We have house guests and, despite, the filthy air quality in Delhi, I did a little bit of sight-seeing with them today.
I took them to Safdarjung’s Tomb, and it was every bit as heart-breaking as my last visit there 8 months ago, in early March.
I wrote a shocked blog post at the time – here’s the link – bemoaning the graffiti defacing every wall in this amazing monument.
Dunno why I thought anything would’ve changed for the better in 8 months. But hope springs eternal etc etc.
Obviously nothing has been done to remove the yards of ugly, mindless, stupid graffiti and there was no security visible for 95% of our time there. Right at the end, a security guard appeared, clearly headed elsewhere, but I stopped him and talked with him about the vandalism.
First, see for yourselves the damage wrought upon one of the country’s most important monuments:
This monument is under the protection of the ASI – Archeological Survey of India. I checked their website for you. They even have a section outlining their duties. And I quote:
“The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), as an attached office under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation. Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI.”
The underlining & “bolding” of that sentence is mine. Read it again, if you will :
Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI.
Total dismal failure, at least as far as Safdarjung’s Tomb is concerned.
I shall send this blog post to them, via their Contact page on the website.
Let’s see if this time I get an acknowledgement.
No reply, no acknowledgement, nothing last time when I contacted them, but hope springs eternal etc etc.
I’d also forwarded my tweets and this link to the Prime Minister last time.
I’d also forwarded all this to the Ministry of Tourism & Culture.
Yup, how did you guess? Nothing.
Anyway, back to the only security guard I saw while wandering around with my guests.
I asked him about the vandalism and he agreed with me that it was shocking.
Long story short – he says school children do it, when they come in huge school parties.
So why don’t you stop them?
There are too many of them, and if you stop one, another one starts.
Get their teachers to control them.
Madam, there are hundreds of children and usually only 2 teachers. What can they do?
The guard was lovely and not at all defensive or belligerent in the face of my criticism. He was polite and agreed it was horrid, but kept saying that the school children are badly behaved.
Before I forward this to the ASI & the Prime Minister’s office & the Ministry of Culture and wait for a response, here’s another depressing clip for you.
Sorry, folks, but this breaks my heart…