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Padma Shri Awardee Arun Sharma breathes his last at 91

The world of archaeology mourns the loss of one of its most distinguished figures, Padmashree Dr. Arun Kumar Sharma, who passed away at the age of 90 at his residence in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. Sharma’s career was marked by significant contributions to Indian archaeology, including his pivotal role in the excavation of the Ram Janmabhoomi Ayodhya site.

Early Life and Education

Born on November 12, 1933, in Chandkhuri, Raipur district, Dr. Sharma’s academic journey led him to complete his MSC in Anthropology from Sagar University in 1958. His passion for archaeology propelled him to join the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) a year later, where he excelled and topped the All-India diploma course in archaeology, earning the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad gold medal.

Distinguished Career

Contributions to ASI

Dr. Sharma’s 33-year tenure with the ASI was marked by exemplary service, culminating in his retirement as the Superintendent Archaeologist at the ASI Nagpur in 1992. His work during these years laid the foundation for several archaeological milestones and discoveries across India.

Ram Janmabhoomi Ayodhya Excavation

As the senior-most team member, Dr. Sharma’s excavation at the Ram Janmabhoomi Ayodhya site, ordered by the Allahabad High Court, was a defining moment in his career. The team’s findings that a temple was demolished to build a mosque contributed significantly to one of India’s most historical and controversial archaeological inquiries.

Advisor to the Chhattisgarh Government

After his retirement, Dr. Sharma continued his archaeological pursuits as an advisor to the Chhattisgarh government since 1994, guiding the state in preserving and promoting its rich historical heritage.

Notable Achievements

Padma Shri Award

In 2017, Dr. Sharma’s contributions to Indian archaeology were officially recognized when he was awarded the Padma Shri by the late President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. This honor underscored his lifelong dedication to the field and his significant impact on Indian archaeology.

Restoration of Lord Ganesh Sculpture

Even in his eighties, Dr. Sharma’s commitment to archaeology did not wane. In 2016, he led a team to restore a Lord Ganesh sculpture on Dholkal mountain in the Naxal-affected Bastar region. The sculpture, which had been vandalized and broken into 67 pieces, was painstakingly restored within a week under his guidance.

Padma Shri Awardee Arun Sharma breathes his last at 91_4.1

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