Monday, January 28, 2008

Preserving cultural heritage of the Himalayas

Preserving cultural heritage of the Himalayas
By:Salman nizami
The psyche of people has been influenced profoundly by several mountain systems in the world but in our region Himalayas have played a great roll.A certain uniformity of cultural pattern can be seen here also from the north eastern to the north -western Himalayas .The apparent unity of Himalayan culture is reinforced by the influence of lamaism from the north and the cultural influence from the plains.Himalayas have three distinct Eco cultural divisions (1)North eastern region which consists of sikkim ,arnachal pradesh and the remaining states of the north east where Himalayan culture is relatively well preserved.
(2)The middle region consisting of uttarpradesh where the Himalayan Eco system has been severely damaged and (3) The northern western Himalayas consisting of himachal pradesh,kashmir and ladakh where both the lama cultural traditions and the Hindu tradition survive with great impact of sufisun and islam.The khankas and ziarats of great preachers of Islam are preserved with grandeur but great deal of pilfering of art objects has been going on.Therefore,the three distinct cultural situation and the three sets of problems of preservation and development have to be recognized.
At present we have no institution for the study of Himalayan culture as a whole.The north western regional office of the anthropological survey of india,located at Dehradun has concentrated on the studies of Himalayan communities. A university has come up in arunachal pradesh and they have put in efforts to have their museums.There is also the north eastern hill university.Here we have enterprising individuals or groups who have been collecting artifacts on their own for preservation.
A special attention is required to protect and preserve the cultural heritage of the himalayas.At least the department of authropology,ancient history and archeology are to be established and strengthened fully in universities of state to conduct such studies on the following lines:
(1)Assisting and setting up of museums and libraries etc.(2)Study and research of all aspect of cultural heritage.(3)collection of objects of art and craft with documentation of cultural artifacts including the folk,music dance and literature.(4)Training in traditional and folk art and.(5)Dissemination through audio visual programme of art and culture.In the short term prospective the academy of art, culture and languages may launch a scheme for providing financial assistance for research, documentation and selection of artifacts and for implementing other objectives to (I) Institution including the concerned departments of universities(II) voluntary orgainsation,museums,libaries and research bodies(III)individual experts engaged in the task.
Adequate provision should be made in the plan of the department for long term projects as well.

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