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The Talpur tombs

August 27, 2011

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A REPORT from Hyderabad stating that the city's Endowment Fund Trust has undertaken to restore the tomb of Mir Karam Ali Khan Talpur (d. 1828) is heartening. Part of a declared national heritage complex in Hyderabad's Hirabad district, the Talpur rulers' (1784-1843) tombs have for years been a much-neglected site. Despite being protected under the law, the historical graveyard complex was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair and neglect, with heaps of garbage dumped there. Plans are now afoot to restore to the complex its due sanctity, which is only befitting to the memory of the late rulers who were known for their love and patronage of the arts and artists. Mir Karam Ali himself was a poet, and the Diwan-i-Karam , a collection of his poetry in Persian, won him considerable recognition in Iran, with reprints appearing to this day. The Talpurs were dethroned with the British annexation of Sindh under Charles Napier, and thus came to an end an era marked by their cultural refinement.

Now that the provinces have become the official custodians of the historical monuments and sites located within their respective boundaries, with practically no federal oversight, conservation of such heritage sites should get the deserved priority. Many sites of historical significance lie in a state of decay, especially in the northern Sindh and southern Punjab districts, and those in Khairpur and Uch, respectively, readily come to mind. The logical means to conserve such structures is through further devolution of provincial powers and resources to the district level. The provincial government can play its role at the umbrella level by creating awareness amongst students and the public by arranging heritage moots and through textbooks. Unless the people know and own their cultural and historical heritage, they will remain oblivious to the respect such sites deserve.