DIDARGANJ YAKSHI – THE FACE OF BIHAR

REMEMBERING DIDARGANJ YAKSHI ON OCTOBER 18, 2016 – ON THE 100TH YEAR OF HER DISCOVERY

 On October 18, 1917; a well-preserved, life-size statue of a female chauri (fly-whisk) bearer was found from Didarganj (Bihar) by sheer chance. 

The Mauryan period life-size image of Mauryan Sandstone has been acclaimed, worldwide; as one of the finest specimen of ‘feminine beauty’ and is now the part of the ‘World – Heritage’. 

The report further mentions that the statue was dug up by Qaji Muhammad Afzal alias Ghulam Rasul, s/o Maulana Qaji Saiyid Muhammad Azimul alias Ghulam Mohi-ud-din and ultimately the Hindus removed it to the village Didarganj and then it was brought to Patna Museum on November 17, 1917.  

The actual place of discovery was the north-east of Qadmi-Rasul Mosque, on the bank of River Ganges. The icon was buried head wise on the bank of the Ganges and washer man used its base as slab to beat clothes. One day a snake appeared and when people followed it to kill, it entered into a hole by the side of protuberant pedestal of the icon. When the people dug the hole, the bizarre Chauri bearer female statue saw the light of the day.

[PRABUUDHA BISWAS IS STANDING ON THE FIND-SPOT, WHERE DIDARGANJ YAKSHI WAS DISCOVERED, 100 YEARS AGO………QADMI-RASUL MOSQUE IS ON THE BACKGROUND]



The Confidential Report of the Inspector of Police, who put on record its discovery on October 20, 1917, read as – “a serpent was seen entering into a hole on the riverside (the Ganges) at Didarganj Kadam Rasul, called also Nasirpur Tajpur Hissa Khurd in the Malsalami thana of Patna City. The locals dug up the hole to find a life size female statue, carved out in stone”.

However, the Report of the Inspector of Police differs from the letter of Honourable E.H.S. Walsh, the then Commissioner of Patna, on the credit rests with Ghulam Rasul, who accidentally saw the portion of the pedestal projecting.

 To commemorate the Centenary-Year,  the Government of Bihar has planned a year-long celebration, which starts from today. 

On the basis of technique, polish, and surface adornment, this image seems to belong to the Mauryan period.  The figure, with a bare torso, wears a hip-hugging garment and is heavily bejewelled. This type of feminine drapery along with abundant jewellery became a common feature in later times. The technique beautifully demonstrates how stone has been used to outline bodily features as well as depict the heavy folds of the drapery falling between the legs. Since the figure holds a chauri in her right hand, it may be the depiction of an attendant at court or to important people of that time.

(Source – The Didarganj Chauri Bearer Female Figure, Patna Museum Publication)

(c) Copyright of Prabuddha Biswas

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