I had a conversation with someone yesterday that went something like this.

Me: I really want to go back and see Sadras. There is so much more to see in that fort.

X: Sadras? Where is that?

Me: Behind the Kalpakkam Atomic Power station.

X: Oh! That old building? Yeah! I know of it. I have been there…we used to use it as a bar, since you don’t have one inside Kalpakkam!

Me: What the F***?

This kind of an attitude pains me. My heart breaks when I see a part of my history and my culture being used as open-air urinals and bars. Such monuments of historical importance are meant to be valued, cherished and protected. I was always under the impression that it’s only people who were uneducated and uncouth did this kind of thing. But my conversation with X effectively rid me of this perception. I now realize that smart, educated, urban young men (and women) are as ignorant of the value of such historical monuments as the uneducated village youth of my imagination.

Sadras is not the only fort to meet with this fate. Some time ago, there were ads by the Ministry of Tourism, as part of the Incredible India campaign to sensitize people to the value of their heritage. I honestly don’t think that has worked. I myself saw several empty beer bottles, plenty of plastic waste, and graffiti inside the Sadras fort. I remember pointing out a random declaration of love to Sriram and fuming at the mouth about it. I can only hope that at some point in the future, people will stop treating forts like Sadras as urinals and bars and start giving them the respect they really deserve.

After all, they are not just old, ruined buildings. They are a part of our culture and our heritage. They constitute bits and pieces of history using which we can rebuild the story of our past, brick by brick. When will people understand that?

It’s our heritage dammit!

4 thoughts on “It’s our heritage dammit!

  • December 10, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I saw the same thing happening in Singhad Fort… I wish the government would atleast put notices, loud and clear in each and every such place – with phone numbers one can call if one encounters such things.

    It breaks my heart! That’s all I can say!

  • December 11, 2009 at 10:54 am

    yes . you are true. The “malaikottai”(Fort on the hill) in dindigul is used for many illegal purposes. Its plainly visible if you visit there. The fort was used by madurai rulers and tipu of mysore centuries ago and now used by many for having drugs and other activities

  • December 12, 2009 at 1:10 am

    It was my first job was sent to kalpakkam town to sell / service computers that my company had sold to the scientist’s home (branded Datamini. but my employer was a dealer to them)

    Many a time i had taken shelter in sadras fort at nights not able to afford a lodge or come back to chennai with the little allowance i used ot get for travel.

    Sadras – can never forget… been my host in my difficult times

  • December 13, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Hi Amrutha, nice post here.
    I understand your worry and fury. It’s ironical that we are taught the Indian National Pledge in schools saying “India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters.I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage….”

    How we wish just that at least educated ones behave !


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