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Vol. XXXIII No. 5, June 16-30, 2023

Heritage Watch: Let’s put heritage to use

Two views of Rajaji Hall are what we have for you in this issue. And both views are OLD. The first dating to the 1850s shows what was then Banqueting Hall, sans the enclosing verandah. The second, dating to after 1890, shows the building as it is now. It is remarkable how little the edifice has changed over the years. The modifications if any are all cosmetic. Gone are the celebratory coat of arms over the two pediments, the front commemorating victory at Seringapatam in 1799 and the rear at Plassey in 1757. And that is about all.

But what has changed is the utilisation of the venue itself. It has been a long decline since the 1950s. From a time when Rajaji Hall was the venue for all glittering Government events, it became a place for exhibitions and then a venue for lying in state. Thereafter it has remained locked up. A heritage structure like this needs to be repurposed and put to use regularly. Let us hope that after the latest round of restoration (see article: Govt. Sanctions Rs 17 Crores for Rajaji Hall), Rajaji Hall will become a hub of social activity.

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