October 19, 2013 4:20:00 am
Dondiya Kheda village looks like any other impoverished village in Uttar Pradesh.
It has a population of 2,700 with most families dependent on farming. The nearest government school is three kilometres away and the nearest hospital a primary health centre is 35 kms away. Caste lines exist but do not matter
This is where the similarities end. The nondescript village is in the focus of international media ever since a seer,Shobhan Sarkar,claimed that the spirit of King Rao Ram Baksh Singh,who was hanged in 1858 after an uprising against British,came in his dream and told him that 1,000 tonnes of gold was buried beneath his (Singhs) fort in this village.
The dream was told to a legislator who told it to appropriate authorities and now archaeologist are busy digging for the treasure and hundreds have reached the village to witness the event. Amidst all the hoopla,the residents of the village have remained aloof.
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We always knew about the treasure. The crowd you are seeing is from other villages, says Rama Shanker Dwivedi of the village.
Sona dekhna hai,tab wahan jao, he tells anybody who asks for directions. Its good that some people are earning money. Their stalls are doing brisk business, he says.
Pointing to the OB vans and the crowd he says,For these people it is a new thing. Several villagers found gold coins earlier. But it did not prove lucky for them. But,it is good that our village will be now known worldwide. Even DM and SP came to our village several times, he says.
Located about 65 km from Unnao district headquarters,Dondiya Kheda lacks basic facilities. The only government primary school is situated 3 km away.
Now,a private school has come up in the premises of a temple constructed by Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh. A wall painted in black is used as black-board. No one offers puja there as all the idols are khandit (broken). It is good that the place is being used as a school. But you people are showing temple on the TV as if we perform puja there, says a village.
The village has a mixed population comprising brahmins,Lodhi,Dalit,Sahu and Muslims. A Thakur,Sheela Singh,is the pradhan. We have only three Thakur houses yet she won. All Thakurs fled after Raja was hanged, Ram Saran Singh,a local,said.
The village is connected by a 500-m long uneven brick road. A freshly laid internal road leads to Buxar,which has the ashram of Shobhan Sarkar. There is no anganwadi centre while a small panchayat bhawan is the only government building in the village. It too has been occupied by the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) for their office now.
Earlier children used to play and study in its verandah. Now no one goes there as PAC is camping there, he says.
Hardly any politician comes here now, says Santosh Kumar Tiwari,a villager,as he reminisced about the visits of V P Singh and Veer Bahadur Singh during their respective tenures as UP CM at Buxar. We went to see them. They had announced several projects for the area,nothing materialised, Tiwari adds.
Some relatives of former union minister Rajendra Kumari Bajpayee also lived here. Now nobody remembers them, he says.
Surrounded by uneven mud mounds,even the agricultural fields are small. We have levelled the land on our own. Irrigation is a problem here, he says.
Though Dalmau canal constructed for Rae Bareli during Indira Gandhi regime for her parliamentary constituency originates at Dondiya Kheda. It covers some portion of land for irrigation while rest is dependent on monsoon.
We are living with few resources and our expenses are less. But,at least some basic facilities should be provided to us, Raja Ram Yadav,a villager,says
Despite this,the villagers have faith in Shobhan Sarkar,the sage who dreamt of gold treasure.
If gold is not discovered,then they must have flouted Shobhan Sarkars directions, he adds.
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