Located 15 km east of Daulatpur town in Nawabshah district is the historical necropolis named after Mian Noor Muhammad who ruled Sindh for over 35 years (1719-1753). The Kalhora dynasty (1681-1783) produced four powerful rulers namely, Mian Nasir Muhammad, Mian Yar Muhammad, Mian Noor Muhammad and Mian Ghulam Shah.
In 1767, the Afghan monarch Ahmed Shah Abdali gave the regions of Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan to Mian Ghulam Shah who succeeded by his son Mian Sarfraz and crushed the local rebellion in the region. Mian Ghulam Shah attacked the Kutch twice in 1762 and 1764 and captured the regions of Basta Bander and Kot Lakhpat which was later returned to Rao of Kutch.
Mian Ghulam Shah’s father Mian Noor Muhammad was a wise ruler. He had canals dug all over Sindh to irrigate the barren land. Many tribes came from Punjab and Balochistan to serve him and in return they were bestowed with jagirs. He built many tombs and mosques in Sindh while arts and crafts also flourished during his reign.
Although several tombs of the Kalhora period are crumbling brick by brick, the most prominent tomb in the graveyard is that of Mian Noor Muhammad Kalhoro. Conservationists and nature have together played havoc with this impressive tomb. The disintegrating portions of his tomb have been whitewashed for urgent renovation thus damaging the original beauty of the structure. Further damage done to the tomb is the use of undressed stone which does not match with the original dressed stone.
The mosque, a three-domed structure near the main entrance of the tomb also lies in a deplorable condition. All the domes have caved in and the bricks have fallen thus exposing the mud which was once hidden beneath the bricks.
The tomb of Rajo Leikhi, a minister of Mian Noor Muhammad also lies in a crumbling condition. The dome of the tomb caved in two decades ago thus exposing the murals to sunlight and rain. Paying more attention to surveys and conferences than actual conservation of these structures, the concerned authorities have not yet restored it.
The torrential rain that lashed the districts of Nawabshah, Sanghar and Badin last year damaged many historical structures in these districts. Many domes in the graveyard of Mian Noor Muhammad collapsed while others caved in. The domes of Mian Fazal Ali Kalhoro and Mian Khudadad Khan Kalhoro’s tombs have also collapsed thus damaging the graves inside. The rubble of both the tombs still lies inside the damaged structures and no conservation plan is in order yet.
A portion of the southern wall of the courtyard of the graveyard of Mian Noor Muhammad also collapsed in the rain. This wall needs immediate restoration because the six tombs inside the wall enclosure of Mian Noor Muhammad Kalhoro are open to vandals. Recently, the octagonal tomb of Qaim Khan Korai, a minister of Mian Noor Muhammad has also been vandalised on the eastern side. Originally the tomb having no archway was closed from all sides.
The tomb of Mian Gulan, the wife of Mian Noor Muhammad lies to the west of the tomb of Mian Noor Muhammad. The dome of the tomb built on a rectangular plan is partially collapsed. It has beautiful floral and geometric designs which have lost past glory due to erosion.
The tombs of Adho Khan and Budho Khan are also falling to pieces with cracks developing in the domes. Rainwater seepage has damaged the murals. Likewise, the tomb of Atta Taib who was a physician of Mian Noor Muhammad and the tomb of Shahdad who was a noble in the court of Mian Noor Muhammad also lies in a dilapidated condition.
The concerned authorities should immediately reconstruct the collapsed wall of Mian Noor Muhammad Kalhoro’s mausoleum before the remaining portion of wall caves in and the debris should be cleared. All the collapsed domes should be restored and serious steps should be taken to stop vandalism.
The writer is a research anthropologist