Home - About RHD - Why RHD
Conserving and nurturing rural
heritage is a foundation for sustainable economic growth as it ensures livelihood to rural residents in their traditional habitat, and increase the pride and self-confidence
of the entire community.
There is a growing realization throughout the world that heritage can play a powerful role in economic development. This is especially true in rural areas that may be extremely rich in heritage assets, yet suffer from poverty and lack of access to education, health care, social services and basic facilities.
Conserving and nurturing rural heritage, and recognizing that it is a valuable asset, can provide a foundation for sustainable economic growth, give rural residents the means and incentive to remain in their traditional habitat, and increase the pride and self-confidence of the entire community.
It is estimated that about 70% of India's population of over one billion people lives in rural communities. Poverty remains a chronic condition for almost 30% of this rural population. Even the poorest rural areas, however, often have substantial heritage assets. These include not only monuments, sites and historic structures, but living heritage relating to agricultural techniques and products, ritual and symbolic traditions, water conservation, myriad visual and performing arts genre, mythology, languages, medicines, craft and artisan skills, and many other areas relating to intangible heritage.
Many of the world's most developed nations are actively involved in preserving whatever remains of their rural heritage, and understand the strong linkage of heritage to development. In India, some government agencies and funding organisations have begun to understand the potential inherent in our extraordinarily rich and often still vibrantly alive rural traditions, and have recently initiated programs in specific areas. There is not, however, any means of coordinating these activities, encouraging broad-based participation and awareness, documenting rural heritage assets, disseminating information, or developing support for comprehensive programs.
A number of professionals and specialists in relevant fields thus proposed that a Trust be established for this purpose, which resulted in the formation of the Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD).