Archaeology and the Public Purpose: Writings on and by M.N. Deshpande

ISBN : 9780190130480

Professor Nayanjot Lahiri
360 ページ

This book interleaves the history of post- Independence archaeology in India with the life and times of Madhukar Narhar Deshpande (1920-2008), a leading Indian archaeologist who went on to become the director-general of the Archaeological Survey of India. Spanning nearly a century, this is a tale told through a main character-Deshpande himself-some of whose writings have been included in the volume. We explore the circumstances which brought men like Deshpande to this career path; what it was like to grow up in a family devoted to India's freedom; the watershed moment that created a large cohort that was trained by Mortimer Wheeler, the doyen of British archaeology; the unknown conservation stories around the Gol Gumbad in Bijapur and the Qutb Minar in Delhi; the forgotten story of how the fabric of a historic Hindu shrine, the Badrinath temple, was saved; the chemistry shared by the prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the archaeologist, Deshpande, at the Ajanta and Ellora cave shrines, and; the political and administrative challenges faced by director generals of archaeology. The book is a must read for anyone interested in India's past in general and the history of Indian archaeology in particular.


List of Images and Tables
Introducing the Book
1. Among Independent India's Young Archaeologists
2. A Life in Public Archaeology
3. The Archaeologist and the Prime Minister
4. Director General Deshpande
5. The Archaeologist and the Environmentalist
6. Retirement and After
Early Forays
1. Krsna Legend in the Jain Canonical Literature
2. Bahal 1952-3
Old Sites, New Discoveries
3. Ellora: Two Copper Coins of the Chola King Rajaraja I
4. Bhaja: Important Epigraphical Records from the Chaitya Cave
Cave Shrines: Ajanta, Ellora, Thanala, and Tabo
5. Ajanta Caves: Their Historical Perspective
6. A Walk through the Caves of Ellora
7. Tabo: The Himalayan Ajanta
8. Buddhist Group of Thanala Caves
Archaeology, Ethnography, and History
9. Archaeology's Contribution to History in Recent Times
10. Some Aspects of Folk Religion in the Konkana and Desh Regions of Maharashtra
11. The Siva Temple at Bhojpur
Conserving Monuments: From Gol Gumbaz to Konark
12. Problems of Conservation of Cultural Property in India
13. Gol Gumbad, Bijapur
14. Qutb Minar
15. Konark Sun Temple Archaeologists and Ascetics
16. Professor H.D. Sankalia: The Ekalavya of Archaeology
17. B.K. Thapar: Colleague and Life-Long Friend
18. A Tribute to the Great Ascetic of Bijapur, Padma Shri Kakasaheb Karkhanis: Centenarian Harijansevak
19. Gurudev Ranade: A Single Word That Changed My Life! Reaching Out and Looking Back
20. Monuments and the Child: Experience of an Archaeologist
21. Unearthing the Past: An Archaeologist's Story
About the Author


Nayanjot Lahiri is Professor of History at Ashoka University. bill became law in March 2010. Her research interests include Ancient India, Indian archaeology, and heritage studies. She is author of Pre-Ahom Assam(1991), The Archaeology of Indian Trade Routes (upto c. 200 BC) (1992), Finding Forgotten Cities- How the Indus Civilization was Discovered (2005), Marshalling the Past: Ancient India and its Modern Histories (2012), Ashoka in Ancient India (2015), Monuments Matter (2017) and Ten Time Pieces (2018). She is co-author of Copper and its Alloys in Ancient India (1996), editor of The Decline and Fall of the Indus Civilization (2000), co-editor of Ancient India: New Research (2009), Buddhism in Asia - Revival and Reinvention (2016) and an issue of World Archaeology entitled The Archaeology of Hinduism (2004). Nayanjot Lahiri won the Infosys Prize 2013 in the Humanities-Archaeology. Her book Ashoka in Ancient India was awarded the 2016 John F. Richards Prize by the American Historical; Association for the best book in South Asian History.