NEW DELHI: Heritage walks, weekly literary and cultural events at historical sites, dedicated chapters on Delhi’s contribution to the Indian freedom struggle in the school curriculum, regular workshops on poetry writing, and schemes to develop theme-based circuits to promote tourism at clusters of ancient buildings are among several proposals to brand the national capital as tourist and cultural hub.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, while presenting Delhi Budget 2021-22 last week, proposed two programmes‘Delhi Heritage Promotion’ and ‘Delhi Tourism Circuit’ to achieve the goal. He also announced an allocation of Rs 521 crore for the implementation of the twin schemes.
The projects will be rolled out by Delhi Tourism in association with the arts, culture and language (AOL) department and Delhi Archives. According to senior officials, plans are afoot for promoting Mehrauli and other heritage sites associated with the Indian freedom movement in a big way.
“A committee was also set up last year to plan and chalk out schemes for tourism promotion of the city’s heritage. The idea was to develop circuits on the lines of the Centre’s Swadesh Darshan scheme involving places such as Mehrauli, Jaunti, Neela Hauz, or Mutiny Circle for which the Delhi Tourism could procure funds from the union tourism ministry.
Another plan was to add the city’s history to the syllabus for which archival material was being searched out. Students should know about places related to important historical events like the Quit India movement or Salt Satyagraha in Delhi,” said a senior government official.
To put ‘neglected’ or lesser-known historical structures on the tourist map and also for their better upkeep, the government has plans to hold weekly performances and exhibitions at those sites. Apart from heritage walks, the tourism department is mulling to hold musical gigs, fair by traditional artisans, live performances and workshops at heritage buildings, said the official.
“One of the suggestions that came up during the deliberations was was to organise workshops for improving writing skills; how to pen a Ghazal or Doha. It is important to promote culture so that it becomes part of life. We want to teach students or budding poets and writers what is Chaupai or Chhand (quatrain verse as per the medieval Hindi poetry),” added the official.
Qudsia Bagh may host special events
The meetings to plan a series of events to mark the 75th anniversary of Independence have already begun, according to government officials. Major events are likely to take place at Qudsia Bagh near Kashmere Gate and illumination of historical buildings is one of the proposals, they said. “Events at sites connected to the 1857 revolt and subsequent developments is one proposal. Most of the action occurred around Kashmere Gate. Hence, Qudsia Bagh is an ideal location, which is close to several other significant sites like northern ridge and St James Church. We will also train guides to conduct heritage tours,” said an official, who has attended the meetings.
Govt to set up Ambedkar interpretation centre
Delhi government will set up an interpretation centre to highlight the contribution of Dr BR Ambedkar in architecting the Constitution of India. It has allocated `10 crore in the budget for programmes to showcase Ambedkar’s works and vision. The government may also plan a similar initiative on the life of Bhagat Singh. “The land for Ambedkar interpretation centre is yet to be identified. We will certainly do different activities on Bhagat Singh as we already have a centre in his name at the Delhi Archives,” said an official