Karnataka govt to capture its village stories
Karnataka has taken up an ambitious project to gather and document information about every village related to its history, culture and heritage, probably in a first of its kind initiative by a state.
The Kannada culture and higher education departments have set out jointly on this venture. The project will be launched next month. “A lot of history about villages, their monuments, communities, economic activities, tourism and even how the village got its name is not comprehensively documented anywhere. Therefore, the department has decided to document these elements with the help of college students and share it on the department website with open access to public,” Minister for Kannada and culture CT Ravi said.
Ministers of both departments recently held a preliminary meeting with vice chancellors of universities to discuss the plan. “The Karnataka Folklore University has already done some ground work as part of their previous projects. It will now be carried out in a comprehensive way, by involving government and private colleges,” said deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan, who is in charge of higher education. He said his department would soon ask vice-chancellors to lead and supervise the project.
While the government has yet to come up with a clear format to gather information, officials who are aware of the developments said besides documenting history and heritage, they are also planning to archive agriculture and economic activities, celebrations and local festivities in villages. “Nodal officers will be appointed in village and taluk levels to monitor the project and vet the information gathered. The draft information will then be published in panchayat offices inviting objections and suggestions from the public,” an official, who is briefed on the matter, said. Deputy commissioners who have been asked to monitor the project in the district level will be given a login ID to upload information on the Department of Kannada and Culture’s “Kannada Siri” website.
INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) Bengaluru convener Meera Iyer termed it as a “great initiative”. “The idea is wonderful, especially because they are involving students from villages who have a better knowledge and access to information of the place and its local history. Also, such kind of project has not been done anywhere in the country,” she said.
She, however, said the concern remained on accuracy. “While documenting oral history, the government should also corroborate it with written records. There should be some documentary evidence to maintain authenticity,” Iyer said. “I see it as an opportunity for students to experience scientific gathering of information, interviewing people, documenting and publishing it. We will send communication to colleges once we receive a written instruction from the department,” a university registrar said.