Thursday, September 13, 2012

Conservation Architect Gurmeet Rai on the Struggle to Preserve India's Cultural Heritage

We are pleased to announce that this summer, one of our UNESCO/UNITWIN India-based founding members was featured in a top India weekly news magazine. In a recent interview with Revati Laul of Tehelka Magazine, Gurmeet Rai, Director of the Cultural Resource Conservation Initiative (CRCI) in Delhi, discussed the important and difficult task of preserving India's impressive natural and cultural heritage. Throughout the feature, Rai explained the growing importance of public-private partnerships in fostering the protection needed for cultural heritage sites across a rapidly globalizing India. Also touching on the need for multi-level, public consultation in planning for conservation, the Delhi-based conservation architect referenced UNESCO's stated belief that "conservation cannot happen without the participation of the people." She went on to explain that conservation and protection are "about protecting the whole cultural ethos" of a place and its people. In closing, Director Rai emphasized that if the Government and people of India hoped to preserve the country's cultural heritage, firm principles supporting equity and rights would have to be applied. Much of the content of the interview with Director Rai resonates with the theme of people-centered development that lies at the heart of our UNITWIN's work. To read the full-length article, click here.

Gurmeet Rai; Photo: Shailendra Pandey