Just because we are a five-thousand-year-old civilization with millions of historical artifacts and objets-d'art strewn randomly all across the length and breadth of the country, we should not treat our culture as irrelevant or of insubstantial value.
As the investigation into Subhash Kapoor's global chain of Indian monument theft continues to unfold and ferret out new details, the priceless cachet of our heritage becomes all the better recognizable. This leads to the following recommendations: The need to have new Museums The need to encourage Museums on a Public-Private Partnership basis The need for a greater and enhanced budget for procuring, storing, and conserving heritage artifacts Encouraging RWAs, Panchayats, Municipalities, District Administrations to set up Museums Valuing Indian tangible and intangible culture and ensuring that if Google or YouTube make films or leverage Indian culture, they should commit to paying for any revenues earned out of these films, documentaries, digital shows or presentations. We should also prioritize the development of our own vernacular, speech-driven search engine.
That Google has announced ten billion dollars for an India digitization fund and intends to promote small industry and free internet access is a welcome step. We should encourage collaboration in public areas like Art and Culture. However, safeguards are necessary – a legal covenant is a sine qua non. Firstly, any digitization of cultural content should not become exclusive to Google alone. Secondly, any stylizations of the content should meet the standards of permissibility as approved by the government. Further, we should mandate that if it is ever established that Google has benefitted commercially from the digitalization of our cultural data they will be legally bound to then suitably compensate India on terms to be arbitrated in India. That would be the right approach to conserving our cultural legacy.