The government has instructed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department to work in coordination with the Archaeology Department while renovating ancient temples.
School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu, who is also in-charge of Archaeology, said there were reports that in the name of renovation, old paintings in temples were being repainted or whitewashed and inscriptions removed or defaced. They contained valuable information about the life of people in those days. Society had a social responsibility to preserve them for posterity.
Keeping this in view, the Chief Minister had instructed the HR and CE that it should consult the Archaeology Department during renovation.
Addressing newspersons on the sidelines of a training programme on ‘Epigraphy and Archaeology,’ organised by the Archaeology Department here on Thursday, Mr. Thennarasu said to create awareness among students about the State’s ancient culture, heritage clubs would be formed in schools to propagate the need for protecting and preserving sites and monuments.
Earlier, the Minister inaugurated a workshop for giving training to participants in reading inscriptions on stones, palm leaves and pot shreds. They would be trained in conducting excavations.
R. Nagaswamy, former Director of Archaeology, said the practice of repainting old and ancient murals with modern paintings must be stopped. During his recent visit to a Jain temple at Karanthai in Kancheepuram district he was shocked to see that the Vijayanagara School paintings on the roof of a mandap had been painted with new colours.
The practice had been going on in other temples where renovation was taking place. He wanted the government to stop this.
T.S. Sridhar, Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Museum, said the government was committed to the task of preservation and conservation of stone inscriptions.
It had so far acquired 23,000 stone inscriptions and another 3,000 would be acquired soon. The information contained in these inscriptions was being brought out in book form. The department had so far published about 40 books.
K. Ramasami, Director in-charge of Central Institute of Classical Language, said steps were being taken to provide online details on classical Tamils and to bring out a digital library.