Important - Unpublished reports of ASI
  • > thanks for many compliments. what do you, as a public and tax payer,
    > expect from asi? psot comments dear members
    > sriraman.p.s.

    Dear all

    Mr.Sriraman is asking for all of our opinion in terms of what we
    expect out of ASI. He is asking for our suggestions, feedback. I think
    it is a very good opportunity to share our expectations with him. I am
    sure he will convey all of our feedbacks to the Supt. Archaeologist
    Mrs.Sathyabhama and do the needful.

    I'd like to list the following:

    * Would it be possible for ASI to conduct a public display of items
    after each major excavation (Not necessarily with all the actual
    assets at all times - may be with photos). I think few have happened
    in the past but we are not aware of it. We can start off with
    Adhichchanallur and Mahamallapuram excavations of the last 2 years
    which yielded valuable assets.

    * Would it be possible to bring out a list of books published by
    ASI-South Zone with decent photos on the web ? Again, something exists
    already but not very attractive. Anything related to "web" all govt
    agencies need to go to NIC I believe.

    Other feedbacks welcome
  • Hi
    I guess a lot of studies and finds were grossly repetitive.
    say if some one finds a pot full of similar chola coins- say a
    thousand of them we cant do justice to all. I feel asi is in that
    trap. new technology and better personnel are making wonders in new
    finds. its wrong on our part to waste their man housr in printing and
    sorting out what their predecessors have done. I sincerely feel all
    the old paper work should be handed to a private trust to sort and
    publish. and asi should be allowed to just dig and intepret which
    they are qualified for and love doing

  • dear gokuol and hi to others,

    1.the activities of asi is multiferious. the principal
    responsibility is to maintain the monumnet listed unser the Act of
    2. asi has some legal responsibilties being the agency of central

    3. asi has many branches - circle essentially to look after the
    monuments but with some time taking fieldwork. earlier explorations
    were given more importance and every one of us loved to fly off
    every month. it will take us to new villages unknown things and
    everything from prehistoric sites to modern remaisn will be seen and

    4. of late, the fieldwork is limited due to official work.

    5. there major brances exclusively for excavations.

    6. local offices do small scale excavations.

    7. since we do not have impress the power that be unlike the state
    government department and our mps are less intruding, we do not come
    out with public show of excavated materials, mostly pottery.

    8. but we open up and interact with interested persons when they
    approach like sps, gokul and others. all we need is an interested

    9. everybody is welcome to asi, not only in chennai but to any small
    office anywhere in india.
  • Dear Vidya,

    Good points. It clearly states the expectations from

    Dear Sriraman,

    It is true and nobody can deny that the efforts of ASI
    put towards preservation is remarkable. Initiatives
    like Interpretation center are need of the hour. When
    we visited it during my last trip to india, I was
    telling Ram that ASI deserves a special appreciation.

    I appreciate your intentions to know the feedback from
    public. I am putting the below comments as a person
    interested in history and have some interactions with
    ASI and State archeology department.

    1. Completeness

    I request ASI/State arch. dept. to do the work
    completely. When an excavation or temple study is
    started, please try to complete all aspects like
    architecture, inscriptions, iconography, etc. We see
    many temples which were partly researched and history
    was written based on those partial findings. Some
    examples we can quote from our field work experience
    are Thiruvalanjuzhi and Udayaloor.

    2. Controversies

    Some of the conclusions arrived on recent excavations
    created some controversies among the historians. For
    example, Dr.Sathiyamurthy said there are some old
    brahmi scripts inside the urn excavated from
    Adhichanallur. But Dr.Sathiyabhama said those are not
    letters at all. This surfaced out when Iravatham
    Mahadevan raised some questions during the conference
    held in Tamil university couple of months ago. In the
    same conference, Dr.Nadana Kasinathan (former State
    arch. dept director) said he was not allowed to see
    that urn. Such controversies could have been avoided
    if brahmi experts were consulted before publishing the

    3. Timeliness

    As Vidya pointed out in her mail, it is very important
    to give complete information at right time. Still a
    fullstop is pending for many issues like dating of
    Adhichanallur urn, scripts inside the urn, date of
    temple excavated near pulikkugai, etc. Unless the
    complete information is given as soon as the
    excavation is completed, it is difficult to filter
    history out of it.

    4. Monuments

    As Satish stated in a feedback to one of
    articles, very few monuments have explanations about
    the historical importance of monuments. Only the
    caution board mentioning the law sections under which
    this monument is protected are no use for public. In
    those very few monuments also, information provided
    were proved to be wrong in later days. It is very
    important to update them and give right information to
    public. The best examples are the boards kept at the
    entrance of Five rathas and Big temple.

    5. Fund utilisation

    We heard that some years ago, funds allocated to State
    arch. dept. by tamilnadu government for publishing the
    research articles were returned back to the government
    without publishing anything and government reduced the
    amount after that. If such funds were utilised
    properly and atleast 1 book was brought out, history
    lovers would have been happy. Hope the samething is
    not happening with ASI.

    6. Renovations

    I dont know the reason why stucco is pasted over the
    sculptures during renovations. It was very painful
    when we saw Gangai konda cholapuram sculptures after
    renovation by ASI. Entire vimanam and all sculptures
    were covered with stucco and pink color paint. The
    original beauty is lost. When we compared with old
    photographs, the features also had changed a lot. Such
    modified versions will definitely cause confusions
    during the temple studies. Samething happened in
    Kanchipuram Kailasanathar temple vimaanam and
    Srinivasanallur Kurakkanathar temple also. In these 2
    temples, only sculptures in ground floor are left as
    it is. The temple Mahendravarmeswaram inside the
    Kanchi kailasanathar complex is completely
    restructured with stucco. Why such activities are

    7. Politics

    I am not sure if this problem is easily resolvable. In
    a way, what Satish said in his mail is true. Politics
    is one of the obstacles in the path of ASI. It is not
    by politicians. But because of the internal politics
    between officers. In the past 3 years, we have
    witnessed many events related to the coldwar between
    ASI and State archeology department as well as within
    ASI employees. I dont want to mention the names and
    events elobarately since i am sure you are well aware
    of such politics. But definitely this reduces the
    productivity and a barrier to publish the findings.

    8. Commission

    Many people (we also used to) think that ASI employees
    have less scope for putting money into their pockets
    in illegal ways. But some recent incidents and
    information from related people made us to think that
    it is no lesser than a taluk office or road contractor
    business. Sometimes ago, we were shocked hearing that
    most of the officers in the hierarchy get a percentage
    from the fund alloted for maintenance/renovation of
    each monument. What is the point in blaming
    politicians alone?

    9. New undertakings

    Heard that ASI has stopped undertaking new monuments.
    I dont know the reason behind such decision. The
    ultimate result will reflect on monuments only. If ASI
    is not undertaking, who else will have interest to
    save them? Many more monuments will be added to the
    list of Malaiyadikkurichi, Thiruppattur Kailasanathar,
    etc. Dr.Kalaikkovan is trying for past several years
    to make this Kailasanathar temple as a protected
    monument. But no luck so far. Fortunately, Pullamangai
    was protected after the joint effort by Dr.Kalaikkovan
    and Dr.Kudavoil Balu.

    Hope you will take all these comments positively and
    request you to let the group know how these points are
    addressed by ASI.
  • hi and to kamal

    my reactions

    1. Stating that a study about the past – represented in form
    like artefacts, monuments, inscription etc., etc., - is complete is
    absurd. Finding new facts, new interpretation adds charm and keeps
    the interest alive in subject like history. The statement that your
    team is confident that the monuments studied have been understood in
    totality is something can not be accepted. A study should pose more
    problems than solves it. Past is like wine and women. It intoxicates
    you more when it becomes older. The research activities at ASI will
    continue forever. In fact, when ASI was formed in 1860's then the
    British government that a decade is sufficient to understand and
    document Indian monumental heritage. What an underestimate? Possibly
    they did not complete the work that is why there was still an
    opportunity at Tiruvalanjuli.
    2. The controversy like the instance quoted by you is very
    common. Are your team didn't hide any thing? Or escape away from
    some statement uttered incidentally a la makutagama? To err is
    human. To hide from error is mundane. To accept the error is
    humility. One should choose. Anecdotes are there that even giants
    have erred. Great people correct themselves immediately. The mundane
    argue incessantly. ASI as an institution should not be pointed at
    for issues raised by individuals, even though they belonged to that
    3. The academics of ASI always published in one way or other
    the fundamental aspects of their research immediately in the
    academic fora. The publication of significant results as news item
    is also a part of this endeavour that we need to reach those
    interested persons like you who do not have time and access to
    academic fora. Such information is quite sufficient for
    interpretation. But the crux of the issue with the other academics
    is that they need the comprehensive information so that the context
    with which the discoveries have been made could be verified.
    4. This is being attended to. Mainly problem arise from the
    public themselves. They want us to substantiate the stories they
    hear about the monuments. Then the language. We had to keep the
    information in three languages. The board becomes so large it
    irritates the connoisseurs. They in turn complain. Then the
    simplicity of language. In my experience, writing a 100 word note on
    Five rathas is the most difficult task than writing a book on
    Tiruvalanjuli. But 100 word note will be read by lakhs. 100 page
    book will not be even read by 10.That is the paradox.
    5. The fund utilisation, in general, is much better in ASI. And
    the spending is just and honest and spent for the purpose it is
    meant for.
    6. Applying a fine stucco layer over the old worn out stucco
    cover is an accepted conservation measure and is a traditional, time
    tested method. Every conservation decision is taken in ASI after a
    comprehensive analysis of problems on hand. Conserve and Preserve
    has different meanings. Going to detail will lengthen the reply.
    7. Which organisation is bereft of politics? Politics in its
    many avatars exists everywhere. Few individuals keep them away. Some
    tend to live by it. The new dame, so well paid, IT organisations too
    has politics at all levels. Politics exists even in family!!! It is
    a common human malaise like cold. Live with it. The consequences for
    people in government get is getting punished/criticised, because
    they are paid with the public money. In private organisation, you
    simply quit and still employed in a higher grade and pay in the
    competitor firm.
    8. The entire financial and human resource of India, if not
    more, is required to preserve India's heritage. How many of us are
    ready to share the burden? To how many ECONOMISTS preserving the
    heritage is an indicator of growth? Rajaraja mobilised his every
    resource to create a great edifice. How much of our resources are
    spent on preserving them? Individually, those, who are committed,
    spend our resources, mainly time, to the maximum. Had we not spent
    that much time in sharing our knowledge with persons? In a state
    where there is severe resource crunch, heritage is given the least
    9. Institutions are made up of individuals. If individuals are
    good, the institutions are good. Malaise is there everywhere. They
    need to be cured. Not publicised.
  • Hi

    Know what is the easiest title to obtain.- HISTORIAN
    anybody can go about , climb a few temples, take a few photographs,
    read a few inscriptions all in a couple of years and claim to be a
    complete historian.

    then you can write articles, give opinions, challenge career
    historians who have spent a lifetime on these issues and generally
    go about saying everybody else is wrong . only we are right.

    TRY DOING this in physics or chemistry. you cant. for everything
    there is a verifiable commodity or issue. you cant even do it in
    geography. you can get away with it in history only and quite some
    people seem to know it well.

    and Fault finding of recent is the biggest thing that can get
    somebody some publicity.
    when a general press article comes about some historical discovery a
    hastily constructed article appears in saying that
    discovery is false.
    the time gap between the two is so less that we can see people have
    not paused even to think.or visit the place for a re-look. thats
    mainly because of the know all attitude.
    but of recent these type of articles have given such a
    negative outlook. like the sole crusader out to disprove everything.
    I only hope articles dont appear in aananda vikadan about MGR samadhi
    or Anna Samathi for varalaaru .com is sure to comment even on their
  • VaNakkam

    very happy to read mails on unpublishesd reports on ASi

    my opinion based on my personal perceptionon realities.

    Basically all government offices depend on decision making top
    management and administrative people.

    in orissa intersted people of archeology &related people on history
    runnning behind accounts people for audit and other claims.

    so many un identical people like us running for survival.

    in orissa ,is treasure of un discoverd history burried under the
    forest ,earth etc.

    But presentadminstrative measures not allowed any one to do their
    field of interst except money and protection for their families.

    you know for all india epicrphical records and finding u have to run
    only to mysore.
    (sriraman and other deepartment people can accept this)

    please read all epicraphical indica volumes , plates lying on the
    mysore museum ,copper plates,manuscripts lying on the particular
    centers can tell the truth.

    If like INTACH,Sharma heritage centre, Rajamanikanar research
    institute,pudokottai library,rojar muttahiya research
    institutes,Reach foundation and many more their services to the past

    please initiate peoples to do more work start from ur surroundings.

    s.balasubramani B+
  • Sorry to intervene. I have stopped replying to such issues as I have learnt
    to live in a co-existing way becoz friends turn foe for no mistake of mine.
    But after reading things going on, I would only say one thing- and request
    members not to continue for my reply as a thread. I agree fully with
    Mr.Sriraman. I have been fortunate to move closely with the greats like
    Dr.T.Satyamurthy, thanks to our temple revival organisation the
    R.E.A.C.HFoundation which was successfully registered and plans are
    afoot to rebuild
    the Uthiramerur Kailasanatha temple. He is one man with so much knowledge
    and experience, but has the greatest virtue of remaining aploitical when
    adversities or unsavoury comments come forth. He just clears technical
    doubts, when asked for. HE replies with correct documentation and theroy
    when a detail is dealt with. That's the sign of a true historian. Also, when
    help is needed to estimate the expenses for any reconstruction of a temple,
    or to read a stone scripture, he immediately sends his ex-ASI friends or
    collegues to complete the task. I was also thinking it would benefit guys if
    we send them to Later when I found that only few want to own
    articles as well as history (lol) and in that process, also the name they
    could get along with (, I resisted myself doing so. Sorry to
    say this members. True history is lying somewhere. We need to be a learner
    and an observer than become authoritarians. This is for the sake of
    honouring true historians and not to create a blemish to their work done, so
    far; Let us learn facts of history.I am sure, except a few in our group
    (countable) most are novices in history.
    No intention of insulting members of varalaaru. If they wish to stop
    contacting me for any help I would render, it is their choice. I am what I
    am, ready to help anyone, registration procedures, running around to
    organise things, meetings, for arranging temple visits, take snaps or write
    on the visits etc, and to hold a BIG BOWL TO BEG ( no shame on that) for
    REACH foundation to rebuild temples.
    Thanks for your valuable time.
    Chandrasekaran (plasticschandra)

    People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't
    believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people
    who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find
    them, make them.
    - George Bernard Shaw

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