Amritsar, Punjab: The residents of the town stand for the preservation of the historic gates of the holy city, which are crying for the attention of the authorities concerned. Vagaries of nature have taken a heavy toll on these heritage structures. Many gates have vanished with the passage of the time.
Residents share their opinion regarding the preservation of the heritage gates in the city:
Reminder of efforts
Gates remind us of the collective efforts put in by our forefathers to protect the holy city from invaders. The city was fortified. It resulted in peace and prosperity which catapulted the city into a leading business hub in the region. Fast-paced growth and urbanisation changed the face of the town. In the walled city, many heritage buildings and structures were razed to reconstruct modern ones by their individual owners. Government must intervene to restore these heritage structures.
Harpinder Singh Walia
Reconstruct missing gates
These days young children are taught to respect and upkeep their heritage in schools. They are often taken on sightseeing tours especially to heritage sites to enhance their understanding of our culture and traditions. However, children question the city’s history. It is really nice to read a map of the Municipal Committee, Amritsar, published before the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It depicted existence of 12 historical gates. We are lucky that we can see the vestiges of the heritage. But our next generations may not be lucky enough. Hence, it is obligatory on the part of the government to reconstruct the missing gates and maintain the existing ones for posterity.
Failed to preserve art
Successive governments in Punjab promised to give governance on the pattern of “Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule,” but they failed to preserve the invaluable art and heritage of the Maharaja’s time. Amritsar looked like a fortified city in the days of the Maharaja. The fortification consisted of an immense rampart of earth and a wide ditch, apart from 12 gates to save the town from foreign invasion.
While most of the gates have been demolished, there is no trace of the ditch. Unmindful of their heritage value, most of the gates were pulled down in the past. After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, many old buildings were replaced by modern monuments, constructed by the British. Similarly, historic wall between the gates was pulled down at many places to construct commercial and residential buildings. It is intriguing that how space at the wall was sold out to individuals.
Lal Singh Gaggobua
Lack of information
The move by the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB) to install display boards announcing the names of historic gates in the city is laudable. Many of these boards are still visible and offer a glimpse to their heritage value. Apart from these, I have never seen any study commissioned or information being dispersed among the nearby residents to educate them about their historic past.
Source: The Tribune