Arsh Ali, youngest archaeologist
Arsh Ali in Sivasagar. Image courtesy: Madhab Das, assistant tourist information officer, Sivasagar.

Arsh Ali, who is dubbed as the youngest archaeologist of the country is on a mission – to recreate the Ahom kingdom of Assam.

Arsh will endeavour to recreate the entire Ahom belt in eastern Assam, particularly Sivasagar, on papers complete with all archaeological sites including monuments and maidams.

At a later stage, the same may be recreated through a three-dimensional model.

Also read: Assam: Sivasagar mesmerizes German couple on world tour

Arsh, who has been experimenting with mummification will also try his hand in Ahom tradition of mummifying.

“When the Ahom kings died, the maidams took at least six months to construct. During that period the bodies were kept in a huge tumbler or a pond in oil,” Arsh shared.

“I will be trying the same through an experiment involving local archaeologists and students using guinea pigs,” he added.

During an informal interaction with Sivasagar deputy commissioner Dr M S Lakshmi Priya, Arsh exuded confidence that his endeavour will also enhance promotion of tourism in the district.

Arsh is in Sivasagar to present a lecture at the national seminar organized on the occasion of World Heritage Week 2019.

The seminar is being organized by the Directorate of Archaeology in collaboration with the Sivasagar district administration.

Arsh will deliver his lecture on ‘The Ahom Tumuli Tombs at Charaideo and the Tombs of the Ancient World and Implications of Experimental Mortuary Practices in Indian Archaeology’ on Wednesday.

Arsh, all of 19 years old, has been a part of various archaeological excavations and explorations.

He is currently working on the experimental approach to Ancient Egyptian cuisine, particularly bread and ancient Egyptian mummification.

He is also working on the possible links between Egypt and India in the ancient times, and has visited and studied several sites in India.

Arsh has been engaged in archaeological and historical research and activities since the age of 15 years.

When Arsh was studying in seventh standard, he became increasingly obsessed with archaeology and history.

He has researched coffins, funerary hieroglyphic inscriptions and even knows how to make bread like the ancient Egyptian did.

Acknowledging his talent, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been inviting Arsh since 2015 to their programmes, seminars, excavations and explorations, a privilege often restricted to post-graduate students of archaeology.

Arsh had earlier mummified his pet shark that died a natural death.

Arsh buried the body of the shark in a tray filled with natron.

It is a complex salt known for its ability to dry things up.

Natron is naturally available in Egypt.

But Arsh had to create it by mixing multiple chemical elements.

Arsh knows 15 languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, Brahmi, Greek, Ugaritic, Nabatean and Phoenician, besides Kharosthi and Hieroglyphics.

He is also learning few other languages presently.

Asif Ibrahim

Asif Ibrahim is Chief Copy Editor of Northeast Now. He can be reached at: asifibrahim1@gmail.com