RANIPET: A king and his queen lie buried here on the banks of Palar. Much water has flown through Palar since their times, eroding history and brushing aside memories. Now, forgotten by the queen's namesake -- Ranipet town -- and abandoned behind a scrap godown, their only company now are some antisocial elements that frequent the area to booze and gamble. With every round of 'cheers', Raja Tej Singh and Ranibai turn in their graves.
Raja Tej Singh ruled over Gingee in the 18th century, a time when it was mandatory of smaller kingdoms to pay tribute to the Mughal Empire. "Tej Singh refused to pay tribute and as a result his troops had to face a massive army of Arcot Nawab Saadatullah Khan, a feudatory vassal of the Mughal Empire," History blog writer SKR Kumaran said.
Tej Singh was killed in the battle and his young queen committed Sati, a practice by which wives kill selves by jumping into a symbolic funeral pyre following their husbands' demise, Kumaran added.
Honouring Tej Singh's valour and Ranibai's devotion, Saadatullah Khan renamed the region Ranipet (Queen's Colony) and built memorial tombs for the couple by the banks of Palar river.
Over the centuries, Ranipet has grown. Large number of people have reached the town to make ends meet. Business flourished and it is now an industrial hub.
All the development has pushed the 'Raja Rani Mandapam' to the periphery. Behind an abandoned scrap godown and within thickets the tombs lie completely neglected.
With the memorial completely secluded from town life, antisocial elements reach the spot in the night hours to drink and gamble their hearts out, lament archaeology enthusiasts.
While it is still not clear who controls the land, archaeology enthusiasts and visitors urge the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take over the land and preserve the memorial.
Philatelist and history enthusiast C Tamizhvaanan said, "If the tombs are not taken over by the officials, they will fall apart destroying a rich history with it. They are already in a dilapidated state and need immediate attention."
An official of the State ASI said that the district administration is taking steps to take over the land and bring the memorial under the 'State Monument' category.
Conceded, the republic reigns supreme on the realms of kings past but it is its duty to preserve whatever that remains of that tumultuous era. This is a humble reminder for the powers that be.