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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

Chapter:
(p.100) 5 The Archaeologist and the Environmentalist
Source:
Archaeology and the Public Purpose
Author(s):

Nayanjot Lahiri

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190130480.003.0005

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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