A pot of treasure unearthed in a Telangana village most likely from the 1940s and not the Kakatiya era (12-14th century) as earlier believed

Published : April 11, 2021 21:46 IST

The pot of treasure unearthed at Pembarthy village in Telangana is from the 1940s. Photo: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The bruhaha and hullaballoo over the discovery, on April 8, of a copper pot containing gold and silver ornaments in a remote village off the Warangal-Hyderabad National Highway, in Telangana's Jangaon district, are being given a rather quiet burial.

Initial reports indicated that archaeologists, after a preliminary look at the treasure — 189.82 grams of gold, 1.727 kilograms of silver and 6.5 grams of rubies — buried hardly two feet into the ground in a parcel of land at Pembarthy village, believed the ornaments to be from the famed Kakatiya era (12-14th century). And when more ornaments were found on April 9, the excitement over the findings boiled over, with the entire village and surrounding areas agog with the anticipation of more such discoveries. There were also claims and counter claims over the ornaments. Officials from the Department of Heritage, Telangana, led by its deputy director visited the spot of the discovery and had the area cordoned off. The police were called in too.

However, a close inspection of the ornaments by officials from the Department of Heritage led them to believe that the treasure was most likely buried during the 1940s. Disclosing this to Frontline, A Bhaskar Rao, Additional Collector of Telangana's Jangaon district, who has been involved with the discovery from the beginning, said that he had been categorically informed by the deputy director of the Department of Heritage that the ornaments “were most likely buried during the uncertain times prior to the partition of India”.

Said Bhaskar Rao: “I have been informed that these ornaments are from the 1940s. During those times there were hardly any banks that the villagers could go to to keep their valuables. So ornaments and other valuables were buried in the ground. You must also remember this was a very uncertain period in the region. The Razakars (the private militia during the rule of the Nizam) were resisting the integration of Hyderabad State into the dominion of India and riots were a daily occurrence. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that these ornaments were buried to safeguard them from marauding mobs.”

On April 8 Hyderabad resident and realtor Mettu Narsimhulu and Ravi, the driver of an earthmoving excavator, found a pot of gold, literally. That morning, while digging up a portion of his 11-acre parcel of land in Pembarthy village, Mettu Narsimhulu was pleasantly surprised when he, along with Ravi, found a copper pot containing the gold and silver ornaments.

While the copper pot itself weighed 1.200 kg, the contents were even more intriguing: 22 gold earrings weighing 77.220 grams, 51 gold beads weighing 57.8 grams, 11 gold pusthelus (mangalasutras) weighing 17.8 grams and other small gold items, 26 silver sticks weighing 1.227 kg, 5 silver chains weighing 216 grams and other items weighing 42 grams. Revenue officials from the district took the copper vessel and the ornaments into their custody under the provisions of the Indian Treasure Trove Act, 1878. The findings were later shifted to the Treasury Office in Warangal.

The findings had even seen some villagers starting to worship at the site, breaking coconuts and lighting incense sticks. A few even demanding that a temple be built there. Among those who gathered were Ailamma and her four sons. They alleged that they had sold the 11-acre parcel of land to Narsimhulu and 10 others a few years ago. Ailamma and her sons argued with officials that they should get a share in the treasure.