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The Lost City
Sep 24, 2018 at 00:00

To a casual onlooker Rakhigarhi seems to represent nothing of its 5000-year-old history. Strewn among buffalo dung and discarded heroin injections, lies the biggest site of the Indus Valley Civilization with a thriving village and notorious drug hub - now a part of it, in the Hisar district of Haryana.

My RTI filed on the October 31, 2015 revealed nothing but the glorious misdemeanors of the public offices so far, in turning a blind eye towards this enormous source of cultural history and for the sake modern times – tourism revenue.

The Archaeological Survey of India started excavating the site in 1977 with assistance over the years from Dr Amarendra Nath and Dr Shinde of the Deccan College of Pune, the last project undertaken was in the winter of 2014 – and all of these projects so undertaken failed to bring the attention of the nation’s representatives to this open wound in Indian cultural antiquity.

The RTI posed basic questions on the nature of excavations carried on so far, the budget allocated for the same, site security and foreign collaboration. Answers to each point were evasive and unsatisfactory to say the least.

According to the present government, a sum of approximately Rs 17 lakh under the 2015-16 Budget has been appropriated for a site, which fails to boast of even a single signboard claiming its epic identity.

Also among the answers received was a an apparent ‘security team’ of an astonishing three individuals, including a ‘miscellaneous’ laborers, on duty at the site – comprising a total area of more than 350 hectares. Our government deems three unarmed individuals surprisingly fit to provide adequate security for it.

While similarly important sites around the world have scientists thronging globally to be able to excavate and reveal the contents buried within them, the biggest and possible nucleus site of the Harappan Civilization has a team of 34 individuals from a local college excavating it – to a degree of faults which allows DNA samples retrieved to be damaged whilst in storage.

It will be wrong to assume that inhabitants of the Rakhishahpur village have no knowledge of the gold mine they reside on – because at the right price, you will be offered 5,000 year old artifacts for sale in every household, discovered while ploughing fields; along with a long story of unfulfilled promises to build a ‘museum’ on the 5 acres donated by them to the ASI back in 2002. If all of this was not enough, currently the excavation project is under an official halt due to CBI investigations on the ASI with regards to misappropriation of funds.

To say that History often dies with time is incorrect. Looking at Rakhigarhi, it can safely be assumed that History is often murdered by blind men in power.

- By Stuti Sengupta


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