The Story of 3 Statues And One Hegemony – Part 2

(Based on Chris Chekuri’s original article on www.

Statue Number 2: Sri Krishnadevaraya – An Imaginary Telugu Icon

Exactly 40 days before Telangana activists removed the statue of famed South Indian king Sri Krishnadevaraya on Tank Bund, the Government of India released a postal stamp on him.

And it looked like this:

We are sure most of you will be shocked on seeing this image.

This isn’t the same Sri Krishnadevaraya we know of. Right from our childhood, we have seen numerous images of this renowned king, but none resemble the image shown in this postal stamp.

We saw almost half a dozen Telugu heroes don the role of Sri Krishnadevarayalu. And almost all of them looked somewhat like this:

And here is how the statue of Sri Krishnadevaraya on Tank Bund looked like:

No doubt it looks similar to the ‘reel’ image. But what is the ‘real’ image of this king?

Why did the Government of India chose a different looking image for the postal stamp?

The Indian government chose that image because that’s how Sri Krishnadevaraya looked like. Below, you can find a photograph of an ancient statue of the king with his queens. (located at Tirupati). It should be borne in mind that Sri Krishnadevaraya himslef got this statue made.

From various accounts of Krishnadevaraya’s appearance, we understand that he wore Indo-Islamic type of dress. But, the images that we have seen all our lives are the ‘purified’ and ‘Telugufied versions.’

What emerges from these images is that the some of the ‘icons’ of Telugu culture have merely emerged from few people’s imaginations. In fact, as soon as NTR’s government erected the statues on Tank Bund, someone rightly said that these statues look like NTR’s avatars!

Then why are the Seemandhra leaders lamenting the fall of imaginary Telugu ‘icons’?


Read Part 1 of this series here:

The Story of 3 Statues and One Hegemony – Part 1

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