LARKANA: Renowned archaeologist, historian and researcher Syed Hakim Ali Shah Bukhari died on Thursday (May 13) at the age of 83. He has left three sons and two daughters.

Born on Feb 15, 1938 in Ghulam Chandio village of Dadu district, Bukhari got his basic education within the district and higher education from the University of Sindh. He then studied in the Peshawar University for post-graduation in archaeology in 1968.

In 1957, he had served as a clerk in the revenue department and as a high school teacher at Johi town in 1964. Four years later, he was appointed a gallery assistant in the archaeology department and posted at Moenjodaro. He retired on Feb 14, 1998 after serving the department for 29 years in different positions.

Hakim Bukhari conducted extensive research in this field visited Italy, Japan and United Kingdom where he received training in archaeology. Under his supervision, excavation was carried out at various archaeological sites in Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP (now KP). The sites included Andan in KP (1967-68), Pirak in Balochistan (1969-70) and Jhukar Jo Daro in Sindh (1973).

The late archaeologist authored, co-authored and translated some valuable books like the Kalhora period architecture, Sindh Archives, Khirthar (co-authored), Sindh jey qadeem aasaran jee dictionary and Aap beeti jag beeti (in Sindhi). Hakim Bukhari had deep interest in and knowledge of music also. He wrote Sangeet Sansar and Farhang-i-moseeqi in Sindhi language.

Throughout his professional career, he kept serving or leading literary, educational, social and cultural organisations, He headed the Shahbaz Educational Society, Dadu Arts Club, Ustad Bukhari Academy (named after his brother and renowned progressing poet Syed Ahmed Shah Bukhari).

Hakim Bukhari also served as a member of the Sindhi Language Authority’s board of directors, member of the board of governors of the Bilawal Historical Research Institute, Nawabshah, and a member of the Translation and Publications Section of the University of Sindh. He was the co-compiler of Advanced Learners Dictionary (English-Sindhi) of Oxford University Press.

From 1992 to 1997, Hakim Bukhari remained as director of the Moenjodaro Conservation Cell in the UNDP project. During his tenure a new technology ‘geo-textile’ was brought in from England to apply on structures to preserve them. An expert in ‘geo-textile’ Mr Huge from England worked with this cell at Moenjodaro.

Ali Haidar Gadhi (conservator) currently working at Umerkot had extensively travelled and worked with Hakim Bukhari. He said: “Bukhari was not only a best scholar of archaeology but also the nicest human being I have ever come across. He was also one of those rare people who had excellent knowledge of science, literature, psychology, history, sociology, politics, architecture and music, said Mr Gadhi.

Meeral Abro, a supervisor in the Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh, initially worked with Hakim Bukhari when the latter headed the Moenjodaro Conservation Cell (MCC). He said Hakim Bukhari was an archaeologist who had not only loved but “owned” the Indus civilisation. He quoted world-renowned archaeologist, historian and linguist Prof Ahmed Hassan Dani, as proudly describing Bukhari as a brilliant student.

Mr Abro said Bukhari had deep love for Sindh’s relics and he travelled every nook and corner of Sindh to maximally preserve archaeological sites. “He wanted to conserve Moenjodaro brick by brick”, he added.

Ramesh M. Parwani, an engineer who accompanied Hakim in a visit to Tharparkar in 1994 said: “Right from Umerkot to Nagarparkar, after crossing big roaring nullahs amidst extensive rain, and on return through Naukot and Mithi, we experienced and learnt a lot from his company. He always emphasised on meeting elderly people in such areas to know about the history. According to Mr Bukhari, history travels from chest to chest. Once these links are missed, the history will vanish”.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2021

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