The Archaeological Survey of India is all set to begin digging for a 19th century treasure of 1,000 tonnes of gold after a Hindu sadhu apparently dreamed about it and convinced a Union minister that it could help alleviate some of the country’s financial troubles.
The sadhu, Shobhan Sarkar, reportedly dreamt that Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh, who was martyred fighting the British in 1857, asked him to take control of the gold buried in the remains of his fort in Daundiya Kheda village of Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh.
Sarkar, who has considerable following in the area, informed the local administration, the state government and even the Centre about the dream.
“It was taken as a joke and nobody was serious. Shobhan Sarkar was worried when he heard the government was contemplating taking custody of the gold in various temples. He then asked me to inform the government that nearly 1,000 tonnes of gold is lying in Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh’s fort,” said Swami Om, a disciple of Sarkar.
“We were lucky that Union minister Charan Das Mahant took it seriously and visited the spot and met Shobhan Sarkar. Since then teams of the Geological Survey of India and the ASI are working on it,” he added.
Mahant, who belongs to Chhattisgarh and is minister of state for agriculture and food processing industry, visited the area on September 22 and October 7.
He told The Indian Express that he heard about the hidden treasure from a panditji from Kanpur who visits him frequently.
“He told me that Shobhan Sarkar wanted to meet me. When I met him, he told me about the reserves. He said the quantity was so huge that if the government can excavate it, it could be handy since there was a crisis with the rupee,” Mahant said.
“I was surprised. I then wrote to the Prime Minister, finance minister, home minister and mines minister and related departments such as the ASI and Geological Survey of India about the reserves. I informed Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi too about it,” he said.
Mahant said the mines ministry has informed him that a survey conducted by them has confirmed the presence of gold deposits.
Sources in the union culture ministry confirmed that its attention had been drawn to the issue by Mahant and the ASI is seriously considering excavating the site.
“A team visited the site today and depending on its view, an excavation may be conducted,” a senior official said.
At the site, boundaries have been marked on a mound on which the fort was situated on the banks of the Ganga.
“We will begin the excavation work at the earliest. All our primary surveys have been completed,” said Indu Prakash, deputy archaeological superintendent who was present in Daundiya Kheda village.
Swami Om said a bhoomi puja had been performed and the excavation would begin on October 18. “Don’t worry, it will be telecast live,” he said.
Villagers in the area are excited about unearthing the treasure and Ajay Pal Singh, the pradhan of Sangrampur under whose jurisdiction Daundiya Kheda falls, has given a list of demands to Sarkar.
It includes a railway station, a medical college, industrial area, girls college, agriculture research institute, solar power plant and a government job to one member of every family in the village. (Courtesy: Indian Express)