GUJARAT: drastic erosion of architectural heritage in Gujarat and elsewhere reflects poorly on our desire to preserve history. Urban development and a lack of a system are two significant causes for our inability to conserve heritage. Vinay Goswami has decided to work towards the cause. He is Deputy Director, Office of Commissioner of Schools, Gandhinagar.
Goswami goes out on his weekly offs and holidays looking for archaeological structures that people are unaware of. He takes pictures of the historical monuments and prepares documents on them. He also uploads videos on his YouTube channel so that people can find out more about the little-known places and visit them.
“I have been drawn to the splendour of heritage sites since my childhood. I would often muse over how ancient lifestyle would have been,” says Goswami.
He took up history as a subject in his undergraduate course and postgraduate studies and read a lot of material. He also took pictures of known and unknown heritage sites that he visited.
Goswami has got a lot of support from his family and friends. They inform him about little-known heritage sites that they encounter. Goswami writes down all such information and visits the spots. He started his YouTube channel, Health Holding, in 2017 and started uploading videos, whose number has now gone up to 228. The channel, he says, has about 25,000 subscribers.
Recalling an episode, he said, he came to know of an old, dilapidated stepwell called ‘Bhammariyo Kuvo’ near Halisa village in Gandhinagar. “I visited the place and got the place cleaned and put it up on my channel,” says the officer. People’s appreciation prompted him to make another video of a similar stepwell in Mahemdabad which was constructed by Sultan Mehmud Begada in the 14th century.”
He visited ‘Kirti Toran’ in Mehsana near Piludra village, which is like a mini version of the one at Vadnagar. Piludra’s Kirti Toran is equally rich in its carving and grandeur. “I have tried to digitise information about it and preserve it through my YouTube channel for everybody,” says Goswami.
Dr Praful Jalu, Director, Gujarat Institute of Educational Technology (GIET), Ahmedabad, said, “I have watched the videos on the Health Holding channel. I have visited many such places with my team. We have decided to gather and disseminate more information about such places and take it to teachers and students. We will arrange the work in such places.”
Suresh Bharati, Principal, Primary School Chhala, Gandhinagar, says that after watching a video of Sapani Vav, he felt the need to show it to the children. “I also visited the place along with the children of our school.”
Goswami has not only made historical videos, but also gathered some information about Gujarat’s little-known freedom fighters, poets and authors. “I have a special interest in working on unknown places which have archaeological and historical potential. While working in such places, I have always tried to put out authentic information. That helps the world to feel the beauty of such places,” he says.
Reciprocal relationship that benefits all
His efforts kindled interest in others, who started visiting these places. This student of history has also benefited from friends, who told him about places he was not aware of. Not just heritage sites, Goswami is interested also in little-known freedom fighters and poets