Sindh through the centuries : Speakers call for further exploring Indus Valley

AFP

KARACHI: Addressing the second 3-day international seminar ‘Sindh through the centuries’ opposition leader in National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah said, “Sindh is land of sufis and the people of this land embraced Islam only because of their influence and not through the sword.” The three-day seminar featuring history, culture, language, archaeology, anthropology, cuisine, arts and crafts of Sindh was organised by Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) on Monday.
Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah chaired the event while Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, author of ‘The Indus Saga and The Making of Pakistan’ and opposition leader in Senate attended the event as a chief guest.
Former Education Minister of Sindh Dr Hamida Khuhro also addressed the audience on the occasion, whereas a large number of scholars, researchers and others notable were also present.
Khurshid Ahmed Shah shed light on history of Sindhi language and called for protecting the Sindhi language. He lamented 70 percent people of Sindh were still illiterate, as children used to study at such schools where the teachers remained absent. Expressing views about Indus Valley, he asserted there was several aspects of history of Indus Valley, which were yet to be explored, adding ambiguity still exists about Rani Kot located in Khirthar Mountain range as to who built it. “Similarly history of Kotdiji too needs to be researched,” he mentioned. Opposition leader said Sindh was intact while Kashmir was divided in Pakistan and India and Gilgit-Baltistan is part of Pakistan, Iran and India. Similarly, the Punjab is also divided into two parts, one in India and other in Pakistan while Balochistan is divided between Pakistan and Iran, he mentioned.
He drew attention of historians to the distortion of Sindh history while claiming birthplace of Father of Nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born in Jhirak town of Thatta district but the textbooks of present day contained lessons he was born in Karachi.
“We must get rid of complex and proudly tell the world real facts about it,” Shah mentioned. Sindh is proud having given birth to great leaders of international repute like Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.
Aitzaz Ahsan said, “Sindh of today is a society of migrants as most of the people from Syeds of Saudi Arabia to Urdu speaking from India came and settled here.”
Expressing about his experience related to Mohenjodaro visits, he said, “I am impressed by the civic system of ancient city. We can see the present cities like Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad and other cities which have turned into heaps of garbage.” According to his findings there were no kings in that period of history and only the priests used to govern, he said.
“I wrote a chapter in my book titled as ‘Mullahs of Mohenjodaro but it was replaced as ‘Priests of Mohenjodar’ after publishers showed hesitancy.” He urged for more and more research on Indus Valley history.
Dr Hamida Khuhro said, “We have not been able to identify many urban settlements and cities mentioned by historians and travellers. She gave example of Ibn Battuta who mentioned the city of Janani, which he described as large fine city on the banks of Indus River with splendid markets.
Also not much work has been done on the social and economic history of the entire period from pre-Muslim times to the colonial period and this is in an unlimited field for research. No serious student of Sindh and researcher will be short of subjects. This vast field of study also includes the much-neglected subject of Sindh anthropology, she said. Mohanas or Mir Bahars who plied the Indus in boats are oldest of our communities but are referred as Punjabis in upper Sindh. May be some study can explain why or how.
She said Sindh was suffering from downside of globalisation-environmental degradation from pollution, destruction of local habitats, excessive flooding from global warming, salinity and degradation of fertile land and so on. She also referred to floods of 2010 and 2011 that hit the economy of Sindh due to destruction of crops, houses etc.
Vice Chancellor of the SMI University Dr Mohammad Ali Shaikh informed the participants how he and Dr Hamida Khuhro worked on idea of organising second international conference on history of the Sindh after a gap of 39 years.

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