By Vijay Phanshikar :
IT IS truly heartening to know that a good deal of thinking is going on about preservation and conservation of ecology and heritage in some of the universities in Vidarbha. This is a very healthy development that should create a great effect on the larger society in time to come. And if this trend becomes popular, a new era of the connect of the academia with actual ecological and heritage issues will begin in this part of the country. Dr. Murlidhar Chandekar, the dynamic Vice-Chancellor of Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, is leading special project to care for archaeological and historical monuments.
The university has also identified lakes and ecological sites and villages for special care and preservation. Among the heritage sites chosen by the university is a 500-year-old temple that needs much tending. The university has realised that Washim, too, has a Zero Mile monument, which it is planning to adopt. And a highlight of the effort is the decision to ask for a 15-acre land to create a museum of history of Western Vidarbha. The idea is to promote larger society’s comprehensive interest in history. The university is acutely aware of the rich history of the area under its jurisdiction -- like Gurukunj Mozri where Sant Tukdoji Maharaj lived and worked, Shegaon where Sant Gajanan Maharaj lived and worked, Kaundinyapur, the birth-place of Rukmini. The effort is to ensure appropriate preservation and conservation of such sites and places.
To cap it all, Dr. Chandekar is planning to introduce a special Heritage Management course Led by its scholarly Vice Chancellor Dr. Shrinivasa Varakhedi, Kavikulguru Kalidas Sanskrit University at Ramtek has requested the Maharashtra Government to grant it permission to care for the Kalidas Memorial on the Ramtek Hills, which unfortunately is reeling under municipal neglect for years. Other universities, too, could be thinking along similar lines and may initiate efforts in this regard.
The basic expectation is that the academia takes a keen interest in preservation and conservation of ecology and history so that a specialist care is available for a critical issue. Unfortunately, however, the universities in this part of the country are not known to have done much work actively in the area of preservation and conservation of ecology and history. And because an academic intervention is not available, the larger society and the political leadership have tended to ignore these areas of public affairs. Yet, there are reasons to believe that a keen and well-directed interest and effort by the academia can make a lot of positive difference to our ecology and history or heritage. It is out of this anxiety that the ‘loosefooter’ has raised the issue! n