Veteran archaeologist BB Lal dies at 101, PM pays tribute

New Delhi: Veteran archaeologist and Padma Vibhushan awardee BB Lal died recently. He was 101. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid rich tributes, saying he will be remembered as a great intellectual who “deepened our connect with our rich past”.

Lal served as the director general of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) from 1968 to 1972. He had reportedly found temple-like pillars during excavation at the Ayodhya site in the mid-70s, where the Ram temple is now being built.

PM Modi paid homage to him and tweeted: “Shri BB Lal was an outstanding personality. His contributions to culture and archaeology are unparalleled. He will be remembered as a great intellectual who deepened our connect with our rich past. Pained by his demise. My thoughts are with his family and friends. Om Shanti.”

Lal was born in 1921 at Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh and resided in New Delhi. He developed an interest in archaeology after completing his Master’s degree in Sanskrit from Allahabad University.

Former Additional Director General of ASI, BR Mani was among several scholars and senior officials of ASI who attended PM Lal’s funeral at Lodhi crematorium here.

“He was a tall figure and a veteran archaeologist. He was my teacher and mentored four generations. I met his family members to express my condolences. His son told me that he died Saturday around 8:40 am at his home in Hauz Khas,” Mani said.

Asked about the excavation in Ayodhya which Lal led, he said, “The site was near Babri Masjid. It took place in the mid-1970s, but no report was made on it.”

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