Between the Colonial, the Global, and the Local—Civilizing India’s Past under Different Regimes
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This paper examines the colonial conservation policies and practices in India with a view towards analysing its contemporary relevance. Colonial imperatives have now transformed into universal values that are promoted by global inter-governmental agencies like UNESCO, thus perpetuating the elision of the indigenous building maintenance practices initiated by the colonial government. In 1984 the situation began to change with the establishment of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a non-government institution. The professionals working for INTACH began to understand the relevance of the indigenous practices that had been used to look after the architectural heritage of the country for millennia. In 2004, INTACH collated its experiences in a Charter for the Conservation of Unprotected Architectural Heritage and Sites in India, in which it defined the role of indigenous building and maintenance practices alongside the universal ideology. The INTACH Charter is a significant departure from global conservation philosophies, as it offers a considered response to the consequences of the colonial civilizing mission on the conservation of Indian antiquities.
KeywordsConservation Practice Historic Building Historic City Indigenous Knowledge System Heritage Building
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