Category Archives: Historical Links / Pre-Independence

History left in ruins

Cannons made over two centuries ago and iron foundries lie neglected

History, in all probability, will not repeat itself, especially in the case of Nirmal town that has seen glorious days over two centuries ago. Some of that magnificence, however, can be restored if the State government focuses on preserving whatever that is left of local forts, the iron foundries and the locally-made cannons. This district headquarter town, once a part of the united Adilabad district, is historically one of the most important places in Telangana, but remains neglected, according to experts.

The locally-made cannons, the ones that have remained after decades of plunder and vandalism of historical artefacts at the forts and whatever remains of the unique iron foundries where the cannons were manufactured, are crying for attention.

Two cannons are lying neglected within the premises of the District Collectorate in the town, while another lies under a tree in a locality close to Khazana Cheruvu. The third cannon at the Collectorate is well-preserved. There are a few that can still be found in the ruins of the local forts like Khilla Gutta, besides the one at Wadoor in Neredigonda mandal of Adilabad district, about 35 km from Nirmal town.

Among the well cared for cannons in the historic town are the ones that adorn the SP’s camp office, Tahsildar office, the TNGO union office fire station and the police station. These are of varying sizes and calibre, the ones at the Collectorate and SP’s camp office being the largest, and they were brought down from the fort ruins after the formation of the district in September 2016.

“The Nirmal town still has 22 locally-made cannons in the two foundries that were established by French engineers in the late 1700s,” said S. Jaikishan, a member of Salarjung Museum Board, who is an expert on the history of cannons in Telangana, especially those in Nirmal town. He belongs to the Hyderabad-based NGO, Deccan Archaeological and Cultural Research Institute, which is involved in the conservation and preservation of Indian heritage. The expert, who has researched into the history of Nirmal with respect to its foundries and weapons factories, said more cannons lie buried under the earth at a location near Venkateshwara temple in the town, which need to be unearthed. He offered to provide details of each and every existing cannon of Nirmal to be displayed, provided that the government installs those on special pedestals.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by S. Harpal Singh / Nirmal – April 16th, 2019

City of Nizams to feature in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network?

The UCCN, created in 2004, was aimed at placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of developmental and cooperation plans at local and international levels respectively.

UNESCO official Junhi Han with Prinicipal Secretary Arvind Kumar in Hyderabad on Saturday | Express

Hyderabad :

Apart from the World Heritage Site tag for Golconda Fort and Qutub Shahi Tombs, the State government officials are now trying to get Hyderabad into UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN). Express learnt that the same was discussed when Junhi Han, the Chief of Culture Department and Programme Specialist at the UNESCO visited the State and met the MAUD Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar, Director of Heritage Telangana NR Visalatchy and others Friday. 

An official present in the meeting said, “We felt that the outcome of the meeting was very positive. As of now Chennai is in the Network for its music, Jaipur for literature. We want Hyderabad to be in it on the basis of its heritage and other corresponding features.” 

The UCCN, created in 2004, was aimed at placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of developmental and cooperation plans at local and international levels respectively. Needless to say, if Hyderabad figures in the list, which already comprises Chennai and Jaipur from India, it would bolster its creative industry. The Network covers seven creative fields — crafts and folk arts, media arts, film, design, gastronomy, literature and music.

Experts opined if Hyderabad were to be in the Network it could be on the filed of crafts and folk arts, which would include its age-old bidriware craftworks or kalamkari, which is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile. Apart from that discussions were also held on World Heritage Site tag, which figured in Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar’s tweet.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Hyderabad / by Aihik Sur / Express News Service / March 10th, 2019

ASI, GHMC, State unite to secure World Heritage tag for Golconda

GHMC is also expected to take up the tricky task of removing wild vegetation in and around the monuments.

The Golconda Fort. (Photo | File/EPS)

Hyderabad :

After more than one unsuccessful attempts to secure the World Heritage Site tag for Golconda Fort and the Qutub Shahi tombs owing to the massive encroachments around the monuments, the State government has now directed the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to recover the lost lands in the site’s vicinity, to improve sanitation, and to take up other beautification works.

In a stake holders’ meeting convened earlier this week by Chief Secretary SK Joshi—attended by GHMC, ASI, officials of the District Collectorate, State Government and police — the municipal body was directed to remove ‘a few encroachments’ on Murda Darwaza, GHMC Central Zone Commissioner Musharraf Faruqui told Express.  

Faruqui, who attended the stake holders’ meeting, said, “Our people (at GHMC) have visited the Murda Darwaza area and a survey has been undertaken. Once we get an idea of the number of people who stay there, the kind of livelihood they have and put an estimate into the cost, we will come up with an appropriate rehabilitation programme. In the coming week, along with ASI officials, a final survey will be undertaken.”

GHMC is also expected to take up the tricky task of removing wild vegetation in and around the monuments. “You simply can’t uproot the vegetation because it might cause damage to the monument. It has to be chemically treated before being removed,” Faruqui said, adding that the work will be done under supervision of an ASI-appointed expert.

Water stagnation is the other major focus area, instructed the Chief Secretary, which includes identifying and clearing water stagnation points in the entire fort perimeter. Places like the Darwazas where locals dump garbage and debris, have been identified. Speaking to Express, Director of Department of Archaeology & Museums N R Visalatchy said, “Works to clear the moat where locals dump debris have already started.”

The District Collectorate will assist in taking up surveys and settling land disputes while police will help in maintaining law and order.Officials expect all works to be completed before September which is when officials of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre will visit the city for inspection.

Golconda Fort and Qutub Shahi Tombs are part of the ‘Monuments of the Deccan Sultanate’ nomination for World Heritage Site tag made by the central government in 2014. Apart from the two Qutub Shahi monuments from the State, the nominations include Bahmani monuments at Gulbarga in Karnataka, Barid Shahi monuments in Bidar, Karnataka, and Adil Shahi monuments at Bijapur, Karnataka.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Hyderabad / by Aihik Sur / Express News Service / January 12th, 2019

UP connection of KTR’s constituency: ‘Shuklas’ who worked as Nizam’s tax collectors

Shanti Prakash Shukla’s forefathers in 1930s were specially recruited from UP’s Unnao district to collect taxes from the Velama (zamindar or landlord) community to which the incumbent CM KCR belongs.

K T Rama Rao (File photo | EPS)

Sircilla :

There is a strong Uttar Pradesh connection in Sircilla, the assembly constituency of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s heir apparent K T Rama Rao — there are families of people from the northern state who were recruited during the Nizam rule for collecting tax from landlords.

One such family that had migrated to northern part of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, now Telangana, was Shanti Prakash Shukla’s forefathers in 1930s who were specially recruited from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district to collect taxes from the Velama (zamindar or landlord) community to which the incumbent chief minister KCR belongs.

Velama is an upper caste that makes up only about 4 per cent of the population in Telangana at present.

“The Velama community was prominent here and they did not pay taxes to Nizams. Our forefathers came here to work as tax collectors in the ‘Razakar’ unit,” advocate Shukla, 65, told PTI in an exclusive interview.

‘Razakar’ was a military unit that was established under the Nizam’s rule solely for collecting taxes from the farming community.

It was Maharaja Peshkar Sir Kishen Pershad, a courtier in the Nizam’s regime, who had initiated the recruitment of people from Uttar Pradesh, as also of Sikhs from Punjab who had migrated here, Shukla said.

As feudal oppression and the Nizam’s autocratic rule became unbearable, Shukla said, it became difficult for his forefathers to collect taxes from poor farmers who had lost their crop and there were also atrocities against women and as a result of all this, they resorted to a revolt.

Shukla’s father Amritlal Shukla was born in Karimnagar district and gave up his teaching job to join the Communist Party in 1940s to take part in the freedom struggle against Nizams.

His mother Shantabhai Shukla was from Madhya Pradesh.

The advocate, who has four siblings, further said that the Nizams started deputing ‘Razakars’ to harass those resisting integration of Hyderabad state in the Dominion of India.

“My father was in jail for 2-3 years. He escaped from the Nizam’s custody. He joined the Communist Party and was even elected as an MLA in 1957 from the Combined Community Party,” he said.

Many of the migrants from Uttar Pradesh are now working in various departments including in the state police.

“That is the reason you find more Hindi and Punjabi speaking population in Hyderabad,” said Shukla, who is married to a local and their two children are settled abroad.

Besides talking about the history, Shukla said the election campaign is in full swing in Telangana where the ruling TRS government is seeking a re-election, but what bothers him the most was the kind of money being spent on the elections.

“I remember, my father had spent only Rs 350 on election but now each MLA is spending Rs 15 crore,” he said amid high-pitch loudspeaker announcement outside asking people to vote for ‘car’, the symbol of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

Chief minister KCR’s son, who is popularly known as KTR, is contesting for the third time from Sircilla constituency, which is about 140 kms from the state capital Hyderabad, in the December 7 assembly polls.

He had won with a margin of over 53,000 votes against his Congress rival in the 2014 assembly elections.

Noting that the Communist had a stronghold in Sircilla till 1967, Shukla said, “Time has changed. Now goondas and rowdies are entering politics and there is no ideology.”

His wife Jhansi Lakshmi, a retired lecturer, said her father M Narayana from Khamman district had also fought against the Nizam rule during the freedom movement.

She is now currently working in an NGO creating awareness among women voters about elections and to exercise their voting rights independently and without any influence from their husbands.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Elections> Telangana / by PTI / December 02nd, 2018

Khajuraho in Telangana: Prehistoric rock art with love making in Siddipet

Paintings are believed to be from the Chalcolithic (copper age)

Hyderabad :

In a rare find, rock art with sexual scenes were discovered on a hill at Timmareddypalli in Kondapaka village of Siddipet district. The paintings of people dancing and animals are believed to be from the Chalcolithic (copper age). This is the third place in Telangana where lovemaking scenes from an early age were found, after Mattamralla Tanda and Yadaram.

“The rock art site has been discovered east of Timmareddypalli on a hill called Edaragutta. It is located 200 feet above ground where a cave is located nearby the hill. We found around 30 Reddish paintings on the rock canvas. Some of the painting are monkeys, genitals of wild buffalo, an old couple getting ready for hunting, sun, demanding people, a serpent with fangs and a fox. The lovemaking scenes of a couple were also among the paintings,” Historian Sriramoju Haragopal of Telangana Jagruti told TOI.

He added, “According to historian VV Krishna Shastry, the paintings depicting genitals belong to Chalcolithic age. The rare sexual scene paintings were earlier found in two more locations in Telangana. The rock paintings appear to be skilled. There are pictures with men holding the spare.”

In a separate finding, historians found cave Kondapapa too in which several pottery and beads of Satavahana era were found. Vemuganti Murali Krishna, another historian who was part of the team said, “A hillock is located near Kondapaka. It is called Mallanna Gutta. There are traces of prehistoric man living here. A Siva temple is located nearby. We found Sathavahana era potteries and beads in the nearby fields.”

Historians said the sites are located in between agriculture fields and asked the government to protect the sites by acquiring the land.

source: / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Hyderabad News / by U. Sudhakar Reddy / TNN / July 02nd, 2018

Stone age tools found near Hyderabad

Archeologists have found a hand axe and hammer stone from a place just outside Hyderabad that they believe is from the stone age—the paleolithic era.

Stone age hammer discovered on the outskirts of Hyderabad at Athvelly in Medal district | Express photo

Hyderabad :

What do we know about Hyderabad’s or Telangana’s ancient history, beyond stories of Qutb Shahis, Nizams, Kakatiyas or Satavahanas? Maybe reports of megalithic burials from iron age being discovered in the State.

But now, archeologists have found a hand axe and hammer stone from a place just outside Hyderabad that they believe is from the stone age—the paleolithic era. The tools, that were found at Athvelly which lies about 35 km away from the city in Medchal district, indicate that there’s much left to be explored about Telangana’s history.

The tools were found by E Sai Krishna of Hyderabad, a Ph.D scholar in Archaeology from Deccan College in Pune and an Assistant Archaeologist with Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) in the Amravati circle. Krishna showed his findings to Dr K Padayya, Emeritus Professor at Deccan College, a Padma Shri awardee and expert in Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures of the Deccan.

When contacted by Express, Dr Padayya said: “Findings of Krishna are actually stray discoveries as they do not belong to a regular site. However, it is an important beginning because these findings hint at fact that the area is rich in paleolithic archaeology. Speaking to Express, Krishna said, “I am interested to find out more about the prehistory of Hyderabad and surrounding districts.”

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Hyderabad / by V. Nilesh, Express News Service / June 15th, 2018

A riddle set in stone, waiting to be cracked

Telugu-Sanskrit words engraved on undated stone edifice may offer insight into the region’s rich cultural heritage

A stone inscription, believed to date back to 13th Century A.D., standing majestically on the premises of Venugopala Swamy temple in Rajeshwarapuram of Nelakondapalli mandal, is waiting to be explored to offer an insight into the region’s glorious cultural heritage.

The ten-foot high undated stone inscription located adjacent to the Dwajasthambam on the precincts of the temple has stayed intact withstanding the vagaries of nature, but remained unexplored till date.

The inscription has several lines etched in Telugu-Kannada script akin to the pattern prevalent during the Kakatiya period. An impressive image of Lord Garuda adored with Shankam and Chakram is engraved on the top portion of the stone inscription.

Located about 30 km from Khammam on the Nelakondapalli-Kusumanchi main road, Rajeshwarapuram has a hoary past as is evident from a fort situated in the middle of the village albeit in a dilapidated condition and an old well that served as a prime source of irrigation during the bygone era.

The Telugu-Sanskrit words engraved indicate that it is related to donation of land to “Veeragopala devara” temple probably during the Kakatiya period, says historian Katta Srinivas, who recently conducted an independent study in Rajeshwarapuram on the historical significance of the village.

Sun, moon images

The stone edifice contains the images of sun and moon engraved on the top portion of it reinforcing the fact that it is an inscription. He stresses the need for establishing the exact date and other historical facts by enlisting the services of experts in epigraphy.

Rajeshwarapuram is endowed with historic structures, including a fort and an ancient irrigation structure besides Shaivite and Vaishnavite temples existing side by side, he notes, insisting on the intervention of the Archaeology Department to unravel the rich history of the village and conserve the historical edifices for posterity.

“Our village is part of Nelakondapalli mandal, the abode of ancient Buddhist Mahastupa and also the birthplace of legendary saint composer Bhakta Ramadasu,” says Veeranageswara Rao, a native of Rajeshwarapuram. The ancient Siva temples dating back to the Kakatiya period in Kusumanchi mandal are located just over 10 km from the village and the culturally rich region has potential to secure a prominent place on the tourism map of Telangana, he says with a sense of pride.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by P. Sridhar / Khammam – April 23rd, 2018

Another year in Telugu calender cycle discovered

13th century inscription deciphered in Sayampeta Haveli

A Telugu calender year by name Nandidhata Samvatsara, which was celebrated by Telugu speaking people during the Kakatiya dynasty Rudra Deva’s reign (AD 1158 – 1195) was recently discovered by Archaeological Survey of India.

Archaeologists managed to decipher an inscription found on a slab fixed to a wall in a temple at Sayampeta Haveli in Geesukonda mandal of Warangal district.

D. Kanna Babu, superintending archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai, said in inscription, quite surprisingly, they found the name of an ancient Telugu cyclic year Nandidhata Samvatsara. He said people are unaware of this year, either in the traditional list of 60 Telugu calendar years or in lithic records of historical times. “Somehow, the name is missing from the list of traditional years of Telugu calender. We are examining if it matches with another name in the present calender with the help of astronomical texts,” he said.

As part of the Temple Survey Project, the ASI officials visited the ancient Panchalaraya Swamy temple, which was constructed in the Kakatiya era and discovered the damaged inscription on the rear wall of sanctum sanctorum, he said. Elucidating further details, Mr. Babu said that the inscription spanned six lines and was probably written in 13th century Telugu script.

Badly damaged

“For the past few decades, the the temple is annually treated with thick coating of lime wash in an effort to beautify it. We stumbled upon this piece without knowing its historical importance and ultimately, caused damage to the epigraph,” he said.

Mr. Babu said the epigraph states that Rudra Deva provided a perpetual lamp, along with other gifts, to the presiding deity in this temple on Mangalavara (Tuesday), the twelfth day of Bhadrapada masa during the year Saka 1116, equivalent to Nandidhata Samvatsara, (corresponding to AD 1194) in memory of his father Prolaraju.

The archaeologist added that another inscription was discovered at Trikuta temple in Jangaon recently, which also pertained to Rudra Deva.

A total of 19 epigraphs of Rudra Deva have been discovered so far.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Abhinay Deshpande / Hyderabad – April 19th, 2018

Hyderabad forgets its Chanda

Chanda Bai ka Bageecha, the funerary garden built by Mah Laqa Bai for her mother. | Photo Credit: @SERISH NANISETTI

Poet’s 250th birth anniversary passes without celebration

April 7 marked the 250th birth anniversary of poet Mah Laqa Bai Chanda, who has left a lasting impression on Hyderabad and its environs with her social and cultural contributions. However, the event passed without any celebrations.

In the lanes of Moula Ali leading to the hill shrine, there are many blank faces about Mah Laqa Bai Chanda. Only a few older residents call the funerary garden built by Mah Laqa Bai for her mother remember it as Chanda Bai ka Bageecha. Restored with funding from the US Ambassadors’ Fund for Cultural Preservation in 2010, the small masjid is the only facility that is used by locals for prayers. “Tourists come here to see and ask various questions about the tank, the well and the garden. Many people come to photograph the place,” informed the caretaker of the garden.

“In the true sense, Hyderabad has not really appreciated her daughter. Her contribution was immense. It is on record that she gave away ₹1 crore for educating the girl child. Many of her properties have been taken over and razed. Nobody remembers her jagir in Nampally. But there is fantastic response to the play Mah Laqa Bai Chanda wherever we stage it in the country. That shows her appeal. Unfortunately, Hyderabad has forgotten her,” says director Vinay Varma of Sutradhar wryly.

“We are planning an event woven around Mah Laqa Bai Chanda to mark the 100th anniversary of Osmania University. It was her jagir where the university today stands. She is a role model for women empowerment as she wrote poetry and at the same time, stood on par with the ruling elite,” said Anuradha Reddy of Indian National Trust for Cultural Heritage.

Chanda Bai was treated on par with noblemen as she counted the who’s who from the Nizam’s court among her admirers. If Nizam Ali Khan elevated her rank to one where kettledrums were beaten to mark her entry, the prime minister Mir Alum wrote poetry in her honour.

In July 27, 1799, after a triumphant return from the win against Tipu Sultan, Mir Alum organised a splendid party at his mansion. Here, Chanda Bai was the key performer as the British diplomat John Malcolm watched. “The Court of Hyderabad is altered, and the dance and the song no longer prevail. A moody, melancholy sovereign, degraded and dejected nobles, and the impoverished retainers of a fallen Court offer no field for the genius of Chanda; but even yet, changed as she is by eighteen years, she maintains considerable influence, and has the lion’s share of all that is spent in dissipation,” wrote John Malcolm, who was acquainted with Chanda Bai from his earlier stint as a British diplomat. Chanda presented a copy of her collected poems to Malcolm which is now in the British Library.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Serish Nanisetti / Hyderabad – April 07th, 2018

Rare sculpture of Rudrama Devi’s ‘last’ battle discovered

The sculpture showing Kakatiya warrior queen Rudrama Devi in combat with her subordinate chief Kayastha King Ambadeva.

It provides crucial information on the death of warrior queen

A sculptural slab carved in granite that has a life-size portrait of Kakatiya warrior queen Rudrama Devi was discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the sanctum sanctorum of Trikuta temple at Bekkallu village in Siddipet district.

Stating that the discovery has unravelled the mystery of her death, the officials said Rudrama Devi was killed during a war by her own subordinate chief Kayastha King Ambadeva somewhere near Warangal.

During an extensive exploration survey to ascertain the antiquity and architectural ascendancy of ancient shrines that flourished under the celebrated regime of Kakatiyas (11th to 13th century) in both the Telugu States, D. Kanna Babu, Superintending Archaeologist, Temple Survey Project (Southern Region), ASI Chennai, discovered the sculptural slab in which the portrait of Rudrama Devi is carved, a week ago.

“The discovery of the portrait sculpture is a first of its kind that displays a fierce fighting scene between Rudrama Devi and Ambadeva and it stands as a supporting evidence to the recent findings in Telangana,” Mr. Babu said. He said the uniqueness of the sculpture was that it vividly shows Rudrama Devi (A.D. 1262-1289) as a commanding and imperial personality with characteristic gesticulations of a ferocious warrior. “It might answer all the questions and doubts that the historians and archaeologists had about her death since decades. Thanks to the unknown sculptor who left a credible source for us to reconstruct the life history of the queen, particularly her end,” he said.

He said the sculptured panel in a rectangular frame superbly represents the imperial personality of Rudrama Devi who is riding a horse with a sword in her right hand while her left hand holds the reigns.

Describing the sculpture, Mr. Babu said the queen’s arms and wrists are embellished with warrior shields. “She is wearing robes of a male warrior with a waist belt and has her left leg over the hanging pedal while a shield is securing her chest,” he explained.

Ambadeva, the rebellion sub-ordinate chief, is in his war robes with a tightly-fixed lower garment, a waist belt and arm guards.

“He escaped the blows of Rudrama Devi and overpowered the horse and harmed it. The horse falls on its face and Rudrama Devi is surprised of his sudden action of rebel. Finally, Ambadeva kills her and she attains viraswargam,” he said.

The patron and artisan who carved the sculpture acted with far-sightedness who thought that these would serve as commemorative visual aids on Rudrama Devi for her successive generations, he said and added that the queen’s domestic help must have carved the sculpture.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Abhinay Deshpande / Hyderabad – April 08th, 2018