The A. P. History Congress (APHC), which has taken up the exhaustive project of documenting, for posterity, the comprehensive history and culture of Andhra Pradesh, successfully released its fourth volume recently.
The first such attempt to be made to piece together all aspects of human life -- historical, political, social, economic and cultural aspects of the State in eight volumes -- began only 10 years ago. The eight-volume series was envisaged to cover the State from the pre-historic period 5000 BC till 1956, while the ninth volume would dwell on contemporary history, from 1956 to 1990, said V. Ramakrishna, former Professor of History, University of Hyderabad, who is General Editor of the series.
While the first three volumes covered the State's history and culture from 5000 BC to 1000 AD, the fourth volume, brought out in association with Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University and published by Tulika Books, is about ‘Medieval Andhradesa' spanning from AD 1000 to 1324. This period marked the rise of Chalukya power in Andhra, followed by Cholas, Chodas and the Kakatiyas when Warangal emerged as a premier cultural and political centre.
The period also marked the rise of the Yadavas in the upper Deccan and the Hoysalas, south of the Tungabhadra. The pilgrimage tradition and pilgrim circuit evolved during this period, he said.
Speaking to The Hindu , Prof. Ramakrishna said the APHC took up the project with financial support from the Indian Council of Historical Research and contributions from individuals. With over 200 historians on the panel, the effort received overwhelming response for its factual account of the State's history based on archaeological, epigraphical, literary, numismatic sources and architectural remains.
“The need for this series was felt because no connected, authenticated, chronologically arranged narrative from an interdisciplinary perspective, incorporating the latest data, is available today. While the fifth volume will be out in six months, the next in the series will be ‘Contemporary History' in another year. We will bring out the rest of the volumes in six years,” he said. Interestingly, the Telugu translations were more popular with readers.
Admitting that Telugus were often criticised for lacking a sense of history, he, however, put the blame on “the social system we had.” Education was limited to a few sections, while monopoly over knowledge and lack of tradition of written history were the other factors. As a result, people never realised the significance of history.
He points out that there still exist over 2,000 inscriptions, thousands of coins in the State Archaeology Department and thousands of ancient village records ( kaifiats ) collected in State archives waiting to be deciphered. They can throw invaluable insights on bygone times. “We plan to open a website soon to make all volumes available online,” he said.