For an ancient culture, we don't value heritage

Published: Feb 18, 2020, 05:07 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

The 1878-made Hayward Brothers' Patent Semi-Prism Lights from Borough, London that once lit the station premise are in a sorry state with the recent ongoing renovation of the Grade 1 building

File pic
File pic

A relic that had been once carefully curated by the legendary architect Frederick William Stevens into the original designs of the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site of Mumbai CSMT now lies in ruins in one corner of the station premise, a report said in this paper.

The 1878-made Hayward Brothers' Patent Semi-Prism Lights from Borough, London that once lit the station premise are in a sorry state with the recent ongoing renovation of the Grade 1 building.

The light frames with about 44 prisms seem to be structurally intact, by and large. These were once above the sunlit passenger corridor of the suburban train area.
An expert was quoted in the report saying that these are important relics and the main ethos of conservation should be the protection of historicity of a structure.

We must try to retain material that is sound. Even if one cannot use that material in the restoration, it may be removed and then placed in a museum or preserved in some other place as history lives on in different ways.

The past is important to understand the present and contextualise it.

We must, all of us as conscious citizens and those in positions of authority, become aware of the value of these pieces of history, the importance of preserving them, the lessons that they teach us.

Sports enthusiasts have often rued how we need to develop a culture of history so that it fosters the preservation of the old — records, statistics and numbers. The lifeblood of sport is not very robust in India.

Strangely, we profess a love for heritage, take pride in being an ancient, multi-faceted culture, but fall short when it comes to correct documentation and preservation if not restoration.

These old lights once lit up a station. Today, let them light up our minds.

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