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ASI begins excavation in Unnao

Saturday, 19 October 2013 | Sharmila Krishna | Lucknow | in Lucknow
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Golden dream brings huge crowds to Dondiya khera village

It can be aptly termed as the golden dream which has brought a silver lining to a sleepy village in Unnao. All roads lead to Dondiya Khera Village and will continue to do so till the month end.

The first day of the trial excavations by the Archeaological Survey of  India carried out at this village at Unnao on Friday attracted huge crowds. Starting out with a thousand people beyond the barricaded portion of the Raja Rao Ram Bux fort, the crowds swelled to several thousand by the evening. The euphoria over the search for gold was contagious and the excitement was palpable in the atmosphere. 

For obvious reasons the first day of digging did not reveal any inklings of gold. Meanwhile the descendents have started thinking on the lines of staking claim on the gold, if and when recovered, which they feel rightfully belongs to them. Heavy police force was deployed around the fort and barricades had been erected to control the crowds. A 12 member team led by P K Mishra, Deputy Director ASI will be carrying out excavation work at the fort in Dondiya Khera village, which was formally inaugurated by the District Magistrate Vijay Kiran Anand.

Earlier in the morning, the seer, Shobhan Sarkar  performed "boomi pujan" and marked the points to be excavated by the ASI team. Sarkar had a dream about the treasure  and later convinced Union Minister Charandas Mahant and the rest is history. Mahant, Minister of State 

for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, had visited Sarkar's ashram on September 22 and October 7 and assured him of appropriate action in this regard. 

When asked about the time it would take to dig out the treasure, Sarkar said Geological Survey of India (GSI) would be able to give a better answer. "1000 tonnes of gold will not be found at one place butdeep digging would have to be done at several points," Sarkar said.

The team of officials that started the excavations in the morning ended it just before sunset. An ASI official while talking to "The Pioneer" admitted that one day is not going to reveal any result. "We have just begun and the first day has seen basically the cleaning of the area. It will take time"

Administrative officials held a meeting regarding the logistics and the arrangements for the ASI officials in the morning. "We have deployed adequate security. The excavations began in the morning and will continue even till after the lights permit in the coming days" said a senior official.

Meanwhile it is interesting to note that with all the talk of gold the descendents of the Raja Rao Ram Bux are without jobs and penniless. Talking to "The Pioneer" seventy five year old Rao Chandi Vir Singh the third generation descendent of the King said that they were thinking on the lines of staking a claim on the treasure. "I have received a call from a very top class lawyer in Delhi who is interested in fighting the case. I am still thinking on the issue because the matter involves the Sant Shobhan Sarkar. But I would like to be reinstated at the fort" said Chandi Vir Singh. On being asked if attempts had been made to retrieve the treasure in the past the old man said that all attempts failed in the light of the mysterious forces which operated on the land.

When informed that history had mentioned his ancestor as a dacoit, Chandi Vir Singh got visibly upset. "Who can say that, he was a great rebel and possessed such powers that thrice attempts were made to hang him but the rope broke at the time of hanging. He killed several Britishers which resulted in his martyrdom" Vjay Singh who is the fourth generation descendent of the Raja and the son of Chandi Vir Singh said that they were more interested in getting jobs for their children more than staking claims to the treasure if recovered.

"We are leading a penniless life.  My father retired from the Revenue board, my paternal uncle Ambi Vir Singh retired as a head master and the youngest paternal uncle Rajesh Kumar Singh retired as a teacher. We have led hard lives and are staying in Purwa, Unnao and in surrounding areas" said Vijay Singh. He said that their great great grandfather had sacrificed his life for the country. "My great great grandfather fought in the 1857 battle and was hanged at Bastar on 28 December 1857. The day is still celeberated as the "Phasi Diwas" with my father and paternal uncles attending it every year" he added.

He said that it would not be surprising if gold was discovered at the site. "He was a King and there are several chances that the gold would be hidden here. Raja Rao Ram Bux’s property was all taken up by the Britishers and the fort later went to the Archaeological Survey of India" he added. Singh said that they understood that they had no claims to the gold. "We understand that we cannot stake claims over the gold though my relatives and friends are constantly asking us to come forward to stake our claims. We do not mind if the Government takes the gold for National Benefit but all that we want is that we should be given Government jobs" he added.

Meanwhile if one has to go by the chronology of events as per the information provided by the locals, the whole hullaboo started when a team from the ASI met people and questioned them about the fort on October 2, they met the Sant on Oct 4, carried out a survey on October 10, took a decision for trial excavations on October 11, established their camp on October 13 and started preparations for digging on October 17. Since then the site has become the cynosure of all eyes.

 

 
 
 
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