Meet focuses on Gulbarga’s rich heritage

Newindpress, March 29 2006

GULBARGA, India -- A large number of monuments in the district, though protected on paper are, in dire straits, practically most of them are on the verge of extinction.

Some of the architectural wonders have been occupied by unscrupulous elements and have been turned into gambling dens. The Gulbarga Fort under the protection of Archaeological Survey of India has become a full-fledged settlement with the local authorities providing civic amenities like water, electricity, etc.

Human intervention has been causing great harm to sculpture in some of the temples. This only suggests the kind of concern the people have for their own heritage.

A small attempt, however, was made by the State Directorate of Archaeology and Museums last week albeit at an intellectual level to record history and heritage in its right perspective.

The two-day conference unfolded the glorious heritage and culture of Gulbarga district right from the ancient and medieval periods.

There may be a number of answers to the question as to why one should study history?

Historian Dr Suryanath Kamath’s remarks that one should study history to learn lessons from the past was, perhaps the best answer.

Amidst the exaggerations and an atmosphere of glorification, writing and understanding history dispassionately is the most difficult task. The conference provided fascinating insights into the history and archaeology of Gulbarga, which is admittedly the most sought-after district by the scholars and researchers as its history dates back to pre-historic times.

Gulbarga is the only district in Karnataka where the maximum number of pre- historic sites has been discovered and again it is only here that the earliest possible Buddhist settlement has been discovered in the still ongoing excavations at Sannati on the banks of River Bhima.

Hundreds of inscriptions right from the Ashoka period to the Vikramaditya VI of Kalyani Chalukyas have been found. It is here that the mighty Rashtrakootas ruled from Manyakheta now Malkhed in Sedam taluk and foundation was laid for the Islamic rule with Gulbarga giving birth to the Bahmani dynasty in 1347 AD.

The conference attracted a number of eminent historians, archaeologists, research scholars from across the State including Suryanath Kamath, H.S.Gopal Rao, and Sitaram Jahagirdar.

More than 50 papers were presented and extensive discussions were held on various facets of history of the district. All the papers presented at the conference would be published in the form of a book by the directorate.

The topics of the papers included the glory of Buddhism, Jainism, Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Veerashaivism, contributions of Gulbarga to literary world, temples acting as tools of irrigation, the special features of Gulbarga fort, Indo-Islamic monuments, and contributions of women to the polity etc.

The directorate has an ambitious plan of holding such events in all the 27 districts and bringing out comprehensive volumes on each district. So far five districts Kolar, Chitradurga, Dakshina Kannada and Gulbarga have been completed.

The one in Dharwad is planned for June.