Category Archives: Historical Links / Pre-Independence

All roads lead to Kondagattu shrine

Devotees make a beeline to the temple on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti

All roads leading to the historic Sri Anjaneya Swamy devasthanam in Kondagattu in Jagital turned saffron on Friday, with devotees making a beeline to the temple shrine ahead of Hanuman Jayanti on May 21.

Devotees started pouring in from various parts of the State as temple authorities launched the celebrations by conducting ‘homam,’ which would continue till Sunday. Predicting heavy rush on Sunday, many devotees were seen offering prayers at the temple shrine on Friday. Several Hanuman devotees wearing a mala were seen walking to the temple barefoot in the scorching heat as part of a ritual.

Temporary shelters

Devasthanam authorities, in coordination with the district administration and the police, made elaborate arrangements for the same. Temporary shelters were erected to protect the devotees from the sweltering heat. More than 750 police personnel were roped in for bandobust.

To avoid road mishaps, the police have decided to regulate traffic on the ghat road by restricting the entry of vehicles.

Parking spaces would be designated on the foothill of the shrine on the JNTU college road, Jagtial, and Karimnagar roads.

The police also installed 52 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to keep vigil.

The temple authorities expect four lakh pilgrims to visit the temple on Hanuman Jayanti.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by K.M. Dayashankar / Jagtial – May 19th, 2017

A tribute to Hyderabad braves

Lastng legacyTeen Murti memorial in New Delhi, The Second Lancers WW-I memorial in the cityVV Krishnan, KVS GiriV_V_Krishnan

A relook at the legacy of the Teen Murti Memorial in Delhi which has a Hyderabad connect

The Teen Murti Memorial in New Delhi is set to be renamed again. What was Imperial Cavalry Brigade Memorial and became Teen Murti Memorial after Independence, is to be renamed Teen Murti Haifa Chowk timed with the first ever visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Israel. The tinkering with the name of a war memorial will not change the glorious memory and the gallantry of Indian soldiers.

Hyderabad House is a well known landmark in New Delhi and is a venue for the reception of foreign dignitaries. The Teen Murti memorial’s link to Hyderabad is less well known. But as the roundabout with three lancers wearing pugrees and khaki shorts grabs the nation’s attention due to yet another renaming row, it is time to remember the legacy of the memorial and its Hyderabad connect.

Just outside the Jamali Kunta darwaza of Golconda in Hyderabad is the area known as Second Lancers. Dotted with low squat houses painted white — some with extensions and some in the same state they were constructed — it has a few houses that still bear the names of the original allotees. While most of the men with Jamadar, Dafadar honorofics are no longer alive, the houses currently occupied by their children and grandchildren still carry their nameplates. These were some of the soldiers who saw action in France and later in Egypt and what was Palestine. The lancers from Hyderabad were the first to sail and were part of the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade along with lancers drawn from Jodhpur and Mysore princely states. The Teen Murti celebrates the bravery of soldiers from these three princely states.

To call them brave would be an understatement. The great war’s first mechanised weapon was the machine gun that shot out hundreds of bullets in an arc. The lancers from Hyderabad and the other princely states armed with just lances and light weapons were no match for the rat-rat-rat of the machine gun that mowed down anything that moved. But these men stood up, fought and won. One of the most impressive victory was at Haifa on September 23, 1918 and for this the residents of the city still celebrate Haifa Day organised by Indian embassy.

It was not easy to rouse Hyderabad soldiers to fight someone else’s war after crossing the sea. Before the war, the Nizam Osman Ali Khan had to issue a firman informing his soldiers that it is okay for them to fight against fellow Muslims of the Ottoman empire. The port city of Haifa was the key entrepot for the Allied war machine. Years later, the British withdrew from the city leaving the Jews and Arabs to fight it out. The Jews, using a three-pronged attack, captured the city on April 24 in 1948 as the Arabs left their ancient homeland.

Interestingly, while the Teen Murti memorial is in the news, the actual war memorial built for the soldiers who fought for the British in the first World War remains neglected and unseen amidst bushes and brambles in the cantonment area near Second Lancers area in Hyderabad.

Memorable designs

Teen Murti House in New Delhi was designed by Edwin Lutyens, while the Teen Murti Memorial was designed by Leonard Jennings. The one accessible war memorial in Hyderabad, the EME War Memorial in Secunderabad,was designed by Eric Marrett.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> Metroplus / by Serish Nanisetti / May 08th, 2017

Haimendorf’s hilltop haven in Adilabad


Pirengan Patar, a plateau in Telangana, keeps alive the memory of a legendary ethnographer.

Every now and then, Atram Bheem Rao, inheritor of the Gond Raja of Kanchanpalli title, remembers Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf and his contributions to improving the lives of the Raj Gond and other Adivasi tribes of the Adilabad region. When he does, he visits a 250-metre high hill near his village, atop which is a small platform made of stones, to pay his respects to the memory of the legendary Austrian ethnographer.

Prof. Haimendorf started his work in India in what is now Nagaland. During World War II, as a citizen of the Third Reich, he was detained by the British in India. He was confined to what was then Hyderabad state, but was later allowed to live among the tribal peoples of present-day Telangana and do fieldwork.

A deep connection

In 1942, Prof. Haimendorf and his wife Betty Barnado, also a noted ethnographer, first came to Kanchanpalli, in Sirpur mandal, seeking help from Mr. Rao’s grandfather — who was also named Bheem Rao — for their work. The local people could not pronounce the Austrian’s name, Mr. Rao says, so they called him ‘Pirengan,’ which is derived from the Hindustani firangi, foreigner.

At the end of the war, the Nizam’s government appointed Prof. Haimendorf Advisor for Tribes and Backward Classes. During his tenure, he set up educational and other schemes for tribal peoples and taught at Osmania University.

The professor and his wife did path-breaking work in the Northeast, and in Nepal, where he was the first foreigner to document indigenous cultures. He also taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Through all this, over forty years, the couple often came back to the Adilabad area to do more research.

“The Haimendorfs avoided this place during summer, but used to come here frequently during winters all through the late 1970s until their death,” Mr. Rao says. “They had an elevated platform made, for them to relax in the winter sun and take in nature’s spread from the hilltop.” From this vantage point, one can see the Godavari flowing in the distance, and the villages in the valley below.

The plateau is known locally as Pirengan Patar, in their honour. Mr. Rao told The Hindu that the platform would have been destroyed had the government gone ahead with its plan to build a wireless repeater station on it in the 1990s. But the fear of Naxalites damaging it had led to a change of plan.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by S. Harpal Sigh / Kanchanpalli – May 05th, 2017

12-minute film documents OU’s growth since inception

A glimpse: Students and faculty members of Department of Communication and Journalism releasing the film at Osmania University on Sunday.

To be screened prior to the inaugural of centenary fete

Showcasing Osmania University’s growth since its inception, the Department of Communication and Journalism has released a 12-minute promotional film that is all set to capture the hearts of the Osmanians.

The film will be screened prior to the inaugural of centenary celebrations by President Pranab Mukherjee on April 26. Later, the film will be posted on the university website to reach out to Osmanians across the world.

K. Stevenson, head of Department of Communication and Journalism, said the film traces the university’s growth from its inception to its present status, giving an overview of the faculty, various departments and the courses offered.

The state-of-the-art research labs and infrastructure are documented in the film, which also gives a glimpse of various facilities such as library, playground and gymnasium available for students. The university’s iconic Arts College building is beautifully captured in overhead drone shots. Rare vintage photographs of OU in its initial days are also a part of the film.

Students of first year Master’s course shot the film for two weeks and covered various institutions across the campus while research scholars did the background research. Post-production work was carried out in the studios of the department.

Prof. Stevenson said the visuals of the OU student populace, with a large number of foreign students, are an indication of the cultural diversity that exists on the campus.

The film was conceptualised in the context of aggressive competition in the education sector which made marketing and positioning the university imperative. Further, the film is expected to help in branding the Osmania University, he added.

Special mention is made of the meritorious alumni such as former Prime Minister of India, P.V. Narasimha Rao; India’s first astronaut Rakesh Sharma; celebrated film director Shyam Benegal and Padma Shri and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Shantha Sinha.

The film is a collective effort of the faculty, students and research scholars of the department, which has produced stalwarts in journalism with most of them serving in various capacities in media in India and abroad. The department was founded by an American, DeForest O’Dell, in 1954. He graduated from Butler University and went on to head its journalism department. Later, he earned a Master’s degree and Ph.D from Columbia University, recalls Dasu Kesava Rao, a student of the 1970-71 batch and who later retired as the Bureau Chief of The Hindu in Hyderabad.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by R. Ravikanth Reddy / Hyderabad – April 23rd, 2017

First of its kind Buddha park in Telangana

The Buddhavanaman is first of its kind in the country with thematic segments depicting the major events in the life of Buddha.

The Buddhavanaman is first of its kind in the country with thematic segments depicting the major events in the life of Buddha and stories of his previous births. (Representational image)

Hyderabad:

Sriparvatarama or Buddhavanam, the prestigious Buddhist heritage theme park, is getting ready at Nagarjunasagar. The Buddhavanaman is first of its kind in the country with thematic segments depicting the major events in the life of Buddha and stories of his previous births. An Amaravati-style replica of Mahastupa with sculptural embellishments will be the main attraction at the park. “Nearly 75 per cent of the project is completed. It’s one of its kind in the country and has replicas of all Buddhist stupas. The state government has sanctioned `25 crore for the project,” said Mr Mallepally Laxmaiah, special officer, Buddhavanam Project.

The Telangana Tourism Develo-pment Corporation is developing Buddhavanam with financial assistance from the Centre for domestic and foreign tourists, especially tourists and pilgrims from Southeast Asian countries. The corporation acquired 274 acres on the left bank of the Krishna for the project. It has been divided into eight segments with an imposing entrance plaza.

The eight segments are 1. Buddha Charitavanam 2. Bodhisattva (Jataka Park) 3 Dhyanavanam (meditation park), 4. Stupa park 5. Acharya Nagarjuna International Centre for Higher Buddhist learning 6. Krishna valley 7 Buddhism in Telugu States especially important stupas, sculptures, statues of philosophers and others in Telangana 8. Mahastupa which symbolically represent the Astangamarga propounded by Buddha, a replica of Amravati stupa.

source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Nation> Current Affairs / February 14th, 2017

Telangana chamber tombs reveal burial secrets

Archaeologists examine a dolmen at Dameravai in Tadwai mandal of Jaishankar Bhupalapally district.

Hyderabad:

Chamber tombs recently unearthed in the forest hillocks of Jaishankar-Bhupalapally and Bhadradri-Kothagudem district along the Godavari from Tadwai to Bhadrachalam, throw new light on burial practices.

“Chamber tombs are secondary burial chambers. After death, when the flesh is gone, the skeleton and its remains are buried in chamber tombs. They date back to 1000 BC and 2nd century AD,” said Mr S.S. Rangacharyulu, archaeology consultant and former deputy director of the archaeology and museums department. Mr Rangacharyulu studied some of the chamber tombs in detail, backed by department director N.R. Visalatchy.

After rock art, megalithic burials are the most important monuments in Telangana state and are found in hundreds of villages. Chamber tombs are built on hillocks and also referred to as cromlechs and dolmens.

They are constructed with dressed slabs and look like a chamber with four or more orthostats — slabs on three sides with an opening on one side and a huge rectangular capstone. Capstones are quite heavy, some of them are 4 metres by 4 metres and 40 to 50-cm thick. The entrance to most dolmens is at the centre.

“It seems that most were family burials. There is a facility for re-use. There are one ore more stone sarcophagi inside the structure. Since these are built with stones, mostly above the ground level on hillocks, they are known as chamber tombs,” Mr Rangacharyulu said.

Among chamber tombs, one in Galaba (Galaba-gutta) and Kachanapalle (Peddhaparupugutta) in this district are rare and were not studied.

“We found graffiti marks, cruciforms and anthropomorphic figures. There are more than 300 chamber tombs on this hillock. The site is important since cruciforms depicting male and female breasts, anthropomorphic figures are lying in front of the chamber tombs. These figures, which are lying in front of the chamber tombs, indicate that originally they were in a standing position,” he said.

“Inside some chambers, stone sarcophagi are located with graffiti marks such as arrow and trident marks like ‘ma’ in Brahmi script of 2nd century BC. In one chamber tomb, six sarcophagi were found which indicates that it was a family burial,” he said.

In Kachanapalle, hundreds of chamber tombs are scattered 8 km from the village on the hillocks locally known as Peddhaparupugutta and Nandigutta. Almost all the burials consist of stone sarcophagi and were provided with lids.

“The erection of huge chamber tombs with dressed stones and carvings of sculptures representing the human form indicate that the megalithic community were culturally advanced and they had sophisticated metal implements and knowledge of geometry to cut huge stones to the required sizes,” said Mr Rangacharyulu. In Aihole and Mottur in north Karnataka, cruciforms were also found, but they were small and crude.

Not linked to Christianity
Archaeologist D.H. Gordon in his book “Prehistoric background of Indian Culture” says scholar J. Mulheran had found crosses (cruciforms) close to the stone burial cysts at Katapur and Mallur villages in Warangal. He ascribed these crosses to Christianity and said that they are not later than 7th Century AD, as pre- or non-Christian crosses were symbols unknown in India.

There was also the view that the megalithic builders were from the Mediterranean region and Western Europe and the custom of erecting cruciforms or anthropomorphic figures might have come with them before the 1st and 2nd century BC. As no other artefacts was reported from these burials, historians say it is very difficult to prove this theory.

Erection of cruciforms and anthropomorphic figures carved with and without breasts, differentiating male and female figures, clearly indicates the original intention of the carver to depict human representation. Historians assert these chamber tombs have nothing to do with the Christianity.

source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Nation> Current Affairs / by C R Gowri Shanker / January 29th, 2017

Cemetery on Residency Building premises to be restored

Safeguarding heritage value: The tomb of the first British resident to be buried in the cemetery behind Residency Building, lies neglected. | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

One of the major challenges will be to bring the ground to its original level, as more than one feet of debris has accumulated over the years, says an architect

On October 22, 1807, Francis Sydenham, the then British resident, was buried in the cemetery yards away from the Residency Building on Koti Women’s College premises. Years later, two more residents and another 39 Britishers living in Hyderabad were laid to rest at the same place, adding to the city’s history.

Largely forgotten, the cemetery is a case of neglect leading to some of the tombstones having been damaged over the years. For instance, the grave of Sydenham is built on a pavilion, which now has damaged columns. Similar is the fate of other graves, including that of the second British resident George Busby. The head of his grave’s tombstone lay broken there, while some others have collapsed.

However, there is a good news for the cemetery, as it will be restored along with the Residency Building, which is currently under restoration. N.R. Visalatchy, Director of State Department of Archaeology and Museums, said work there will also be taken up in the coming days. “There is a lot of damage there, and as of now, the cleaning has been completed,” she told The Hindu.

Work at the cemetery will jointly be taken up by the State Department of Archaeology and Museums, Osmania University, the World Monument Fund (WMF), Deccan Heritage Foundation and the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia, said Ms. Visalatchy. “We realised that the cemetery is also part of the Residency Building’s history, which will soon go into the second phase of restoration,” she added.

One of the officials working at the site said the graves are built of granite stones, which can be found in other cemeteries of Britishers who were buried in different cities in India. Among the graves is also that of Arthur Austin Roberts, the third and last British resident who lived in Hyderabad back then. He was buried on May 10, 1968, just two months after he came to Hyderabad, according to the inscription on his tombstone.

One of the major challenges in restoring the cemetery will be to first bring the ground to its original level, as more than one feet of debris has accumulated over the years, said an architect who is working on the restoration of the Residency Building.

He added that the overgrown vegetation has also impacted the structural stability of the place, which had a garden when it was first built.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Yunus L. Lasania / Hyderabad – January 04th, 2017

The fading rhythm

Narendher Goud
Narendher Goud

Director Narendher Goud talks of filming the documentary ‘Art at Heart’ on the Khammam-based Koya community

From the horns they sport in their headgear to their attire in the unique dance form Kommu Koya (bison-hunt dance), a lot about the Koya community intrigued Hyderabad-based documentary filmmaker Narendher Goud, who has made a documentary on them, titled Art at Heart, which was shown at several regional film festivals recently. Initially, he had no books or other referential material to assist him. He says he could’ve easily invited them for a performance in the city and got speaking to them, but that would’ve only meant a hush-hush job. What he truly wanted to know was the prominence of dance and music in their lifestyles by living with them. He packed his bags along with his eight-member team to meet the few men they knew from the community in Khammam, who’d later connected them to a tiny Koya group that lives across the Andhra Pradesh-Chattisgarh border.

Dance in their roots Narendher and team with the Koya community
Dance in their roots Narendher and team with the Koya community

“Dance is connected to every part of their daily life, from marriages to the time a child is born, the time people wake up, come from work, celebrate festivals, drink palm wine (kallu) and even die. I didn’t want to make the documentary only on the dance form, but observe their life as a community. We shot the film over a week’s span,” reveals Narendher, whose documentary is equally informative and emotionally-arresting. ‘Art at Heart’ has traced the form’s roots to the times of Indus Civilisation, where the dances were believed to be performed by Lord Shiva himself. And things weren’t easy for a start, given the precarious political situation around the Edugurallapalli area (near Khammam), where the cops once suspected their identity as well. “We were once asked to show our footage to prove that we came here for a documentary.”

Currently, a section of Kommu Koya dancers look for performances in terms of livelihood and not as an integral part of their lives. In fact, Narendher mentions us that even the way they look (the Koyas who are mostly civilised now) is similar to any person in the city. “The soul that comes across in the form as they lead their lives is obviously lost. One needs to accept that the dance form is slowly fading into oblivion and they’re losing their identity. The reasons are attributed mainly to civilisation and mass-religion conversions.” he adds. Art at Heart has been filmed in two versions, Telugu and English, the latter’s production work was done at Indianapolis. The documentary produced by Govt. of Telangana has gone onto receive several nominations in the film-fest circuit.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> Metroplus / by Srivathsan Nadadhur / October 04th, 2016

Historical Sir Ronald Ross Institute remains unused

SirRonaldRossTELAN22aug2016

He discovered the malarial parasite in the intestines of female mosquito at the fag end of his stint as medical officer on these premises

The pride of being home to the discovery of malarial parasite is not something that any city would let pass without a care. The site of such historic discovery in Hyderabad, however, lies tucked away in a remote corner of Begumpet, unnoticed by many, and unused for more than six years.

The Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Parasitology, a heritage building, is under lock and key for most of the time, not open even for the visitors who might be interested in catching a few glimpses of the photo museum inside.

Nobel laureate Ronald Ross discovered the presence of malarial parasite in the intestines of female anopheles mosquito at the fag end of his stint as medical officer on these premises between 1895 and 1897, when it was a hospital for the British regimental troops. Copy of a journal entry by Mr. Ross about the discovery dated August 20 can be found in the museum, as also his drawings of the parasite.

The building later served as an “officers mess” for British regiment, and was under Deccan Airlines for a brief while. Later after accession of Hyderabad State, it was handed over to the Osmania Medical College for further research on Malaria.

However, later, the 2.5-acre premises were handed over to the Airport Authority of India (then National Airports Authority) for development of the peripheral areas of the Begumpet Airport. In 1975, with initiative from the OU Zoology department, the structure was handed over to the Osmania University, while the land remains with the AAI. After being identified as heritage structure, renovation of the building was carried out in 2010-12 with Rs.45 lakh, which has brought back the lost aura to it. However, since then, the premises remain unoccupied, with whatever research in the institute’s name, having been shifted out into the OU premises.

“Land ownership by the AAI remains a road block for any effort to develop it as a pioneering research centre for vector-borne diseases. There is no approach road to the premises. Though Rs.6.5 crore was sanctioned earlier by the Archaeological Survey of India for approach road, we could not use it as AAI denied permission,” Director of the institute B.Reddya Naik informed.

Besides, water supply too was disconnected recently by the AAI to curb illegal water tapping, which rendered the premises even more unusable. Correspondence since 1997 with the Civil Aviation Ministry for transfer of land has not yielded results.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Swathi Vadlamudi / Hyderabad – August 21st, 2016

A sneak peek into the past with digitised photos

State Department of Archaeology and Museums puts on display a sample of its glass negatives’ collection

On World Photography Day, the State Department of Archaeology and Museums put on display a sample of its glass negatives collection which has been digitised and printed. “We finished digitising this only last week and we have rushed through to put up this show. And from Monday, visitors can pick up mugs and greeting cards printed with images from these digitised photographs,” informed N.R. Visalatchi, Director of Department of Archaeology and Museums.

Can you imagine seeing the brilliant tile work of the Baad Shahi Ashoorkhana without the dark green mesh and the doorway blocking the view? Can you imagine the State Assembly building without the grillwork and the statue of Gandhi? If you want to, all you have to do is step into the State Museum and the black and white photographs will take you back in time. Also on display is the field camera with bellows teamed with a rare K. Yamasaki 250mm Congo lens that was used for photographing many of the archaeology sites. Other relics of a different age are two massive projectors which were used to project the glass negatives. The photographs will be on display till September 1.

“This display of prints has been put up for the first time. There were 5,000 glass negatives. We have digitised 4,800 and about 200-300 were damaged and we could not salvage them,” said Paulus Raveendra, General Manager of VIT-India, which carried out the digitisation work. “The museum has also begun a project called Photo Expressions where students from Class IV to Intermediate can write nano stories or their impressions and they will be given a certificate of merit and participation on September 1,” informed Ms. Visalatchi.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – August 20th, 2016