Where heritage is preserved and celebrated

 Group members clearing the bushes around a fortress in Hagalwadi, Tumakuru; a village entrance.

Hagalwadi village in Tumakuru district is a historically important place. The fort, the huge entrance, the math, the palace, Shivalingas, the ponds and other inscriptions found here tell interesting stories about the past. However, in recent years, the stones which once made a strong fortress had become barriers to which cattle were tied. The inscriptions were taken over by thorny bushes, while other monuments landed in a sorry state. Realising the significance of the historical remains and the need to conserve them, a group of youths from the village has taken up the task of rejuvenating them.

Youth act

This team of 30 members gets to work every Sunday. The members clean the thorny bushes grown around these historical remains, clear the garbage strewn in the vicinity and take all steps to clean the monuments. Interestingly, Facebook played a role in getting these youths together.

Many youths from this village had migrated to urban areas either for education or for jobs. Slowly, a conversation over the historical remains in the village began among the youth over Facebook and the group decided to take up the challenge of conserving the historical relics and launched this movement. The members of local groups ‘Snehajeevi Balaga’ and ‘Bajarangi’ also joined hands with the group. Most of the members of this group are students.

After breakfast, the group members gather at a spot at 9 am every Sunday. After picking the cleaning implements like the axe and sickle from the house of Krishnamurthy, a group member, they begin their work which lasts till the evening.

The group has already cleared the bushes around the main entrance of the fortress, the second entrance of the fortress (entrance of the village), remains of the palace, Gurupadswami Mutt, Gurupdswami Gadduge (seat) and Niranjanswami Koogumutt (a mantapa).

The village not only has maths but also gadduges of many seers. There are two Shivalingas and an inscription near the Bisilu Mallappa Temple. The other Lingas have disappeared. Two inscriptions near the Someshwar temple have also been dumped unattended, says the youth.

“Initially, a conversation over the development of the village began over the Facebook. But then, the youths began feeling that just discussion was not enough. So, we first identified the historical remains in the village and then began cleaning them one by one. We feel proud when we see the name of our village mentioned in historical texts. We want to bring back that pride and giving new lease of life to the monuments is the first step towards it. It would be better if the gram panchayat also joins hands in the task of historical conservation,” said Shrinivas of Bajarangi group.

The youth, who want to keep the work going under any circumstance, said that there are two big ponds and a small pond in the village which were sources of drinking water during the period of Paleyagars. But now, they have become dumping yards. They need funds to clean these tanks as it has to be done with the help of some equipment. Hence, they have written about it to the State Archeology Department to draw their attention.

While some villagers mock, saying that the youth had taken up a task which was not necessary and was nearly impossible, while some others appreciate them as they were involved in a work which even the gram panchayat hardly bothered about. However, Shivaraj, a team member, said that their only aim was to clean the inscriptions and monuments and they hardly bothered about what villagers say.

“There are many more historical evidence hidden in the bushes of the village. But we will get to know about them only when the wild plants are cleared,” says lecturer M J Sheshappa of M N Kote.

Shrinivas of Bajarangi group said that the development of the village did not mean the only development of road or drainage. Even the history of the village was its pride and development of the village also meant the protection of its monuments and preserving its history.

At a time when we see lesser-known heritage spaces getting neglected, it is motivating to learn about the efforts of these youngsters who are working towards reviving the old-world charm.

T H Panchaksharayya
(Translated by Divyashri Mudakavi)

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Where heritage is preserved and celebrated

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