IN THER SPOTLIGHT Children

Saving a CITY

NEOGI: When work is your passion.

NEOGI: When work is your passion.  

Heritage Walk Calcutta is about getting a better understanding about the city and learning its history.

Many of Kolkata’s heritage buildings are in dire need of renovation. It is to make people aware of the city’s history and to encourage conservation that archaeologist Tathagata Neogi announced his initiative — Calcutta Heritage Walk (HWC).

Neogi , who hails from Kolkata completed his B.A. (Hons.) in History and then joined University of Exeter in 2008 for M.A. in Archaeology. In 2009, he graduated with merit and participated in the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) funded Pioneering Metallurgy Archaeological Survey in northern Telangana, as a part of a team from Exeter and National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bengaluru.

Later, this collaboration culminated in Exeter/NIAS Split-Site PhD programme where he was awarded the “Intangible Histories Studentship’, which is now funding his doctoral research. He was also appointed as the Team Leader in a heritage survey project funded by West Bengal Heritage Commission and INTACH, in 2009.

Explore the city

“I grew up in Kolkata, and all of this time I wished that there were some opportunities to explore Kolkata’s rich tapestry of cultural heritage,” says Neogi, who is involved in heritage walks full-time. “The tours on offer were largely targeted at a foreign audience and were expensive beyond the reach of locals.

This is when I thought about starting something on my own which — while of course welcoming tourists from across the world — is mainly targeted at the locals.”

He explains how the primary objective of Heritage Walk Calcutta is to offer well-researched, affordable walking tours and workshops in Kolkata to spread community awareness about the city’s cultural heritage. His walks and workshops are thoroughly researched and this makes it enjoyable to participants.

Neogi elaborates on how community archaeology paves the way for experts in history, archaeology, heritage conservation, and museum professionals to share their knowledge with the community. “This is important because the people in the community who live around aspects of local history can make significant contributions to how that history is treated and conserved,” he adds. “Therefore, it is essential for us to come out of our comfort-zones, engage with the community and provide them with advanced knowledge and professional training so that they can properly interact with, and preserve various aspects of cultural heritage in a time of rapid urban development.”

He believes that this can be done by early exposure to archaeology, heritage and conservation. Along with curated walks, HWC aims to partner with educational institutions to offer interactive workshops to spread and help conserve heritage.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 5:56:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/Saving-a-CITY/article17201108.ece

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