Hyderabad: Two events in the Telugu-speaking states of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana last evening perhaps best encapsulate the Indian story. Space agency ISRO created history by launching India’s most muscular rocket GSLV MK III. Around the same time, a highway near Hyderabad was found thoroughly dug up in search of a Shiva Linga, which someone dreamt should be found 10 feet underground.
The spot was at Jangaon, about 80 km from Hyderabad. Traffic jams at least a km long could be seen on both sides of the National Highway 163, which connects Warangal to Hyderabad. At the middle of it was 15×8 feet hole methodically dug up with a huge JCB excavator machines.
Locals said the project was undertaken on the long-standing demand of a resident, Manoj, who dreamt that a Shiva Linga would be found at the same spot. Every time he reached that section of tarred road, he would go into a trance, rolling & shaking uncontrollably.
For the last 3 years, he wanted to dig & find the statue on Shiva Ratri, but could not mobilize support. He took to performing puja by the side of the highway every Monday.
In the end, he managed to convince the villagers, local political leaders & even the local sarpanch and JCB machines were hired to undertake the community exercise.
The Shiva Linga, though, proved elusive. While it was meant to be found at a depth of 10 feets, the searches drew a blank even after digging 15 feet.
An exasperated local policeman who wanted the operation called off, suspected Manoj was leading them all up to the garden path.
First he said 10 feet. They dug over 15 feet. Now he says 2 more feet. At this rate, we will have a well in the middle of the road
As traffic piled up on both sides, the police took away Manoj & the local leader who had collaborated in the effort. Clarifying the highway was not damaged, Srinivas, a local police inspector of Jangaon said a case of illegal digging has been registered, though no one has been named in the First Information Report.