Their ideal date is a historic monument and fighting to save such landmarks excites them so much which is unparalleled.
Allahabad native Vaibhav Maini is an IT professional, but his heart beats for old buildings of his city.
“I studied in St Joseph’s College, then Ewing Christian College and then in Allahabad University. All of these have heritage buildings. I believe that subconsciously I was already getting into the zone.
“Plus, my parents really keep old books, postcards and photographs with care. So, that also contributed to the passion,” he told PTI.
Maini, in his 20s, said that for heritage lovers like him, an ideal date is a quiet moment with a favourite old monument.
Asked what are his favourite heritage buildings in Allahabad, he listed Muir Central College building in the Allahabad University campus, All Saints Cathedral and Thornhill Mayne Memorial or Allahabad Public Library.
“But, this love is not easy. There are several heartbreaks… I still try to soldier on. Even watching the skeletal remains of old Lowther Castle (Darbhanga House), or the British-era Government House used as a medical college, with looks changed beyond recognition, is a pain every day,” he said.
“Our affair with these old buildings is life-long,” he said.
It’s the same for Prakash Hathi, who runs Dharohar India foundation in Surat, a city steeped in history.
On new year this time, his foundation brought out a diary to commemorate 150th year of Surat clocktower while celebrating other tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the city.
“The love I have for Surat and the feeling with which we do heritage walks and other events is that we need to make people aware of their heritage and engage them. What we do can bear fruits only when people participate and take ownership,” he said.
In Patna, 21-year-old Neel Madhav, a freelance journalist, is busy writing a story on the railway heritage of Jamalpur, an old railway town in Munger district of north Bihar.
“I care for heritage as we are a sum total of our inheritance from past. As individuals, we can’t exist alone and physical structures around us built over generations have a bearing on us, whether the modern society acknowledges it or not,” he said.
On the occasion of World Heritage Week on November 25, Madhav had travelled all the way from Khagaria, his ancestral village, to Patna to attend a walk organised by Save Historic Patna Collectorate, a citizen-led initiative to save the Dutch-era landmark from demolition.
“I believe in people who fight for heritage. The Save Historic Patna Collectorate campaign is running for the last five years. Last year, they had done ‘V Day with Collectorate’ to draw local people towards their heritage. I am proud to be part of this movement since its early days,” he said.
Bengaluru-based architect Yashaswini Sharma, who posts on social media to educate and motivate people towards heritage preservation, said, “It is the understanding of our past that helps us create a better future”.
“When the Asiatic Building in Bengaluru, Lansdowne Bazaar and Devaraja Market in Mysore faced immediate threat of demolition, it broke our heart. We care for heritage, and their are moments of frustration. But, it is the undying love for heritage which keeps us going,” she said.