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School dropout pens book on Andhra Pradesh’s 500 vanished villages

Driven by his childhood curiosity about vanished villages, Manimela Shivashankar has put together 500 such places in his book

A childhood curiosity which became a passion later in life has led Manimela Shivashankar, a 42-year-old daily wager in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district to discover 500 villages which have been lost. This school dropout has put together these villages of Guntur and their details in a book titled “Guntur Zilla Adrushya Gramalu”.

Sharing details about his passion, Shivashankar who works in a transport company told the media that as a child during a visit to Bapatla he came to know about three villages that were not there anymore. Much later visiting a temple in Kotappakonda he was reminded of this when he saw an temple inscription that talked about villages which were in existence then when it was constructed. All this triggered him to research about such habitations.

He started going through historical manuals, literature, temple inscription and ancient scriptures to gather information and research about such villages and hamlets. During his research he also studied Mackenzie Manuscripts which were records written by a 18th Century Scottish Army Officer in the British East India Company named Colonel Colin Mackenzie.

After finding out the exact location of such villages, Shivashankar would find out the reason why they vanished. During his investigation he found 500 such places and a large number of them had disappeared due to natural calamity like floods, famine or drought.

The book also highlights the importance of these places. For example, the village Pingali is not in existence anymore as it disappeared due to floods but it still comes across as a surname of many people hailing from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Among them are the well-known ancient poet, Pingali Surana of Vijayanagar empire and designer of Tricolour, Pingali Venkaiah.

His list of villages includes Nidigallu, Boddupalli, Panuganti, Daddanalapadu, Tammadipadu and Kommamuru among others.