Glory of Deccan revisited
While a few believe that history is redundant and latching on to it inhibits modern growth, historians from across the country, who have assembled at...
While a few believe that history is redundant and latching on to it inhibits modern growth, historians from across the country, who have assembled at Osmania University for a seminar on Deccan history, emphasise the significance of knowing the past to move ahead Purnima Sriram Deccanites don't know much about their origin and the beauty behind their history. When the country's top historians came together under one roof, they argued that there is a dire need to bring back the glory of medieval period of Deccan into the limelight, especially when only Tamil Nadu and Kerala History seems to be hogging the attention. A two-day national seminar was conducted in Hyderabad (which concluded on Saturday) with an aim to recall the significant contributions of Deccan history and culture to the world, professors from various universities presented papers on topics like 'Understanding Early Deccan', 'Dimensions of concepts and perspectives', 'Colonial and post-colonial' etc. Explaining the theme of the seminar, Prof. Varalakshmi, convener of the seminar and also former head of OU History department, said, "Ex-Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu once commented that there is no need to have History as a subject in colleges. His comment invited a lot of ire from History students and teachers. This kind of an attack on the relevant subject is prevalent all around the world. We are concerned about both the use and abuse of the subject around the world. The other reason is that, almost all textbooks mention about the North Indian history and focus mostly on the Tamil Nadu and Kerala history when they talk about south Indian history. They conveniently ignore Deccan history. A lot of medieval period of Deccan should be brought to limelight and hence the need for such a seminar," she informed. Eminent historians and archeologists presented their research papers on Deccan History. One among them Bhairabi Prasad Sahu, Professor from the Delhi University presented a paper on the 'Into the Deccan and yet not quite: Mapping the socio-political transformation in early medieval Kalinga'. He stated that, Historical/cultural regions more commonly known as Kerala, Andhra or Odisha are the products of the gradual coming together of what may be best termed as Sub-regions, or happened to be popularly known as mandala, desa and rashtra in the early medieval and medieval times. "A perusal of some recent volumes on the eastern Deccan or Andhra suggests that aspects of political history, art and architecture have been meticulously worked out. The land grants, references to natural and man-made water resources, the important position of the Brahmanas in a society presumably characterised by the conventional varna framework have attracted much of the attention," he added. Dr S Venkata Ratnam, History professor, presented a paper on sources for studying history of irrigation in Telangana region under Asafjahis Dynasty. "Human and natural resources are the mainspring of the development of the nation. Natural resources like land, water, forests and minerals were plenty in Hyderabad state in addition to its population and territory. The water flows and the landscapes were engineered by nature and socio-political organisations. The locals played a significant role in the use of these resources to strengthen ecological and social conditions," he said. "Hyderabad state particularly Telangana region, which once enjoyed vast resources, need a critical study on the management of its water in the first half of the twentieth century," he added. Dr B Lavanya, assistant professor of History from 'Nizam' College, informed the world on how Deccani culture became unique. "If one treats culture as a way of life then there are many areas of investigation in the craft of history. The focus of majority of existing works treats culture as part of a general discussion and hence fail to captures the cultural contours of the region," she said. In her papers, she presented that there were some exceptions in the writings of scholars like Noburu Karishma who studied the temple culture and medieval Deccan and role of temple girls in it. "Richard M Eaton too has been writing cultural facets of Deccan and interplay of religion and society. Varsha S Shirgaonkar's "18th Century Deccan - Cultural history of the Peshwas' discusses various dimensions of new culture such as Persian language, luxurious items, music and dance entered the Deccan and blended with its prevalent cultural characteristics," she added. Not many have heard about Gondi language script which was spoken by the people of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and various adjoining areas of our neighbouring states. Dr Vankateswar Rao Telluri, a history professor said that the Gonds stand out by their numbers, the vast expanse of their habitat and their historical importance. "Gondi is a south-central Dravidian language spoken by 2.6 million people. Language is written in Devanagiri and Telugu which was rediscovered after being lost for a long time. The script consists of 69 letters, 36 consonant letters, 10 vowel letters, 10 vowel signs, 3 various signs and 10 digits," he said.