South Asian approaches to heritage and conservation
ResumenDiversity in culture and heritage perceptions, values assessment and conservation approaches are increasingly being recognized today. While highlighting diversity, we are also finding that heritage and conservation issues within each diverse context may still be somehow similar to each other. In that case, I wonder whether we can discuss about a ‘South Asian approach’ or any regional approach to heritage and conservation. Yet, we can see some trends that are perhaps unique or more pronounced than other contexts. It is in this assumption that this paper explores some un-conforming notions of heritage and conservation in the South Asian context. The experiences from South Asia suggest that the very idea of heritage is a plural one except a fundamental basis that heritage has to be valued by communities and it must make sense to the contemporary time. The approach of conservation, therefore, cannot simply be reduced to a process of ‘arresting decay’ or a ‘freezing the time’ or ‘restoring most of heritage back to a glorious past’ but it should mean to restore values and increase significance at present and future. Therefore, it calls for a contextual rethinking of the heritage idea and conservation strategies. In addition, it also calls for enabling such processes by a sensitive management approach which draws from inclusive approach with economic as well as environmental sustainability.
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