Saraswati project may be buried
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ THURSDAY, JULY 01, 2004 05:34:01 AM ]
NEW DELHI: It was a project launched last year with much fanfare in
search of a lost civilisation around the mythical river Saraswati.
But a year later and un-der a new dispensation, questions are being
raised about it.
A pet project of the then culture minister Jagmohan, officials now
indicate that it would be certainly axed. Yet, those involved with
the Rs 4.98-crore project feel if this is done, it would be grossly
unfair and a setback to archaeology and academics. "The Saraswati
Heritage Project was not part of any saffronisation progr-amme,"
clarifies R S Bisht, project director and former joint DG of ASI.
Instead, Bisht claims that the project is aimed at "settling the
issues of different schools of thought" on the existence of the
Saraswati. He says it is entirely based on scientific principles with
stress on inter-disciplinary archaeological research in which the
help of prestigious institutions like IITs and the Birbal Sahni
Institution is being taken.
So far, excavation has already been undertaken in 10 places Adi
Badri, Thanesar, Sandhauli, Bhirrana, Hansi (all in Haryana), Baror,
Tarkhanwala Dhera, Chak 86 (all in Rajasthan), Dholavira and Juni
Karan in Gujarat. The project's action taken report claims that
during the excavation, remains from the pre-Harappan, Harappan and
even medieval times have been discovered.
While Bisht considers it a formidable achievement, J P Joshi,
renowned archaeologist and former director-general of ASI, is at a
complete loss with the project's objectives and claims. Joshi
questions the connection between Dholavira and Juni Karan and the
river Saraswati. "I would like to know how these two sites are
connected to the Saraswati."