Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ganapathi Sthapathi Passed away

                                              ഗണപതി സ്ഥപതി അന്തരിച്ചു ....

V. Ganapati Sthapati, the architect of modern-day wonders such as the 133-foot Thiruvalluvar statue in Kanyakumari, Valluvar Kottam in Chennai and the Kannagi and Madhavi statue in Poompuhar, died here in a private hospital on Tuesday. He was 84. He is survived by his wife.
Born into a family of sculptors who traced their lineage to Sili Kunjaramallan Rajaraja Perunthachan, who constructed the Big Temple complex in Thanjavur, Ganapati Sthapati tried to bridge the traditional and the modern architecture.
His creations in the country and elsewhere speak for his all-encompassing knowledge of architecture and sculpture. They include the Tamil University in Thanjavur, Kannagi Kottam built in stone at Poompuhar and over 600 temples in India, the US, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Ganapati Sthapati himself used to say that he was the “last of the ancient clan to be trained in the hoary techniques of Indian sculpture as part of family inheritance.”
“If temple architecture has attained so much fame and development in the modern times, the credit should go to Ganapati Sthapati. When we think about temple architecture, no one but Ganapati Sthapati comes to mind,” said D. Radhakrishana Stapati, a well-known bronze sculptor of Swamimalai and a student of Ganapati Sthapati.
Though his father M. Vaidhyanatha Sthapati, was a well-known sculptor and architect, who created Gandhi Mandapam in Chennai and Karpaga Vinayagar temple in Pillayarpatti, he insisted on Ganapati Sthapati acquiring modern education alongside learning the traditional art. Ganapati studied mathematics at college and mastered the Sanskrit texts on sculpture and architecture.
He was the first principal of the Government College of Architecture and Sculpture at Mamallapuram which had its roots in the training centre set up by his father. He held the post for 27 years.
Ganapati Sthapati lived in Vadakadampadi village near Mamallapuram and wanted to convert his Vaastu Vedic Research Foundation into a university.
“I met him sometime ago and enrolled my son as his student. He wanted to construct a temple for Mayan, the mythical architect,” recalled Radhakrishan Sthapati. He was a winner of various awards including the Padma Bhushan. A documentary — The Living Tradition - Shilpi Speaks — was made on the shilpaic tradition as enunciated by him and won the President's Award for the best documentary in 1992.
Former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi condoled his death.
His body will be kept at the Vaastu Vedic Research Foundation at Vadakadampadi, six km from Mamallapuram and the cremation will take place on Wednesday afternoon. 
                                                           "ദി ഹിന്ദു"  റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട്‌ 

Saturday, July 9, 2011


For thousands of years the consistent trade winds of Arabian Sea passed by the beautiful beaches of Kerala. The leaves of the coconut trees on these beaches made a mistake by inviting the passing dhows and sail ships. The Portuguese, Deutch, French and the English made their fortune through these shores. Now the mantle bearers of the invaders of our country must be wondering as to how the Padmanabha Swamy Temple treasure was left out.

The Malayala Acharies or Vishwakarmans who lived in the erstwhile states of Malabar, Kochi and Thiruvathancore had immense knowledge of Indian traditional science and technology. Each and every Achary (form all five lineages of the Vishwakarman creators) of the pre-brick and mortar era bears a history and a text could have been prepared from the activities of each one's life from the age of 12 he started his profession with his Guru. Everything made in Stone, Metals and Wood in the foregone era was their handwork. The temples, churches, mosques, palaces and all other magnificent structures standing mighty across Kerala are living examples for that. The glittering ornaments, statues, idols, armaments, machinery, equipments, sculptures, paintings and thousands of other items that were created till the establishment of an engineering college are the creations of this people. They never tried to document it, as there was no such tradition for doing that. They never tried to stake a claim on it and a Keralite won’t ask for proof for that. He never demanded a credit or recognition for it. He built it and walked out of the place with a sack of tools on his back with his Sishyas, sticking the tip from the betal leaf, received as Dakshina, on his cheek. If he received any cash as Dakshina, it was the tradition to donate it to the temple hundi for the day-to-day expenses. Instead, he only retained the Dhoti and prasadam (tied in his uthareeyam or angavasthra). That was the tradition of the Muni Parampara – which was followed by Acharies and Ammals from all the five sects of the Vishwakarman lineage.

Anybody who had a civilized roof over their head was constructed by the Vishwakarmans. The architectural excellence, the engineering brilliance, the scientific superiority and the technological knowledge they had is still amazing. The westerners, who ignorantly professed superiority over all this, present a bewildered look at these creations when they visit our country and silently agree that our civilization was more advanced than theirs. The abovesaid items were created without the help of computers, blueprints drawings, sand models and sketches and without modern tools.

The Indian civilisation is the most ancient civilisation and certainly more than 10,000 years old. Max Mueller, who was the creator of Aryan Invasion Theory in 1,500 BC had himself realized the improbabilities and rejected it. During the British Rule, Indians were educated in the schools based on Macaulay school of thinking which indicted that everything Indian was rubbish. Subsequent to the introduction of western education system, we had to dump all our traditional knowledge and even the numbers had to be learnt from scratches. The progress or transition was without bridging it with the alien and home technologies. No research and development happened in our traditional engineering and architectural science. Consequent to the advances in western science and technology ours became obsolete and redundant.

A civilization has collapsed and it is the duty of every Indian to revive it. We have an identity of ‘Bharatheeyatha’ and we boast of ‘Arsha Bharatha Sanskaram’ partly because of the existence of monuments and structures. It is synonymous with our own ancestral past and identity. There is a requirement for scientifically bridging all the ancient engineering professions with that of the present day, academically and technically. This bridging of the western technology with that in the home did not happen and hence our traditional science and technology are in a dilapidated state. To some extend the Malayala Bhasha, Ayurveda, Agriculture, Sangeetham, Natakam, Kathakali, Astrology, Coir & Cashew nut production, Toddy Tapping, Fishing etc have been uplifted and promoted to the modern age requirements. Whereas, the professions carried out by all the five sects of Acharies on all Metals, Stone and Wood were left as it was and no research and development took place in them. These people are still working with their traditional tools only. By branding them as mere artisans, the rulers have stubbed millions of skilled work force and put an iron curtain behind our technical and engineering glory.

Every Malayali will honestly accept the selfless service done by the Acharies to the Society and the Country in the foregone era. Each of the item standing mighty and tall within the Padmanabha Swamy Temple Complex and those that are currently being removed from the Cellars has the tale of a Vishwakarman attached to that. As an Achary, I am not demanding a share of the excavations. I do not think my community members who nourish a false pride would demand that, though they are still getting a grain of paddy as ‘Avakasam’ (right) during festivals in these temples. They would rather love to have any technical ‘Grandham’ if recovered.

Today it is the moral responsibility or duty of every Indian to preserve temples, churches, mosques, palaces and all other magnificent structures that are older than 100 years. It is part of our civilization and heritage. Many temples are in a dilapidated stage. Huge amount would be required for the restoration and preservation of all these temples. My humble appeal to the people of Kerala is to drum up a mandate for preservation of whatever is of historic value from this treasure in a museum. The remaining part of the treasure must be utilized for (a) restoration and preservation of all the temples in Kerala (b) for opening a University and several institutions under that for research, development, education and preservation of Viswakarman Arts, Science and Technology and (c) for conducting appropriate abridging courses for those Vishwakarmans who are still carrying out traditional work, by awarding credit points and promote them to the mainstream of technology.

Please see this website to review the exact situation of Viswakarmas those who built Padmanabha swamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram