January 10, 2010

More About Hero Stones

I had earlier blogged about Hero Stones in India and had posted couple of pictures. One of my blog readers commented that these Hero Stones will go on to become roadside temples and cause public nuisance. I thought and reflected on the comment for some time. It is true that these roadside temples become a problem on the long run, but I would like to take a tangential approach to this whole business of the Hero Stone becoming a roadside shrine.

My first question is Why do these Hero Stones become a temple? The answer in my opinion stems from apathy, both from the people and from the government. In India with so much history strewn around nobody cares about the historical significance of something as trivial as a Hero Stone. There is very little money available for academic research about history of India and moreover the Hero Stone tradition being a Hindu concept, no academic is interested. Even if an academic shows interest he/ she will immediately branded "Saffronista" or "BJP" or "Hindu fundamentalist" and ostracized in the academia. Once anyone gets this tag it will become virtually impossible for career advancement and getting future research grants.

The government doesn't have enough museums to host these artifacts/ inscriptions. If there were museums that could be educational spaces for children and adults alike to create an awareness about the great historical traditions of our country. If we had museums which protected the monuments and cared for them these Hero stones wouldn't fall into the hands of unscrupulous elements who would then convert them into temples and create a menace for public.

I hope those who expressed dissent about the previous blog post will appreciate the beauty of the Hero Stone and think about how we can protect them both from the elements as well as unscrupulous people.

Meanwhile enjoy the beauty of some more Hero Stones.
Hero Stone in rural Karnataka This hero stone is in Heggunda Village in Karnataka

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