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The Crumbling Heritage of Sindh

The Crumbling Heritage of Sindh
A general view of historic graveyard of Burfat's in Kotri

Like other heritage sites in Pakistan, this site has also much potential for history-lovers and tourists.

By Quratulain Kareem

The Burfats graveyard with the tomb of Mai Chagli and Malik Izzat Khan Burfat are located near the Government Boys Degree College, Kotri. Mai Chagli and Malik Izzat Khan Burfat belonged to Burfat Tribe, the valiant tribe of Sindh. Burfats played a very important role in the socio-political history of Sindh during the reigns of the Sammas rulers, Arghuns, Turkhans, Mughals, Kalhoras and the Talpurs of Sindh.

Burfat-Tombs-Close-viewBurfat-Tombs-Sindh-courier-4Burfats launched a guerilla war against Arghuns when they superseded the Samma Dynasty, because the Burfats were the off –shoot of Sammas. They used to ransack the villages and towns which fell under the dominion of the Arghuns and unleashed the reign of terror. This made the Arghuns terribly scared of the rising guerilla tactics of the Burfats. The Arghuns were unable to subdue the Burfats tribe. Later the Mughals bestowed some jagirs to Burfats, likewise the Kalhora, also gave them importance by bestowing jagir upon them.

Tomb of Mai Chagli and Malik Izzat Khan Burfat
Another view of tomb of Mai Chagli and Malik Izzat khan Burfat

Mai Chagli, the wife of Malik Pahar Khan was the mother of Malik Izzat Khan Burfat. Malik Pahar Khan was the descendent of Jam Hamal and considered as a cultural hero in the annals of the history of Burfats. He established his rule in Kohistan and Lasbela in 1705 A.D. After establishing his rule in these areas he began to set his eyes on the Kachho area of Dadu. The Kachho areas were under the dominion of Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro (1701-1718).

Burfat-Tombs-General-View-Sindh-CourierBurfat-Tombs-graves-Sindh-CourierHe also invaded some areas of Sehwan. In order to rein in the brinkmanship of Malik Pahar Khan Burfat, Mian Yar Muhammad Kalhoro decided to invade his headquarters in 1705 and defeated him, after that defeat, he dumped the idea of capturing the Kachho and set his eyes on the Hub and Gadap areas of Karachi and Lasbela which he succeeded. During the reign of Mian Noor Muhammad Kalhoro (1719-1753), Malik Pahar khan become close to him.

Burfat-Tombs-SindhCourierBurfat-Tombs-Sindh-Courier-3Mian Noor Muhammad Kalhoro bestowed some jagir upon him and used him against some tribes in Kohistan and Lasbela.

Malik Pahar Khan died in 1714 and was buried in the necropolis of Pir Tearo near Uthal in Lasbela. His wife Mai Chagli became the new ruler of Kohistan and Lasbela. During her reign, the Roojhas managed all the affairs of the Government. However, Jam Ali, the headman of Kaureja tribe, after the murder of his brother by Roojhas, snatched the Bela from Mai Chagli, and established his rule. Mai Chagli migrated to Sindh and settled in Kotri where her tomb is situated. Later on, her son Malik Izzat Khan Burfat became the General of Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro.

Decorative gravestones


He displayed his heroism in many battles. He died in 1776 and buried next to his mother’s tomb in Kotri.

The tomb of Mai Chagli and Malik Izzat Khan Burfat is constructed with Memorial Architecture of Kalhoras, which is relevant to Islamic Architecture. The tomb is square on plan with octagonal base of drum of dome and constructed of burnt bricks. The notable features of its exterior are the arched panels giving it face of multi-storied façade. The traces of decoration show that originally the tomb was embellished with tiles having mostly the floral motifs. The entrance door is in the southern wall and central windows in the remaining walls having floral and geometrical decoration ornamentation are beautiful example of stone carving and artistic expertise. There are three graves on a raised platform inside the tomb; the grave in the center is that of Malik Izzat Khan Burfat which is confirmed by Persian inscription on the cenotaph.

Burfat-Tombs-Sindh-CourierBeside the tomb there are many graves and a monument representing exposed brick structure, but originally is not.

On the left side of tomb there is mesmerizing wooden triangular arched structure constructed over a grave with wooden balustrade surrounding the grave, it was not observed that to who grave belong because of the absence of grave stone.

Burfat-Tombs-Sindh-Courier-1Burfat-Tombs-Sindh-Courier-2Most of the decorative ornamental features of tombs falling on floor and the tombs are in dilapidated condition, if not be renovated and conserved, it will crumble and collapse soon. Fortunately this land is dotted with a historical graveyard and tombs. So this precious heritage should be preserved immediately for sake to not erase a chapter from history and heritage for sake of heritage. No doubt Burfats played a very important role in the socio-political history of Sindh. Like other heritage sites in Pakistan, this site has also much potential for history-lovers and tourists.


Quratulain Kareem is Teaching Assistant at Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Sindh.