The greedy Indian politicians and bureaucrats have acquired prime lands and properties without a thought to their historic value. The Bangalore Palace grounds fell to this greed, so did the Nizam’Industrial Estate in Hyderabad and the Roerich Estate in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. Surprisingly, our politicians and bureaucrats have not yet thought of acquiring the Tah Mahal or at least the lands appertaining to it ! We can’t really do much if some chauvinist of a politician some day decides to get himself a burial in the Taj Mahal premises!!!
The Nizam Industrial Estate is the first industrial estate in India ,set up before the independence! Independent India under Nehru would still draw up the policy on development of industrial estates in India, whereas the Department for Industry under the Nizam government had planned, executed and made the estate functional. It was under the charge of The Director General, Small Scale Industry ! Was it not a piece of heritage of modern India, being the first industrial estate of the country? Should it not have been preserved and also upgraded as a fully developed industrial estate and accorded the status of a heritage of modern India? No such thoughts occurred to our government in Hyderabad, who decided to convert it into residential land, only to benefit the select few among the politicos and bureaucrats.
The Bangalore palace grounds could have helped the garden city maintain its top position among the few beautiful Indian cities. The government however thought otherwise. Their priority was to get even with the former ruler of Mysore. Whether the acquisition served the public purpose for which it was acquired or some other private purpose is not known. May be the CAG reports on the matter.
The worst case is that of the Roerich Estate. The beautiful estate belonging to the renowned artist from Russia, who had settled in India, and his wife Devika Rani, the famous film actress had also been acquired by the Karnataka government. This Estate was perhaps the most precious of all heritages of modern India, a living tribute to the strong Indo-Russian friendship . It should have been converted into a memorial to the two representative icons from the fields of painting and films. The Roerich Estate has a large number of silver oaks. Aren’t our children entitled to visit such an estate? Aren’t the arts loving tourists not entitled to visit, breathe and feel the place where Roerich lived and worked? Even the Himachal properties of the Roerichs deserve similar treatment. The unimaginative but assertive political and bureaucratic class in India spares no time for such finer avocations. They spend more time, energy and public funds on maintaining and renovation of abandoned graves of non descript aggressors of the past, under the mistaken belief that it gets them more votes. They insult both the living and the dead.
There is no separate ministry to take care of these precious monuments and heritage sites and treasures of arts and literature. It is time such a department is set up . These subjects fail to get fair and just treatment as part of another department or centre. A nation is known more by its arts and literature. Let India show its true legacy, let her put her heirloom to public display, let her march towards greater glory in arts and literature. The Roerich Estate should be spared as the Taj Has been.