KARNATAKA

Protect India's cultural heritage: MP

CELEBRATIONS BEGIN: Virupakshappa (second from left), Koppal MP, inaugurating the World Heritage Week celebrations in Hampi on Saturday. Vivek Rai (left), Vice-Chancellor, Kannada University, Hampi; Sanganabasava Sawamji of Kottur Mutt; and Achyutdev araya, a descendant of the Vijayanagar dynasty (right) look on.  

Staff Correspondent

HAMPI: Speakers who participated in a function here on Saturday to mark the inauguration of the World Heritage Week celebrations and the South Zone inter-State National Service Scheme (NSS) youth festival, underlined the need for the youth to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the country.

It is only at Hampi that the inter-State NSS youth festival has been clubbed with the World Heritage Week celebrations. The main aim of the programme is to expose the rich cultural heritage of Hampi and highlight the role of the youth in promoting it.

Over 300 students from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Goa, Maharashtra and the State are participating in the week-long festival, which has been organised by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in association with the NSS State Cell and the Information, Tourism and Sports and Youth Affairs departments.

Virupakshappa, Koppal MP, who inaugurated the programme, said the rich cultural heritage of the country should be protected for the benefit of future generations.

Vivek Rai, Vice-Chancellor of Kannada University, Hampi, noted that for the youth, the present is the only reality and they are not bothered about the past and the future. "This should not be the case. Culture is of immense value and has to be protected. Culture involves the life of people and has to be understood properly," he said.

Dr. Rai emphasised the need for the youth to visit villages and talk to elders to see and understand the culture and heritage prevailing there.

S. Nagaraju, Director, M.H. Institute of Indology, reflected on why Hampi has been given the world heritage tag by UNESCO. "It is mainly because of the culture people practised then. Besides exhibiting their expertise in architecture and sculpture, the people during the Vijayanagar period constructed a well-planned city with civic amenities and drinking water supply. This indicates that they succeeded in getting their dreams fulfilled," he said.

Sri Sanganabasava Swamiji of Kottur Mutt said the youth are the protectors of the rich cultural heritage of the country. Instead of getting influenced by Western culture, they should try to understand their own rich cultural heritage.

"The country expects a lot from the youth. Apart from taking up preservation and conservation of heritage, the youth should also give importance to human values," he said.

C.B. Patil, Deputy Superintending Archaeologist, ASI; A.R.M. Kotraiah, Liaison Officer, State NSS Cell; Achyutadevaraya, descendant of the Vijayanagar royal family; and Basavaraj Malshetty, principal, Vijayanagar College; were present.

J. Ranganath, Senior Conservation Assistant, ASI, welcomed the gathering.