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The importance of historical and cultural heritage
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The importance of historical and cultural heritage

Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration

Post by M AHMAD on Thursday, April 20, 2023

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In today’s world there is a rapid change in many fields and correspondingly new fields of science have appeared. In parallel with it, some values that exist for a long period have started to have more importance and more studies have been conducted to investigate, save and transfer them to the next generations...these are various kinds of heritages. According to United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) : “Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations". Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Heritage is also defined as the “expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expression and values”.  Heritage can not only be expressed in tangible (including buildings, monuments, landscapes, objects, and artifacts), and also included intangible (including traditions, language, knowledge and memory).


The identity of a nation, region, community or a group lies in its past- its historical and cultural heritage which is unique to that group or society and reflects the rich and diverse creations of humankind. Heritage often perceived as the protection and save of past. In fact, heritage is important to us because it is the fundamental to learn history and evidence of the past human activity of the city. The heritage also elaborates the transformative process in social from past in the present of urban area by generations. Each city and place remains its distinct cultural characteristics and historical background, make its specific identity and uniqueness of each community. Historic heritage is those natural and physical resources that contribute to an understanding and appreciation of history and cultures. It includes historic sites, structures, places and areas, archaeological sites, site of significance and surroundings associated with the natural and physical resources. It has three key elements: a geographical place (e.g. a structure, house, site or area), associated heritage values and heritage significance, and associated connections with a person, group or community.  


Historical Heritage helps us to examine our history and traditions and enables us develop awareness about ourselves. It helps us understand and explain why we are the way we are. It is a keystone of our culture that plays an important role in our politics, society, business and world view. They have an intrinsic value and provide a sneak peek into our ancient heritage. They give a deeper insight into the cultures and traditions of the old world. We come to know the quality of life people enjoyed hundreds of years ago. Monuments endow us with the details about the variety and quality of materials used in making them in the past days. They provide a detailed idea about the craftsmanship and mining. We recognize the architectural intelligence of people in the past that compiled huge structures in the period when there was no technology.


With Historical Heritage it becomes easy to analyze the history of the place by viewing its historical monuments. They increase the significance of the site and people from far off land also come to visit them and increase the incoming of foreign currency to a country by foreign visitors. They help in educating and imparting every bit and pieces of information of the past and make things more interesting. They assist in providing the details of entertainment and educational value of the place. Some historical monuments with inscription provide us the detail about the past language and their mode of communication. Monuments maintain a sense of permanency and heritage of the city and make it more valuable for the country. It helps us to connect with our cultural roots and traditions emotionally.


Monuments serve as a symbol of cultural identity and provide guidance for coming generations.  Monuments serve as a reminder of our rich cultural past, as well as a national treasure and a source of civilization pride. They educate foreign tourists about the historical splendour of that culture in addition to inspiring the locals about their own past as they are visited by tourists across the globe. Historical places give glorified pictures of one country. They not only give us idea about the socio-economic state of the country but also give a vivid idea about the religious and political status. Historical places not alone for India but to the world are the pictures of the rule, the culture, the faith of changing times which that particular area underwent with the ages.


Historical places are there to show light on our earlier generations, their way of living, their skills, their knowledge etc. Historic heritage are places of significance to people on account of historical, physical (i.e., technological, archaeological, architectural) and cultural values. Historic heritage is often referred to as cultural and historic heritage or simply ‘historic places’. Essentially, all historic heritages have the various common elements. In simple terms, a heritage place is a place with a ‘story’ (the heritage values) about the interaction of people with the place. For example, a particular ‘rock’ may have certain geological values – but what makes the rock of historic heritage value will depend on how the rock has been associated with people – it may be of value to tangata whenua or it may be associated with settlement of the district or a particular historical personality.


From the above summarized points, it becomes clear that historical heritages are very precious. They are the pride of their respective countries. They showcase the cultural importance of the place and architectural intelligence of their people. Their conservation, upkeep, and proper maintenance are also essential to enhance their life. It will assist our future generations to get the know-how of their ancestors and enlighten with an abundance of knowledge. It is important for us to protect our cultural landmarks, take inspiration from them, and inform the next generation about our rich cultural legacy. Any society that has lost touch with its past is destined to repeat the mistakes and blunders that have already been made and is cut off from its rich cultural legacy. However, their significance can only be maintained if we visit them with due care and respect and take in the cultural, pacifist, and harmonious message that they offer. We need to make these locations accessible via a variety of modes of transportation, offer some basic amenities to visitors, and properly communicate the cultural and historical significance of the location and the legendary figures linked with it. The current generation will then be able to connect with their deep historical cultural roots as a result. Although these facilities must be provided, attention must be made to preserve the monument’s historical singularity and preserve its original old identity. Commercialization that is unwanted and unchecked must be kept at bay.


Heritage is the traditions, customs, and culture of a country that has had great importance for the country for a long time. What we are today is a result of our heritage and culture that has been inherited to us by previous generations.


(M Ahmad from Srinagar, Kashmir. He is a regular writer for this newspaper and can be reached at specialachivers78@gmail.com)

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