ASI banks on arms at Unnao

Lost gold
Last Updated 25 October 2013, 03:11 IST

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) now thinks that arms and ammunitions used by Indians during the 1857 First War of Independence  may be lying beneath the ruins of Rao Raja Ram Bux Singh fort at Unnao. The ASI, it seems, is not hopeful of unearthing any gold treasure from the site.

The ASI hopes to recover weapons from beneath the surface even as it says that the excavation, which began on October 18, will take at least three more weeks to reach the level where any sign of “metal” deposits, as indicated by the Geological Survey of India (GSI), can be traced.

 “We strongly feel that there should be a cache of arms and ammunitions used during the 1857 War of Independence. Rao Raja Ram Bux Singh had fought against the British rule, for which he was arrested, tried and finally hanged by the imperial rule, “a senior ASI official said, requesting anonymity.

Besides, there may be other metallic objects, idols, pottery and some jewellery made of gold or silver lying beneath the surface at the excavation site in Daundiya Kheda village, he added.

The ASI on Monday sought to end the hype over a local seer’s claim in Unnao that at least 1,000 tonnes of gold was lying beneath the surface in the ruins of the 17th century fort, saying: “Raja Singh was not a big king. Suggestions about 100 tonnes of gold with a petty king do not seem to be very adequate.”

It also clarified that the seer “may have had a dream about the gold treasure” but the ASI began excavation  at the site only after a report by the GSI, not because of Shobhan Sarkar’s dream.

 “We have started work on the site on the basis of the GSI report,” ASI Additional Director General B R Mani said, seeking to dispel the claim of Shobhan Sarkar,  said.

Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch has, too, been giving similar clarifications before media as questions are being raised on the ASI’s decision to excavate the site within a fortnight of the seer’s claim while many other places of historic importance continue to remain untouched due to “financial and resource crunch.”

(Published 25 October 2013, 03:11 IST)

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