The International News
March 26, 2014
The Sindh government has approved a project for drilling at Mohenjodaro to ascertain the depth of the famous ruins.
“Though the archaeological site is spread over one and a half kilometres, Unesco is interested in finding how deep the remains are,” said Michael Jansen, a German professor of urban history and expert of architecture, archeology and conservation.
He was speaking on Tuesday at the second day of international moot ‘Sindh through the centuries’ organised by the Sindh Madressatul Islam University.
Prof Jansen, in his presentation during a technical session titled ‘Ancient art and architecture of Sindh’, argued that the course of the Indus River posed a threat to the Mohenjodaro ruins. “Before the river embankments were raised during the British rule in 1870 river water used to inundate the area and erode the remains.”
Prof Jansen e disagreed with the general perception that the main stupa at Mohenjodaro was built during the Buddhist period. “The Buddhist Stupas are generally found far away from urban areas but the stupa at Mohenjodaro is located in the ancient city’s urban area” he argued. “However, it needs further research.”
Mongols and Sufism
The Mongols attacked and migrated to Sindh and its borderlands in the 13th and 14th centuries, destroying sedentary agriculture and village life in many areas and also weakening the existing religious and cultural practices.
This was observed by Dr Andre Wink, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US. He was presenting a paper at a technical session titled ‘History of Sindh’.
Dr Wink was of the view that the destruction of culture, religion and social cohesion over the two centuries of Mongol raids and tribal migrations, combined with the pervasive “nomadisation” paved the way for subsequent conversions to Islam and establishment of religious organisation associated with Sufism.
He said pirs and shrines were not only instrumental in religious conversions of the people of Sindh but also in the restoration its war-torn society. “The arbitration of land rights among the settled and nomadic populations led to community building.”
Dr Thomas Darnhardt from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in his paper ‘Multi-cultural perspective’ pointed out the presence of a cross-cultural devotional cult deeply rooted in the popular Sindhi culture.
He highlighted the common cults and mystic figures revered by both Hindu and Muslim devotees in various places in Hyderabad, Thatta and Sukkur regions of the province.
He pointed out that the saint of Hindus, Amarlal, also known as Jhulel l (the swinging child) had a parallel Muslim cult of Khw ja Khidr, the mysterious guide of those endowed with spiritual insight dear to both trans-regional Sufis and local communities.
Meanwhile, earlier a former secretary of the provincial culture department, Abdul Hamid Akhund, in his presidential remarks, compared the dynamic culture of Sindh to the flowing water in the Indus River. He said the archaeological sites of Gandhara and Mehrgarh were also part of the Indus Civilisation.