‘Sindh through the centuries’ – Day-2 : Foreign, local scholars highlight aspects of Sindh’s history

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KARACHI: Foreign and Pakistani scholars highlighted different aspects of history of Sindh on Tuesday, the second day of the three-day international seminar ‘Sindh through the centuries’ organised by Sindh Madressatul Islam University Karachi.
German scholar, architect, archaeologist, conservationist Prof of Urban History Micheal Jansen said the provincial government has approved a project for more research and excavation of Mohenjodaro and drilling at different places would soon start to ascertain the depth of remains of ancient city.
Archaeological site of Mohenjodaro is spread over one and half a kilometre but UNESCO is interested in depth of ancient remains.
Indus river course poses threat to Mohenjodaro, before the banks of Indus River were raised during British rule here in 1870, the river water used to inundate the area eroding the remains.
He did not agree to general perception the Stupa of Mohenjodaro belonged to Buddhist era. “The Buddhist Stupas are generally found far away from the urban areas while the Stupa at Mohenjodaro is located in urban area of ancient city. However, it needs further research,” he said.          
Dr Kaleemullah Lashari co-director Centre for Archaeological and Environmental Research on Makli, which is dubbed as largest necropolis of Islamic world and world’s epigraphic wonder reproached that the site, protected a century ago under preservation laws and subsequently declared as the world heritage under UNESCO conventions, has unfortunately suffered a colossal neglect as it neither been studied nor maintained.
He urged for full documentation and scientific conservation strategy for Makli.
Most of the inscribed graves are neither dated nor give information regarding the person buried at Makli. It has created the problem in understanding the spatial growth of the graveyard. It however is well compensated with structural classification of the cenotaphs showing perceptible evolution in the design, he concluded.
Dr Andre Wink Professor of History University of Wisconsin-Madison USA in his presentation ‘History of Sindh’ said, “The destruction of culture, religion and social cohesion over two centuries of Mongol conquests and tribal migrations, in combination with pervasive nomadisation and raiding paved the way for subsequent conversion to Islam and formation of new pir-and-shrine-centred forms of religious organisation. The latter were instrumental in religious conversion as much as the restoration of a war-damaged society, the arbitration of land rights among settled and nomadic populations and community building.”
Dr Mathew A Cook another American scholar who is Assistant Professor of Post-Colonial and South Asian Studies at North Carolina Central University in his paper titled ‘The annexation of Sindh and socio-cultural distinctions’ said local support for the British in 1843 hinged on internal social relations among Sindh’s Hindus and attempts to challenge distinctions of status within this community. “I argue such local distinctions give important insights into larger processes (for example the establishment of global empires).
US scholar Dr Rita P Wright’s paper on ‘Mohenjodaro and Harapa: The Indus, its rivers and responses to environment change’ was read by Nilofar Shaikh. Zahida Rehman Jatt, monitoring officer, Rural Support Programme Networks, Islamabad, presented her paper on ‘Role of contributions of Sindhi Hindus in socio-economic and cultural life of Hyderabad, Sindh: 1800-1947. Sindhi Hindus worked in every sphere of life in pre-partitioned Hyderabad ranging from art and architecture, philanthropy, education and politics. She said some of the landmarks of that time like schools, teachers training institutes and public buildings were still standing today as testimony to the dexterity and passion of their builders.
Dr Shuja Ahmad faculty member of Pakistan study Centre University of Sindh Jamshoro in his paper ‘Struggle for separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency (1847-1936)’ said the struggle for separation of Sindh from the Bombay played a significant role in creating political awareness in Sindh.

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