Rivers as ‘Heritage’

Today on 18th April, on the occasion of the World Heritage Day (or The International Day for Monument and Sites), I would like to highlight a common thread – which across cultures spatially and temporally keeps societies connected to their roots and the past – is ‘Rivers.’

Rivers, across the world, have witnessed rise and fall of several human settlements. Many times, the rivers act as a living memoir of the past. The rivers in their bellies carry several layers of historical remnants which enables us to reconnect with our past and also helps us to better understand our existence. This attribute of rivers, in turn, makes them our ‘Heritage.’

Similarly, the city of Nashik is blessed with the presence of the Godavari which is a palimpsest of several ethnic, cultural, political, and economic eras throughout its course. This makes the Godavari a palpable heritage of Nashik. However, the modernist and developmental agendas of the city are endangering the existence of the Godavari in Nashik. To preserve our legacy and become a part of it, we need to emphasize the integration of the ‘Rivers as Heritage and as Natural Ecosystems’ in our urban planning policies rather than over-exploiting and encroaching the rivers.

Thus, there is a need to perceive our ‘Rivers as a Heritage’ and not merely as a resource out there to be regulated and controlled.



Please check http://rivers-and-heritage.com/, for more information on UNESCO’s initiative to connect Rivers and Heritage.

News Reporter
I am an architect turned anthropologist. After finishing my Masters in Anthropology from University of Pune, I was working with Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune under a project funded by UNICEF and Integrated Child Development Scheme, Government of Maharashtra. During which I was stationed in Nandurbar District of Maharashtra (which is predominantly a tribal region) as a Field Research officer. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali, India. My current research explores the interaction of the cultural-religious, the political-economic and the ecological dimensions of the river in Nashik city in Maharashtra. Broadly, investigating how the multiple perspectives of a natural resource overlap, contradict, challenge and support each other, thus shaping the urban landscape and producing socio-spatial inequalities.

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