India’s cultural landscape boasts a rich tapestry of diverse art forms and heritage, demanding sustained institutional support and encouragement to address critical aspects crucial for their survival and conservation.
Threats to Indian Art Heritage:
Theft: Precious artifacts and artworks are susceptible to theft, leading to irreparable loss of cultural treasures.
Smuggling: Illicit trade in art objects deprives the nation of its historical and artistic legacy.
Unregulated Tourism: Excessive tourism without proper guidelines can erode delicate heritage sites and artifacts.
Security Issues in Museums: Inadequate security measures in museums put invaluable pieces at risk of theft or damage.
Poor Site Maintenance: Neglecting the upkeep of heritage sites accelerates their deterioration.
Encroachment on Monuments: Data from the government indicates that over 278 centrally protected monuments suffer from encroachment or illegal occupation.
Reasons to Preserve Our Art Heritage:
Imminent Extinction: Numerous Indian art forms like Manjusha painting of Bihar, traditional Puppetry, Parsi embroidery, Naga craft, and Dhokra handicraft face extinction and require safeguarding.
Constitutional Duty: Protecting our heritage is enshrined as a Fundamental Duty in Article 51A of the Constitution.
Unique Global Identity: India’s art and culture distinguish it internationally, representing the nation’s civilization; its loss would undermine India’s distinctiveness.
Tribal Livelihoods: For many tribal communities, art and craft provide a vital source of income.
Tourism and Economic Growth: Cultural heritage attracts tourism, fostering economic development.
Unity in Diversity: Art heritage showcases India’s unity in diversity, connecting people across borders with their homeland.
Soft Power Diplomacy: Art and culture wield soft power in international diplomacy.
Government Initiatives to Preserve Art Heritage:
Conservation of Wall Painting Scheme (1996-97): Initiative to safeguard wall paintings.
Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat Programme: Promotes cultural exchange among states.
Tribal Haats: Platforms for tribal artisans to showcase their crafts.
Geographical Indication (GI) Tags: Protects local products and crafts.
E-haat: Digital platform for promoting indigenous products.
Strengthening Legislation and Initiatives: Enforce stricter laws against theft, smuggling, and encroachment.
Strengthening Institutions: Empower the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ensure better conservation.
Cultural Awareness: Integrate cultural education into schools and colleges.
Beyond effective program implementation, the government should allocate financial aid to enhance local and regional museums, promote art heritage through virtual mediums, and encourage the incorporation of local paintings into everyday products like wallets, mobile covers, and pillowcases.
By doing so, India can ensure the preservation and celebration of its rich artistic heritage for generations to come.