Risk Management of the Military Cultural Heritage of Nepal

Dr. Prem Singh Basnyat & Jaya Prabha KC

Nepal is land of Cultural heritage. We are proud of it. Different religion, cast social culture, tradition, profession and geopolitical reality and British Grokha employment made a great contribution to make the cultural history and heritage of Nepal. Moreover, Nepal was divided into more than 53 principalities till 1743 and ruled by different kings with their own tradition and culture. Nepal started unification campaign after 1744 and born as a grater Nepal which harvested different cultural heritage and existing till now.

Nepalese Army has played a significant role in unification campaign as well as protection of national sovereignty Moreover; it has an exemplary role in preservation of National history, culture and heritage since 449 years. The present Army established in 1559. The Army had direct role for the national development of Nepal till 50 Years back.

On the first hand, Nepalese Army and its commander's established many temples with its care taking system which has been existed across the Nepal. Many of the temples are close by and inside the Army Barracks. Which have been looked after by the Army for its conservation, preservation and worshipping ceremony. National archives of Nepal are a very small unit and it can't look after in whole area. So that an aware team should be prepared to protect the temples as well as cultural heritage with risk management.

On the second hand, Nepalese forts castles and different deities inside that infrastructure are also the living cultural heritage of Nepal which was built many hundred years ago. And it should be preserved and promoted against its risk of degradation. More than 2000 forts, castles and deities have been laid without proper care taking. They are almost in ruined condition. So that an aware teem of culture and heritage to be made for it's soon preservation.

On the third hand, Nepalese Army holds many historical buildings e.g. Military hospital of word war I, different arsenals since its establishments, barracks, museum, School, Bridges etc. Which most be preserved in proper way with skillful hand.

On the other hand, Nepalese Army has lot of very old weapons, cannons, vehicles, colors, equipment, achieves, photography, paintings, statues. This needs to be preserved in proper way.

Risk Management of the Military Cultural Heritage of Nepalese Army

The Risk management initiative would not be limited within army periphery .Of course; it handles in other public sector too. The cultural heritage of Nepalese Army is also the National cultural heritage of Nepal. Being a director of Military Museum, this paper reflects more in military side. The following aspects are considered as natural and man made disaster from risk assessment view point.

Natural Disaster

  1. A River is holy place in our tradition and mostly temples are built nearby the river. This is vulnerable from flood. Similarly, the mountainous area is dangerous from level slide. This costs to cultural heritage.
  2. Nepal affects from strong winds. This also affects to the roof of temples, old buildings, hospitals, museums etc.
  3. Most of the public old buildings are in ruined condition. The heavy raining costs a lot to sweep out the cultural heritages.
  4. A lot of religious and public buildings, forts, bridges, museums are in danger condition due to earthquake in Nepal.
  5. Nepal has very typical climate e.g. Himalaya, High Mountain and plain areas have different climates and humidity. This affects a lot of the cultural heritage of Nepal.

Man made Disaster

  1. The national law and orders have become not enough strong due to unstable political situation since one and half decade. So that public encroachment of surrounding lands and objects of cultural heritage has became a very serious issue.
  2. Construction of tall and crowded buildings has affected a lot of the heritages.
  3. Uncontrolled road constructions, electrification, watering system are other factors to hamper the cultural heritage.
  4. Vehicle's pollution and sound pollution have affected a lot of cultural heritage.
  5. Stolen of Statues, other valuable items and ornaments of heritages is other serious factor.
  6. Lacking of awareness programs is a basic shortfall of the nation. Because of illiteracy, hunger and unemployment, very unwanted activities have been going against the cultural heritage preservation ethic. This could be reduced by public awareness programs.
  7. National government has not controlled property to its cultural heritages. Which also a very painful aspect.
  8. Honesty of the respective bureaucrats, social workers, academicians, and people pays a high value to preserve the cultural heritages. So that, this factor seems not working properly, etc.

Nepalese Army has started to preserve and maintain the army and public cultural heritages through this military museum since 4 years. We have a strong will and commitment to go ahead in order to achieve our organizational goal. But we are lacking of skilled man power. So that this museum (Military Museum and personally ourselves) needs this International Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage 2008. We would be grateful if, your institution considers us to provide the opportunity.

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