‘Cubbon Park issue represents fear of loss of both built and ecological heritage’

Meera Iyer (right), convener of INTACH, in conversation with Harini Nagendra, ecologist and professor of sustainability, at Bangalore Literature Festival on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

The controversial proposal to construct a multi-storey building in Cubbon Park, which saw opposition from various sections, resonated at Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) on Sunday, during a session on ‘Discovering Bengaluru’.

The session had Harini Nagendra, ecologist and professor of sustainability at Azim Premji University, in conversation with Meera Iyer, convener of The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

Ms. Nagendra said the Cubbon Park issue represented the fear of loss of both built and ecological heritage, and that heritage was not just buildings and the environment, but also “lived heritage which encompasses people’s perspectives on natural and built heritages.”

Ms. Iyer hoped that the building plan inside the park would be dropped for the the “good of both built and ecological heritage”.

Speaking about the need for a change in the mindset of people and of government authorities who think that heritage does not add value to a city, she said, “Heritage adds to the character of the city and to the lives of people living in them, and also adds to the quality of life in the city.”

Apart from laws and regulations to save heritage structures in the city, she said funds should be set aside to help people who own heritage buildings.

‘Nehru was deeply rooted in Indian culture’

Dismissing the claim that the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was not rooted in Indian culture, poet and scholar Purushottam Agrawal said that it was a “rumour” spread in a sustained way for decades. “Nehru deeply reflects culture, language, heritage, and idea of India. He was culturally sensitive and deeply rooted in Indian culture. He also represented the best of modernity,” he said.

At session titled ‘Nehru Lives On’ at the BLF, revolving around Mr. Agrawal’s Who is Bharat Mata, an anthology of Nehru’s writings, he said, “People of India are Bharat Mata, and the victory of the downtrodden is the victory of Bharat Mata.”

Historian Ramachandra Guha said Nehru was the most inclusive of India’s leaders after Gandhiji. “He was a Hindu who reached out to Muslims. He was a north Indian who understood and respected south Indian culture and languages,” he said.

‘Seaweed farming can help combat global warming’

Seaweed farming can play an important and effective role in combating global warming and climate change, Tim Flannery, Australian scientist and climate change expert, has said.

Speaking on ‘Can seaweed save the climate’ at the BLF on Sunday, he said, “Seaweeds have an enormous potential to draw CO2 out of atmosphere and also reduce greenhouse gases.”

Warning about the water security problem that is becoming a major issue in India, Mr. Flannery said the patterns of rainfall were changing and the changes would pose serious challenges in the future. “Extreme weathers are destroying our crops. This means food security is in danger. Global hunger has been increasing for the last three years,” he said.

“Even if all the CO2 is drawn out by trees, the earth’s surface will still heat up. Seaweeds play an important role here. Sea algae can convert carbon to non-gas form, he said.

He said seaweed farming could be taken up in cities such as Bengaluru to clean up lakes polluted by sewage.

HSV among Atta Galatta Book Prize winners

The Atta Galatta Book Prize in different categories, with a purse of ₹2 lakh each, were presented on the second day of the BLF.

The Achievement in Kannada Literature prize was given to poet and playwright H.S. Venkatesh Murthy, popularly known as HSV; the Popular Choice prize was awarded to Life’s Amazing Secrets by Gaur Gopaldas; the Best Fiction prize was given to Blue is like Blue by Vinod Kumar Shukla, which is translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Saira Rai; and the Non-Fiction English prize was presented to Tony Joseph for Early Indians.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 2:57:50 PM |

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