Home Anthropology Laxity of Sindh Antiquities Department Causing Decay of Heritage Sites

Laxity of Sindh Antiquities Department Causing Decay of Heritage Sites

Laxity of Sindh Antiquities Department Causing Decay of Heritage Sites

The other nations of the world take utmost care of their cultural heritage and archaeological sites declaring them ‘treasure’, rehabilitating and preserving for promotion of tourism

Syeda Anmol Ali

On May 13, 2023, a conference was organized in Karachi, with participation of a number of students, teachers, anthropologists and archaeologists. The theme of this conference was “Culture and Heritage of Sindh – Karachi to Jamshoro”. The conference discussed the cultural heritage of Sindh from Karachi to Badin, and Jamshoro, and highlighted the injustices done to our cultural heritage.

Various experts presented their work, including Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro, anthropologist, Dr. Kaleemullah Lashari, archaeologist and Mr. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Excavations in SindhIt emerged during the conference that in terms of cultural heritage, Sindh is much richer than we think, but the laxity and carelessness of the government has kept Sindh poor. From Karachi to Badin and to Jamshoro, there are countless treasures that have not been worked on till now and nobody wants to do it. Some names of these areas were mentioned at the conference that are Gujo graveyard, Banbhore (Half excavated), Manghopir, Mian Naseer Muhammad graveyard, Jain temple, Water heritage, Gharo Creek (Thumbanwari mosque), Rattokot, Debul, Ongar, Mesolithic sites (lithic industry), Paleolithic sites (Konkar, Landhi, Waghoodar, Deh Konkar, and many others, besides a city without name underwater.

Some of these were sites that even students of archaeology have never heard of. These are all places that have never been considered important nor have been the center of attention. The excavations have been done at a few places in Sindh that too in fragments.

Buildings-DemolitionIt is not that archaeologists of Sindh have ignored it. They have performed their duties but the successive governments have always shown indifference which has proved to be detrimental to our rich heritage and consequently to our tourism sector and the economy, and it is still happening.

DemolitionIt also emerged at the conference that a team of archeologists and anthropologists was prevented from working in the past.  A structure was rebuilt by the team after it collapsed but the government contractors demolished it at sunrise the next day.

Damaging the heritage sites, or even neglecting it, is a crime, but people do not pay importance to it. We are the witness to continued decay of our heritage sites including the historic buildings that have been and are falling down.

Jain TempleOne of such structures is a Jain temple. This structure lost its beauty due to 2001 earthquake. When the team visited the site 5 years after the earthquake, it was sadly found that even after such a long time the structure was not rehabilitated and it remained as a pile of rubble.

Many of the heritage sites are not listed and there is no mention even in the textbooks. Surprisingly, a number of heritage sites have not been re-examined or surveyed for over a century.

I would like to mention here Sindh Zamindar Hotel and an area surrounding the Karachi University having the remains of heritage sites. Moreover, Morley Hills is the site where the largest number of burials were found but some acts of vandalizing the sites were reported. The artifacts and other valuables found were not given importance. A team was told that all the artifacts will be handed over to the museum but during a visit, a team found a pile of artifacts and debris that the workers were about to throw away.

A City Without NameBesides terrestrial heritage, we also have riches in the sea level. A city was discovered in the sea, the name of which has not been discovered till date and is known as the city without name. Another big example of criminal neglect of Sindh Antiquities Department is the ‘Jankhi Jo Bander’, an ancient archaeological site a few kilometers off the Dhabeji town in the sea. Old structures of a fort and residential quarters at an island are being washed away gradually by the sea waves but the concerned authorities have never taken any measures to save it. This island with archaeological remains could be a great source of tourism, if saved and developed.

The concerned authorities seem to be in deep slumber. They are happy that we have Mohen Jo Daro to be proud of being the symbol of great civilization. This is nothing but self-deception. They have done nothing practical even for this great archaeological site except mentioning it in textbooks.

Sindh Zamindar HotelThe other nations of the world take utmost care of their cultural heritage and archaeological sites declaring them ‘treasure’ and rehabilitating and preserving for promotion of tourism. The promotion of tourism has strengthened their economy and brought prosperity for their nation but the authorities here are aloof of all these benefits. Keeping in view the prevailing state of poverty in our province, I would suggest the government to redesign their policies and strategies for exploration and preservation of our heritage sites and developing them for promoting the cultural tourism that will leave great impact on economy and alleviating the poverty.


Anmol Ali- SU- AnthropologySyeda Anmol Ali, hailing from Hyderabad, is student of anthropology at University of Sindh



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