Once done with photography, as I walked back to Amer car parking, I saw this person carrying out repairs under the heritage conservation project. Ordinarily, a team carries out the conservation program. I presume other team members must have been engaged with other work since it is impossible to perform this task alone. I walked close to him and initiated the conversation.
“What’s your name?”
Are you “Kumawat?” (In Rajasthan, the Kumawat community is well-known for its skills in building and construction.)
“No, I’m Mali (gardener)”
“Do you live here in Amer?”
“No. I live on Ramgarh road, not far from here.”
“Would you appreciate it if I click your picture?”
He gave a prolonged pause & looked around before nodding in affirmation. I presume he was afraid the contractor he worked for might object as this 5-minute photography break doesn’t really sound “productive.” A part of him wanted to be photographed. During this conversation, he kept working. But now, he paused and posed for a picture. Here is the picture of one of many people who restores heritage structures in Jaipur.
I presented him with the pictures I clicked on the screen and a smile appeared on his face. Generally, whenever I click pictures of people in Jaipur, I try handing them out a copy, later. Many people don’t have easy access to a printed photo; it is a sheer joy to witness the happiness on the face of people while handing a print to them.
Another Face Of Heritage Conservation & Challenges
It is ironic some heritage structures receive so much attention while others suffer their own death. Right opposite where this restoration was taking place, an extensive section of the wall of an old Haveli was crumbling. The reason? It is not visible from the road. We live in a world where window dressing remains the norm. Read my blog on importance of Heritage Conservation Heritage Conservation Why we need to conserve our built heritage
Here are few challenges in heritage conservation in Jaipur and India, in general.
- Lack of funds
- Poor Attitude towards built heritage
- Lack of business model to generate revenue from built heritage
- Lack of enough skilled manpower
- The slow process involved in the restoration
These are some of the reasons but certainly, this is not exhaustive. As I conclude this post, here are two contrasting pictures of the wall of Amer. The first one depicts a restored section, while the other represents a crumbling structure. What are your thoughts on these two pictures? Do you think we should allow the built heritage to die because it retains no relevance? Read Why the loss of Great wall of Amer is inevitable