Srinagar: India International Friendship Society on Monday awarded Muhammad Shafi Zahid, Director Department of Archives, Archeology and Museums with ‘Rashtriya Gaurav Award’ at India International Centre, New Delhi.
The award was conferred to him for his contribution in the archeological studies and preservation of artifacts during his tenure in the Department, a statement said.
“The major archaeological discoveries were made during the time of Mohammad Shafi Zahid in early decades of 21st century AD. This young scholar, who had got training from M.S University Baroda (Gujarat and had a passion to explore the hidden treasures. He excavated the Buddhist site at Letpora (Pulwama) in 2004, wherefrom, he exhumed a treasure of wonderful terracotta heads, busts and jewelry artifacts of early 8th century AD of Karkota Period. This discovery was followed by another Buddhist site of Kushan era (100-400 AD) at Kotebal in south Kashmir (2005) where a magnificent terracotta tile pavement was exposed,” said the citation received by him.
The department was earlier headed by several learned historians and archaeologists including Prof P N Pushup, Fida Mohammad Hussnain, Dr. Sheikh Mohammad Iqbal and Mohammad Shafi Zahid.
The citation said that Zahid had made remarkable numismatic discoveries of ancient copper Coin hoards, (1500 coins) at Watnar Kokernag, (193coins) at Charari Sharef, Budgam and (850 coins) at Nunar Budgam, in the years 2011, 2014 and 2016 respectively.
“As such he brought to light the numismatic evidences of Hindu Rajas, Muslims sultans and Mughal Emperors of Jammu and Kashmir. He also discovered a number of rare stone and bronze sculptures from the length and breadth of the state. At Qasbiyar in District Pulwama, he recovered an exquisite Sculpture identified as Ek Mukh Linga of the 9th century AD. The most outstanding sculpture discovery was made at Zurhama Kupwara in 2006 where from a treasure trove of rare bronze images of the 9th century AD, was recovered by him,” the citation reads.
“These all archaeological discoveries made by the archaeologist are housed and exhibited in this gallery of the museum. It is in place to mention here that the state archaeology is the main source for the archaeology and numismatic galleries of this museum.”