Bengluru, May 19: History is filled with stories where the greed for gold has culminated in bad-mouthing, back-stabbing and beastly behaviour. But what happened in Banasamudra village is an illuminating example of honesty: Instead of secretly splitting the hidden treasure of 435 gold coins among themselves, the poor residents chose to hand it over to the government.
Located 100km from Bengaluru, Banasamudra in Malavalli taluk of Mandya district has become the talking point in administrative and archaeological circles.
Action unfolded around 11am Wednesday when Lakshmamma, 55, and a few labourers decided to resume digging the earth to lay the foundation for the house that she proposed to construct. As they continued digging, the noticed tiny coins mixed in the mud that was being excavated.
"Initially, we thought these were some beads. But they were made of metal and many more coins were found. On cleaning them, we realized that they could be something precious from the past. Subsequently, we were told that they could be gold coins," a villager recounted to district officials, who later reached the spot.
Though some villagers suggested that the coins be taken to a goldsmith in the nearby town and examined, Lakshmamma and her family members chose to inform the Halagur police. Police inspector Sridhar, who heard about the discovery of the hidden treasure, rushed to the village and took the coins into custody.
Mandya assistant commissioner Arul Kumar said: "The total weight of the coins is 160gm. Each coin has a unique design and is different from the others. The coins were taken over by the tahsildar from the police, under the Karnataka Treasure Trove Act 1962, and will be sent to the archaeological department for examination." The administration has been appreciative of Lakshmamma's action.
Malavalli MLA P M Narendra Swamy said: "Handing over of the hidden treasure is a pointer to the fact that truth and honesty still exist in this part of the state. Instead of being lured by lucre, the people have chosen to alert the government authorities." Swamy requested the government to study the coins and also start excavation in the area to ascertain historical significance.
"The finding of gold coins may be an indicator to this place having been part of a rich kingdom or administration," Swamy added.
Mandya: Land owner finds 435 gold coins, hands over to cops