HYDERABAD: The state is home to many archaeological sites that contribute to our rich heritage and culture. However, the dismal condition that these centuries-old monuments have been kept in has raised the hackles of a few concerned citizens. One such citizen is M Nagaraj, a retired government servant form the polytechnic sector.
Drawing attention to the Ramappa temple at Warangal which was recently in the news in connection with the Devadula project, he set up a photo exhibition on the sides of the Indira Park, a space significant for the ever-happening dharnas and protests.
The photographs depict the ramshackle condition of the temple which was constructed during the Kakatiya dynasty.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, despite its poor condition, the structure is resplendent with minutely fine details.
“If you take a look at the sculptures, you will see how they reflect the social culture of their time,” says Nagaraj.
As an example, he points to a photograph on display and says, “You can see the predecessor of high heels over here.
These are important cultural figures that need to be preserved.
Yet the government hasn’t been pro-active and the Archaeological Society of India has been stalling.
Private initiatives like the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) have also been non-committal,” he commented.
On a campaign for the past four months, Nagaraj has been trying to raise awareness amongst the common public.
Spending out of his own pocket, he had a professional photographer capture the good and the ugly side of the temple and set up the exhibition.
With barely any support, including his family's, Nagaraj seems to be on a pretty determined path.
“I was hoping my wife would be here today, but she didn’t make it.
Neither she nor my daughter are convinced that my efforts will have an impact,” he rues.
Around October last year, the temple came under the scanner when blasts occurred about a kilometre away, as part of the Devadula irrigation project.
Local educationists and social activists objected as they feared the temple, which was built on a sandy base, would collapse from the disturbance in the ground.
Given the amount of attention it was garnering, the government deployed a team of scientists from the National Geological Research Institute to assess the situation.
After they declared that the monument was fine but advised that the blasts be reduced in intensity, the temple was forgotten.
However, its condition is still a cause for concern.
Commenting on the issue, the convenor of INTACH, Hyderabad, Anuradha Reddy said, “It is a good initiative to highlight the status of such monuments.
However, there is a certain protocol that needs to be followed in addressing the issue.
That being said, the government needs to spend more money and delegate more people to the task.
These monuments are under their custody and as private bodies, we neither have the authority nor the funds to launch such an operation.” Pointing out that the government needs to first of all make sure that they are fully staffed and have the required expertise, she also added, “Town planning and village panchayats need to be sensitised about heritage precinct management.” All in all, while the responsibility of the renovation keeps rolling from one person to another, the temple stands like a delicately balanced pack of cards