Vijayawada

‘Digging the past for a glorious future’

CCV CEO E. Sivanagi Reddy explaining the heritage monuments in the State at a photo exhibition organised in Vijayawada. —File Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

CCV CEO E. Sivanagi Reddy explaining the heritage monuments in the State at a photo exhibition organised in Vijayawada. —File Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar  

Emani Sivanagi Reddy rues utter neglect of heritage due to rapid urbanisation

His eyes sparkle at the mention of the word ‘ancient’ and he is intrigued by all things historic or prehistoric. Artefacts, manuscripts or even ancient sites excite him to no end.

Archaeologist, historian and CEO of the Cultural Centre of Vijayawada (CCV) Emani Sivanagi Reddy loves to decipher clues from ancient artefacts, inscriptions and manuscripts to study about a primitive community or civilisation and how people lived in specific times and places.

He then sets on the task of analysing what people’s daily life was, how they were governed, how they interacted with each other and what they believed in and valued.

“I come from a lower middle class family from Valiveru in Tsundur mandal of Guntur district. My parents were into agriculture and could not afford my education after 10{+t}{+h}class. One of my teachers suggested I could opt for a four-year training in Traditional Sculpture and Architecture, offered free of cost by S.V. Institute for Traditional Sculpture and Architecture, Tirupati.”

Immediately after the training, he got involved in ‘Transplantation of Temple’, a Government scheme envisaging preservation of 100 historically significant and architectural marvels dating 7{+t}{+h}and 17{+t}{+h}centuries AD, which faced the threat of submergence under the Srisailam Hydro Electric Project.

“We dismantled, shifted and reconstructed these temples. We were technologically sound and we knew the anatomy of these ancient structures. Watching me transplant the temples, the then Director of Archaeology V.V. Krishna Sastry, suggested that I take up archaeology,” he recalls.

Kakatiya Heritage Project

Later, he pursued a Masters in Tourism Management and MBA, joined Government service in 1978 (Endowments Department) and moved to the Department of Archaeology and Museums the next year. He has played an active role in archaeological excavations of Neolithic, chalcolithic, megalithic, early historic and Buddhist sites in Andhra Pradesh and was instrumental in conservation and preservation of select Kakatiya temples in Telangana as part of the Kakatiya Heritage Project.

Digitisation of

Buddhist sites

The former Director of the State Gallery of Art in Hyderabad rues about the utter neglect of heritage due to rapid urbanisation. With many books to his credit on history, culture, archaeology, tourism and Buddhism, Prof. Reddy is now busy on a new project—digitisation of Buddhist sites and monuments in Andhra Pradesh, a project taken up by the CCV in collaboration with the Centre for Mahayana Buddhist Studies in Acharya Nagarjuna University.

“In last one year, explorations by CCV have shed light on nearly 40 ancient sites in this region, ranging from Palaeolithic age to the medieval age. We toil hard to make a record of our valuable findings. But most of these records are lying unread, away from the public eye. I want people to read and know our glorious history. That’s precisely why I have embarked on a writing spree,” he says.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 11:42:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/%E2%80%98Digging-the-past-for-a-glorious-future%E2%80%99/article14385950.ece

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