Is Ambran the seat of a lost civilsation?
The Archaeological Survey of India's alleged lackadaisical attitude in Jammu may be depriving us from an exciting revelation of a hitherto unknown civilasation in India, with its roots to the great Harappan Culture.
Most archaeologists in Jammu and Kashmir believe that the Ambran site sits atop a lost civilsation that can add several new chapters to our recorded history. The speculation gained momentum after Buddhist period ruins were traced in the Ambran site at the banks of the river Chenab. Excavations done there in the year 2,000 had also landed the ASI team with artifacts belonging to the Kushan period in the eighth century. The team had discovered stupas and rooms for monks at the site. Discovery of further artifacts, not related to any of the known periods, gave birth to the hypothesis that it could be the seat of a lost civilsation or a civilsation connected to the erstwhile Indus valley civilisation.
But since then no progress has been made. The Tourism Ministry had included Jammu and Kashmir in its nationwide Buddhist circuit project a few years ago and the state's tourism department was
given the task of connection Jammu's Buddhist ruins i n t he tourism map. But the state government had been indifferent to the project. The ASI too has been sluggish in the matter.
Deputy Director of Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir, Zahoor Ahmed recently said that had it not been for the ASI'S ant-pace progress, Jammu and Kashmir could become a major Buddhist tourism destination and the state could get a huge inflow of tourists from Southeast Asia, from countries such as Japan, where Buddhism happens to be the dominant religion.
But the ASI has been transferring blame on the villagers dotting the site, saying that the locals are loath to letting them excavate the sites as that would require them to relocate. The ASI says the political class is also not ready to take on the villagers. If the political class had compensated the villagers for their land and relocated them, excavations could have been carried out, with likely mindblowing discoveries, a top ASI official recently told this reporter, while defending the organisation from the allegations.
The Tourism Ministry had included Jammu and Kashmir in its nationwide Buddhist circuit project