Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Priceless articles in Toshakhana

Around 585 priceless articles including invaluable gems, jewellery, once the part of royal Dogra kingdom’s treasure-trove, are lying in the Toshakhana Stores (Treasuries) in Srinagar and Jammu under Double Lock.

However, 77 other items like Farad, Pashmina, Chouga Pashmina, guns, swords, Chobes, chairs and royal armoury are lying in single lock rooms in Jammu and Srinagar treasuries.

Interestingly around thirty years ago, the market price of this treasure-trove was evaluated in billions. Its present market value can just be a guess work, for want of transparency or an updated evaluation in the recent years.

The mystery has always shrouded the status of this royal treasure, the major portion which was shifted from Jammu Toshakhana to Srinagar Toshakhana under special circumstances in 1951. The successive state governments, particularly National Conference, which ruled the state for decades, have been in the dock with several prickly questions being raised at regular intervals of time as whether it is in the safe hands or not or whether this royal wealth is intact or plundered. 

According to sources in Toshakhana Organisation, on 14th of Bhadon 2008 (as per Desi calendar), under the verbal orders of the then Prime Minister, subsequently confirmed vide General Department’s order No GB-481-F/51 dated October 6, 1951, all the jewellery and gold articles of Jammu Toshakhana (Double Lock) except some heavy items were transferred from Jammu Toshakhana to Srinagar Toshakhana under the personal supervision of the then controller Tawaza in special bus with the armed guards. These boxes were covered with white cloth duly sealed and were deposited in Srinagar Treasury under Double Lock vide Treasury Officer’s receipt No 3520 dated October 8,1951 under an intimation sent to Accountant General by the Controller Tawaza vide letter No: 3199-3202 dated October 13,1951. These trunks are still lying in the Double Lock of Srinagar Treasury duly sealed, the sources stated.

Regarding the background of this treasure-trove, the official version is, “After partition the then Maharaja Han Singh left the state in turmoil leaving behind movable and immovable property including antiques etc. in the state which were later on taken over by the state government headed by the then Prime Minister of the state. The Toshakhana was under the charge of Dewan Iqbal Nath, designated as Secretary to the Sadar-e-Riyasat. The post was re-designated in 1966 as Toshakhana Officer.”
On December 15, 2006, a fire incident occurred in the building of Toshakhana stores, Mubarak Mandi Jammu which was already declared as unsafe. All the items of Double Lock except four items, which could not be removed, were shifted in strong room of Civil Secretariat building Jammu pursuant to cabinet decision No: 283/17 dated December 22, 2006 and are still lying there under proper police guard.

Notably there are two wings of Toshakhana Organization, the Srinagar wing and Jammu wing. The Srinagar wing is situated within the premises of Hospitality and Protocol Stores, Gupkar Road Srinagar and the Jammu wing is situated in the Mubarak Mandi complex Jammu.

Giving a detailed account of inventory of Toshakhana of royal Dogra kingdom since1953, a senior officer from Toshakhana organization on preferring anonymity stated, “In the Srinagar stores the costly articles of Maharaja’s regime viz., Morchall, medals, cover panes, tea sets, Sikka etc. are lying in the Double Lock room guarded by the police personnel deployed there. Inventory of all items stands recorded in a safe bound `Khata’ duly signed by the competent authority. Other items like Farad, Pashmina, Chouga Pashmina, Guns, Swords, Chobes and chairs etc. are kept in single lock room in the custody of Tehsildar Srinagar.”

According to sources, the jewellery and gold articles brought from Jammu Toshakhana Stores in 1951 are kept in Double Lock (Strong Room) of Srinagar Treasury. The boxes are duly sealed and inventories recorded in the Khata Register included Hatra Patra Tilla, Kursi Patra Chandi, Asa Chandi, Thai Chandi, Sajra Nisab etc.

From Jammu wing of Toshakhana, the valuable articles of Double Lock room have been shifted to the strong room of Civil Secretariat building Jammu in pursuance of the Cabinet decision No 283/7 dated December 22, 2006. The strong room is duly guarded by the personnel of Central Reserve Police Force.

Other items viz., Bandook, Kirch, Gupti, Neza, Shamsheer, Khokhri and box chobi etc are lying in the Toshakhana Stores, Mubarak Mandi Jammu in the single lock room under the charge of Tehsildar Jammu which is guarded by the J&K Police personnel and all the inventories stand recorded in the register.

No comments:

Post a Comment