Manchester of India, Ludhiana is a very important city in the terms of historical importance. But none of the historic sites including Old Mounds in Ludhiana has been maintained well by tourism and archaeological department of the Punjab State.
One such neglected historical site in the city is Sunet Village where archaeologists have discovered traces of six cultures dating back 3,800 years to 1800-1400 BC. The place is also popularly known as Ucha Pind and Kacha Pind, probably on the account of the existence of an old mound there by the archaeologists in the state. It is worth mentioning that the Archaeological Survey of India has declared this large piece of land in Sunet village a protected site. It first came into the limelight in the early 1980s when a large number of seals and thousands of coin moulds of the Yaudheya, an ancient tribal confederation who lived in the area between the Indus and Ganges rivers, as well as coins belonging to Hermaeus, Gondopharnes, Chandragupta and Samudragupta eras were found here. Vestiges of the Harappan civilization were also discovered in the village by the archaeologists in this part.
But like other historical sites, this archaeological site is also in a state of neglect, which is just near the orient theater in Ludhiana. It is on the way to Sunet Village, but the apathy of the site is such even the shopkeepers and residents living around the area found unaware about the importance of this historical site. One can see the heaps of garbage dump inside and outside the wall of the archaeological site there.
Raman Sharma, a resident said, “Till date I was thinking it’s just a vacant plot with some old structure as I have seen people throwing dump at its adjoining wall. Now I will definitely watch place properly and would try to make other people aware about this site. I would also try on my personal level to stop people from throwing dump around it as we should save our historical sites.” It’s our assets.” “I think the concerned department should also take care of historical sites well. The tourism department should use them for the tourists”, added the resident Hardev Chadha.
Know how this A rchaeological site came to light and when?
The families in the Sunet village have old bricks, coins and monuments saved in the lockers, which their ancestors found at the time of construction of their houses during pre-independence days. A female resident who don’t want her name to be disclosed informed that she cherishes to have rare idols and utensils, which her ancestors found when laborers were digging up a part of house for construction purposes. But she doesn’t know about their historical or material value. Another neighbored in village who is a painter by profession is a proud owner of three gold coins. His family also found these gold coins during pre-independence days. He keeps the coins locked in safe and brings them out every Diwali while performing Lakshmi Pooja. One of the coins date backs to 1804, while the remaining two seemingly belong to the Mughal era.
However, it was only in 1984 that the Archaeology Survey of India (ASI) decided to take up excavations here and hit the goldmine when its teams recovered thousands of coins and seals dating as old as first century AD. The same year, the ASI took possession of nearly 8.5 acre of land from Ludhiana Improvement Trust to carry out more research work. The ASI got a boundary wall built to mark the land, dotted with a number of ancient earthen mounds. However, 26 years on, the ASI is yet top commence work in the earmarked area even as the plot is slowly turning into a garbage dump now.
What is Archaeological Survey of India
The Archaeological Survey of India is a Government of India (Ministry of Culture) organization responsible for archaeological research, conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in the country. It was founded in the 1861 by the British Raj. ASI (archaeology) as well BSI (botany), FSI (forests), FiSI (fisheries), GSI (geology), IIEE (ecology), NIO (oceanography), RGCCI(Census of India), SI (cartography) and ZSI (zoology) are key national survey organizations of India. ASI was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham who also became its first Director-General. The first systematic research into the subcontinent’s history was conducted by the Asiatic Society, which was founded by the British Indologist William Jones on January 15, 1784. Based in Calcutta, the society promoted the study of the ancient Sanskrit and Persian texts and published an annual journal titled Asiatic Researches. Notable among its early members was Charles Wilkins who published the first English translation of the Bhagavad Gita in 1785 with the patronage of the then Governor-General of India, Warren Hastings. However, the most important of the society’s achievements was the decipherment of the Brahmi script by James Prinsep in 1837. This successful decipherment inaugurated the study of the Indian palaeography.