STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Marking the World Heritage Week, The Heritage Foundation and Voice of Dogras organized a webinar on Wednesday on the theme ‘Rich Heritage of Jammu’.Dr Sonam Spalzin, Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Jammu, enlightened the audience about excavated archaeological sites of Jammu region, including Malpur on Jammu-Akhnoor highway, Manda in Akhnoor, Tibba Name Shah in Marh, Jaffar Chak in Jammu, Ambaran – a unique Buddhist site in Akhnoor.“Not many know the rare finds from Akhnoor, terracotta heads, are on display in several museums. The only need is to take interest in and promote the archaeological heritage of Jammu region, which can then be a game changer for tourism,” she said.Dr Lalit Gupta, Art Historian said, “Jammu region possesses multiplicity of heritages owing to different ethnicities, geographies, histories, etc. However, there is a lack of local human resource to explore it, which is one of the results of not having educational courses and professional institutes dedicated to heritage studies. The existing offices or institutes are defunct. With regards to intangible heritage, we barely find any documentation. Whatever exists, needs to be re-documented scientifically.”He added, “Heritage has become a rallying point for identity politics. Identification, preservation and awareness of heritage – both tangible and intangible, are of utmost importance.”Javaid Rahi, Secretary, Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, pointed out, “Heritage or ‘virsa’ gives us our identity, which is paramount for our rights. More than the governments, it is our responsibility to save it from dying, especially in the era of globalization.”Kirpal Singh, Project Coordinator, The Heritage Foundation, said, “Heritage is of the people. They should own it, appreciate it and be passionate for it.” “Kala Kendra and Jammu Haat were built with an aim to provide space for exhibitions, interactions, renew interest in heritage, and patronise artists. Regrettably, with time, they passed into oblivion.” he rued. He asserted that people should start making efforts at individual levels, and make ‘saving heritage’ a mission. Manu Khajuria Singh, Founder, Voice of Dogras, moderated the session. She noted, “For the love of the soil, we should all come together for preservation and promotion of identity of Jammu region, that is, its heritage.”
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