Editorial: Volume 3, Number 1, 2013

With this issue the magazine completes its three year online presence. We started this more as a scholarly platform for documenting and discussing the cultural treasure of Bengal than as just a magazine. We successfully published two special issues—one on the arts and crafts of Bankura and another on the Temples of Bengal, and other general issues. Many researchers and enthusiasts came forward to contribute to it and proved that our neglected heritage can truly be a subject of scholarly discussion. The recognition came when EBSCO signed an agreement with us and included the magazine in their database. Later on several digital libraries of foreign universities included it.

We also received warm feedback from readers, including some very old connoisseurs in the field, from various parts of the world. We also succeeded in contacting a number of artisans and got their valuable inputs, which helped us to understand art and crafts from a different perspective.

From all these experiences, what we have learnt is that in order to understand the significance of our indigenous heritage we need to break free from our artificial and ideologically formed paradigms. A fashionable love for heritage is not going to help any cause whatsoever. This is chiefly because of this structure of our thinking process that the Victoria Memorial gets all the attention and care and paradoxically it symbolizes our colonial legacy, while the indigenous structures and sculptures of Bengal lie neglected in obscure villages. Hopefully with the rise of the web and the social media people are rapidly becoming aware of the need for preservation of local heritage. Slowly pressure is building up indirectly on the people in charge of preservation and documentation. On the other hand, people should also realize that only sharing some pictures for some ‘Likes’ on the social media is not enough to save our vanishing heritage; rather a planned community programme is the need of the time. To put it differently, it should be rather a programme from the real soil to the online, and not anything from online to the real one.

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