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Archaeology and the Public PurposeWritings on and by M.N. Deshpande$
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Nayanjot Lahiri

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780190130480

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190130480.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

The Archaeologist and the Environmentalist

The Archaeologist and the Environmentalist

(p.100) 5 The Archaeologist and the Environmentalist
Archaeology and the Public Purpose

Nayanjot Lahiri

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the most interesting as also the least known event of the 1970s when Chandi Prasad Bhatt, pioneer of the Chipko Andolan and M.N. Deshpande , as director general, collaborated to save the Hindu shrine of Badrinath. In 1973, the Birlas, through their charity – the Jayshree trust – had begun constructing a cement and steel structure around the traditional architectural form of the temple. By July-August 1974, because of Bhatt’s intervention in Lucknow and in Badrinath, this work came to a halt. A high powered government committee carefully examined the Badrinath makeover by the Birlas and Deshpande became the man whose report provided a hard-hitting indictment of what the temple had been reduced to. For Chandi Prasad Bhatt, safeguarding the Badrinath temple’s traditional form mattered as much as saving trees. It was a vision that Deshpande shared. Once construction work halted there, Deshpande practically took over matters hand and eventually, it was his planning and foresight which resulted in ensuring that a historic temple shrine was not converted into a kind of Birla temple.

Keywords:   Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Badrinath, Chipko Andolan, M.N. Deshpande, Birla

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