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Sunday, October 2, 2022

scribbling at Monuments - Mahabalipuram ~ arrest at Colosseum

In the serene beautiful temples, being examination time, hundreds of school children seek the benevolence of Lord  ~ and some scribble their name and roll no. on the wall….  Children can be forgiven, they should be taught that they ought not do this. But in every tourist spots, one sees brutal carving of the Names, numbers, not so consequential love details ….by etching their names [and that of their love] on soft green trees and hard rocks and on murals and other important places, people think that their name is going to remain forever – their frenzied behaviour is only causing irreversible damage to the proud testaments of history.

India has a rich heritage which includes a repository of archaeological treasures and incredible monuments. This cultural history epitomised in heritage monuments stems from a historic past of ancient civilisation.  Be it the famous forts, the famed temples, architectural beauties  including Ajanta, Ellora, Mahabalipuram and many more.  Some mad visit tries to erase the pristine beauty from the next generations !! the heritage is to be preserved and passed on to future by a civil society.

According to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 ( No. 24 of 1958), if someone destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces, imperils or misuses a protected monument she/he shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three months, or with a fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both.

It is not only individuals but sometimes groups as well.  A couple of years back, the sanctity of the Shore Temple at Mamallapuram was violated when thousands of party cadres clambered on to it and hoisted flags of the party.   The fences were uprooted, and the lawn and entrance gate damaged, sources in the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said.  The structure of the shore temple has weakened due to years of onslaught from sea wind.  Scores of people aggravated the damage.  A party flag on the Pallava-era lighthouse, a protected monument and part of the heritage site, did only damage …. ! 

The Colosseum  also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre  is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and stone, it is the largest amphitheatre in the world, and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering.   Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 70 AD, and was completed in 80 AD under his successor and heir Titus.  The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.

Two American tourists have been arrested for carving initials into the Colosseum in Rome.  Before they were spotted, the women, 21 and 25, were able to carve a J and an N into a brick wall on the first floor of the west side of the Colosseum.  After carving the eight-inch high letters, the women posed together for a selfie.  The women, just two of six million tourists that flock to the Colosseum every year, used a coin to engrave the letters, La Stampa reported.

They are said to have broken away from their tour group before - but other tourists saw what had happened and alerted security. Police charged the women with 'aggravated damage on building of historical and artistic interest', according to Republica.  After they were caught, the women apologized to Piazza Dante police and Captain Lorenzo Iacobone. They said: 'We apologize for what we did. We regret it but we did not imagine it was something so serious.

According to the Guardian, the section damaged dates back to the 1800s - a key period of restoration. A spokesman for the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome is quoted as saying: 'It’s not an original wall but it’s nevertheless antique.' With approximately six million visitors to the Colosseum each year and ever-increasing staff cuts, policing the site has become a major problem. Sadly many of the stones bear the unsightly engravings of tourists keen to leave their mark.

The Californians’ lawbreaking comes little over three months after a Russian tourist was caught carving a 25cm letter into the Colosseum. The 42-year-old was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and a €20,000 fine, although owing to a lack of funds he has not paid the penalty.

Unfortunately, only penal actions seem to deter people from wrongful deeds !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th Mar 2015.

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