APROPOS the report ‘Haryana that promises to challenge our ancient history’ ((May 5), a group of Indian archaeologists are assuming that the Indus Valley people came from India.

Using the DNA test to be extracted from the four full-sized skeletons excavated from Rakhigarhi sight in Haryana and software developed in South Korea, the Indian archaeologists hope to project how the Harappan looked like 4500 years ago — their build, skin colour or their facial features.

This is to belittle Moenjodaro’s position as the principal Harappan sight, surpassing all other sights in the subcontinent.

After Independence, Indian scholars tried to discover a bronze age site which could pre-date Moenjodaro. They failed and came floated a theory that the Indus Civilisation is an off-shoot of the Vedic age.

Now discovering some bronze age sites, they are claiming that the epicentre of the Indus Civilisation lies in India. This is an age of publicity and propaganda. We know they have disputed the construction of Qutub Minar. . According to them, instead of Qutubuddin Aibak, the minar construction was started by a Hindu Raja, Prithvi Raj. The ownership of Babri Masjid at Ayyodha was disputed and it was demolished by Hindu fanatics. Indian scholars have blamed the Mughals for the construction of Taj Mahal at Agra, by demolishing the Shiv temple there.

On our part, we have failed to properly interpret the data so far recovered from Mehargarh, Rahman Dheri, Jalilpur, Serai Khola, Kot Diji sights, etc. As compared to what is known about other riverine civilisations, our knowledge of the people who built Moenjodaro and that of their history, manners, beliefs and ways of life is incomplete and theoretical. Their pictographic script found on seals and bronze tablets still baffles interpretation. Even the reasons why the Indus Civilisation ended and its cities fell into ruins are a matter of conjecture.

After the 18th Amendment the Federal Department of Archaeology has been decentralised. Whatever research work was being carried out by the Federal Department of Archaeology has now come to a standstill.

The explorations and excavations of ancient sites are being exclusively carried out by foreigners, who interpret the data collected during the field work according to their preconceived ideas.

It is time our scholars woke up to the situation and started studying this great civilisation in right earnest. Meanwhile, the Sindh government should set up a national institute either at Khairpur University or Sindh University, which should concentrate on multi-dimensional studies of the Indus Civilisation.

Besides, the centre should establish a ‘Department of Archaeological Survey of Pakistan’. This department may not only conduct researches into various aspects of archaeology, but also control the working of foreign archaeological missions in the country.

Shaikh Khurshid Hasan

Former Director of Archaeology

Karachi

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2015

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