CUTTACK: Eminent historians, academics and lawmakers on Sunday came together to call for concerted action towards protection of old and ancient monuments from the onslaught of urbanisation.
Noted Indologist and expert on Odishan history Prof Hermann Kulke drew attention to the Sisupalgarh ruins, which is in grave danger of being totally obliterated by the menacing advance of the Capital city of Bhubaneswar.
Expressing concern over the rampant construction and real estate deals on the very heritage site, he called for urgent steps to protect it. The Mukteswar temple vicinity has also fallen prey to similar activities. The monuments have to be protected along with the landscape around them.
“They have to be preserved as they not only manifest the cultural heritage, but also stand testimony to the history of a particular region. History needs responsibility of present politicians. They have to ensure the right environment for the monuments”, Prof Kulke said during the Odisha panel session at the 74th Indian History Congress here.
The issue of rampant encroachment of the 3rd century BC fortified settlement of Sisupalgarh was also taken up by MP Baijayant Panda. It is said to be the capital of Kalinga during the reign of Chedi dynasty. “The ruins are an example of how we have failed to protect the edifices depicting the history of our land,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Professor of History from University of Delhi Bhairabi Prasad Sahu called for maintaining the originality of the ancient and historical structures or monuments during restoration. While they should be preserved, it should also be kept in mind that their original shape and contours must not be tampered with.
Citing the example of Parasurameswar temple near Mukteswar in Bhubaneswar, he said the restoration has added height to the structure in such a way that it appears more than 200 years younger than it actually is.
The restoration activities should not be done in such a manner that it interferes with the historicity of the subject, Prof Sahu stressed.