Museums lie in state of neglect

Museums lie in state of neglect

Hyderabad state was well-known for its museums and monuments before the division of the State in 1956.  In this context, the Hyderabad State Museum and Salarjung Museum in Hyderabad earned a great name in the country.  

Hyderabad state was well-known for its museums and monuments before the division of the State in 1956. In this context, the Hyderabad State Museum and Salarjung Museum in Hyderabad earned a great name in the country.

But after the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956, the ‘Andhra rulers’ had not given any attention for the upkeep and expansion of museums in Telangana region. Added to this, the Hyderabad State Museum was renamed after an Andhra leader in 2008 as if it was a ‘private property.’ But the real tragedy is there was no serious protest from Telangana leaders.

It is well-known that Telangana was the land of Satavahanas who brought peace and prosperity to the region 2000 years back. After them, many other dynasties ruled this region up to 1948 AD. So it was natural that it had a chequered history for more than 2000 years from Satavahanas to end of Asaf Jahi Rule in 1948 AD.

Against this historical background Telangana had many archaeological sites and monuments. And among them Kotalingala, Peddabunkur and Dhulikatta in Karimnagar district and Kondapur in Medak district are notable in ancient history. But very little attention was given to organise excavations on a large-scale in these and other areas by Andhra rulers.

As a result, the identity and heritage of Telangana people remain hidden in the sub-soils of these and many other places in Telangana. A Museum is an institution that cares for collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical and scientific importance and make them available to public through exhibits.

In the above context mention may be made about few famous museums in West and also in India as described below:

These are the 4 top museums in West which earned worldwide reputation. In 2013 Vatican Museum had 6 million visitors while the British Museum had 6.7 millions visitors in 2013 AD. This shows the importance and popularity of a Museum as a great institution for accumulation and dissemination of knowledge among people.

During the British Rule in India, the British Government gave utmost importance to Museums by establishing great museums in several cities as shown below:
(1) Kolkata (2) Patna (3) Bombay (4) Madras Among the above Kolkata was the oldest as it was established in 1814 AD. During this period many princely sates like Baroda, Mysore, Travancore and Hyderabad also established Museums in their states. Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad is a popular Museum for people. It was established to exhibit one-man collections in all fields which is a unique and unparalleled in the world.

Similarly,Birla Museum in Hyderabad is also very popular with the people. In the above context some states have taken the lead in establishing more number of museums as shown below:

(i) Maharashtra - 22 Museums
(ii) Tamilnadu - 14 Museums
(iii) Kerala - 15 Museums
(iv) West Bengal - 12 Museums

But Andhra Pradesh lagged behind as the previous governments have not taken any initiative to establish more number of museums. It is only after 1980, the AP government had taken a decision to establish museums in different districts.

Under this scheme some museums were established in Telangana in the following districts:
(i) Warangal (ii) Khammam (iii) Karimnagar (iv) Nizamabad (v) Mahaboobnagar (vi) Nalgonda

But all these museums are ill-equipped and they have no proper buildings. Nizamabad Museum is closed for last 3 years. These museums have no permanent departmental staff. An Assistant. Director is incharge of 3 districts with his headquarters in Hyderabad. In such a situation there is no scope for any development or expansion of these museums.

Telangana is known for numerous archaeological sites but no action was taken to organise excavations in the past. Added to this since 1992 the archaeological Department has no permanent directors. They were brought on deputation from other departments resulting in posting of ineligible and inexperienced outsiders holding the post of Director in Archaeological Department.

It is also regrettable that in the Head Office there is no Joint Director and only one Deputy Director doing all the functions. In other words number of posts of DDs, ADs and many Technical Assistants are kept vacant. It is indeed a sad state of affairs. In the absence of trained and experienced staff this Department cannot make any headway. Archaeology Department is highly technical department which requires persons of special qualifications and experience as directors.

In the circumstances it is suggested that action must be taken on the following remedial measures:
(i) Posting of permanent Director of Archaeology Department
(ii) Filling up vacant posts of JDs, DDs, ADs and Technical Assistants
(iii) Technical Assistants must be trained in Birla Nashik Coins Museum as Hyderabad Museum has more than 4 lakh coins of different periods form 250 BC to the Asaf Jahi period.
(iv) Posting of full time officers in all district museums.
(v) To establish site Museums in Kotalingala and other places in Karimnagar where huge archaeological sites were found during excavations.
(vi) To undertake excavations in famous archaeological sites like Kotalingala, Kondapur and Bodhan to recover the Archaeological Treasures.

Protection and preservation of monuments
Telangana has innumerable monuments in Hyderabad, Warangal and other districts. But no proper care was taken to protect and preserve them. They are our heritage, so they must be protected. The above subjects fall under the Ministry of Culture which needs a person of great vision and imagination as the minister.

It is also advisable to have a Cabinet Sub-Committee to prepare a suitable “Plan of Action” for Archaeology Department for:
(a) Undertaking extensive excavations;
(b)To establish site museums in Karimnagar, Warangal and Bodhan on the lines of Kondapur in Medak district.

The above measures will protect and preserve our legacy left behind by Satavahana and Kakatiya Dynasties for Telangana people. - (The writer is a former Member of Parliament from Nizamabad).
Name Place Year of Establishment
Vatican Museum Rome 1505 AD
British Museum London 1753 AD
Smithsonian museum Washington(DC) 1846 AD
Field Museum Chicago 1893 AD

By M Narayan Reddy

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