NEW DELHI: Pieces of rusted iron and broken glass bangles are all that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Geological Survey of India (GSI) have so far found on the premises of Raja Rao Ram Baksh Singh’s fort in Unnao.
The agencies started the excavation work on October 18, around three months after seer Shobhan Sarkar told a Union minister that he had dreamt of a 1,000-tonne gold treasure buried on the fort premises at Daundia Khera, Unnao.
Fed up, the agencies have reportedly slowed down the exercise after they realised that they would find only some materials which are of archeological importance. The workers of the agencies took a holiday on Wednesday.
“The fort of Rao Ram Baksh Singh must not be more than two centuries old. Obviously, we don’t have a solid reason to dig the area, except that a seer who has a tremendous influence on some members of the Union government wants us to follow his instinct and continue the exercise till we find the treasure,” an ASI official told M AIL T ODAY . “ We have received some iron pieces and nails from the excavated area. We have also found some broken glass bangles. Further study would reveal the age of these materials,” he said.
Sarkar, however, stood by his claim that 1,000 tonnes of gold is buried in the fort ruins.
“I have told the Union government and the excavators that they would get the gold treasure only after digging 16 metres into the earth,” Sarkar was quoted as saying to his disciples at his Shobhan village ashram in Kanpur.
The excavators could dig up to 192 centimetres so far.
But the ASI officials didn’t appear to be excited. “ While the Centre has taken the seer’s words so seriously and is forcing the ASI to dig for the possible gold treasure, the agency accepted only 588 out of the 728 proposals it had received between 2007 and 2012. Both the ASI and the GSI have not acted on the remaining proposals,” said an ASI official pleading anonymity.
In fact, he has a solid reason to believe so.
At a time when the Central Advisory Board of Archaeology had not discussed this issue in its last meeting on September 30, Daundia Khera excavation was cleared by top officials immediately after Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Charan Das Mahant wrote to it on October 1.
A team of the ASI and the GSI conducted a survey on the spot on October 3 and 4, and the ASI submitted a 10- page report on October 10, stating that there could be some metallic substances buried inside the fort premises.
The seer who dreamt of 1,000 tonnes of buried gold
Shobhan Sarkar is a mystery for his followers. They know little about him except that he has got many ponds and roads constructed in Kanpur, Fatehpur and Unnao from the money offered to him by his disciples.
The people of the state first came to know of him during the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government between 2003 and 2007 when Sarkar announced that he would make an over-bridge on river Ganga to connect Unnao with Kanpur.
Barely 5’ 5” tall and in a 5-metre-long saffron loincloth, Sarkar told MAIL TODAY a few days ago that he doesn’t have any wealth in his name.
“I wear khadaun (wooden Shobhan Sarkar’s ashram in Doodhikagar, Fatehpur. Sandals and wrap myself with this cloth. I neither have land in my name nor do I have a bank account,” he said.
Those close to him said: “He was born in Shuklanpurva. He did his intermediate from Brahmawart College and then took sanyas.”