Why Heritage Matters Column?
I returned to India and my birthplace Amaravathi Heritage Town after nearly four decades. The invitation from both the local people and elected governments was to share my international heritage expertise and experiences. Two years later my mother passed away on the 10th of January 2018. To cope with deep depression from the bereavement and with my brother’s encouragement, I started writing a weekly Saturday Column entitled Heritage Matters in my mother’s memory from the 10th of February 2018. It honours her blessings for the following challenges that we discussed over meals: raising awareness that heritage matters beyond the antiquities rooted in 19th Century thinking; promoting comparative knowledge through case studies to create a frame for cultural learning outcomes; thinking beyond short term recreational tourism and focusing on heritage tourism drawing on non-renewable resources of environmental and heritage value; and creating a broad awareness among the burgeoning middle classes, politicians, civil service, NGOs and general public that culture in all its manifestations needs to be grounded in the five pillars of social, economic, cultural, environmental and spiritual sustainability through participatory democracy to realize UN Sustainable Development Goals and AGENDA 2030 and the New Urban Agenda of UN HABITAT III.