Sunday, 17 October 2010

Proposal to declare Burhanpur as a heritage city

The state government will take an initiative to get Burhanpur declared as heritage city in view of its historic and cultural importance. A proposal to this effect will soon be prepared by the state government and sent to the Union government for approval. This decision was taken on the initiative of School Education Minister Smt. Archana Chitnis at meeting of departmental officers at the Mantralaya here today.

School Education Minister Smt. Archana Chitnis had convened this meeting in the context of the letter presented to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan along with preliminary facts for getting Burhanpur declared as a heritage city. Along with preparing the proposal, list of heritage buildings of Burhanpur will also be prepared with their carbon dating. Proof of ancients heritages will also be collected. Discussions will be undertaken on various aspects including survey, repairs, renovation, civic services and heritage master plan. At the meeting, pictures of Burhanpur's ancient and historic buildings were also displayed. Those present on the occasion included Dr. Ishwar Das of INTACH, Principal Secretary Culture Smt. Snehlata Shrivastava, Principal Secretary Urban Administration and Development S.P.S. Parihar, Commissioner Archaeology Ashok Shah, MD of MP Tourism Development Corporation Hari Ranjan Rao, Burhanpur collector Smt. Renu Pant, superintendent of Archaeological Survey of India N. Tahir and officers of various departments.

Throwing light on the historic importance of Burhanpur, Smt. Chitnis said that this city has been very rich from the point of view of archeology and culture. The archaeological artifacts found from rivers, fields and in excavations date back to eight centuries BC. Axes, coins of first century AD, eight-hundred-year old manuscripts and carved utensils used in the third century have also been found here. All these facts point towards this city being 3,500-years-old. The heritages of Burhanpur include the hitherto-invincible Aseergarh Fort built by Raja Asha Aheer, Kundi Bhandara, which is the most successful ancient water supply system, an eight kilometre long wall for protecting the city etc. The Quranic verses written in Arabic and Persian scripts kept in the Jama Masjid are also among the world heritages of Burhanpur. Bohra community's Dargah-e-Hakeemi is also a international centre of pilgrimage of the community since it has been visited by all the 52 Syedna Sehiban. Besides, the Guru Granth Saheb signed by the tenth Sikh Guru Govind Singh Ji is also present in Burhanpur, which has made the city a big pilgrimage centre for the Sikh community. The Gurudwara Saheb at the Raj Ghat in Burhanpur is also revered by Sikhs as Guru Nanak Dev Ji had meditated here.

Burhanpur has a geographical uniqueness as well. Here there is a big fault, which was described as Bajada Fault by the officers of Central Groundwater Board of Government of India after studying it closely. The fault is situated parallel to Tapti river and adjoins the valley of Satpura hills. Two research and study books including 'Artificial Recharge to Banana Growing Area, 1999' and 'Gabion Structures 1999' were also published focusing on this fault. Due to this unique Bajada Fault, large quantities of Tapti water are sucked into the earth very quickly. About 60 per cent area of Burhanpur is forest-dominated.

Smt. Archana Chitnis has called for cooperation from all the departments in the preparation of proposal to get Burhanpur declared as a heritage city. She informed that the proposal will be prepared while meeting the norms of UNESCO. She said that the status of heritage city will definitely help develop Burhanpur further. After consultation with officers of various departments, a committee for this objective was constituted. It will be chaired by Burhanpur collector Smt. Renu Pant and its members will include officers of INTACH, Archaeological Survey of India, Archaeology Department and office-bearers of local bodies. A workshop of historians and archaeologists will soon be held at Burhanpur in connection with the proposal of heritage city, which will help in collecting and documenting the archaeological wealth, history and medieval heritage of Burhanpur.

According to Smt. Archana Chitnis, the heritage of Burhanpur is not only vested in its monuments but also in folklores about its buildings, which have been prevalent since ages. She said that it is vital for Burhanpur that the city is accorded heritage city status since this will help in getting aid from the Union and State governments for its all round development., Oct 13.


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