New Delhi, Oct 10 (PTI) An early 20th century castle in Patna, perhaps the only surviving specimen of Tudor architecture in Bihar, and a centuries-old haveli built by Dara Shikoh in Agra, are part of a newly-created INTACH register of several unprotected and endangered heritage buildings of India.
The Heritage at Risk Register (H@R), a database of many such structures, which are either facing threat of demolition or suffering decay for lack of maintenance, has been built as part of the SoBHI (State of Built Heritage in India) project of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage.
"SoBHI is an initiative of the INTACH to document a large number of old buildings and structures across India, which are historically or architecturally significant but unprotected, leaving them vulnerable to demolition or decay.
"The project also seeks to throw a spotlight on apathy these heritage structures face, and suggest a way forward," said Divay Gupta, Principal Director, INTACH Architectural Heritage Division.
While the SoBHI initiative was started a couple of years ago, the INTACH later devised a study to understand the nature of risks faced by these unprotected buildings and do a "quantitative analysis" on it, comparing it with its previous listings to also assess loss of heritage.
"The database, which drew from INTACH's old listings, inputs from peer experts and other people, local administrations, ICOMOS and few other institutions, included about 360 structures in the register, and has been published in a huge volume on SoBHI, running into over 600 pages," Gupta told PTI on Sunday.
From Bengal to Uttar Pradesh and Punjab to Andhra Pradesh, the register includes lesser-known structures, drawn from small towns and tier-2 cities as well, besides the metros.
From Bihar, eight structures are part of the database, including the 'Rizwan Castle', an early 20th century structure, perhaps the only surviving specimen of Tudor architecture in Bihar located in the heart of Patna on Fraser Road, and Dutch-era Patna Collectorate, facing demolition since 2016, and St Saviour's Church in Bhagalpur.
Rizwan Castle was built by legendary barrister and freedom fighter Syed Hasan Imam, who died in 1933. The landmark heritage structure and its campus, are a picture of abject neglect today.
Other structures on the register are 17th-century haveli built by Dara Shikoh, said to be his library in Agra; Nawab Alaf Khan ki Bawri in Sikar, Rajasthan; Bhensola Garhi Fort in Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh; Shillong Bar Association Building in Meghalaya; and Soan Bridge across Godavari in Telangana.
From Punjab, buildings in government medical college complex in Ambala to a Topkhana Gate in Patiala are also on the risk register.
"Belonging to the late 1780s, Topkhana Gate lies in a neglected state. Maintenance issues and prolonged neglect also lead to a state of decay and collapse.
"For example in the case of Samania Gate, one of the ten old gates leading to the old walled city of Patiala, the termite-infested wooden gate of this old structure succumbed to collapse because of lack of maintenance," reads the description on this historic yet neglected gate in the register.
"The register includes ruins of forts and caves, but also simple structures like a post office or an old government building which has been neglected. The idea is to highlight these aspects and search for workable solutions, while building partnership and awareness on the country's architectural wealth," a senior official of the Delhi-based INTACH said.
To raise awareness on the issue and seek crowd-sourcing to further populate the database, Heritage at Risk Register online campaign was launched this year on the World Heritage Day on April 18, which will go on for one year, Malvika Saini, senior conservation architect, special projects, INTACH's AHD said.
And, brief details and a picture of one heritage structure from the register, is being shared each day on INTACH's social media platforms, Saini said.
"The register is growing continuously since then. Though in the published volume, the 360 odd structures have been added, new structures reported after we began the campaign are being dynamically added in the online database of the register," she added.
INTACH has so far listed about 70,000 structures from across India, both protected and unprotected, since its inception in 1984. And, the purpose of this initiative that includes the register, was to also to take representative samples from its previous listings and do an analysis to understand the loss of heritage over time for various reasons, and find a way forward, the other official said.
"For including in register, we picked up structures which are threatened for various reasons, like proposed demolition, extreme apathy and neglect, increased pressure from rapid urbanisation and real estate growth, or even buildings which exist but have been subjected to a lot insensitive structural intervention, also leading to loss of their heritage value," she said.
From big cities, Old Post Office in Civil Lines, Daryaganj heritage structures in Delhi; British-era Capitol Cinema in Mumbai; New Empire Theatre in Kolkata; Military Building at St Thomas Mount, Chennai, are also part of the register of vulnerable heritage buildings, according to INTACH.
The register serves as a ready shelf of "potential conservation initiatives", from which state and local authorities as well as private and corporate bodies can take up cases, the heritage body said.