Preserving Stupas with Javedan cement?

Posted on August 24, 2006
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Culture & Heritage, History
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Owais Mughal

I saw this photo in Dawn and it disturbed me. It talks about how archaeological department has used cement mortar to preserve a 3rd century BC stupa in Taxila. This may be in violation of UNESCO guidelines.

I am not an archeological expert but even I can tell that using cement on a 2300 year old structure is not the right thing. I did a mini web search and found that originally the stupa was coated with lime plaster and gilding. Dharmarajika stupa is one of the 8 buildings that were built during the time of Mauryan dynasty to house Buddha’s relics.

I used the word Javedan in the title only to get your attention. I don’t know which brand of cement was used here. Whichever it is, it seems wrong.

7 responses to “Preserving Stupas with Javedan cement?”

  1. iFaqeer says:

    Baoo’jee, as Parfaisar Saab said, onoo hayaath-e-javedaan diththee ‘ey!

    Okay, so, as puns go, that’s what is called a “groaner”.

  2. Eidee Man says:

    Unsurprisingly, the government’s handling of this issue is regrettable. However, it is also hard to justify elaborate restorations of historical sites when a sizable portion of your population is in abject poverty.

  3. Raza says:

    Adil sahib, you are perfectly right. This kind of stuff goes on at all the time down there. The departments are proud of “preserving” these old monuments but if you go down and actually see them, there is nothing old left in them. Kamran’s Baradari looks like someone built it 20 years ago (from the condition it is in right now, I think it might be impossible to tell but anyways, the work done on it is contemporary). Similar is the fate of many other monuments. I don’t know who gets these jobs and how they get them. I am sure we have some bright archaeology students in our various universities and colleges who probably learned more in their first day of classes. We should set up a system for these students to do field work as experience to improve the condition of our dilapidated monuments. Maybe we can have them design ways of preserving these monuments for their class projects or something.

  4. Adnan Ahmad says:

    Sad, to say the least. Ghalib perhaps said this for Pakistan

    koi aablaa paa iss waadee’ay purkhaar main aaway

    It is true that to mullahs and the illiterate masses at large this is the sign of long gone infidels but for the concerned dept. to do this is criminal.

  5. Adil Najam says:

    Owais, what is really sad is the ignorance of this. I am sure the folks at the dept. must be might proud of themselves…. “pucca kaam kiya hai, sir ji!”

    I am surprised though, I have been impressed in the past by at least some of the people in that department and their personal commitment, despite the chronic lack of resources. Using cement on such a site seems so amateurish that I can’t imagine even our govt. dept. doing so. Although the picture clearly suggests it did.

    Do we have any more info. on why they did so… was a ‘dignitary’ about to visit and they had to spruce it up quickly! Or, perhaps, the over-enthusiasm or some functionary?

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