Indian Heritage Centre to reach out to diaspora

Indian Heritage Centre to reach out to diaspora

SINGAPORE - The Indian Heritage Centre (IHC), an initiative led by the National Heritage Board, is expected to be ready by 2015.

The management committee of the IHC is holding a presentation at the South Asian Diaspora Convention (SADC) 2013 on Nov 22 to spread awareness about the initiative among the diaspora and also to update them about the $12 million project, which is being developed at the junction of Campbell Lane and Clive Street.

The presentation will include the latest updates about the project's new developments, educating the diaspora about the need for such a centre and the progress made in terms of collecting data, artefacts, photographs and oral history.

Ambassador K. Kesavapany, who is the deputy chairman of concept and content sub-committee and a member of the IHC steering committee, said the aim of the presentation was also to see if, after listening to the ideas and initiatives behind the IHC, whether there would be such similar developments to start an IHC in other places as well. He said: "If similar efforts were made elsewhere, it would allow for connectivity, exchange of ideas, sharing of information, seminars and discourses on the Indian heritage which spreads far and wide across the world."

Mr Kesavapany also said he is looking forward to all the cultural dialogues at the SADC and is hoping to tap ideas from them for the IHC.

The centre is seen as an ambitious project which aims to put together the history of the Indian community and its contributions to Singapore society and other countries in the South-east Asian region.

IHC director Dr Gauri Krishnan said that even after the centre opens, it will continue to be a "work in progress" as more people may come forward to share their family stories and photographs.

She said the biggest challenge for the centre at the moment is to reach out to as many people as possible.

Dr Krishnan also added that the centre will use many modern tools to tell a coherent story of the past. "We will use a lot of information technology tools in kiosks, visual and audio presentations throughout the centre. It will have a lot of intangible objects, which is expected, as we are dealing with and piecing together histories from bygone eras," she said.

She said all the IHC committees are community-led and the centre is involving many veterans or their kin to put together an oral history of their origins here.

On its website too the centre is asking people of Indian origin to come forward and share their stories or family heirlooms which might add to the centre's database.

The IHC's presentation is the first event on Day 2 of the SADC, which is being held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.

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