A Wake-up Call to Save Heritage
By Lekshmi Mohan | Published: 24th December 2013 09:14 AM |
If you want to see the historic temple entry proclamation plaques, you may have to visit a scrap shop. This is the fate of the plaques that were once part of history. The future of our heritage, whether protected or not, is in peril as thieves are stealing it and selling it to the highest bidder. They are taking advantage of the lax security to loot our rich heritage.
The temple entry proclamation of Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma in the year 1936 was a milestone in building a secular India. And it was to remember the very historic day that the people of Travancore built a statue of Sree Chithira Thirunal and installed three temple entry proclamation plaques near Sreekanteswaram Temple in Fort. Later, a children’s park was set up around the statue and the City Corporation named it the Sree Chithira Thirunal Park.
The latest incident of the theft attempt of a plaque has thrown light on how safe our heritage is. It was only a chance arrest of two persons on Sunday that revealed that two other plaques had already gone missing. Interestingly, the theft had gone unnoticed all these days. The arrested men admitted that it was they who had stolen the plaques and sold them to a scrap dealer.
Further investigation has now revealed that two precious stones in the eyes of the statue of Sree Chithira Thirunal are also missing. The statue, made of bronze, was built in Italy and brought to India before the Second World War. In fact, the eyes of the statue had gems when it was installed, but now there are only two holes in their place.
The saddest part of the story is that the statue and the surroundings are not properly maintained by the authorities.
Now, the children’s park is no longer a park - it has become a parking lot for private cars, vans and buses. Even though the park is under the City Corporation, officials have not bothered to ensure proper security. The local residents allege that the park is now a shelter for anti-socials and students who bunk classes.
Meanwhile, the Works Standing Committee Chairman of the City Corporation said that the theft was not brought to his notice. “We are planning a new project at the Sree Chithira Park. It is planned to change it into Gandhi Park model. A decision in this regard will be taken soon,” he said.
According to Fort CI S Y Suresh, the two men who were arrested the other day had earlier stolen two of the three plaques. They sold the plaques to a scrap shop.