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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Pune Cantonment high on heritage, secluded from the public eye

Members of the Pune Cantonment Board have proposed to send a detailed heritage structure proposal to the ministry of defence (MoD),requesting it to list them as heritage structures

pune Updated: Sep 22, 2019 16:18 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
St Patrick’s Cathedral, a Roman Catholic building is located adjacent to the Empress Garden in Camp.
St Patrick’s Cathedral, a Roman Catholic building is located adjacent to the Empress Garden in Camp.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)

The 200-year-old Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) boasts of important historical buildings and structures located under its jurisdiction. However, the Cantonment board is yet to introduce its treasure to the world in terms of a heritage walk, though strenuous efforts are being undertaken to get their eight important structures listed as national heritage monuments. These are the National War Memorial, Race Course, Armed Forces Medical College, St Patrick’s Church, St Mary’s Church, Chhatrapati Shivaji Market, Babajan Dargah and Maratha War Memorial.

Members of the PCB have proposed to send a detailed heritage structure proposal to the ministry of defence (MoD),requesting it to list them as heritage structures.

Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Market in Camp.
Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Market in Camp. ( Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO )

Kiran Kalamdani, city-based architect and conservationist in 2011 along with the Pune chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), was asked by the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) to prepare an outline for the heritage revival of Shivaji market in Camp and other places. However, despite submission of a detailed plan, the PCB did not consider the recommendations regarding the conservation. Some active residents and conservation activists also requested the PCB to consider a project on the lines of heritage walk, but it has not received any attention till date.

In 2001, PCB had appointed a heritage advisory committee, to seek their expertise on how to preserve the Cantonment heritage under the presidentship of Brigadier Ashok Anand, now retired. Samita Gupta, historian was among the members of the committee.Currently, PCB does have any official dedicated to exclusively monitor heritage affairs.

City activists and camp residents share their views on the issue. “Cantonment is very rich in military heritage and the heritage value is of immense national importance. We want a special cell to be set up to protect this rich heritage and if need be start a heritage walk for the citizens and tourists, ” said advocate Netraprakash Bhog, social activist.

Maratha War Memorial at Hukshur, Camp.
Maratha War Memorial at Hukshur, Camp. ( Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO )

Manjett Singh Virdi, a cantonment-based businessman, said, “We have very high value of heritage buildings and the same must be listed at the national and international level. Our non-governmental organisation (NGO) MSV (Manjett Singh Virdi) Foundation will help the board in setting up the heritage walk initiative. ”

Vivek Yadav, vice-president, PCB, said, “We will take all the steps to ensure that the heritage structures are protected and people get to enjoy their importance. The administration is working for the overall development of the cantonment area, including heritage building conservation.”

Expert speak

Jayesh Paranjape, founder, The Western Routes

A walk which I would like to take in the Camp area should be well-researched, accurate in the history, have some universal appeal which can appeal to a local person, a migrant who is from some other city, an expat and even a foreign tourist. It should not be too long! Considering the mixed cultural scene, the walk should focus on the different communities which call the Cantonment their home.

(Jayesh has been conducting heritage walks and food trails in the city areas of Pune)

Jui Tawade, co-convener of INTACH Pune, shares that the Pune chapter has been conducting a variation of walks in Camp, on requests. “We do regular walks in Camp and most of them are pre-booked ones. We plan them as per requirement. There are food walks, that include eateries across the area. Then, we have walks planned during Christmas, which include food, visiting churches, residences, heritage buildings etc. The response has been good so far.”

First Published: Sep 22, 2019 16:16 IST

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