What is Built Heritage
Built heritage should be deemed to mean those buildings, artifacts, structures, areas and precincts that are of historic, aesthetic, architectural or cultural significance and should include natural features within such areas or precincts of environmental significance or scenic beauty such as sacred groves, hills, hillocks, water bodies (and the areas adjoining the same), open areas, wooded areas, etc. It must be recognized that the 'cultural landscape' around a heritage site is critical for the interpretation of the site and its built heritage and thus is very much its integral part.
Why Conserve Built Heritage
The conservation of built heritage is generally perceived to be in the long term interest of society. This can be better understood if categorized under 'economic1, 'cultural', and 'environmental', although they are not mutually exclusive and, indeed, they are often interlocked.
Using our Building Stock
Most buildings arc capable of beneficial use, whether for their original purpose or for some other use. Buildings and their precincts need to be used in order to survive and such use can be made into an economically viable enterprise.
Stability and Continuity
In a rapidly changing modern world of relatively short life of buildings, the perception, of stability and continuity can create a climate of confidence which can have economically beneficial results.
The use of conservation as an engine of economic generation has been clearly illustrated in several 1NTACH projects.
Value of Good Environment
Interesting buildings in good condition are often fundamental components of a good, environment that can act both as an indicator of economic health and as a stimulus to. economic activity.
Employment and Training
The maintenance and repair of traditional buildings generates a steady flow of good quality skilled employment and support training for the construction industry.
As one of the most obvious symbols of national and local culture, historic buildings and areas can have considerable educational value to teachers, tourists and the genenil populace.
Tourism is now one of the country's major industries and historic buildings and areas, are one of the most important raw materials of that industry.
An understanding of contemporary society as a basis for considering the future depends to an extent upon our appreciation of the past and historic buildings. Archaeology can provide primary source material for this.
Buildings have usually been intended to look well, in addition to being soundly constructed and fit for their purpose, and many were erected with serious artistic intent. Others may exhibit more informal qualities of richness, maturity, or picturesqueness.
Sense of Place
In a world of increasingly ubiquitous new buildings, where a redeveloped town centre
looks very much like another, historic buildings by their layout, form and materials can often give an important sense of place and identity that would otherwise be lacking.
Often, historic areas are punctuated with landmark buildings, such as churches, temples, mosques or town halls that provide focal or reference points in the local built landscape.
The local environment is the immediate setting for the lives of people who reside or work there and often historic areas have a human scale that may not be found in areas that have been comprehensively redeveloped around modern means of locomotion such as motorized transport or according to the notions of modern town planners and property developers.
Historic areas, built with local materials display mature townscape qualities that have evolved over a long period and which are not always easy to achieve in the comprehensive redevelopment of today.
Criteria for Listing Built (Architectural) Heritage
Although inter-related, the following three key concepts need to be understood to determine whether a property is worthy of listing.
- Historic significance
- Historic integrity
- Historic context
One or more of these concepts need to be applicable to a building to make it worthy of listing.
Historic significance is the importance of a property to the history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture of a community, region or nation.
In selecting a building, particular attention should be paid to the following:
- Association with events, activities or patterns
- Association with important persons
- Distinctive physical characteristics of design, construction or form, representing work of a master
- Potential to yield important information such as illustrating social, economic history, such as railway stations, town halls, clubs, markets, water works, etc.
- Technological innovations such as dams, bridges, etc.
- Distinct town planning features like squares, streets, avenues, e.g. Rajpath in Lutyen's New Delhi
Historic integrity is the authenticity of a property's historic identity', evidenced by the survival of
physical characteristics that existed during the property's historic period.
Historic integrity enables a property to illustrate significant aspects of its past. Not only must a property resemble the historic appearance but it must also retain physical materials, design features and aspects of construction dating from the period when it attained significance.
Historic context is information about historic trends and properties grouped by an important theme in the history of a community, region or nation during a particular period of time.
A knowledge of historic context enables listers to understand a historic property as a product of its time.
A historic building complex may comprise of numerous ancillary structures besides the main structure within the same precinct giving the complex its identity. Each such structure contributing to the complex needs to be documented on individual proformas but in a sequence at one place.
Methodology of Listing
Listing work comprises of two phases:
- Background research
- Field work
Before commencing the actual fieldwork, the lister should gather basic information from various sources including gazetteers, travel books, and several other specialized books on the history of the area to be listed. This work could be done in the libraries and archives of various universities and other institutions of the central government, the state government and private individuals or trusts. Many of the museums established by the central government or state governments or even private museums can provide interesting information. In a given area, local experts, professionals and scholars could also provide the required guidance and help.
This would ensure that no important structure or representative style of building is left out. Background research essentially helps in identifying historic areas, historic developments in the area, significance of the events that may have taken place at different times, important persons who may have shaped historical developments, cultural developments, and similar features that may be unique to the area. In some well documented areas, distinctive physical characteristics of design, construction, materials, and forms of buildings can also be identified.
Before launching into field work, the lister should collect a reliable map of the area and its various constituents. Survey of India maps and those available with the state department of town and country planning should prove useful. However, at the field level, ward maps available with the municipal/ cantonment/ panchayat authorities may be of greater help. In some cities, transport network maps (such as by Eicher in Delhi) may be equally useful.
Field work requires lot of leg work to scan the heritage properties and recording information for each property in the prescribed format. This comprises of physically inspecting the property as well as meeting local people such as owners of the property, talking to other residents and local ward or panchayat members, and knowledgeable residents and representatives of institutions. By physically inspecting the property the lister can gather facts such as physical characteristics of the property, the date of construction, style of construction, design characteristics, etc. that arc relevant for recording in the format prescribed for listing. By conducting a dialogue with the residents, one can determine the changes to the property over time, ownership details, historic function and activities, association with events and persons, and the role of the property in local, regional or national history.
Photography is an important component of the listing. A photograph freezes the building and its setting to the time when it is taken. In this context, old photographs, if available, can constitute a very important record in the listing. A comparison would show the changes that have occurred over time to the building and, in particular, to its embellishments.
Guidelines for collecting information for the listing and recording it are given in the proforma for Listing at the end of this part (Inventory of Historic Properties; Manual for Filling the Inventory).
Analysis and Publication
Mere gathering of information and recording it in the prescribed proforma cannot be an end in itself. The information has to be analysed and published for wider circulation and use to fulfill the objectives of INTACH referred to above. The detailed information recorded as per the proforma provided at the end of this part, should be computerized and stored carefully so as to be available to research scholars and other users as and when needed. The proforma at the end of this part also has the abbreviated form in which the listing is required to be published. The publication should be arranged in the following sections:
- Cover page
- Title page
- A write-up on the built heritage of the area.
- Credits (Listers and Resource Persons)
- Master map of the area
- Map of each component (ward) followed by the information for each heritage property or the related clusters of heritage properties as per the proforma
- Essays on interesting subjects that may represent a cluster of the heritage properties or landscapes or the values and characteristics unique to that place.
- Any other interesting finds
Dissemination - Creating Awareness
Listing must result in its publication in a form that can be made available to the public for information and to such of the stakeholders that may like to use it for area planning and for die protection, conservation and preservation of the area's built heritage.
Some of these stakeholders could be:
- State government departments concerned
- Central government agencies concerned
- Chief Minister and Ministers of the concerned departments
- Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislature concerned
- Heads of the concerned local authorities (urban and rural)
- Concerned local officers
- Concerned principal local institutions such as the army, police, post office, colleges, schools, etc.
Legal Status of the List
Role of Statutory Authorities
Mere listing is of limited use unless it serves the cause of preservation and conservation of the heritage of the area. Publication of the Listing of the area does help in raising the level of awareness and public consciousness about what constitutes their heritage. However, the cause of preservation and conservation of heritage can be served only by providing statutory backing to the listing. Only the statutory backing makes it an effective tool for conservation.
Listing of the built heritage and giving it a statutory back-up has to be in accordance with rules/ regulations/ byelaws framed under the relevant state Acts that govern the development and use of land. In most states this activity is controlled and regulated under the state's town and country planning legislation. Heritage Regulations can be and should be suggested and formulated under such relevant legislation. Such Heritage Regulations have been adopted in some states (Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal) and on the initiative of TNTACH may get adopted in other states. INTACH Chapters should play a pro-active role in this. Chapter 12 provides the draft of the statutory Regulations developed by the TNTACH. These may be followed, mutatis mutandis, depending on the laws of the State governing land use planning and development on land including the buildings thereon.
It should, however, be noted that the responsibility to enforce the Heritage Regulations is of the municipal authority in the urban areas (Municipal Corporation, Municipal Council or the Municipal Panchayat or the Cantonment Board) and of the Panchayati Raj Institutions in the rural areas (Zilla Panchayat Parishad, Janpad Panchayat and the Gram Panchayat/ Gram Sabha). In some cases the municipal authority concerned (such as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the New Delhi Municipal Committee in Delhi and the Calcutta Municipal Corporation in Calcutta) has notified the list of heritage buildings and precincts under the relevant municipal byelaws. Chapters should similarly familiarize themselves with the provisions of these regulations and ensure their implementation accordingly in their areas.
Cognizance should also be taken of the 73rd and the 74th amendments to the Constitution. Art. 243-G and Art. 243-N deal with decentralization of powers to the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in respect of the rural areas and the urban local bodies in respect of the urban areas. Most States have either enacted fresh legislation to give effect to these constitutional requirements or suitably amended the existing laws to achieve the purpose. Entry No. 21 of the Eleventh Schedule to tof the Constitution applicable to PRJs states "cultural activities", and Entry No. 29 of the same to "maintenance of community assets". Similarly Entry No. 13 of the Twelfth Schedule of the Constitution applicable to urban local bodies refers to 'promotion of cultural, educational and aesthetic aspects". Entry No. 1 of the same schedule refers to "urban planning, including town planning" and Entry No. 2 to "regulation of land use and construction of buildings", and Entry No. 3 to "Planning for economic and social development". All these provisions could be used for advocacy and for persuading the PRIs and Urban Local Bodies to be pro-active for the protection and conservation of their built heritage.
Role of Civil Society
One of the objectives of Listing is to create and stimulate awareness among the public for the preservation of built heritage. The Published Listings can be used in developing Slide Shows, Power Point Presentations, Heritage Walks, etc, to achieve this objective. Experience shows that almost two thirds of the listed properties are in the institutional domain, mostly with government or local authorities. Such programmes can be used to make the decision makers and stakeholders in these institutions and authorities aware of the built heritage within their jurisdiction and the need to preserve and conserve it.
Role of the Citizen
Article 51A(f) of the Constitution of India describes it as a fundamental duty of every citizen w to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture". Chapters can help the citizen to discharge this duty and responsibility in the following ways:
- Identifying knowledgeable and committed individuals who can help the Chapter in identifying, listing and documenting buildings and precincts that qualify for listing.
- Involving such persons in drawing up advocacy plans to create awareness about the need to protect and conserve the listed built heritage.
- Using the expertise of such persons to draw up heritage trails and walks in some important heritage areas and motivating them to volunteer their services for such activities. School teachers could be trained to enrich class room teaching by taking their students for such outdoor activities.