This refers to the report on the discovery of the 1000-year-old Chola frescoes at the Brihadisvara temple in 1931 by S.K. Govindaswami (Feb. 3). I belong to Thanjavur. Many years ago, some officials of the Archaeological Survey of India told me that the motive of the Nayak rulers in superimposing their paintings over the Chola frescoes was to protect them from the marauding invaders of the day. This theory gets credence when we find that the superimposition was done in such a manner that the Chola frescoes were not damaged or defaced.
In a similar instance, the caves containing the Ajanta murals were sealed from view for the same reason. The Englishman who discovered the murals got due recognition. However, Govindaswami who discovered the Chola frescoes does not seem to have got the recognition due to him. In fact, I came to know about him only after reading the report in The Hindu.
T.S. Sridharan, Mumbai