REACH heritage awards – 2011 – Reach Foundation: Conserve our Rich Heritage!!
REACH Foundation, a voluntary organization, working towards educating the common public on heritage conservation and bridging the gap between the modern engineers and traditional sthapathis (www.conserveheritahe.org) conducted its 2nd year’s heritage awards function, in Shri. Pitti Thyagaraja Hall, T.Nagar.
The Pitti Thyagaraja Hall was an apt place for the function, as this was in the centralized locality at T.Nagar, and there was ample parking place.
Mr. D. Jayakamar, the incumbent speaker of Tamilnadu legislative assembly could not make it to the function to preside, as he had to be in Tiruchi the same day, morning.
It was appropriate that the leading Numismatist and the REACH awardee himself, when it was installed last year in 2010, Dr R.Krishnamurthy, the editor of Dinamalar and the President of the South Indian Numismatics Society accepted gracefully to fill the chair to preside over the function.
He are this year’s recipient of the award, Dr. Deme Raja Reddy are already known to each other. Inspite of being a very leading and popular, busy Neurologist himself, Dr. Raja Reddy is hailed as the man who proved the antiquity of Telugu script and coin minting some 2000 years ago, as what Dr Krishnamurthy had done to Tamil Nadu by discovering the Sangam age coins, and both have written books on their findings, to prove that these languages are classic languages indeed, and we had advanced technology thousands of years before in coin minting, than what the westerners think was pioneered by the Romans.
The next recipient Dr A.N. Chandrasekaran is a Rheumatologist and he has revived the temple-centric village Arunkundram, his native near Arcot and has made the life of his villagers better by providing a marriage hall, a school, a library and of course a health centre which he donated to the Government, running with good attendance where in 200 child birth and no abortions or premature deaths have been heard off. even at his age, Dr AN Chandrasekaran visits the village for conducting regular check ups and conducting specialized medical camps at the hospital. Any icon or sculpture or inscription now unearthed is informed to the Doctor, which shows the immense belief and faith the villagers have in him. On the D-Day, the villagers had come to the function to honour him with shawls and citation.
Dr M S Mathews, professor in I.I.T, was the other recipient. He had done exhaustive study and given instructions on how to make the heritage structures earth quake resistant, for many Indian as well as international heritage buildings. He helped REACH in conducting experiments and implementing the stitching of granite to save the foundation stones of Uttaramerur Kailasanathar temple which REACH FOUNDATION had renovated with the local funding of the villagers.
Dr Balakrishnan, the first ever IAS officer to study his Post Graduation in Tamil, gave an excellent speech, highlighting the tangible and the intangible heritages of India, giving a detailed study on examples he quoted as far as from Afghanistan, Pakisthan, Odisha, and Harappa and down south our own Adichannallur, which the founder of REACH FOUNDATION, Dr T Satyamurthy had excavated some 100 years after it was first excavated by Alexander Rhea! He quoted that the names og Nedunkilli, Adiyaman, Saattan ( சாத்தன்) etc which finds mention in the Tamil Sangam literature, and many names of places like Korkai, etc finds place in all these lands and have deeper connections within themselves!
Initially Mr. Ravi Sam, industrialist from the illustrious LMW family of Coimbatore, and the chairman of the academy wing of REACH, AASAI, gave the welcome address, followed by a hilarious but a sad punch on the face of the negligent tourists, a short film showing how the visitors spoil the beauty of Taj Mahal by littering around! This was followed by the founders address and filming about the awardees. The trustee and treasurer of the foundation, Shri. H Chandrasekaran delivered the vote of thanks.
Photos courtesy: K. Krishnakumar, REACH FOUNDATION.
Article on the award function in Dinamalar tamil daily can be seen here
article on dinamani here