8.1. AHMEDABAD BECOMES INDI!’S FIRST WORLD HERITAGE CITY
· The 606-year-old walled city of Ahmedabad was declared World Heritage City by UNESCO during the 42nd session of World Heritage Committee (WHC) meeting in Krakow, Poland. · Modern Ahmedabad was founded by Ahmad Shah in 1411 AD on the ancient sites of Ashaval and Karanavati. · With a population of 3.75 to 4 lakh, the city’s living heritage being the 600 odd ‘pols’ or neighbourhoods with clusters of centuries-old residences. · The city boasts of a composite culture and a rich mix of Hindu and Jain temples, Islamic and European architecture.
8.2. LIST OF WORLD HERITAGE IN DANGER
Why in News? · World Heritage Committee has decided to include 54 properties on the List of World Heritage in danger in accordance with Article 11 (4) of the Unesco’s World Heritage Convention.
List of World Heritage in danger · The "in danger" list is designed to tell the international community about the conditions that threaten the very characteristics for which a property was added to the World Heritage List in the first place, and to encourage governments to take action to protect the sites. · There is no Indian site in this list.
8.3. CHANGES TO THE AMASR ACT
Why in news?
· The government has approved changes to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958 to allow “public works” near these structures. Background
· Encroachments and illegal construction close to monuments were happening on a large-scale and the penal provisions in the AMASR Act were not stringent enough to provide effective deterrence. · The AMASR Act was substantially amended in 2010. Its main features were the creation of a “prohibited area” and “regulated area” around every national monument which regulated constructions. · Given the unique nature of each monument, the Act also proposed heritage bye-laws for each monument to be prepared by an expert body.
Why this new amendment? · The prohibition of new construction within prohibited areas of a protected area or protected monument is adversely affecting various public works and developmental projects of the central government. · The AMASR Amendment Bill, 2017 also seeks to have a new definition of “public works” under the Act.
Issues with the amendment · Any construction, whether for a public project or private purpose, will pose risks to a monument and it will be impossible for the National Monuments Authority or the Archaeological Survey of India to ensure that such construction do not pose a threat to a monument. · “Public works” are generally large infrastructure projects. Allowing these in the vicinity will defeat the entire purpose of the AMASR Act and will be a violation of Article 49 of the Constitution.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention · The convention defines the kinds of natural or cultural sites that can be included on the World Heritage List. · Various activities such as “World Heritage City” as well as “World Heritage in danger” come under this convention of UNESCO.
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AMSAR Act · Monuments designated as “ancient monuments of national importance” are protected under the AMASR Act. · The Archaeological Survey of India is the custodian of these monuments. · There are more than 3,600 monuments and sites that are are centrally -protected under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India.
8.4. I NDI A TO CELEBRATE FA LU N GONG
· Falun Gong, the ancient Chinese holistic system that is banned in China, will be celebrated in India on July 15 with a parade and Human Word Formation in the capital. · Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa) arose out of the so-called “qigong boom” of the late ‘80s. Qigong is an umbrella term for a number of practices involving meditation, slow-moving exercises and regulated breathing. · It differed from most qigong groups in that it combined exercises with moral and spiritual teachings.
8.5. 201 1 LA NG U AG E DATA STILL NOT PUBLI C
Why in news
· Even as India is nearing its next Census, the language data collected in 2011 have still not been made public.
· From 1971 onwards, the Census decided to disclose names only of those languages which had more than 10,000 speakers. The result was that the list of 1971 had only 108 language names, as against the 1,652 a decade ago. · The 2001 language data have a mixed list of 22 scheduled languages and a hundred other languages. The list is mixed as several languages are lumped together to produce it. For instance, a good dozen distinct languages are lumped together under the caption ‘Bhili’. · In 1991 and 2001, at least the data were disclosed. The 2011 data are not known even when we are now getting close to the next Census, of 2021.
Why the data should be disclosed? · It is the state’s obligation to secure and protect the community’s right to its language. · UNESCO has been promoting the idea of language as an inalienable cultural right. It has already built it into the charter of sustainable development goals. India is a formal signatory to the charter.
Impact of language loss · The neglect of a community’s language and its language loss are among the most important reasons for induced migration. · Imparting education to children through the language used in their homes or in their community is scientifically considered to aid full development of their cognitive and emotive faculties. · It denies citizens of their linguistic citizenship and pauperises India culturally. · Agitations such as the current one for Gorkhaland in West Bengal can visit other States as well.