K. K. Muhammed’s job, as Director of Archaeological Survey of India is over. But he still has a lot of work to do, even after retirement. Talking about the challenging task of rescuing a 1300-year-old temple firstly from the dreaded dacoits of Chambal and then the mining mafia. “The objective of these talks is that there are 200 temples out of which only 80 temples have been completed. Forty are half done so there is still lot of work left to be done. The mining is going on there. ” One SP was killed at that site and while he was working there, once the collector and the SP were shot at but escaped.
It’s interesting how he convinced the dacoits (bandits) to leave the temple premises and allow for restoration work to happen. Without any security, Muhammed had to negotiate directly with the dacoits and one day when he walked into the temple, he found somebody smoking a bidi. Muhammed didn’t know that the smoker was the infamous dacoit Nirbhay Singh Gujjar . When he found out, he engaged him in a discussion. “I told him that these precious idols would have also vanished like so many if he had not been around. And then I told him of his lineage, which he had no idea about— that he belonged to the Pratihara dynasty that had once ruled that region.”
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