Home Archaeology Ketiyan Jo Kot (Fort of Ketis): First capital of Manikani Emirate of Sindh’s Talpur Amirs

Ketiyan Jo Kot (Fort of Ketis): First capital of Manikani Emirate of Sindh’s Talpur Amirs

Ketiyan Jo Kot (Fort of Ketis): First capital of Manikani Emirate of Sindh’s Talpur Amirs

The Manikani Emirate had less interaction with foreigners and was occupied by British in the last by end of March 1843.

By Noor Ahmed Janjhi

Talpurs got power of Sindh after defeating Mian Abdul Nabi Kalhoro in the battle fought at Halani in 1783. The decisive battle enabled Talpurs to rule over Sindh for sixty years. Before it, Talpurs were heading key military and administrative positions during Kalhora rule. As the Talpurs got power, they divided it in three portions. The central portion of Sind was ruled by Mir Fateh Ali Khan son of Mir Sobdar Khan Talpur, with its headquarters at Hydrabad, through a unique different system of government called ‘Chauyari’ or The Government by Four Friends. He shared his government with his three brothers – Mir Ghullam Ali, Mir Karam Ali and Mir Murad Ali. It was the unique model of shared government. Mir Sohrab son of Mir Shahdad Khan established Sohrabani Emirate in Upper Sindh, firstly with its headquarters at Kot Diji (Ahmedabad) and then at Khairpur Mirs’. Mir Tharo son of Mir Fateh Khan Manikani established the Manikani Emirate in Laar (Lower Sindh) and some parts of Thar with its temporary headquarter for some time at Shahpur (Mirpur Bathoro) and then at Ketiyan jo Kot (Fort of Ketis) at the bank of Puran River near Wango.

Ketiyan-jo-Kot- Sindh-Courier-1The word ‘Keti’ is a Sindhi word derived from ‘ket’ means conservation. Keti is such a forest conserved at the river bank. The Puran, a major stream of the Indus had been in great flow in those days. Mir Tharo chose this place for the headquarters of Manikani Emirate. He built a fort, a civil lines area and a market there. He ruled the Manikani Emirate from the headquarters for twenty three years. The headquarters were shifted in the newly established city of Mirpurkhas by Mir Ali Murad Khan son of Mir Tharo in 1806. They had lived at Leehor near Mirpur Old (Tareekh Sindh, Ameeran e Mirpurkhas by Haji Mir Muhammad Bakhsh Talpur). The Fort of Ketis was deserted after the shifting of the capital to Mirpurkhas.

Muhammad Soomar Shaikh, renowned historian and writer, in his book “Laar ja Maag Makan”, has given details of the fort after visiting the site on 5th May 1967 along with Mir Muhammad Bakhsh Talpur, who had been there previously during his early childhood. The area of the fort has been mentioned as 688900 square feet. The western wall of the fort was 415 feet. He has mentioned the Fort in the area of Deh or revenue village ‘Kaath Daho’. Actually it is Uth Daho not Kaath Daho. The revenue village was in taluka Diplo of Tharparkar but it lies in the area of newly established taluka Kaloi.

Rahmidad Khan, in his book, ‘Talpurn ji Mukhtasir Tareekh’ has mentioned the location of the Keti near Pangrio, which too is incorrect. It is at the bank of Puran in the west of Wango. Another writer, Mir Ghullam Rasool Talpur has given the details of his visit to the site in his recently published bilingual book ‘Talpuran ji Tareekh’. All of the details increased my interest and I planned to visit the site to have firsthand information about a historical place. My friend Muhammad Saleem Bhoot gave me his good company.

Ketiyan-jo-Kot- Sindh-Courier-2The historical site has three main establishments – Ketiyan jo Kot, Ketiyan ja Quba and the graveyard in the north of the fort site. The ruins of the fort lie at a distance of five km in the west of Wango stop. Keti Mir Muhammad Lund and Keti Juneja are at the southern side of the site and Mithi Badin road is at northern side. The ruins reflect the mortality of mundane structures and unsustainability of power. However, the site shows the great acumen and good taste of Mir Tharo Khan Manikani who had chosen the place for establishing the headquarters of the newly established Manikani Emirate. Muhammad Soomar Shaikh had mentioned ‘excreta of bats’ on the walls of the fort and salinity there. He also mentioned the question asked by Mir Muhammad Bakhsh about the choice of ‘the deserted and remote’ place for headquarters. He has also mentioned about the residence of some Talpur families in the fort and besides the fort there were residences of kardars and officials. There had been a dug well called ‘cheti’ well and another well outside the fort.

Ketiyan-jo-Kot- Sindh-Courier-3Presently, there are some ruins of the wall and western watch towers of the fort. There is heap of small bricks stretched over an area of 50 square feet. There seems a shallow well within ten feet radius. The bitter jjar trees of brackish soil are there as the soil has been occupied by waterlogging and salinity. Muhammad Soomar Shaikh has written five reasons for establishing the headquarters here as: 1. Puran stream around it; 2. Thick Forest; 3. Influence of Manikani Talpurs in Larr; 4. Plain area in the west, an easy area to be monitored and watched.

I think perhaps, Mir Muhammad Bakhsh would not have thought of the pleasure of natural beauty that had been thought by Mir Tharo Talpur. The place enables natural security and serene beauty of nature. It also provides a pivotal place to reach out the peripheral areas of Kachh, Rajasthan, Shahdadani and Sohrabani Emirates. Its remoteness provides the privacy and being far away from all foreign powers. Most of the foreign interaction was with the central Talpur Emirate of Hyderabad. The Manikani Emirate had less interaction with foreigners and was occupied by British in the last by end of March 1843.

Ketiyan-jo-Kot- Sindh-Courier-4Some five kilomenters in the south of the fort, there are some buildings standing there. Those are called ‘Ketiyan ja Quba’ (Domes of Ketis) because of the dome like structure. The buildings seem the offices of the Talpur Emirate. The site of the graveyard is situated in the north of the fort site on the other side of Badin Mithi road.

Ketiyan-jo-Kot- Sindh-Courier-5The Ketiyan jo Kot has remained the center of activities of politics, economy and art. There are many legends and myths associated with the place. Some historical stories have been part of the literary history and the history of the strategy. The stories have been narrated by the local bards. The stories are about the battle between the Talpur troops of Sohrabani Emirate and Manikani Emirate, Love story of Mir Bago with Ms. Marium Udhejo known as Sindh Rani, the conflict between Mir Tharo and Khalifo Nabi Bakhsh. There are still three dried beds of Puran and a dried bed of Hakro River called Dhoro. Before the establishment and flourishing of the Ketiyan jo Kot, there had been wharf of Wango and Wanga Bazar on the bank of Puran. The area resounds with the tunes of late Mir Muhammad Lund, a legendary player of Boreendo instrument made of clay. The legacy of Mir Muhammad has been continued by his son Faqir Zulfiquar Lund.

In this way, the pomp and show and historical importance of the Puran Civilization can be seen from the ruins of Ketiyan jo Kot, Arni jo Darro, Garrhiyar ji Bhit, Kajhar ,  to the melodious tunes of Boreendo and dried beds of Puran.

[author title=”Noor Ahmed Janjhi” image=”https://sindhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Noor-Ahmed-Janjhi-Sindh-Courier.jpg”]Noor Ahmed Janjhi is a senior educationist based in Desert District Tharparkar Sindh. He is author of several books in Sindhi and English on folk literature including two poetry books.[/author]