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Heritage as a tool of development

 The collective wisdom of the society in what it decides to keep and what it decides to discard is facinating. People of diverse backgrounds with different lived experiences accept certain aspects of history while discarding the rest. The role of politics, popular culture, patriarchy and the macro economic situation all have to be factored in understanding these decisions.  

Heritage thrives on recoginition and these recoginitons are perosonal and also as a society. In todays context of tourism and its impact on the economy, heritage becomes a very important tool in development. 

In this blog we dwell upon this thread - "heritage as a tool of development." to understand Heritage as well as how it will help in development 

Last year post the Pandemic while the whole world began traveling again, some 78 lakh people visited the louvre Museum in Paris. This is one Museum and it is emphasised here because of the next statistic that we present to you. In the entire state of Goa in the last year approximately 50 lakh tourists visited. The cultural and economic impact of a society that values art, history and heritage is evident here. 

Our expression of what we value transalates into our heritage and these values speak louder than any advertising campaigns. These values reflect in everything we do and also in the choices we make, the way we plan our infrastructure to way we conduct ourselves as a society and the way we celebrate our artists and so on. 

We always make the mistake of thinking of heritage as something from the past that needs to be protected, but the real hritage of a place are its people and hence heritage is alive and thriving and is present rather than the past. The food we eat, our agrarian landscape, the music we here all come from the people and all this and much more contribute to the heritage of the place. Yes many historic events help shape the different aspects of life but it is not the only contributing factor. 

Heritage can be a very important tool in the development of a region or country. The cultural capital attracts visitors which helps in the growth of an economy and more importantly helps in development of its soft power. By using heritage as a tool we could grow economically and shape the preferences of others. 

When the Portuguese arrived on the west coast of India, they were astonished by the variety of Art from small handicrafts to paintings and architecture. The reason why they started altering the skyline, so to say with large cathedrals is because they had to, having seen the scale and splendour of cities from the Mughal Architecture in North to the Vijayanagar empire in the south. 

We have come a long way from a culture that celebrates its art and artists, may be it is because of the  economic conditon after all we are a developing nation and lets hope when we would have achieved  prosperity we would evolve to a society that revers its art, heritage and artists.  

We had the opportunity to attend a short course by Ar.Walter Rossa who has dedicated his academic and scientific career to research on theory and history of architecture and urbanism, especially on the domains of town planning and design, culture of territory, and heritage of the Iberian universe. About that he has made conferences and courses in Brazil, Cabo Verde, China, Guatemala.

This course was held at the Goa University under the Directorate of Visiting Research Professors Program (DRVPP) . the content of this blog is 1 of the many aspects of heritage and its many importance that were discussed during this course. 

About Professor Walter Rossa 

About DRVPP Program


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