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Durable Link to this BlogSunday, September 18, 2005

Sedam Musings

Greetings from Sedam!

Standing amidst ruined bastion of a fort, that surrounds the town of Sedam (Gulburga), I cannot help ruminating over the glorious past of this region.

Strange are the ways of history. It can reduce big empire to dust and mighty emperors to mere mementoes with passage of time. No doubt Time (Kalaraya), the great leveler, is deified as god in Indian ethos and at times equated with death (Yama). It is Kala who decides destiny of the ruler and ruled, down the ages.

Sedam formed part of the capital of the mighty Rashtrakutas (735 - 814 CE). Kannada language and culture developed to new heights under them. The architectural wonders of Ellora and Elephanta took shape under them. Their influence extended up to Ganga in the north and Kaveri in the south. Arab travelers have left eye-witness account about the power and glory of Rashtrakuta rulers. Region round about Sedam is replete with monuments, Buddhist, Jaina and several sects of Hinduism. It is the work place of Basaveshwara the great socio-religious reformer of the 12th century, whose revolutionary reforms led to birth of Virasaivasm.

Yet, the district of Gulburga today, the largest in the state is considered backward. Poverty, illiteracy, lack of resources and indefinite rains drive 20% of the population to migrate to cities, in search of jobs. When rains fail, the village farmers have no choice. They toil as construction workers in big cities. At least part of this class is responsible for many of the towering buildings in Bangalore.

The tenacity, hard work and frugal habits of these native agriculturists is well known. The region they hail form consists of fertile land. Only lack of water resources plagues them. They grow all staple millets, rice and pulses. In fact, Gulburga is considered granary of lentils (Turdal) for the whole of India!

This year's monsoon was promising. Rains poured in the region. It was green in the rural areas, Kagina and Kamala, rivulets and branches of Bhima river were flowing with water.

The bullocks -- the workforce of the agriculturists are tall and well-built like small elephants. There looks are majestic, at least to my eyes. I come from costal North Canara district, where the cattle at times look like rams!

Nagayi in Chitapur taluka, just eleven miles away, was a famous educational center or Ghatikasthana in the eleventh century with nearly 700 students on its campus. The stone-pillar detailing the munificent grant of land (1200 acres) for the maintenance of staff and students stands forlorn in the premises of partly renovated Traipurusha (Trimurti) temple of Nagavi.

On way, we found youngsters hurrying to school, from a long distance. Girls out numbered boys. It was heartening to see good number of Muslim girls among them. Awareness and availability of education has breathed new life in this region. Students from nearby villages travel by bus everyday to Gulburga which is 50 miles away. Gulburga has industrial training centers besides engineering and medical colleges and a university.

Two big cement factories have been functioning, which may add to prosperity of the locals. The wheel of life has ups and downs. In future this area which lay dormant for centuries after its glorious past may again shine providing leadership as in by gone era!

Amma's Column by Jyotsna Kamat

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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