Alexander Cunningham: The Father of Indian Archaeology

2017-01-23 Mon

We have been studying Indian history since so long but do we know anything much about its development and approach? We usually curse Britisher’s for looting India for nearly 2 Centuries but they also have been a soul of guard to Indians!

India’s culture is amongst the world's oldest culture. Unfortunately there lacked an organisation or an initiative that would systematically study and preserve the vast heritage. The very first institution was the Asiatic Society of Bengal founded by Sir William Jones in 1784. This motivated various interested historians to start with something.

The very first step was taken by Alexander Cunningham to put the subject of History and Archaeology into appropriate studies. Born on 23rd January 1814, his very keen interest in heritage, sculptures, antiquities and numismatics led to the foundation of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1861. He also became its first Director-General. It opened the door to Indians to have an insight into the past.

And after completing almost 150 of years its establishment, ASI has grown into a full-fledged institution which falls under the Ministry of Culture. It encourages the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation. The ASI has 24 main branches, where these main branches are again divided into sub-branches.

A set of two stamps were issued by India Post forArchaeological Survey of India. One of the stamps depicts the clay models of animals excavated from the Indus Valley sites which have a face value of INR 5. Whereas another stamp depicts the Harappan seals from ancient excavation having the denomination of INR 2.

Let’s remember Sir Alexander Cunningham today, who laid the founding stone for Archaeological Survey of India and take care of our heritage by spreading awareness about preserving and conserving!

We have a blog written on the stamps of ASI.