A Day at a Museum
Dignity Dialogue|September 2020
For Martin D’Costa, a chance visit to the museum of the Department of History and Ancient Indian Culture at the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad opened the floodgates to a rich insight into India’s past history and culture.
Martin D'Costa

I have been visiting Aurangabad in Maharashtra off and on for several years now. Earlier, as an employee of an engineering company, the visits were related to providing solutions to the various problems that our clients faced with their machinery. After retirement, it was on account of the clients I had developed for my own entrepreneurial setup. But never was a visit to Aurangabad long enough to spend time to visit its historical sites or look at it from a tourist’s point of view. Last year, the equation changed. I found myself with a full day to indulge in whatever I wanted due to an appointment that had to be suddenly postponed.

In a casual chat with the hotel’s receptionist, I was recommended a visit to the city’s museum. The idea was appealing since I had been a history student ages ago and continued to be interested in past civilisations. I have always believed that it is important to understand one’s past to be able to have a grip on the present and foresee the future. In that context, the history museum of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University is quite a treasure trove that offers a fascinating glimpse into India’s glorious heritage. Located in the vicinity of the world-famous cave monuments of Ajanta and Ellora, the museum epitomizes the rich archaeological tradition of this region ranging from the Palaeolithic to Satvahana eras and from early medieval to Mughal and colonial periods.

It provides a spectacular glimpse of cultural and artistic aspects of India’s diversity. According to an article published in a magazine, the museum was born out of the efforts of Dr. R S Gupte in 1973 who was then a professor and head of the Department of History and Ancient Indian Culture with the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University. A collaborative effort on the part of the department’s faculty and staff helped the museum building take concrete shape in 1983. The rich collection present here was further enriched by the donations of Dr. S B Deshmukh, the ex-curator of the museum.

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