Plumber, auto driver help trace village's history

Plumber, auto driver help researchers trace village's history

topic label

A file photo of Mohan Naik, Srinivas and his friends from Singapura village shifting the rare stone inscription to a better place at the Varadarajaswamy temple in Singapura in 2018.
(From left) Srinivas and Mohan Kumar Naik with P L Udaya Kumar. DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar

The relentless pursuit of a plumber and an autorickshaw driver to trace the history of their locality — Singapura in North Bengaluru  — not only helped the Karnataka Mythic Society retrieve a rare stone inscription but also resulted in establishing the history of the locality dating back to the Vijayanagar era.

Mohan Naik, a plumber was struck by the description of 'Singapura' while watching a video post on Facebook in 2017. Mythic Society’s honorary project director P L Udaya Kumar was explaining about Singapura that was mentioned in an inscription discovered at Chikkabettahalli three kilometres away.

By then, Naik had heard from senior citizens of his locality that there was an old stone with an inscription in an "unknown language". Later, Naik and his auto driver friend Srinivas reached out to Udaya Kumar with information about a stone in the vicinity of their village that was lying in an orchard.

"It was in January 2018 that we convinced the orchard owner Aditya Hanuma Reddy and saw the inscription for the first time. The stone was originally installed at the lake bund and later thrown aside while laying a road. However, the Reddy family thought it to be a sacred stone and kept it inside their orchard," Naik recalled.

Srinivas said that on several occasions, elders in the village warned them against reading the script as it would result in the death of the reader. "But Udaya Kumar obtained a photocopy of the inscription and with the help of epigraphist Prof K R Narasimhan, deciphered the content. Later, the villagers installed it within the 500-year-old Varadarajaswamy temple," Srinivas said. Later Udaya Kumar and his team of researchers prepared a 3D model of the inscription for permanent conservation.

The inscription, dated November 26, 1524, revealed that the village was a famous Vaishnavite pilgrimage centre and Vijayanagar ruler Achyutaraya had donated Singapura village to the temple. "During the British rule, Singapura and adjoining areas used to house Italian prisoners of war," Udaya Kumar said.

Marking the 497th year of establishment of the village, the researchers and Mythic Society along with the help of local citizens released the book on the history of Singapura on Friday and observed it as a "Singapura Day". The society has plans to release similar history books based on the inscriptions that have been discovered in various layouts/villages of Bengaluru.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox