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Ahmedabad aims World Heritage City status,gets ASI thumbs up

Ahmedabad on Sunday staked its claim for the UNESCO World Heritage City status with the civic body submitting a formal proposal to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),the nodal body for this purpose.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
April 19, 2010 4:54:50 am

Ahmedabad on Sunday staked its claim for the UNESCO World Heritage City (WHC) status with the civic body submitting a formal proposal to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),the nodal body for this purpose.

The proposal was handed over to ASI Director General Dr Gautam Sengupta by Municipal Commissioner I P Gautam during the inauguration of an international conference ‘Asian World Heritage Cities’ held on the occasion of the World Heritage Day.

Sengupta backed Ahmedabad’s claim and said in his keynote address: “Ahmedabad is very important in South Asia,with a history of 600 years,a pluralistic but complex history,outstanding monuments,variety of craft tradition,and a fascinating expression of material culture.”

The ASI director general further said he was impressed by the enthusiasm of the locals about the effort and the goodwill enjoyed by the city. “But this is a long way. This is what people of the city have to understand. Enthusiasm and activism is commendable,but goodwill is not always translated into action,” Sengupta said,expressing the hope that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC),the state government,and the ASI would work together for this.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi in his inaugural address made a long,presentation about the socio-cultural relevance of various places in Gujarat from the historical perspective. Modi said that heritage spots like Patan,Vadnagar,Taranga and Udwada may or may not qualify as ‘heritage’ sites,but they are important in understanding the ancient heritage of the state.

Armoogum Parsuramen,director of UNESCO’s New Delhi office,praised Modi for his commitment to heritage preservation,and I P Gautam for his proactive role in the city’s development.

He said WHCs were icons of global cultural heritage lending a sense of identity and belonging among their citizens. “A heritage city has to be an example of good management and preservation. Use your resources for sustainable development… let Ahmedabad become an example of people-based effort of protection and conservation of heritage,” he said.

A coffee table book on Ahmedabad and another book on stone buildings of Gujarat were also released. The international meet at Ahmedabad Management Association will go on till Tuesday.

Modi recalls his stay in city pol during Emergency

Chief Minister Narendra Modi said in his inaugural address that had it not been for the Emergency,he would have never been so fortunate to stay in a pol (old-style house clusters in Ahmedabad). “Thanks to Srimati Indira Gandhi,I got an opportunity (to stay in a pol) for some time during the Emergency in 1975. The police were looking for us when someone suggested that I should hide in a pol if I wanted to continue underground activities. I took that advice,” Modi said.

He added: “The biggest advantage in a pol was that if there was a police raid,we could escape by jumping from one terrace to other. So,during my fight for democracy,I understood the importance of pols. They are the soul of the city.”

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