As reported, ‘from under the ruins of an ancient fort on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, archaeologists have dug out the remains of a 2,500-year-old “huge” city which they believe was bigger than classical Athens.’ Remnants include 18 pillars that were part of a gigantic structure, probably used for public gatherings, household pottery and terracotta ornaments. The polished potteries even have ownership marks on them. It was Sishupalgarh once ruled by the Kalinga kings. ”The city had four gateways and could have housed up to 25,000 people. Even classical Athens had only 10,000 people.”
It is interesting the excavation team consisted of Monica L Smith, head archaeologist from the University of California and R K Mohanty from Deccan College, Pune beside some members from the Archaeological Survey of India.
It appears ASI has limited fund and human resources. One hardly hears much about its works. Most of the excavations and its findings are from Raj days. Britishers were more interested in the history of this ancient land. The governments thereafter perhaps took hardly any interest in the ruins scattered over the country that can reveal many mysteries and myths about India’s glorious past. Perhaps one of the reasons was the policy of secularism that prohibits glorifying the country’s past. Look at the members of the team. The head from the University of California gets interested into the excavations but not the ones of Indian universities. I got pained to visit the Kumbhrar at Patna last year, when I found all the huge pillars of a hall of ancient Patliputra buried by the ASI or the government under sand. ASI has hardly done any work to discover out any significant sites near around Patna from Asokan period. Perhaps India lacks the archeologists with a missionary zeal in this era of materialism.
If the place would have been in a developed country, perhaps by now an archeological park would have come up earning revenues in millions and providing employments to thousand.
And I feel to quote the correspondent of Telegraph about Shisupalgarh. “If one asks what does Bhubaneswar have in common with archaeological sites such as Giza, Tikal and Lepcis Magna, the answer would be Sishupalgarh, located 12km from the capital, the remains of an ancient city containing evidence of a life both urban and economically strong.”
Read Nayanjot Lahiri ‘ What lies beneath?’