‘Pondicherry is my place of retreat, my cave of tapasya- not of the ascetic kind, but of a brand of my own invention.’
As part of the Pondicherry Heritage Festival, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society organized a symposium ‘Cultural Heritage Conservation & Sustainability with Reference to Pondicherry’ on 23/2/2023 at Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry. Shri Pradeep Narang, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Dr. Nallam Satish, Président, Alliance Française de Pondichéry and Dr. Dominic Goodall, Head, École françaised'Extrême-Orient, Pondicherry graced the occasion and scholars representing various institutions spoke on important aspects of Cultural Heritage Conservation of Puducherry.
Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society said that Cultural Heritage includes both the form of culture Tangible and Intangible. Pondicherry is also called as the French Riviera of the East after the advent of French colonialization in India. He further said that about the UNESCO convention for safeguarding the preservation of Tangible & Intangible Cultural heritage including artistic creations, built heritage such as buildings and monuments, and other physical or tangible products of human creativity, the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces. He emphasized on the development of policy for the conservation of Cultural Heritage which is an unique factor for the preservation of heritage.
Dr. Nallam Satish, President, Alliance Française de Pondichéry said that Cultural Heritage Conservation refers to the sustainable measures taken to extend the life of a cultural heritage which a unique heritage message and value. Puducherry has a very rich and diverse cultural heritage, where the culture impacts several traditions which were merged to form a culture in itself. There is a need to undertake sustainable measures for the conservation of cultural and natural heritage with special emphasis on Wellness Tourism.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pradeep Narang, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry referred Maharshi Aurobindo’s vision ‘Pondicherry is my place of retreat, my cave of tapasya- not of the ascetic kind, but of a brand of my own invention.’ As far as the cultural heritage of Puducherry is concerned it represents the unique features of different forms of heritage including oral tradition, festive celebrations, built heritage, archival collection, natural and eco-cultural heritage. We find a rich tradition of handicrafts like woodcraft, pottery, metal craft etc. Pondicherry refers to a cosmopolitan culture belonging to different castes, creed and religions live here amicably.
Dr. Dominic Goodall, Head, École françaised' Extrême-Orient, Pondicherry spoke about the inscriptions found in Pondicherry and Karaikkal spanning from the 9th to 19th centuries. These inscriptions presents the glorious history of the land and its culture with special emphasis on the historical references and majority of them are written in Tamil, but Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Latin and French are also represented. He further spoke about the research, publication and program activities undertaken by École françaised' Extrême-Orient in the areas of Inscriptions.
Eminent speakers representing various institutions, Dr. Ravichandirane P., Assistant Professor, Department of History, Tagore Government Arts & Science College, Puducherry; Shri Ashok Panda, Co-convener, INTACH, Pondicherry Chapter, Puducherry; Dr. Geeta Auropremi, Former M.D. (Ayurveda), Gujarat; Dr.Gobardhan Sahoo, Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, School of Life Sciences, Pondicherry University; Shri Raghunath T.P, Director, Svarnim Puducherry, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry and Mr. G. Earnest Paul, SARVAM Access Program Trainer & Assistant Professor Tagore Government spoke on various topics focusing on the cultural and natural heritage of Pondicherry.