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Retrieve Kerala’s Heritage Loss after Monsoon Calamity: Sahapedia Seminar

In Kochi
January 21, 2019

A national seminar by Sahapedia, an open online multimedia knowledge resource on cultures, called upon the Kerala government today to take strong steps for the retrieval of a major cultural loss the state suffered in the natural calamity five months ago.

A catastrophe as major as the floods and landslides in August last year will turn the authorities’ prime focus to reconstructing basic facilities, yet heritage cannot be ignored, speakers noted at the two-day symposium on ‘Understanding and Documenting Heritage’.

Sahapedia Executive Director Sudha Gopalakrishnan, at the introductory session of ‘Understanding Heritage’, said culture was a ‘loaded’ term often misrepresented according to political views, times and other changing factors.

“It is in fact an amalgamation of what we bring in, what we already have and what we give,” noted Dr Gopalakrishnan. “Culture is what binds us and what we experience intimately. It is as diverse as all of us. Whenever we refer to ‘culture’, most of us think in terms of painting, dance, sculpture, textiles, etc. It is all that, but also much more.”

The Centre for Intangible Heritage Studies (CIHS) under the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in Kalady is organising three events in March as part of its efforts to bring to life segments of age-old heritage that perished in the calamity, its Director Dr B Venugopal told the gathering at the Museum of Kerala History, Edappally.

“CIHS has been in touch with the authorities of Rebuild Kerala on the matter. We are hopeful of a positive result,” added the administrator-academic, a former director of National Museum of Natural History in Delhi and Indian Museum at Kolkata.

Heritage researcher Gitanjali Surendran, who is the Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Humanities under Jindal Global Law School, dealt in detail how history and heritage sometimes evolve out of tensions between them.

The afternoon session, addressed by Krupa Rajangam of Bangalore’s National Institute of Advanced Studies, focused on her ethnographic work at the Hampi World Heritage site in northern Karnataka. It was followed by heritage-conservation presentations by participants.