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Friday, February 3, 2023

Andhra Pradesh: Digging into school dropout history to list ‘missing’ villages

World NewsIndia NewsAndhra Pradesh: Digging into school dropout history to list 'missing' villages

He is neither a historian nor an archaeologist. Neither a research scholar in a university nor a writer. Still, he is trying to accomplish one of the hardest tasks any of these categories will ever attempt.

Meet Manimela Shivashankar, 42, a Class 5 dropout who ekes out a living unloading and loading goods for a private transport company in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur town.

However, in his spare time, Shivshankar tries to find the villages and settlements mentioned there through ancient scriptures, historical books and literature in libraries or written on various temples across the district. Why are they forgotten by history?

So far, Shivashankar has identified around 500 such villages and hamlets in various parts of the erstwhile joint Guntur district (now divided into three separate districts – Guntur, Bapatla and Narsarauppet), which no longer exist. – Because they disappeared. A record of centuries.

He has done an interesting study on these “lost villages” – with reasons: where they were originally located, what their historical significance was and why they have disappeared into history.

Despite being a school dropout and having no formal education in literature or history, Shivshankar enlisted the help of his wife Lakshmi Rajim, who has studied up to the 12th standard, and with the help of a few friends in Telugu as “Guntur District Idroshya”. A book has been compiled. Gramalu” (Lost Villages of Guntur) last year, which has attracted the attention of several universities in Andhra Pradesh.

“I don’t remember how it impressed me that I should do a study on the lost villages. I can only say that I suddenly became interested after visiting the Kottapakonda temple in Narsarapet about five years ago. , where I saw an ancient scripture that mentioned some villages that no longer exist,” Shivshankar said.

Since then, whenever he had time, Shivashankar started visiting roadside bookstores in Guntur and looking for old books on history. Visiting records and libraries to collect interesting material related to temples and historical places within the district.

Shivashankar also went through the “Mackenzie Manuscripts”, the records of Colonel Colin Mackenzie, an 18th-century Scottish military officer in the British East India Company who later became the first Surveyor General of India, particularly in South India. .

“Mackenzie was involved in oriental literature and ‘kafiyat’ – a collection of historical records by a village accountant about a village or town in the Deccan region. He surveyed South India, religion, oral history, inscriptions and other Used local translators and scholars to study the evidence. His manuscripts gave me a lot of information about the villages that existed in those days,” said Shivshankar.

In order to know about such lost villages, he also got acquainted with ancient poetry, revenue records, old maps, etc., besides manuals and gazette records of the British period. He also questioned the old-timers who remembered the villages that existed in the past.

Reasons for missing

Shivashankar identified 28 reasons why villages disappeared over the centuries. “This may be due to people migrating from their original place due to prolonged famine in their area and settling elsewhere or villages may have been submerged due to floods in the Krishna river,” he said. “.

According to him, heavy taxes by local landlords or kings, attacks by wild animals or superstition may also have forced people to leave their original villages. “In the 20th century, some villages were submerged in the backwaters of the Krishna River due to the construction of irrigation projects like Nagarjunasagar and Pulichantala. In such cases the villages existed only on paper and records but are not visible now. May be. that some villages have merged with adjoining villages and lost their original names,” he explained.

Some of the villages he identified as missing are of historical significance. For example, Pingli, a famous village, after which many people in Telangana and Andhra take their surname, such as the ancient poet Pingli Surana during the Vijayanagara dynasty, Pingli Venkaya who designed the Indian national flag and the popular Telugu lyricist. Pingli Nagendra Rao, is nowhere. Now, my research has revealed that it was a village in Guntur district, which was deserted due to floods,” Shivshankar said.

Similarly the village of Bodupalli, mentioned by the famous 14th century Telugu poet Srinatha in his poems, has disappeared centuries ago and is not seen in any revenue records. Shivashankar located the village near Amravati on the banks of the Krishna River based on a small hint given by the poet – it was on the banks of the Godero, which meets the Krishna River near Amravati.

Another lost village of Nadiglu, mentioned in the Rentala Brahmi inscription, was discovered by Sivashankar at Vijayapuri in Nagarjununi Kota of the 3rd century AD. Similarly, Daddanalapadu, which was recorded as a village where Rani used to perform “sati” with her husbands who died in wars, has disappeared.

Many such villages like Panuganti, Tamadipalli, Kommuru, Navandhanapatnam, Malukotla, Shanampadi, Aklas Khanpeta, etc., which once flourished in Guntur are now lost in history.

“This is an excellent effort by Shivashankar and a first-of-its-kind study on the missing villages and the reasons behind them. Despite his limitations in education, he tried his best to record the history that everyone has forgotten,” Dr. said Imani Shivanagi Reddy, chief executive officer of the Vijayawada Cultural Centre, who wrote the foreword to Shivshankar’s book.

Shivashankar says they have a long way to go in identifying more missing villages. “What I have done so far is only the tip of the iceberg. I don’t have the resources or time to do extensive research. It would be great if someone could take this effort forward,” he added. said

(Translation of tags)Andhra Pradesh


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