Statues are being stolen from Simraungadh, but nobody is botheredSimraungadh is the capital city of the Mithila kingdom and houses many historical palaces, which is why statues and other artefacts are frequently extracted from various places.
A month ago, locals extracted an ancient statue of Lord Bishnu from a pond at Nayaka Tole in Simraungadh Municipality, Bara. The pond was being dug up by an excavator, and the statue broke before it could be taken out. The broken statue was left unattended for days on the pond’s bank, after which it got stolen. As the news broke out, the police began to investigate. They reached Barthahawa in Sarlahi and discovered that the statue was stolen by Nabim Ram, the driver of the excavator used to dig the pond. In his statement to the police, Ram said that he decided to take the statue since nobody cared about it for a month.
“It took quite an effort to arrest the thief and get hold of the statue,” said SP Apurva Dhungana. “Locals are now talking about conserving the statue.”
This is not a singular incident. Prior to this, other statues of Rajdevi, Krishna and Bishnu were stolen from the same municipality, including a big bell from Kankali Temple. Nobody knows where these artefacts are today.
Ajaya Chandra Singh, a local, said that some of the statues that were previously discovered have been kept at the police station for lack of a museum. “But why are the statues not being preserved?” said Singh. “Statues of historical significance keep on appearing, but nobody seems to care about preserving them.”
Simraungadh is the capital city of the Mithila kingdom and houses many historical palaces, which is why statues and other artefacts are frequently extracted from various places in the municipality. But there has been a marked indifference from all quarters about preserving these historical objects.
Even though the municipality floated a plan and allocated budgets to conserve the statues last year, the plan is yet to materialise.
Mayor Bijaya Shankar Yadav said that the municipality is ready to coordinate with police to conserve these historical artefacts. “Besides the local unit, the police administration and the Department of Archaeology should also pay attention to conserving the statues.”
Chudamani Ghimire, chair of Guthi Sansthan Birgunj, said the Department of Archaeology should be active in conserving the artefacts.
The department has kept a few statues at a house near Kanakli Temple, but due to lack of care, the statues are now coated in dust.
An Italian conservation organisation and the Department of Archaeology in the early 90s had extracted statues from the historic fort of Simraungadh. The then king Birendra had also issued an order to conserve the fort. But all these years later, not much has been done.
Locals say the conservation hasn’t started despite their repeated requests to the local units.
“Simraungadh carries a huge tourism potential,” said Jayant Kuswaha, chief of Simraungadh Chamber of Commerce. “Political leaders make promises to turn Simraungadh into a tourism hub, but they have been nothing more than a token to win the election.”