Bengaluru

Seeing beauty in old structures

“I hated history in school. It was only from the 11th Std, when I no longer had to study history that I fell in love with the subject,” says Meera Iyer, Co-Convenor, The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH-Bangalore), who initially wanted to be an archaeologist. Her visit to Devanahalli fort on her return to India after her PhD in Forest Ecology from Michigan State University, proved a turning point. It prompted her to delve deeper into history and heritage.

Shocked to see that the fort was badly maintained with no information on its heritage and history for the benefit of visitors, her disappointment grew when even the locals were unaware that it was Tipu Sultan’s birth place.

“I strongly felt it is important for people to know about a monument or a place, or to understand it to feel connected with it. I knew INTACH worked on heritage-related matters. So I called up the local INTACH chapter and promptly became a member,” says Meera, who also has an MSc. in Environmental Sciences.

In her eight years with INTACH, she has spearheaded several activities of public interest that have helped in sensitising people to the city’s disappearing heritage. One of her success stories is the Heritage Walks targeted at Bengalureans for familiarising them with aspects unique to the city’s cultural and historical fabric. “Over the years, this has helped build a group of people who gradually became our heritage ambassadors,” says Meera.

She has been the driving force behind INTACH’s architectural heritage documentation. “INTACH had made a list of heritage buildings in the 1980s. We are re-working on this. Our programmes have helped generate more interest in heritage. This positivity from people will help complete our listing soon,” she says.

Meera is proactively trying to get the government to restore heritage buildings. Work on the Oriental Research Institute in Mysuru is completed. “We failed on restoration of heritage buildings in Lalbagh. But we do hope our endeavour to restore the house of writer and social activist Shivram Karanth in Puttur will be a milestone,” she says.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 4:28:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/seeing-beauty-in-old-structures/article7764600.ece

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