For several months it has been speculated that right beneath the surface of India’s Malpura city lies a considerable fortune. Gold, the radiance of which breaks through soil like the sun through clouds, just waiting to be picked up by passersby. Despite the influx of treasure-seekers, however, local authorities have consistently and adamantly denied the existence of such treasures. That is, until now.
The rumors began three months ago, and gained traction on the messaging app WhatsApp. One user claimed to have discovered a golden coin in the village of Janakipura, his claim bolstered by an attached image. Before long word of the discovery had spread to over twenty nearby villages, and thousands of people flocked to the site hoping to hit it big.
Over the next few months, local authorities would struggle to reduce traffic to the area. They released statement after statement denying the veracity of the rumors. They implemented Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, a law which essentially prohibits the assembly of more than five people in specified places to preserve “public tranquility.”
Nothing, however, could stop the fervent treasure hunters from seeking their prize. "We deputed extra police to stop people from digging but to no avail," said a local police officer. This week, after a thorough investigation, the local police force confirmed the rumors of gold coins being hidden in the area.
"We have contacted the Archaeological Survey of India in a bid to find the era to which the coins belong to," said Priti Jain, the Station House Officer.
Professor Sameer Paliwal of Government PG University in Tonk believes the gold coins may date back to the Samudragupta era of 250-400 AD.
What makes this find truly peculiar is the fact that these gold coins are so plentiful, so close to the surface that, in certain situations, tools are not needed to retrieve them. A discerning eye and long fingernails suffice. One lucky local claims to have already sold an ancient gold coin to a jeweler.
Local authorities, however, are still doing their best to quiet the area, and put an end to the gold rush. They have already confiscated coins from from two men, one living in Malpura and the other a resident of Janakipura. These recoveries are part of a larger effort to ascertain the total number of coins in the area and turn them over to the government.
Several years ago, the Indian government began an initiative to limit the amount of gold harbored domestically due to the negative impact it has on the country’s trade deficit. In 2016, the campaign gained momentum so the government seizure of these coins is not altogether surprising.
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