What came first, a seer’s dream that there was gold under a mound in Unnao, or a scientific report by the Geological Society of India highlighting the presence of some metal at the site?
People gather near the fort of Raja Ram Baksh Singh in Daundia Kheda village of Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district. (PTI Photo)
Following global attention at its bizarre decision to start an excavation to locate 1,000 kg of gold on the basis of a dream by Kanpur seer Shobhan Sarkar, the Archaeological Survey of India denied that it went by the dream. It said the excavation, which started on October 18, has scientific basis — a report by the Geological Society of India (GSI). The ASI’s parent ministry, the Ministry of Culture, also issued a statement saying: “On the basis of GSI report it was decided by ASI to undertake excavations at the site to try to unearth and determine the nature of the reported deposits.”
But it appears that the GSI survey itself was undertaken on the basis of the dream.
HT is in possession of the 10-page report that states that the GSI began a survey near the fort of 19th century Raja Ram Rao at Unnao near Lucknow after Union minister Charan Das Mahant was tipped off by the seer.
“The investigation was taken up after the office of the Union minister intimated the GSI director general through mail on September 29 about the treasure,” the report reads. “The minister came to know about the treasure through Bhaskar Anand Dev of Shoban Ashram in Kanpur Dehat,” it adds. Bhaskar Anand Dev is also known as Shobhan Sarkar.
On the basis of that letter, the GSI conducted an investigation by a 12-member team in Daundia Kheda village on October 3 and 4. Its objective was to “ascertain the extent of probable site of treasure of the king under his fort ruins,” says the report. The GSI report indicated the presence of some metal at the site.
In Kanpur, Shobhan Sarkar and his disciples are believed to be upset at the slow pace of the excavation and have demanded that JCB machines be deployed to dig the site.
Archaeological excavations are painstakingly done with small tools and brushes so that nothing of value is damaged in the process of digging.
“It is all about finding the gold. Bring in the hardware and Baba will give the treasure in less than 10 hours,” said Munna Singh Buxar, a disciple. “If the digging is not accelerated, the gold will disappear from the current location,” said Buxar.
But this demand is being seen as an attempt by the seer and his disciples to save face in the event the ASI doesn’t find any gold.
(With inputs from Haidar Naqvi in Kanpur)
VIDEO: ASI calls Unnao excavation research