CHALASANI DUTT recounts the fascinating tale of how Krishnnaveni Matha was shaped to lend a divine touch to the city
I am happy to witness over the past two and half decades how the image of Krishnaveni Matha has got etched in the popular consciousness. The statue has come to represent the very culture and tradition of the Krishna district. The reason for my joy originates from the fact that I was actively associated with the conceptualisation and installation of the statue.In those formative years, the then Krishna district Collector A.V.S. Reddy decided to gift to the city something that would remain permanently with the people living here. Officials like the irrigation and panchayat superintending engineer Y.P.C. Chowdary did their best in realizing the dream. Thanks to their efforts, `Krishnaveni Matha' stands tall in all her elegance on a high pedestal, which provides a bird's eye-view of the Prakasam Barrage from the city side.It gives me a great sense of satisfaction when I see the picture of the Matha's statue forming an indispensable part of the barrage. It image has not lost even an iota of its appeal to this day and makes me feel immensely proud.
Quite silently, the statue has inspired a common bond and likeminded thinking among people and has become a unifying factor. Even the Government has been attaching a lot of importance to the statue. So much so that important meetings and functions are inaugurated by offering a prayer to the Matha. The figurine has come to occupy a place of pride in emblems and publications of organisations and institutions.To make the Krishna Pushkarams in 1980 a grand success, the district administration began to plan a year in advance. Since I was the founder secretary of Krishna Industrial & Agricultural Exhibition Society, I was constantly in touch with the officials. Collector A.V.S. Reddy involved G.V. Rama Rao and myself actively in the task. We, along with the then Urban Development Authority vice-chairman G. Venkataramana Reddy, visited Kanchipuram several times.
Due to his long stay in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Reddy was greatly influenced by the Dravidian culture and he was the one who worked on the design of the image. The sculptor, M. Muthaiah of Kanchipuram, visited Vijayawada two to three times before beginning work on the statue. He used special granite that was unique to that area.We visited Kanchipuram several times for a closer look at the statue. After it was brought here, some people pointed to the lack of Andhra touch in the features of the statue. The originally carved broad hips and a big waistline had to be reworked on to suit the quintessential features of a Telugu belle- pidikitantha nadumu (waist fitting into a fist). The flat face and round shoulders identifying with the Dravidian features had to be changed into a long face and broad shoulders. We got the features corrected by a local sculptor before the image was installed at a place adjoining the Prakasam barrage. I will always cherish memories of how Krishnaveni Matha finally found her rightful place in the hearts of the people living in this city.(As told to G. Ravikiran)