|Bridging the Gap between the South East Asian Cultural Heritage & Technology
|| PRINTABLE VERSION
| “The E-Museum Project in Pakistan will bridge the gap between our Cultural Heritage and Information Technology. We are taking museums in Pakistan online - while maintaining a high-quality experience. This is not an idea anymore, it’s a revolution, it’s actually happening, we are going to open the project’s door to the grass root level of our society, the E-Museum Project is going to become a part of every Pakistani’s life! It will be in academia and schools, in the corporate sector, in the public sector, a part of sustainable development activities, we are going to help Pakistani’s understand their true identity.”
- Fouad Riaz Bajwa
If Mr. Fouad Riaz Bajwa had said these words a few months back, the masses would have called him just another fanatic writer and web designer saying he was going to try to reach Pluto by himself, but now as he says these words the world is a witness to one of the first and largest ICT revolutions from Pakistan. It’s all over the media; BBC titles it to be the first E-Museum in South East Asia. Faqir Sayyed Iftikhar and Fouad Riaz Bajwa are working on this project tirelessly for the past 6 months as if this was the last thing they would ever do with a team of over 12 youngsters from the 6th generation of the Faqir Family and Friends of Faqir Khana, artists, businessmen and art lovers. The media has now joined them taking them international and suddenly people are more interested in the art and culture of Pakistan from the world over then they were before.
In the real world sustainable development for our cultural heritage cannot be achieved while there are big divides between the three different segments of the society - the gap between the rich and the poor, between the government and the people and between those who know and those who don't. Knowledge and power are the two sides of the same coin. The monopoly over knowledge by the few means a total control of the World's wealth in the hands of a few, in terms of not only its productive resources but also the power to decide who gets what. Whether it is about our history, cultural heritage or who we are, information from the past moulds our future and if we forget our past, the future will only bring a generation that will have no link with their past or information on what is their true identity.
“I am a Bajwa by family, member of the Jatt Caste but didn’t know about my true identity in my family tree and how I was part of the Royal Family that once ruled the state of The Punjab 300 years ago, while creating this project I learnt I was a descendent from the Royal Family of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. My family tree starts from Raja Suchit Singh Bajwa and there is proof to this in the Lahore Museum, a portrait of the brave warrior on a saddled horse ready for a fight against the enemies of Punjab, I am from the sand of Punjab, does everyone else who live here know about their roots?”
The E-Museum Project has focused on taking the Faqir Khana Museum online in it’s first phase of developments and as August 14th, 2004 the launch date of the first E-Museum in Pakistan comes near, people will learn something they might have never heard of before, experience their true culture and the hidden treasures ranging over 30,000 historical artefacts and antiques will be displayed and the world will experience brand name Pakistan in a new way.
In short, this calls for a new equation of partnerships between the public, the private and the people's sectors, which is where the E-Museum Project would like to act as a communication bridge. Everyone needs useful and reliable information for learning and researching our true cultural heritage. A large part of this information, though available, is not easily accessible to them because they have no options apart from visiting museums and reading information at face value only. Over the past years there have been growing efforts by various sectors towards advancing cultural heritage preservation activities. However, their efforts have been considerably hampered by the lack of timely, reliable and useful information on our culture. As a result, preservation is very often based on partial information or conjectures of vested interests.
“Pakistan has given us so much, in my case it has given me a powerful identity in society, in my professional circle, my work has been recognised, my words have been heard, Pakistan hai tau main hoon! Now it’s time we gave something to Pakistan, a powerful identity of its hidden art and cultural heritage. ”
With the onset of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and particularly the Internet, information is now exchanged and transferred in a manner never before imagined.
The Internet has become a growing global network of people that can converse, teach, argue, learn, hold meetings, buy and sell things, and send and receive information of virtually all types. Among the developed nations, the Internet has fuelled a new era of information revolution wherein information is disseminated in an enormous quantity and quality at a very efficient rate. While part of humanity is cruising on the information superhighway, many remain isolated, equipped only with outdated technology and limited means of access to the required information. On one side of the coin, there is a widening gap between the 'information haves' in the west, and especially the 'have nots' in the east. On the other side of the coin, ICTs have a tremendous potential for helping make 'knowledge connections about our cultural heritage' within and among various countries - a potential E-Museum Project has been exploring since its inception.
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Fouad Riaz Bajwa
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| Oct 12th, 2004
This is very interesting to see such a huge project!
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