Institute makes history by preserving K'taka ‘itihasa’

Vast database has been developed by members from different walks of life.

A vast, treasure trove of information pertaining to Karnataka’s heritage is online, thanks to the efforts of Bengaluru-based Karnataka Itihasa Academy (KIA).

Though the Tourism Department had recently proposed a project on similar lines, the KIA has been quietly labouring on it with the help of people from varied backgrounds. With their tireless work, the Academy has been able to generate heritage information of 2,000 villages.

The digitised information, available on the organisation’s website, lists unique sculptures, manuscripts, memorial stones among others. 

What makes the Academy’s work unique is that the database has been developed by members from different walks of life, without it being restricted to academic expertise alone.

The profile of these people makes for an interesting read.

One of Academy’s foot-soldiers is Mohammed Kaleemulla, a retired high school teacher in Mandya district, who dedicates his free time to documenting and renovation of ancient temples. Kaleemullah has so far helped renovate three ancient temples.

Then there is Raghavendra Achari, a mason in Davangere, who is creating awareness about monuments and inscriptions among locals. Not just that. Achari also ensures that those who work with him at construction sites are educated about local heritage.

Another remarkable man is Dhanapal, a BMTC driver, who is involved in the protection of monuments and inscriptions in and around Bengaluru.

The Academy’s network has more than 2,000 members from different parts of the state.

Talking about the work, Devarakonda Reddy, president of Karnataka Itihasa Academy, said their focus was to develop a database of history and heritage of the state. “In the process, we were able to gather village-level data,” he said.

“It’s a work in progress. In the future, we will cover more villages and towns,” he said, adding they were willing to aid the government in its efforts. 

Reddy said they aimed to increase their reach to remote areas that lacked representation.

The Academy also organises events, such as an annual conference where history, archaeology and epigraphy enthusiasts present papers.

They also conduct a “Parampare Ulisi” (Save heritage) week every year, as part of which members create awareness among locals, apart from interacting with school and college students.

“They take them out on local trips too,” Reddy said, adding the exhaustive resource was a body of work developed over three decades.

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