Nagpur: The state’s archaeological department, which will be tracing the origins of the four canon barrels found at Kasturchand Park , has no records of even the guns put on display at various public places in the city.
The Kasturchand Park itself has three mounted canons since years. There are two similar pieces found in the Sitabuldi Fort across the road and two in the Raj Bhavan in Sadar. In all, there are 10 major guns on display at various locations in the city, including the divisional commissioner’s office in Civil Lines, Raj Bhavan and apart from Kasturchand Park itself.
The only record perhaps available is that of a 17th century gun of Aurangzeb’s time also mounted at Raj Bhavan.
A note put on display at the Raj Bhavan reads “The gun named Mulk Haibat (terror of the country) was made in Burhanpur 1663AD and bore the full name of Aurangzeb. Weighing not less than seven tonnes, its length and calibre are more than that of the 68 pounders of the British service.” The gun is made of a mix of metals, including gold, says the note.
TOI had reported that the guns already there at Kasturchand Park and the pieces discovered now, resembled 68 pounders. The guns at display bear a common emblem having the letter and R crown. Along with Mulk Haibat, there are more guns having the same emblem at Raj Bhavan. However, sources said there are no records of those pieces even as these may be of a later era than Aurangzeb’s time.
Three guns — two of British make and one apparently indigenous are at the divisional commissioner’s office or the old secretariat which itself is of the colonial era. There are no records about the pieces here too. TOI contacted officials at the general administration department (GAD) which handles matters related to the premises.
An official said the documents may be found at the public works department which is in-charge of the building’s maintenance. The concerned official even at PWD denied having any archives either.
Jaya Wahane, assistant director of the state’s archeological department, who is also in-charge of the central museum said no records are readily available at their end. The only source is a book published on the tercentenary of Nagpur city in 2001, which will now be referred to dig out facts.
In the meantime, the guns will be restored according to the prescribed procure in consultation with state’s director archelogy, she said.
Initial cleaning done of the gun barrels now kept at the museum premises also showed up the R and crown insignia clearly in one of the pieces. This may further strengthens the theory that the guns were of British make.
Conservationists say more needs to be done at Kasturchand Park that may have been the site of many other historical events apart from the Battle of Sitabuldi that took place in November 1817. “Many morning walkers have found pieces of ammunition which may have been shot during the battle. Further excavation may unearth more,” said Preeti Trivedi, head of the department of archelogy in the university.
Accidental discovery of the canons is not new. The fort also has a canon that was found in 1932 by soldiers of the 2nd Duke of Wellington Regiment.