The 1,000-tonne whiff has not just lifted Daundiya Kheda and a sadhu out of obscurity. Its pradhan’s husband is fielding calls from across the globe, handing out instant solutions.
News about gold travels. News about a thousand tonnes of it travels faster. News of a dream about gold and an excavation following it goes around the globe.
And so has discovered Ajay Pal Singh, the ex- but de-facto pradhan of Daundiya Kheda village in Unnao district, where the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is currently digging for what has been called the answer to India’s financial woes. With his wife Sheela, the actual pradhan, keeping gratuitously in the shadows, Singh these days is fielding calls from around the country as well as Dubai and the US.
“It all happened after the media aired my clipping at the panchayat bhavan. My phone number was written on the wall. Now from morning till I go to sleep, they call me up.”
The callers include even children, he says. “Have you seen the gold?” they ask. “Did you know about it before hand?” “Can we get some antique ornaments?” “Do you know sadhu Shobhan Sarkar?”
The last one he can answer. He has known Sarkar — who claims to have dreamed of 10 lakh kg of the yellow metal lying in the remains of the fort of Raja Rao Ram Bux, near a Shiva temple in the village — since 1997.
Showing a call from a Dubai number on his cellphone, Singh expresses surprise at the regular calls he is getting from the Middle East and America. “Some people have even offered to purchase land near the fort campus.”
Clearly enjoying all the attention, Singh adds: “I get calls from government officials. District Magistrate Vijay Kiran and Superintendent of Police Soniya Singh gave me their numbers. I give the day’s information to them.”
Even before, Singh was a known name in Unnao. “The post of pradhan has been in my family since ages,” he smiles. “My grandfather was pradhan till 1972 followed by my father, then me and now my wife.” He was the pradhan of Daundiya Kheda between 2000-2010, and when the seat was reserved for women, it seamlessly passed on to his wife. “I still carry out all the work,” Singh gushes.
Sheela says she has “full faith” in her husband, though she did make a round of the fort. Admitting that the gold