Introducing children to Humayun’s tomb

November 14th, 2011 - 4:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Monday released a guidebook of Humayun’s tomb for children in a bid to attract them to the 16th century monument and encourage them to know more about the country’s rich heritage.

The manual, “Let’s Explore Humayun’s Tomb”, is the first of a series of manuals planned by the ASI under a initiative by the culture ministry to bring history to children.

The ASI has published 30,000 copies of the book.

The manual was released by Culture Minister Selja at a ceremony attended by nearly 500 children from nearly 15 schools of the capital, coinciding with Children’s Day celebrations.

The release was marked by several activities for children like puppetry, story-telling, quiz, an environmental awareness campaign and heritage walks.

The book has been authored by Narayani Gupta and illustrated by Anitha Balachandran. The initiative has been supported by the Ford Foundation.

The colourful volume guides children with small stories about the tomb, Mughal rulers and the adjacent archaeological sites including the the shrine of of Nizamuddin Auliya, the historic cities of Delhi, Balban’s Lal Mahal and Chillia.

It has several chapters devoted to the restoration of the tomb.

Addressing the gathering at the ceremony, Kumari Selja said: “Humayun’s tomb is one of India’s 26 world heritage sites and is visited by over 300,000 school children every year.”

“The guidebook will help involve children in the preservation of monuments from an early age. We want more children to come to the monuments. History can only become popular as scholastic subject only when children visit monuments,” Selja said.

“The culture ministry will soon unveil a programme to encourage children to come to the monuments. The programme will be conducted by the ASI,” she added.

“This vividly illustrated guidebook with an intelligent yet simple narrative will help in improving the understanding and interest in Humayun’s tomb World Heritage Site,” conservation architect Ratish Nanda of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture said.

Nanda said the team had been working on the book for one year.

ASI director-general Gautam Sengupta told IANS: “We will publish three more guide books this year about a prehistoric site near Chennai, the Red Fort and the Qutab Minar.”

All the major archaeological sites protected by ASI in the country will be covered under the awareness initiative, Culture Secretary Jawhar Sircar said.

Humayun’s tomb, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and its outlying archaeological complex has been getting a makeover since 2007 under a not-for-profit private-public Humayun’s tomb-Nizamuddin basti Urban Renewal Mission Initiative by the Aga Khan Trust for
Culture, the Dorabji Tata Trust and the ASI.

The tomb was known to be have been commissioned by Humayun’s wife Hamida or Haji Begum, who is also entombed in the mausoleum along with five Mughal princes, including Dara Sikoh. It was built by Persian architect Mirat Mirza Ghiyath in the 16th century.

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