Being callous to our civilisation!


All was left to the Sindh province blessed with centuries-old archaeological site – the Indus Valley Civilization – to discover the 90 percent buried secrets about civilization as the then British government did few excavations to unveil the true facts, culture and civilisation of the ancient people. But the concerned authorities in Sindh have been least bothered about this one of the oldest civilizations of the world.
At around 2500 BC, when the Egyptians were building pyramids, people in the Indus Valley were laying the bricks for India’s first cities. They built strong levees or earthen walls to keep water out of their cities. When these were not enough, they constructed man-made islands to raise the cities above possible floodwaters.
The archaeologists have found the ruins of more than 100 settlements along the Indus and its tributaries mostly in modern-day Pakistan. Amongst them, one of the most remarkable achievements of the Indus Valley people was their sophisticated city planning. The cities of the early Mesopotamians were a jumble of buildings connected by a maze of winding streets.
And in contrast, the people of the Indus laid out their cities on a precise grid system. Cities featured a fortified area called a citadel, which contained the major buildings of the city. Buildings were constructed of oven-baked bricks cut in standard sizes unlike the simpler, irregular, sun-dried mud bricks of the Mesopotamians.
The discovery of Indus Valley Civilization happened while manufacturing railways line to connect the cities of Karachi and Lahore. Two brothers, John and William Brunton, were constructing that project and they searched for the ancient town as they needed stones for the line quarry.
They weren’t aware of being in front of a great discovery. And, when John Brunton visited the ruins, for the first time, he said that: “here is the grand quarry for the ballast I want. This had as a result of caring away the city walls for the needs of the railway constructions.” All that happened in 1856, however, the excavations started in 1920. And the most important discoveries were made in 1999.
They discovered ceramics with the first samples of writing. That fact brought up the dispute of the theory that discovery of writing belonged to the Mesopotamians or the Egyptians.
Interestingly, the phrase “early civilisations” usually conjures up the images of Egypt and Mesopotamia and its pyramids, mummies and golden tombs. But in the 1920s, a huge discovery in South Asia proved that Egypt and Mesopotamia were not the only “early civilisations.” In the vast Indus River plains (located in what is today Pakistan and western India) archaeologists discovered the remains of a 4,600 year-old city. A thriving, urban civilisation had existed at the same time as Egyptian and Mesopotamian states – in an area twice each of their sizes.
The people of this Indus Valley civilization did not build massive monuments like their contemporaries nor did they bury riches among their dead in golden tombs. There were no mummies, no emperors, and no violent wars or bloody battles in their territory.
Remarkably, lack of all these things makes the Indus Valley civilisation exciting and unique. While others’ civilisations were devoting huge amount of time and resources to the rich, the supernatural, and the dead, Indus Valley inhabitants were taking a practical approach to support the common and secular living people. Sure, they believed in an afterlife and employed a system of social divisions. But they also believed resources were more valuable in circulation among the living than on display or buried underground.
Although the importance of Indus Valley civilisation and the very important findings can not be denied, the historian are of the view that they could not know anything more about this civilization and they may never find out what the scripts are written about or any findings that have graphic elements. The reason is because this language does not exist anymore and it cannot be deciphered. Unfortunately, for the historians, the scholars and generally for all of us, this leads to acknowledgment of an important civilization which was the basis for several features of the current lifestyle.
After independence in 1947, the major portion of ancient civilization came within the control of Sindh and the site’s maintenance, further archaeological works and research works went to the federal government. That remained completely ignored since the independence.
However, a couple of years back, the Sindh government announced to initiate digging work at Moen-jo-Daro to ascertain the remaining 90 percent of the historic assets buried under the earth. Such claims were time and again made when the federal government was controlling the site with allegedly no due attention.
And, when the site was transferred to the Sindh government in the tenure of PPP-led government, the historic site received a step-motherly attitude and it remained ignored as was in the past since independence, the official in the culture department said, adding a modern carbon and scientific laboratory was also to be set up for carrying out research work on ancient artifacts and preserve its centuries-old history. Moreover, the provincial government will also seek expertise of foreign archaeologists to ascertain the facts of historic objects present there.
It was believed that research work on the artifacts would open new chapters of history, as only 10 percent of the centuries-old history had so far been discovered, however, the discovery of the remaining 90 percent would now take place, the sources added.
In the recent past, a team of archaeologists, working on a drain to flush out rainwater from the DK-G area of an explored part of Moen-jo-Daro found some ancient artifacts and cultural objects. The team dug up just a meter down the level of surface of the old structures in the DK-G area and found the material of cultural value. Prior to this digging, no object had been found at any site of the Indus Valley Civilization, they said.
An amount of Rs 50 million had been released for the rehabilitation work at Moen-Jo-Daro and other ancient sites in the province which was not enough, the sources said, adding the ancient sites in Sindh province should be given due attention so that their importance could be maintained.
Only 10 percent ancient objects have been explored yet and there is a dire need to ascertain the remaining 90 percent of the assets buried under the earth, they said. The last excavation of the site was done between 1927 and 1931 by EJH Mackay, special officer for excavation of the Archaeological Survey of India, they further commented, adding since then no excavation in this portion had been done.


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