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Gold in them ‘thar forts

October 30, 2013

One of the bigger news items here of past few weeks:

Sadhu dreams of hidden gold, ASI to excavate fort in UP

UNNAO (UP): A sadhu’s dream of hidden gold treasure at Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh’s fort here has prompted a team of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to survey the area and begin excavation work from October 18.

The sadhu, Shobhan Sarkar, had apparently dreamt that 1,000 tonnes of gold was buried in the remains of the fort situated in Daundaia Kheda village. …

Let’s see, with gold at roughly $43,000 per kilogram, and assuming metric tonnes (why would a sadhu dream in imperial measures?) that is 1000 x 1000 kilograms or 1 million kg, dollar value $43 billion; a tidy sum, to be sure.

But wait, what is a sadhu?  A sadhu is a holy man, usually itinerant; a seer, an advisor.  Many are rightly revered, but many are scam artists and it can be hard to tell the real from the fraudulent.

Getting back to the gold, the specific density of gold is 53 cc (cubic centimeters) per kilogram.  Our sadhu’s dream therefore was about 53 million cc, which seems like a lot.  Sticking with volume, 1,000 cc == 1 liter.  The sadhu therefore dreamed a mass of gold 53,000 liters in volume – or, a rectangular block about 10 meters long by 5 meters high by 1 meter wide: that’s a big brick.

Alas, this particular dream seems to have been mistaken:

No hidden treasure in Unnao, ASI stops excavation: Report

NEW DELHI: The Archaeological Survey of India has stopped digging for gold treasure at the fort of Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh in Unnao. According to ASI officials, excavations have confirmed that there was no gold at the fort, Times Now reported.

Some pottery pieces from Buddhist era have been found from the site.

Thus far, no word from the sadhu on what went wrong.  Apparently one of the sadhu’s supporters, Azam Khan, the Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Ministers, believes that “ … had Narendra Modi not ridiculed monk Shobhan Sarkar, the gold would not have vanished.”

I feel the same way about lottery tickets.  Many of mine would have doubtless hit, if only I had not bought them.

Categories: Expat life
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