What is the basis of the built surroundings around us today? Is it based on people’s believes, values and their culture or it is the groundwork on social, ethnic or political conflicts? Intervening the former narratives to approach a particular field of interest is the new tactic. During this long period, the image of the past and heritage got fundamentally twisted. Today the focus is shifted from preserving to getting right over it. But the motive is completely different we need to understand that heritage is the easiest way to sustain relations between past, present, and future. It is the dynamic manifestation of change in perception with humanity’s mode of existence. Why preserve tangible cultural heritage? Not for an ethical expression, rather pass on the wisdom and skills to the coming generation. We have to sustain the most precious parts of our history because it has inherent values and constitutes a non-viable resource that can’t be substituted and therefore, is preserved for the benefit of our descendants. Learning about our past also gives a historical perspective of our heritage and serves as a guidepost to provide information about what to expect in the future.

Winner | RTF Essay Writing Competition May 2021

Category: Essay: Complex Pasts – Diverse Futures
Participant: Akshada Choudhary
Profession: Student
City: Burhanpur


The idea of history has constantly been the field of creativity, changing with objectives of a peculiar moment. The memory of the past is mutual to all societies and cultures, yet based on tangible and intangible elements that play different roles and take different forms. We can make our history but not as we wish but based on the circumstances directly experienced, described, and transmitted from the past. Heritage from our near past or present was built to conceive representation of the future, that’s our present. For hundreds of years, communities have endeavored to safeguard their history. The practices back then recognized the need to maintain information about the culture and historical events for the coming generations.

For example, the great wall of china gives a sense of pride in heart of the country’s people, as it resembles their long-lasting history. Similarly, Egyptians documented their history through architecture to last centuries. Jewish copied manuscripts in great detail for this purpose.

The Irish appointed individuals like professional poets for the cause of memorizing historical events. This shows how society understood the importance of documenting their history also they wanted to make certain that the narratives told are accurately presented.


The argument over the rights of cultural heritage has long been a controversial issue. Whose heritage it is? Which nation or religion owns the right to it. For example, The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci has been a topic of conflict that who does it belongs to? Italian or French. Cultural heritage can’t be bounded to a particular community or individual.

It    consists of important elements – traditions, rituals, manuscripts, craftsmanship, or history, performing arts, social practices inherited from our ancestors. We have to acquire from the past to get issues resolved today. It gives you a time-tested solution for conflict prevention and reconciliation.

For example, PukaPuka is a coral reef of the Cook Islands, well-known by anthropologists, because the inhabitants are used to invent past incidents to solve present problems. They formed a governance body called Akatawa and were introduced to make local ministry more efficient. The decision was made on the prediction that they are a traditional institution, relating to the local history. The story wasn’t true, but many people supported the decision of the assumption that they had formerly experienced the positive character of Akatawa. This may have a more flexible decision-making process with locals understanding than the formed International organization. As some scholars had shown their viewpoint to us through their book, in the 19th century, great Britain and France devised historic events and traditions to strengthen the legitimacy of their national institutions.


The memory of our past is an important key to analyze cultural diversities and improvise living culture. Recognizing that the real demands by society for a sustainable future can be unlocked from the past. The preservation of heritage is important to know the fundamentals adopted during the making of civilization like The purpose of the home was to provide shelter and not for content for supremacy. It is compromised on many aspects that you cannot separate yourself. Like Identity – The importance of the cultural heritage stretches beyond their history, ascribing more to the special character and feeling of belonging they elicit in our hearts.

A source of economical sustainability – The enhancement of existing neighborhoods and infrastructure is better than building a new one and demolition and deconstruction impacts both on the environment and economic factors also tourism has a comparative share in the country’s GDP.

Education – Promoting knowledge about history through the education system to future decision-makers. Giving young people a chance to participate in heritage conservation and raise their concerns to become involved in the protection of our common and natural heritage.

Media – Media plays a vital role in making the image of individual and collective memory more complex from publishing books to newspaper’s journalism’s coverage of discoveries to the depiction of archeology in visual arts – in shaping both the profession’s and the public’s awareness and desire to preserve world’s cultural heritage.Increased use of all various types of artistic, broadcast, electronic, and print media by archaeologists to more rapidly promote the documentation and preservation of the many endangered international heritage sites.

Conservation – Conservation of heritage, also means to accept and testify of undergoing changes, not to deny it. But we have to adapt the right part out of the continuing restoration of values and narratives associated with sites and articles that make the continuation of communities and their intangible and tangible heritage feasible in the long term.


This study reveals a four folded conclusion. We need to begin envisioning our ideal diverse community and build a future on lessons learned from the past and moving forward to contrive solutions of present issues of concern keeping the fundamentals stable. Past is unbelievably authentic and its preservation has become important compared to other tools and variables that are very well meant to defend local identity. Preserving and descending the legacy is equally about past-that-was and future-to-be involving both loss and gain, concurrently manifesting continuities and discontinuities in the present. Both are about values and meanings for people, about the end of past certainties and uncertainties of new beginnings. It is the result of the selection process of memory and conscience that defines every ethical group constantly engaged in choosing: for both political or religious. In the era of urbanization which will be an issue of concern in forthcoming years, heritage helps to remember our cultural diversity and its understanding develops mutual respect and paradigm. And always be acknowledged by the question of what you want heritage to do in, and to society to benefit people in the present and future generations. Given the concept of heritage is not about people, not about monuments but has gradually been expanded to embrace the living culture and contemporary expressions.

At last, We need to shift from Whose to How because the history is not for or by an individual or community but for everyone to learn from. we can resolve the complexities of the past to support inclusive and diverse points of view in the future.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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