Inaugurates 150 anniversary celebrations of the organisation

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) acts as a bridge and brings about a living communion with our past, Tamil Nadu Governor K.Rosaiah observed here on Thursday.

Inaugurating the 150 anniversary celebrations of the ASI, he underlined the need for taking our rich heritage and culture to the younger generation.

He said it was a matter of great pride that Indian civilisation had withstood testing times and had survived. “Its uniqueness is its infinite capacity for absorption and adaptation.” Hence, he wanted the youth to cultivate a flair for knowing the ancient civilisation.

“We should develop in the young students a curiosity to know about our historic past and our rich ancient art and architecture.”

Pointing out that India is synonymous with cultural remains, he said, “Even today some of our most outstanding monuments can tickle the best of brains for their well-executed plans, exquisite workmanship and grandeur of construction.”

During its 150 years of service, the ASI had undergone many ramifications over the years and had adapted itself to serve the needs and requirements of the country, he added.

He lauded the ASI for “not only unearthing the cultural wealth of our great nation, but also for protecting the rich heritage and historic monuments which speak volume of our ancient culture, tradition and civilisation”.

The Governor said that the responsibility of the ASI was not just confined to protection and conservation of monuments but it also played a pivotal role in the dissemination of knowledge.

He said this celebration was a time for reflection to carry forward the institution's multifarious responsibilities of “not only surveying, documenting, protecting and conserving the immense cultural wealth of this country but also ensuring the sustainable management of the heritage in a fast developing environment”.

B.R.Mani, Additional Director General, ASI, New Delhi, presiding, said the organisation was in charge of 3,677 monuments and sites and 44 antiquities of varied nature in the country. As many as 23 monumental edifices, masterpieces of great craftsmanship and having outstanding universal value, had been inscribed on the World Heritage list of UNESCO.

Lamenting over the current sorry state of affairs, he said, “The time has now come to save the cultural and natural heritage from vandalism and other menace which are constantly threatening their very existence. The need of the hour is public awareness about the cultural heritage and importance of preserving it for posterity.”

In this regard, he pointed out that a recent amendment in the Act on this line was needed since the fast growth was taking a toll on the safety of our monuments and sites.

V.K.Jeyakodi, Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Government of Tamil Nadu, said the State had more than 400 monuments and sites and five UNESCO world-wide heritage sites coming under the control of the ASI.

About 85 monuments were being looked after by the State Archaeological department also.

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