We have all at some point heard or read about the great Indus Valley Civilization. However, not many of us know about Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay, the archeologist who bought to light the ruins of Mohenjo Daro. He worked as the Superintending Archaeologist of the Western Circle when he visited the Sindh region, searching for Greek victory pillars.
The Buddhist Vihara on top of the mound reminded Rakhaldas of identical specimens that Daya Ram Sahni excavated from the Indus Valley site of Harappa. The Buddhist Vihara on top of the mound reminded Rakhaldas of identical specimens that Daya Ram Sahni excavated from the Indus Valley site of Harappa. These were prehistoric remains unearthed when digging started in the year 1922. Several articles and books published his interpretations and analyses.
Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay – A Gem From Bengal Region
Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay was born to Matilal and Kalimati in 1885 in Berhampore in the Murshidabad district, British India. He graduated in History honors from the prestigious Presidency College, Kolkata, in 1907. Soon after, he joined Calcutta University to finish his Master’s degree in 1910. After that, Rakhaldas joined the Indian Museum in Calcutta in 1910, getting hired as Assistant to the Archaeological Section.
A year later, he joined the ASI or the Archaeological Survey of India as Assistant Superintendent. In 1917, Rakhaldas became the Superintending Archaeologist. He decided to take voluntary retirement in the year 1926. In 1928, he joined the Banaras Hindu University as the Professor of Ancient Indian History and Culture, a post he held till he breathed his last in 1930.
The Works of Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay
Sadly, the great minds of the century do not have a long life. But they make sure their contributions live the test of time and make an impact on generations to come. One such genius was Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay, who had his life cut short at the young age of 45.
However, he authored 14 books and monographs, nine novels, and over 300 articles in English and Bangla in his short life. His works include descriptive catalogs, architecture, sculpture, excavation, field archaeology, numismatics, epigraphy, and paleography. Besides that, he is also the author of numerous Bangla novels. In the descriptive catalogs, there is Catalogue of Antiquities in the Lucknow museum, 1908 (unpublished). Besides, that is the Catalogue of Inscriptions on Copper Plates in the Collection of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1910.
His descriptive List of Sculptures and Coins is available in the Museum of the Bangiya Sahitya Parishat, 1911, and Antiquities of the Oudh State. His contributions to paleography and epigraphy continue to shape the field even to this day. He dedicated The Origin of the Bengali Script to Theodor Bloch and Haraprasad Shastri. And this won him the Jubilee Research Prize of Calcutta University in 1913.
The Nanaghat and Hathigumpha inscriptions are two crucial aspects of Indian history. The publication Memoir of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (1929) has the paleography of these two inscriptions. This work is yet another significant contribution by Rakhaldas to the study of Indian paleography.
Discovering Ruins Of Indus Valley Civilization – His Greatest Achievement
Rakhaldas will always be famous for his contribution to the field of Indian coins. The Prachin(a) Mudra, part I, provides a critical analysis and a scientific account of coins belonging to the ancient and early half of medieval India. In 1914, it was the first-ever work on numismatics in an Indian language. This was the only publication before Rakhaldas was the 1898 work Indian Coins by Rapson.
Rakhaldas studied the coins and wrote extensively on them. His works focus on how they were historically important and their role in ancient India. Rakhaldas will be a pioneer in Indian art for his outstanding contribution through the Eastern Indian Medieval School of Sculpture, published after his death in 1933. With around 400 illustrations inside, the book discusses the methodology and origin of Indian art and how it evolved with time.
Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay’s name will hold a special place in the history books as the man behind the discovery of the Mohenjo Daro civilization. He penned down his analysis and interpretations in articles and books.
His books on this topic include An Indian City Five Thousand Years Ago, Muhen-Todaro, Prehistoric, Ancient, Hindu India, and Mahenjodaro – A Forgotten Report. Since then, archeologists have identified over a thousand Harappan sites. However, only 22 archeological excavations have taken place so far. It is now to see whether some archeologist from the future takes a cue from Rakhaldas and unearth deeper truths. We are sure it would take many more genius minds like Bandyopadhyay to bring to light the glorious history of the lost civilizations.