Acts on dream of a priest of 1,000 tonnes of gold lying under ruins of a fort
Amidst heavy police bandobust, the Archaeological Survey of India on Friday launched the biggest, and unprecedented, gold-digging exercise in the country to unearth a massive 1,000 tonnes of the yellow metal, said to be lying under the ruins of a fort in a nondescript village in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh.
This is unprecedented because the ASI seems determined to transform a temple priest’s dream into reality, though evidence, if any, of gold lying buried in ruins has not been made public.
Shobhan Sarkar, head priest of the Shobhan Temple in Unnao, claims to have dreamt of 1,000 tonnes of gold buried under the ruins of the dilapidated fort of Raja Ram Baksh Singh in the Buxar area of Daundiya Kheda village on the banks of the Ganga. The priest claimed that the king appeared in the dream and told him about the treasure.
The treasure is said to have belonged to Ram Baksh Singh, who fought against the British in the Great Rebellion of 1857. The Raja was defeated and hanged and his fort razed to the ground by the British forces which were on their way to Cawnpore (now Kanpur) to save the besieged garrison in July 1857.
After having dreamt of the khazana (treasure) buried in the fort, Sarkar wrote to the Government of India with the request that the area be excavated. On September 3, the Centre directed the Unnao District Magistrate to ascertain the veracity of the priest’s claim. The area was subsequently surveyed by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and the ASI. Following Union Minister of State Charan Das Mahant’s visit to Daundiya Kheda village earlier this month, it was decided that the excavation would commence on October 18.
The ruins are spread across an area of 70 acres of undulating plains, interspersed with thorny bushes and small hillocks (called teela in local parlance). The excavation work was delayed as the ASI officials had been summoned by the magistrate. The digging started in the presence of district officials and heavy police security. Security was tightened as a precautionary measure as the priest’s dream and the massive digging exercise had sparked off curiosity among residents of the neighbouring areas too with Daundiya Kheda village resembling a mela site.
Besides, many people, claiming to be Ram Baksh Singh’s descendants, have surfaced. ASI officials say the work, which might involve digging to a depth of 20 metres, will take about a month to be completed, but experts feel it would take more time. Since the site is located close to the Ganga, there is a possibility of finding water. “Possibility of finding water at a depth of six to seven metres cannot be ruled out,” said Rakesh Tiwari, Director, State Archaeology Department.