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Teen Prodigy from Lucknow Declared Country's Youngest Archaeologist for Mummifying Fish, Cat and Frogs

Arsh Ali, who has varied interests in different fields of studies, says the animals were mummified using Egyptian methods in laboratories.


Updated:September 24, 2019, 12:04 AM IST
Teen Prodigy from Lucknow Declared Country's Youngest Archaeologist for Mummifying Fish, Cat and Frogs
Arsh Ali speaks at the event where he was declared country’s youngest archaeologist. (News18)

New Delhi: A teenager from Lucknow was declared the country’s youngest archaeologist and first young Egyptologist of India by the Indian Archaeological Society. The recognition for 18-year-old Arsh Ali who studies at Lucknow City Montesseri School came after two years of hard work on “mummifying a fish”.

Ali said he has also mummified animals like cats and frogs, while clarifying that it is not taxi-dermatology but pure mummification conducted in labs and pursued with an experimental approach. “In taxidermy, we stuff animals but in mummification we have kept everything intact. It is preservation," said the teenager, who has replicated the ancient salt of Egypt Nactron and used it in the laboratory for his work.

This formal announcement was backed by 97-year-old archaeologist BB Lal renowned for his excavation work in Ayodhya, BR Mani DG of National Museum, KN Dikshit of Indian Archaeological Society and Prof V Shinde of Deccan College.

Ali said he has interests in the Harappan script and works on it to find a fresh perspective in ancient Indian history. The talented teen also claimed to know more than 15 ancient scripts and languages. Apart from being “the first youngest in India to study Egyptian mummification by mummifying his own pets”, Ali can bake breads like the ancient Egyptians.

After scoring 94% in his Class X board examinations, Ali went to an open school to complete his higher secondary studies. At present, he is pursuing several courses — distance and online — from several reputed institutes.

While he is learning laboratory techniques at Jamia Millia Islamia, Sanskrit in Delhi University, he taking lessons on ancient Mesopotamia from Oxford University. Experts present at the day’s event expressed their desire to help his learn further at Havard University.

Ali is currently reconstructing ancient Indian sites in five-dimensional (5-D) hand sketching. “Reconstruction in 5-D allows one to travel back in time to see how those sites, which are now in ruins, looked like when they were newly constructed and used,” he said.

Recently, he also claimed to have found traces of Buddhism practiced by Emperor Ashoka in Egypt. For this, he explored and studied sites in India as well as in Egypt for more than 10 months. In 2017, he has written some notes on the similarities of floral motifs between the Ancient Egyptian and Harappan civilisation.

The child genius was also recently accepted the Maharana Mewar Foundation Award in Udaipur for his accomplishments. Born in Allahabad to a Muslim father and Sikh mother, Ali said his studies of texts from varied religious beliefs was inspired by his parents.

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