Historian differs with contemporaries over ancient Makli fort

Published July 18, 2020
A SEVERED portion of the fort’s rampart unearthed in Makli recently.—Dawn
A SEVERED portion of the fort’s rampart unearthed in Makli recently.—Dawn

DADU: Thatta scholars and historians’ claim about stumbling upon remains of hitherto undiscovered Doolah Darya Khan fort in Makli has generated an academic controversy as archaeologist and historian Prof Dr Aziz Kingrani has disputed the claim and termed it a mere hypothesis.

The fort’s remains appeared ‘accidentally’ when some truckers were busy digging up a foothill for gravel used as construction material in the first week of July. Later, eminent historian Prof Dr Mohammad Ali Manjhi and his team visited the site and confirmed it to be the fort of Darya Khan, the great general of Samma dynasty (1350-1520).

Dr Manjhi and his colleagues’ claim could not be corroborated by any historical evidence nor any archaeological findings had proved beyond doubt that the fort belonged to Samma dynasty and the edifice was indeed constructed by Darya Khan who was commander in chief of Jam Nizamuddin-II Samma, famous by his alias Jam Nindo, said Dr Kingrani, author of 15 books, while talking to Dawn on Friday.

According to their point of view the fort was built by Darya Khan somewhere between 1461-1509 when Jam Nindo was alive, which led to a vital question that how a general could build a fort independently of his ruler. “Only a king can order building of such a huge edifice. Without the ruler’s orders a commander cannot build a fort,” he said.

Dr Kingrani said that undoubtedly Darya Khan was a great warrior and a valiant general of Jam Nindo but he was certainly not all in all. “There is no historical account proving that Darya Khan or even Jam Nindo himself had built a fort in Makli,” he stressed.

Historically, he said, they could not prove that either Jam Nindo or Darya Khan had built any fort at Makli. “There is a possibility that it might have been built by Jam Nindo during his monarchy. Possibly, Darya Khan had overseen its construction according to the instructions and support of the incumbent ruler. We should not bypass the ruler,” he added.

Furthermore, the claim had no academic basis and it was shrouded in doubts because Sindh’s history revealed that Darya Khan came to Jam Nindo when he was in his teens around 1500 AD while Thatta researchers put period of the fort’s construction between 1350-1520 which covered the entire tenure of Samma dynasty rule in Sindh, he said.

He said that it caused another question to arise which cast doubts on the claim. “Was Darya Khan commander during the entire period of Samma rule? Answers should first be sought for who had originally built the fort and when,” he said.

Dr Kingrani said that the accurate period of the fort’s construction could be determined with the help of carbon dating test. All archaeologists of Sindh and Pakistan should work together and pool their expertise to help determine the period of the fort that had appeared in Makli, he proposed.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2020

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