Kangla as a World Heritage Site
IFP Editorial: Now, the historic Kangla lies in waste bereft of funds for its upkeep and maintenance.
Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba last Monday drew the attention of the Upper House during the zero hour to set up a special task force to conserve and protect archaeological sites and historical monuments of Manipur. He said the archaeological sites and historical monuments of Manipur need to be protected. Under the Manipur Ancient and Historical Monument and Archeological Sites and Remains Act 1976, Manipur State Archaeology (MSA) has been protecting a total of 63 archaeological sites and historical monuments. Of the total archaeological sites and historical monuments, some are located at the international border areas. Mentioning the historical monuments of Maharaja Chandrakriti located at Behiang, Churachandpur district and the megalith erected at Mao Maram area and others, MP Leishemba demanded setting up of a special task force to protect such sites against illegal land encroachers. Manipur State Archaeology since its inception in 1978, has been continuing its work to find out archaeological sites and historical monuments at various places of the state.
One of the most important sites of ancient heritage in Manipur is Kangla fort located in the heart of Imphal. Of course, there were a few components of Kangla in the scheme. The kingdom of Manipur was established and developed around Kangla. Being a site of political and religious centre, Kangla has grown into a formidable fortress city through the centuries. It is from this capital that the Ningthouja clan gradually wielded enough political and military power and grew up to be the most dominant clan in Manipur. The state government had engaged Professor Nalini Thakur of School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi to prepare a Concept Development Plan (CDP) of ‘Kangla Fort’ after the then Manmohan Singh government handed over the historic Kangla Fort to Manipur state government on 20 November 2004. Now, the historic Kangla lies in waste bereft of funds for its upkeep and maintenance. It has been a long time since the state government has been pursuing the case of Kangla as a World Heritage site. A World Heritage site is a natural or man-made site, area, or structure recognized as being of outstanding international importance and therefore as deserving special protection. Sites are nominated to and designated by the World Heritage Convention (an organization of UNESCO).
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance. The sites are judged to contain “cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity”. To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be a somehow unique landmark which is geographically and historically identifiable and has special cultural or physical significance. For example, World Heritage Sites might be ancient ruins or historical structures, buildings, or cities. Considering all these factors, we sincerely feel that Kangla fort deserves to be declared as one such site, for its preservation and protection. The Rajya Sabha MP Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba should also be pursuing this case with both Indian and international authorities in this regard.