KOCHI: As Muziris Heritage Project gains momentum, Express talks to its managing director Nowshad PM about the project and how the unique venture aims to relive our past glory.
1) For the uninitiated, please can you throw light on the project and what it envisages?
Muziris Heritage Project is actually a green project. If you look back to the history, there are enough documents available to validate the fact that the place called Muziris has a history of more than 3,000 years. There are a lot of references in the historical literature from first century AD, including that of Pliny, Elder and the Sangam literature. In 1341, Periyar River basin on the Malabar Coast underwent a major transformation and Muziris dropped off the map due to flood and earthquake. However, the remnants of the port still serve as reminders of the earlier glory. Muziris Heritage Project aims to conserve and preserve them for future generations.
2) How do you think the project would benefit the local people?
Preserving the cultural heritage is the primary aim of the project besides creating an awareness among the youth about the grandeur of the past. The project is not envisaged with tourism as the main goal. Tourism is only a secondary factor. But this doesn't mean it is of no economic value. In fact, the tourism goals of are not the usual concept of a five-star tourism, rather, a responsible heritage tourism wherein tourists are given a chance to experience the local lifestyle. This would include accommodation at local houses, local food and exploring local spaces.
3) What is the scope of research in this area?
We already have a registered body known as Institute for Heritage Studies of Coastal Kerala (IHSCK) governed by a body of 15 members, which include the Tourism Minister as the chairman, the cultural minister as the vice-chairman, four IAS officers, and four MLAs from the area. The society would help students interested in research in the heritage and culture of Muziris find the facilities and opportunity to have their studies done. It is still in its construction stage and would start soon.