Ramachandran Nagaswamy was instrumental in protecting several historical monuments and monitored the excavations at the palace site of Veerapandiya Kattabomman at Panchalankurichi and Korkai.
Ramachandran Nagaswamy, an Indian historian, archaeologist and epigraphist known for his work on temple inscriptions and art history of Tamil Nadu, passed away on Sunday (January 23). He was 92 and survived by two daughters and two sons. PM Modi and others expressed their condolences to the family.
He was born in 1930 at Kodumudi in Erode district. He was an erudite scholar in Tamil and Sanskrit. He obtained his MA in Sanskrit from the University of Madras and was awarded a PhD in Indian arts by Pune University. After serving the Department of Archaeology in various capacities, he became its Director in 1966 and held the post till his retirement in 1988. He was most sought for views and comments on South Indian History, its temples, ahamas, Chola-bronzes and the shastras of Bharatanatyam.
Nagaswamy authored more than 100 books. Notable among are book masterpieces of early South Indian bronzes in 1983, Faces of south Indian art and Architecture, Thirukkural: An Abridgement of Sastras, and a coffee-table book for the Tamil Nadu Government to mark the world classical Tamil conference. His recent book, 'Senthamizh Naadum Pandbum' was published at the beginning of this year. He also wrote on Mamallapuram, Uthiramerur and Gangaikonda Cholapuram. He had also written books in Tamil and his website tamilartsaacademy.com says he was instrumental in protecting several historical monuments, including the Chera inscriptions at Pugalur, the palace site of Gangaikondacholapuram, the famous 17th century Thirumalai Nayak Palace in Madurai and the birthplace of national poet Subramanya Bharathi in Ettayapuram. He monitored the excavations at the palace site of Veerapandiya Kattabomman at Panchalankurichi and Korkai.
Nagaswamy was the founder of the Director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department. He was also instrumental in starting the annual Chidambaram Natyanjali festival in the 1980s. Nagaswamy was an authority in archaeology, architecture, epigraphy, numismatic, iconography, south Indian bronzes and temple rituals. He was a recipient of Padma Bhushan and was also a great lover of Bharat.
PM Modi, in a tweet, said, "The coming generations will never forget the contributions of Thiru R Nagaswamy towards popularizing the vibrant culture of Tamil Nadu. His passion towards history, epigraphy and archaeology were noteworthy. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti."