Yesterday was the birthday of Rakhaldas Bandhopadhyay. An erudite man whose achievements range from the uncovering of the Mohenjo Daro site to identification of many of the Pala-Sena era murtis, to his works in many archaeological sites across the Bharatiya subcontinent.
Yet this great scholar was sidelined both by the British, and later by historians in post independent Bharat. The British sidelined him because he was documenting Bharatiya history separately (as personal work for which he used other writers), which did not match the British narrative.
During excavations at the Hirapur chausath yogini site one murti was stolen. Banerji was in charge of the site, and John Marshal (despite being his early mentor) without any evidences, made Banerjee the scapegoat, blamed him for the lost murti, and got him removed from the ASI.
Banerji died an untimely death in 1930, at the age of 45. The British did not even allow a post mortem to find out the cause behind his death. Nehru in his book Discovery of India credited the discovery of Mohenjo Daro entirely to Marshall, and didn’t mention Banerjee even once.
Photo Source – ASI
Besides his works on Mohenjo Daro and Harappan culture, Pala-Sena era sculptures, Banerji was the 1st to study proto-Bangla script (original form of Bangla script). He has monumental works on medieval Indian coins, iconography of Indian art, especially on Gupta sculpture & architecture.
Banerji’s brilliance was initially recognized by the British when he joined ASI as a 19 year old boy. He was then a great fav of Marshall; but things changed with the final report of the discovery of Mohenjo Daro, & Marshall turned hostile. Sadly free India turned hostile too.
Photograph of excavations at the Indus site of Mohenjo Daro, now in Pakistan. The ASI officer standing in the photograph is Rakhal Das Banerji, who excavated at Mohenjo Daro in 1922.
(This article has been compiled from the tweet thread posted by @DisinfoLab on February 18, 2023, with minor edits to improve readability and conform to HinduPost style guide)
(This article has been compiled from the tweet thread posted by @monidipadey on April 12, 2023, with minor edits to improve readability and conform to HinduPost style guide)