Mangalore varsity Kannada museum to get makeover

Mangalore University’s Kannada Department has plans to upgrade its museum so that it could serve as one of major sources of indigenous knowledge.

The folk-themed museum is maintained by Department of Kannada in Mangalore University. It was established 25 years ago as a brainchild of the then Department Head Prof B A Vivek Rai.

The old library building was handed over to Kannada Department to start the museum and the collection started with artifacts contributed by department staff and students, recalled Kannada and Folk Scholar Prof K Chinnappa Gowda, speaking to Deccan Herald.

The museum houses rare artifacts of historical and cultural relevance in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Kasargod and Kodagu districts. The artifacts were collected from nooks and corners of these districts. There are agricultural equipment, household items, hunting weapons and materials used in various traditional occupations, which were in use once upon a time in the coastal districts. Worshiping idols including the 500 year old wooden idols of deities which could prominently noticed even to this day in the temples in Udupi and Kundapur, masks of worshiping idols of Demi-Gods, hunting weapons and serpent stones are also a part of the museum. The museum contains artifacts as ancient as 15th century.

The museum represents  the ancient life of Tulunadu in a whole and serves as a benchmark for the cultural legacy of coastal districts, along with representing an essence of Kodava culture.

Prof Chinnappa said the museum has a great relevance in connection with the academic activities in the university as it is a source of reference for the optional paper on Tulu folklore and culture, as a part of Kannada MA syllabus.

He said the antique materials also serve as a link between the blurring lines of history and the present generation, by the display of materials such as agricultural equipments of yesteryear which are losing their context, with agriculture being in the verge of extinction.

This is same with the traditional rituals as well, he said. The museum which needed a facelift, was renovated last year and plans towards the upgradation of the museum, are on. A detailed documentation including the name, period, context, functional use, purpose, technology behind the preparation of materials, is expected, he added.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Prof Somanna Hongalli, Professor of Kannada and Museum incharge said efforts are on towards registration of museum under Department of Archeology, which will help accommodation, categorisation, and display of materials as per museum norms.

Prof Somanna said the department faculty, including him, has visited Karnataka Janapada University in Haveri. However, a detailed plan will be drawn towards overall development of the museum by the university.

As on now, artifacts are being broadly categorised to agricultural, household, worshiping theatre, sports and hunting. Curator of Seemanthibai memorial government museum in Bejai has visited the Kannada museum and recognised the cultural and archival importance of the items, along with suggesting some changes, Prof Somanna said.

Research Scholar Ramamurthy said after renovation of the museum, there has been good response from students in the campus. Professors and students from other universities too, visit Kannada museum, he added.

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