraged to promote the conservation of unprotected architectural heritage and sites.
The potentials of domestic tourism, particularly pilgrimage tourism, need to be developed.
At the same time, however, there must be adequate safeguards to mitigate problems created by aggressive tourism promotion in areas where traditional communities are associated with unprotected architectural heritage and sites.
Punitive measures as defined in the existing legislative framework concerning heritage protection; town planning acts and building byelaws must be extended to cover all listed buildings. In principle, permission must be sought for any intervention in listed buildings or precincts. Where the opportunity exists, a new set of regulations to deal specifically with unprotected heritage should be drafted.
Administrative or criminal prosecution must be considered in cases of deliberate damage to listed architectural heritage.
The responsibility for care and maintenance of heritage must be entrusted to the local community, for the protection and conservation of any cultural resource is ensured only if it enjoys the love and respect of the local people.
In conformity with the intent of the Constitution of India, conservation of heritage must be the duty of every Indian citizen, and all administrative, legislative and financial assistance must be provided in this regard at all levels.
It is essential to create public interest, awareness and concern regarding the significance of cultural heritage, its protection, conservation and enhancement for the benefit of both present and future generations. This public education can be achieved by utilising communication and promotion techniques: thematic publications, print and electronic media, cultural programmes, educational fairs, heritage site visits and excursions, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, seminars and so on.
Regional, national or international historically significant days, festivals and similar occasions could provide opportunities for community celebrations sensitively designed to draw public attention. Such events can be organised in or around historic structures/areas thereby reinforcing the role of heritage in the well-being of society.
Heritage walks can be used as an effective tool to involve local people in the informed appreciation and protection of their historic surroundings and cultural context. Such small-scale activities could precipitate a chain reaction of localized conservation projects involving community participation and contribution. These collective efforts need to be publicised so that they can serve as models to be adopted and adapted by other communities. Cultural walks linking various historic nodes must also be tailored to promote tourism, thereby creating economic benefits for the local community.
The legislation and regulations laid down in the administrative system, building by-laws, town planning acts and other measures relevant to the protection and conservation of architectural heritage must be made accessible to the public through user-friendly manuals and publications.
Governments at all levels and their associates authorities should support and facilitate nongovernment organisations, registered charitable trusts, heritage cooperatives and private initiatives to organise awareness programmes highlighting various aspects of heritage conservation, consequently informing local people of the means to deal with the challenges involved therein.
Education in primary and secondary schools
Respect and affection for heritage - both natural and cultural - and concern for its protection and conservation should be inculcated in school children, and this must form a crucial aspect of education. Children must be encouraged to experience historic environs by engaging them in outdoor play activities, cultural events, picnics and extra-curricular subjects involving drawing or painting of cultural sites.
School teachers should be given specialised training in order to make them aware of the issues involved in the appreciation and preservation of heritage.
Education curricula should include subjects on India’s natural, cultural, and living heritage that highlight the multifaceted relationship between cultural resources and society, reinforcing their inseparable bond.
The institutes, colleges and universities for the education of architects, engineers, archaeologists, planners, administrative service officers, management professionals, material chemists and other professions relevant to heritage conservation and management should encourage inter-disciplinary interaction on shared issues and common concerns and inculcate a holistic understanding of heritage with reference to social, cultural and economic aspects of the society.
The education of conservation professionals must include short training periods when students work with master craftspeople in their own learning environment or at building/conservation sites. This would provide an opportunity for students to acquire practical experience in the application of skills and use of materials, thus strengthening their theoretical training.
In order to respond sensitively and constructively to India’s special conservation challenges, conservation professionals must be trained to appreciate and integrate both traditional and modern principles in their work.
In addition to history and theory of conservation, which will principally include the Western perspective, and a thorough understanding of UNESCO, ICOMOS and other recognized international conventions, recommendations, Charters and guidelines, the specialized education and training of conservation professionals must build upon traditional indigenous principles and practices of building and conservation. Professional must be trained to adopt a flexible stance most relevant to the specificity of their own context - which will frequently require using indigenous principles and practices - rather than adhere blindly to the conservation ideology advocated by UNESCO/ ICOMOS and other international aid giving agencies. Working with an inter-disciplinary team of professionals should be encouraged as an effective conservation and management mechanism.
It must be stressed that conservation architects acquire hands-on experience and practical understanding of indigenous materials and technologies through training or working with local master craftspeople. This will facilitate a healthy and sustained relationship amongst teachers, students and craftspeople, which can be mutually beneficial for future collaborative work on conservation projects, training workshops, awareness programmes and so forth.
Education and training of craftspeople
The ideal way to preserve a craft is to practice it. In order to ensure the continuity of craft traditions, it is essential that systematic education and training environments be provided and supported at all levels by the Government, non-governmental organisations and private entrepreneurs. In addition to individual initiatives of modest scale within limited resources, NGOs can support small to medium-sized schools, and Central and State governments can operate fully equipped training centres that specialise in traditional building and conservation crafts.
Building Centres set up by HUDCO (Housing and Urban Development Corporation of the Government of India) are important initiatives that can be leveraged to promote traditional conservation practices. These Centres train and upgrade the skills of various trades of builders, with a focus on the use of appropriate materials and technologies. Conservation architects should associate themselves with these Centres in order to systemise the dissemination of traditional building principles and practices.
A comprehensive list of specialised crafts and craftspeople must be prepared that can serve as a resource base for owners, care-takers or managers of heritage properties, as also for professionals involved in the conservation and management of historic buildings/areas.
The monologue aspect of the modern ‘teaching’ system should be abandoned and a dialogue of mutual ‘learning’ must be adopted as a training principle, where both the instructor and the crafts person benefit from each other by exchanging ideas, ideologies and experiences. Training programmes must aim toward the sustainability of indigenous building system, and skills that are rooted in traditional knowledge bases and local cultures.
The education of crafts people seeking advanced skills or specialisation must reconcile the crucial aspects of both traditional texts and techniques and modern theories and technologies, consequently bridging the gap between indigenous and Western (glossed as ‘universal’) principles and practices of conservation.