International experts to make heritage dossier
by Richi Verma, TNN | Sep 4, 2012, 01.12AM IST
NEW DELHI: Majuli Islands, hill forts of Rajasthan, Shantiniketan and Qutub Shahi monuments — all of them have been pushed by the Archaeological Survey of India for Unesco's coveted world heritage tag. But all have missed it due to either incomplete dossiers or technical faults in drawings. To make sure that Delhi doesn't meet with a similar fate with its final nomination dossier for the world heritage city tag, INTACH Delhi Chapter has engaged international consultants.
The dossier, being prepared by INTACH, is likely to be re-named 'Capital Cities of Delhi' from the earlier 'Imperial Cities of Delhi' and will feature Lutyens bungalow zone (LBZ) and Shahjahanabad.
"We want to show Delhi's uniqueness that cannot be found in any other city. LBZ and Shahjahanabad are 350 years apart and represent two contradictory periods of Delhi. The Mughal rule in Shahjahanabad and the British regime in LBZ have contrasting lifestyles, architecture, culture and represent the intellectual highpoints of two opposing empires," said INTACH convener A G K Menon.
ASI had submitted the tentative nomination dossier to Unesco last year, and the capital now features in the list along with 20 other Indian sites/properties awaiting the prestigious tag.
One of the experts brought in by INTACH specializes in drafting guidelines for world heritage nominations, while another is a former Unesco official who was involved in the selection of nominations for the final inscription. A third consultant works in a specialized heritage body, which, along with an NGO, evaluates nominations from various countries. "We have to consult widely to ensure our dossier meets all the parameters and fulfills all the criteria outlined by Unesco," said Menon. The final dossier needs to reach the Unesco headquarters in Paris by February 1, 2013.
INTACH has set a deadline of September 30 to finish the dossier. It will then be examined by a number of experts and government bodies, which will also make their own suggestions. "The dossier will also have to be approved by the world heritage apex committee that was set up recently by the Centre to examine Indian nominations to Unesco following a series of rejections," said an official.
After Ahmedabad's nomination to gain the heritage city status in 2011, Delhi's nomination, the second such proposal from India, appears in the tentative list updated by the UN organization on May 22, 2012.
Each country can finally nominate two sites every year for inscription under the natural, cultural or mixed categories. "It will be a fight to make Delhi one of the two nominations to be submitted to Unesco by ASI next year as there are 20 sites on the tentative list," admitted Menon.
In the past five years, the only Indian additions to the Unesco heritage list are Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, Rajasthan, and the Western Ghats.