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‘History should be perceived with an open mind’

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authoritative work: Girish Karnad, G. Venkatasubbaiah and S. Settar at the release of ‘Somanathapur’ in Bangalore on Tuesday.
authoritative work: Girish Karnad, G. Venkatasubbaiah and S. Settar at the release of ‘Somanathapur’ in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Staff Reporter

Bangalore: It was 45 years ago that historian S. Settar first visited Somnathpura, where he “slept the nights on the floor by the mahadvara of the Kesava temple for about a fortnight,” as he describes, in the introduction of his book on the temple town.

Speaking here on Tuesday at the launch of the Kannada and English versions of his book “Somnathpura: An Illustrated Study” Prof. Settar said that “history should be perceived with an open mind.”

The book, published by Abhinava contains 80 photographs and maps of Somnathpura and also “exposes untruths and half truths.”

Prof. Settar said that the State Tourism Department had done little to promote awareness about heritage sites in the State. “We have hardly any literature produced on our heritage sites besides a few pamphlets perhaps. Visitors depend on tour guides who often know little themselves,” he said.

M.S. Prabhakara, novelist and columnist, described the book as an authoritative work on art history, temple architecture and Hoysala architecture.

Playwright Girish Karnad said that Prof. Settar’s works on history “offer an entry into the Kannada mind,” something that few historians have achieved.

Parvathi Menon, Chief of Bureau of The Hindu, said that demystifying history and exploding entrenched myths, as Prof. Settar had done, was more important today than ever before “when politicians appear to have become historians.”

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