The archaeological excavations carried out in Keezhadi, Tamil Nadu by the Archaeological Survey of India in two phases were stopped a few months back. When the continuance of excavations that were of less significance and antiquity was allowed in other States, Keezhadi project was stopped.
Owing to the calls in unison, raised invariably by the entire organizational functionaries and leaders in Tamil Nadu, the Government of India has now permitted the commencement of third phase of excavations at Keezhadi, located at the Vaigai river side, nearer Madurai city.
The excavations carried out so far, have brought out artefacts and exhibits which proved the prevalence of civilized urban habitat 2000 years back. So far the previous archaeological excavations carried out in Tamil Nadu, exhibited only the rural dwellings and the burial ground that prevailed in ancient periods from which correlation of the cultural history could be rebuilt . Keezhadi is the first excavation, giving proof to the prevalence of well and wide planned urban habitat in Tamil Nadu. Its antiquity was almost contemporary to the civilized habitats excavated in Indus-Valley areas at Mohenja – Daro and Harappa, which are presently in Pakistan. At present, the excavated areas of Indus – Valley civilization are not in the territory of India.
When the Dravidian solution to the Indus script problem is gaining prominence, the inscriptions marked on the pot shreds excavated in Keezhadi areas exhibit resemblance to Indus-Valley civilization. This archaeological glories have to be protected and preserved by all means with further investigation at Keezhadi.
It is not enough on the part of Government to iniate further excavations alone, but the already excavated artefacts have to be preserved and protected. For this an exclusive archaeological museum has to be established. Already the State Government of Tamil Nadu is on the move of providing suitable site either by acquisition or by purchase from the private owners. The size of museum furnished with latest devices and archaeological techniques must be in proportion to the scope of excavations, possible in Keezhadi,
Besides, the initial work of ASI says that excavations are possible in nearly 50 acres which are owned by small and marginal farmers. All these land holdings have to be acquired from the owners by providing due compensation as per the prevailing market prices. So far the excavations carried out have been refilled with the excavated sand. The acquisition of sites will enable to keep the excavated areas as such.
There is every scientific prediction and scope available at Keezhadi to bring out a replica of Mohenja – Daro and Harappa. For this constructive endeavour, it is not enough to stop with mere continuance of the excavations. Adequate financial allocation and deployment of manpower are essential to bring out the magnificent urban civilization prevailed 2000 years ago.
Government of India must equip the Keezhadi project adequately both in space and time. Let it not be an exercise of “ jumping half the well”. Full effort will bring out the pride and glory of the civilized living led by the people in the southern part of the country. The Union Government has to be serious to protect the pride of the past which signifies the commercial and cultural relations with the far East and the West.