On a historical sojourn

Some of the stone implements that were once part of the household chores.  

"Chaata, cheepuru, issuraai, kerosene lantharu...." These are some household articles that are slowly disappearing. Most of them have either vanished or are replaced by modern gadgets like vacuum cleaner, electric grinder, bulbs and the like.

Entering the museum of School of Folk and Tribal lore of Potti Sriramulu Telugu University in Warangal is like going into a time machine. One can see most of these items that were once part of the daily chores of yesteryear.

"The collected items were used 30 to 100 years ago. Palanquins are no more in use. Similarly is the fate of the `chekumukhi' stone, which was once used to make fire by villagers. There are countless items collected with great efforts," says N. Bhaktavatsala Reddy, head of the

A palanquin.

A palanquin.  

Janapada Girijana Vignana Peetham.

Over the years, employees at the museum have documented vast literature - rituals and customs of different castes of different parts of Andhra Pradesh. The customs followed at the time of birth, death and after, festivals, songs and slang used by various people have also been documented. "We engaged old people of tribal areas in conversation and recorded it. With great difficulty they reminisced their memories and related to us. Similarly, folk art forms and pastime activities of people were preserved through audio-visual documentation," Mr. Reddy explains.

Those on the display comprised a vast variety of items - costumes once used, traditional agricultural implements, pens made of stick and feathers, bows and arrows, rock grinders, wooden utensils and very old versions of musical instruments of tribal folk, cots, palanquins, manuscripts on palm leaves, locks made of iron in different shapes, implements used by barbers, weavers, goldsmiths, toddy-tappers, shepherds and other artisans. And the list goes on and on. The folk art forms of remote corners of East Godavari, Adilabad, Warangal, Chittoor and many other parts have also been documented audio-visually.

According to Bhaktavatsala Reddy, they are contemplating creating a model village - typical with houses made in different varieties, shapes and material. It will also have the ancient model of stormwater drains and water and land management of our ancestors. "The primary objective is to preserve and document different aspects of life of human beings. This museum is not only meant for visitors, but also serves as a great resource for research scholars and academics," he says.

The Janapada Girijana Vignana Peetham is definitely a place worth seeing by tourists to Warangal district.

By Gollapudi Srinivasa Rao in Warangal