Union Minister Chandan Das Mahant, an ardent follower of godman Shobhan Sarkar, is said to have used his clout to get formal instructions issued to the ASI to undertake the excavation. Sharat Pradhan reports
The Archaeological Survey of India has been persuaded by godman Shobhan Sarkar to undertake an excavation in search of treasure under the ruins of a local feudal lord’s palace in Daudiya-Khera village in Unnao district, about 130 km from Lucknow.
Sarkar, who runs an ashram in a village, is said to have had a dream about the treasure and seem to have convinced the ASI to dig out the gold.
The treasure hunt is scheduled to begin on October 18 for which an ASI team has already made several rounds to the village. Hectic preparation is afoot to launch this unprecedented exercise, solely on the basis of leads given to baba Shobhan Sarkar in his very unusual dream.
While the godman refused to a telephonic conversation, his close disciple and confidante Omji said, “Babaji was always deeply concerned about the falling rupee value and sometime back he dreamt that an excavation at a particular place could give the Indian government such a huge stock of hidden gold that could turn the fate of the falling rupee.”
According to him, “If babaji has had this dream, it is bound to come true and you will see the ASI strike a massive reserve of gold exactly where babaji has pointed out.”
Baba Shobhan Sarkar may not have succeeded in his mission but for the intervention of Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Chandan Das Mahant, who is known to be an ardent follower of the baba.
The Union minister was understood to have used his clout with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to get formal instructions issued to the ASI to undertake the excavation.
But no ASI official is ready to go on record about anything to do with the excavation.
“All I can tell you is that we will start our excavation on October 18,” said a senior ASI official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. But off the record junior officials confess how the entire exercise was initiated simply because of the baba’s dream. “The excavations will take more than a month to complete,” said an official.
Meanwhile, Geological Survey of India has also sent a team to mark areas where metallic deposits can be detected.
According to the baba, as many as 1000 tons of gold was buried by Raja Ram Baksh Singh, an erstwhile taluqdar of Avadh under his palace in Daundiya village. The raja was hanged by the British for participating in the first war of independence in 1857. His two daughters, who were his only successors, ended their lives by jumping into the Ganga river after which the palace remained abandoned before it eventually crumbled.
Even as there is no scientific evidence with the ASI to corroborate the baba’s claim, the village has been drawing people from far and wide. Locals have begun to nurture hopes that the gold haul would also accrue some bounty for the otherwise highly undeveloped area.
“We want the government to build a medical college, hospital and engineering college and perhaps even an aerodrome with all the money they would earn,” says Ajay Pal Singh, the local gram pradhan (village head).
Interestingly, some people claiming to be the descendants of the raja, have also surfaced. They have already raised the demand for their share of the “booty” which the ASI is looking forward to unearth.