Friends of ASI

A platform for positive and constructive discussion on ways of looking at history, architecture, archaeology, and conservation

Begumpur Initiative – Updates

Dear All,
As an update on the status of the Friends of ASI Initiative, the following is a summary of various
efforts by members; and of the major decisions taken as an outcome of discussions amongst
Narayani Gupta, Sohail Hashmi and Anisha Shekhar Mukherji, and of meetings between all or
some of them with K.K. Mohammad, Divay Gupta, and Meera Dass, culminating in a meeting
with Dr. B.R.Mani.
• 1. The Friends of ASI blog is up, containing basic text regarding the scope and direction
of the FrASI formulated by Anisha Shekhar Mukherji, and formatted and uploaded by
Himanshu Verma.
• 2. Profiles of those Friends of the ASI who have sent their brief bio-data, have been
uploaded.
• 3. Articles regarding interesting and inspiring excavations by the ASI couched in
‘layman’s language’, are awaited from B.R. Mani and K.K. Mohammad.
• 4. Further work regarding links to relevant published material/ writings shared by
members / visual documentation, will follow.
• 5. The main issues agreed upon for The Begumpur Project, an initiative of the ASI,
Begumpur Village and FrASI (following from the 21 May 2012 Site Visit to Begumpur
and Vijay Mandal, and the follow-up meetings/ email correspondence between various
members), are:
i) The necessity of including villagers in the conservation effort, and retaining
and strengthening the secular spatial and recreational
link between the monument and the village;
ii) Documentation of the village, based on primary data on social, structural,
architectural aspects (this is also part of the mandate of NMA, as stated by Meera
Dass);
iii) Analysis and discussion on the existing state of the village, and ways in which this
can be improved and positively integrated with the historic character of the site
(following from appropriate documentation by INTACH/ NMA, to be shared
with FrASI);
iv) Upgradation of services in the village including essential sanitary facilities to be
undertaken by ASI (after ii and iii have been done by INTACH/ NMA);
v) Improvement of health and safety in and around Begumpur by ASI/ MCD,
including clearing up of debris, plantation of ground cover; preparation of land as
a preliminary to the plantation of local species of fruit trees);
vi) Development of Begumpur and Vijay Mandal as pleasant, safe and inclusive
public spaces;
vii) Appropriate rehabilitation of people inside monument;
viii) Improvement of information and interpretation facilities on site (with the
participation of the villagers, the children of Mother’s International School, ASI
and FrASI members).
ix) Public Consultation with villagers/ stakeholders, at various stages on Proposed
Byelaws (NMA and INTACH to participate and partner on this effort);
x) Work on exhibitions, activities for children, imparting skills to women, compiling
an oral history, studying architecture, social structure and hydrology (with the aid
of universities/colleges/organisations such as S.P.A., Jamia, Chintan, CSE);
xi) Preparation of a document containing prioritised and identified areas of work for
the Begumpur Project, to ensure necessary funding from NCF.
Sohail Hashmi and K.K. Mohammad, with their knowledge and experience of
Begumpur have been identified as the key persons for the Project.
Anisha Shekhar Mukherji

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