RANI KOT (Jamshoro), Nov 30: Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim on Thursday formed a committee of historians and experts to explore the history of Sindh and obtain related material from the country and abroad.
The committee, to be headed by Senior Minister Syed Sardar Ahmed, will launch work on indigenous history along with other experts and will provide required funds.
The chief minister said that no new construction should be built within the fort and called for completion of two under construction bridges and road leading to Rani Kot within six months.
Speaking as chief guest at the “National Seminar on Rani Kot” at Miri Kot, 90 kilometres away from here, he expressed displeasure over the quality of renovation of the fort on the ground that its originality had been destroyed.
The seminar was attended by people from a cross section of life, including consul generals, diplomats, ministers, advisers, MPAs and government functionaries.
Dr Rahim directed transparent use of Rs19 million funds meant for renovation of the fort.
He said that it was just a beginning to preserve our historical sites and Rani Kot had huge tourism potential.
“It is quite disappointing that we are unaware of our own history”, he remarked as he also gave credit to founder of Jeay Sindh Tehrik, G. M. Syed, for highlighting Rani Kot in his writing.
He said that the renovation should be done as per the original architecture.
“Plainly speaking I am also unaware of historical facts and for that reason I am not delivering a written speech. Even those who are writing on history differ on Rani Kot, how could I lay my claim on history”, said the chief minister.
He said that there must be some purpose behind building such a huge structure of the fort which must have incurred huge expenditures along with manpower.
“What a misfortune that we found Chachnama's translation in Punjab university”, he said.
He said that historical sites like Hyderabad’s Pucca Qilla, Naukot, Kot Diji fort and that of Umerkot were facing destruction as well.
He said that the Sindh government wanted to develop hill station of Gorakh along with Rani Kot for tourism as it would lead to employment opportunities for local people.
“The history of India revolves around Rajasthan and every foreigner including President Bush was taken to those sites”, he said while expressing his desire to explore such sites in Sindh also.
He said that he would also give funds to anyone who came forward with authentic history of the province.
He said that he had noticed in his aerial view that half of the fort’s wall had already caved in.
He said that he wanted to organise an international seminar in presence of President General Pervez Musharraf.
He proposed construction of another road from Kirchat to connect the fort.
He asked the chief engineer highway to construct both the bridges within six months.
Other speakers called for preservation, protection and projection of historical Rani Kot.
They said that the fort had been a victim of inattention although the fact that it was one of the great architectural sites in Sindh.
They said that the government was also required to pay attention to history of Sindh and also resolve the mystery shrouding the construction of Rani Kot which had huge potential for tourism.
Appreciating Sindh chief minister's initiative of organising a seminar to highlight history of Rani Kot, noted historian Prof Mubarak Ali Khan called for reading and writing history from a different angle in which the invaders should not be acclaimed as “great”.
He said that archaeological sites do have their own significance and referred to discovery of Moenjodaro, reflecting great civilization of the region which played a dominant role in independence movement of the subcontinent because until its discovery people of this part of the world were not considered literate or civilised.
He said that such sites needed to be studied in depth because it involved capabilities and expertise of people of that era as well as the resources available at that time.
He deplored the fort’s repair and renovation which was done in a conventional way with cement work, destroying its actual architecture.
“Such sites are never renovated in such a cavalier fashion by just white-washing it. The fort has just been modernised”, he said.
Prof (Dr) Taj Ali of the University of Peshawar also regretted that people of the country did not know about Rani Kot and they were not even aware of Thatta which is also a significant site of the country.
Paying tribute to Kaleem Lashari and Badar Abro for documenting the fort in “Dewar-i-Sindh--Ranikot”, he said that origin of the Rani Kot was shrouded in mystery and people were eager to know about its origin and history.
“Very scant information is available about occupation of the site during early historic period. Post-Indus period is little known in Pakistan’s cultural heritage. A beginning has been made and some limited work has been carried out in various areas”, he said as he called for intensive work at the site to clear historical picture.
He said that immediate steps were necessary for its preservation and conservation under supervision of an expert committee.
He said that infrastructural facilities would boost tourism and publication of brochures would help disseminate knowledge and project the fort.
Historian M. H. Panwhar underscored need for getting proof regarding fort’s origin to invite to seek attention of UNICEF and other organisations and added that the fort had never been occupied by whosever built it.
He said that catchments area of a stream passing through was said to be around 13,000 acres and if five inches of rainfall was reported in one day its discharge matches Nara and Rohri canals put together which was around 25,000 cusecs.
He said that fort seemed to be built during the days of bow and arrow weaponry but later on changes were made in its structure.
Senior Minister Syed Sardar Ahmed rejected theory that it was not built by Talpurs and quoted an article from noted historian Dr N. A. Baloch. “We should be serious about our history and its our misfortune we avoid giving credit to our own people. It is 100 per cent correct that it was built by Talpurs in 1815 by Mir Karam Ali Talpur and Mir Murad Ali Talpur”, the minister said.
Sindh Culture and Tourism Minister Rauf Siddiqui, the chairman of the organising committee, Madad Ali Sindhi, Jamshoro DCO Dr Khawar Jamil and Sindh communication and works secretary Faisal Saud also spoke on the occasion.