Each time I visit a historical place, I get petrified by a board. This board is of Archeological Survey of India(ASI) lecturing the visitors that the place is a protected monument. The second board is banning videography and mostly photography too. I have never understood both these logic. One that ASI has helped only in erosion of every monument in India and secondly how this a camera will add to this process of erosion. A visit to Murud Janjira fort is no different. Locals tell me the place was well kept when villagers were at the fort but since they have been evicted to protect the monument, it has gone from bad to worse. What’s appalling is that there is no effort to restore or preserve what is left of the history we have.
ASI says its main function is archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation. Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI. Besides it regulate all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.
Now I understand why photography is banned. See the year of the Act which I believe has never been updated. ASI remains as primitive as the sites it claims to preserve.
It further says it has a large work force of trained archaeologists, conservators, epigraphist, architects and scientists for conducting archaeological research projects through its Circles, Museums, Excavation Branches, Prehistory Branch, Epigraphy Branches, Science Branch, Horticulture Branch, Building Survey Project, Temple Survey Projects and Underwater Archaeology Wing. Oh My God! Such a big starcast but unfortunately, as I saw once in Vadodara in its office, all these great men sit in urban offices and do all their research. Since they hardly visit the sites, the places remain in shambles. Billions of tax payers money are wasted in the name of preserving these places which I am sure will not remain at all in the next decade or so.
Read the Pratapgadh sojourn here