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Ajit Koujalgi Memorial Lecture by Benny Kuriakose

February 28, 2015, 6:30:00 PM

Dr. Benny Kuriakose gave a memorial speech in 2015 at the Auroville Festival in DakshinaChitra, Chennai, honouring Ajit Koulagi and his outstanding conservation work.

After earning his degree in 1970 from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, Ajit Koujalgi, Chief Architect and Co-Convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Puducherry, began working closely with the Auroville community to preserve the Pondicherry heritage. On October 12, 2014, he passed away in Chennai.

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From his experience in conservation projects, Benny Kuriakose says that the projects should be driven by conservation and history, not by tourism. Education and interpretation of our heritage are important. This is for future generations. A city without historic buildings is like a man without a memory. The heritage project should be linked with the development plans. I am giving an example of a traditional market in which we have worked, the Kottapuram market. Starting with the stone paving, provision of drainage, toilets, and electrical lights, we looked at the revitalization market. We have been able to restore more than 150 shops in the market, added Dr. Kuriakose.

The best way to reward our dear friend Ajit Koujalgi is by conserving the heritage of Pondicherry in its true meaning. He strived and spent a major part of his creative life devoted to the heritage of Pondicherry. The best reward we can give is not in this memorial and is to continue his work. By working towards this, we will also be rewarding future generations, concluded Benny Kuriakose.