Sindh cradle of Indus civilization in prehistoric times

KARACHI: PPP leader and Sindh Minister for Works and Communication, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani has urged upon the civil society to follow the path of brotherhood, religious harmony and tolerance preached by Sindh through ancient days for restoring peace and tranquillity in the country as well as region.

“Religious harmony and tolerance are social assets and identity of Sindh. We should strictly hold it to defeat terrorism and bring peace in our society”, he said in his presidential address at first technical session titled ‘The Cradle of Civilization’ at second international conference on ‘Sindh through the Centuries’ organized by Sindh Madressatul Islam University at local hotel on Monday.

He said that the Sindh had been a country and not a province in the history having its own identity and prominent culture. Traditionally, he added, Sindhi people were peaceful in the region, but also the warriors at the same time. He hoped that research papers being read at the seminar will be preserved in shape of books, saying that knowledge about history plays vital role in development of nations.

Earlier, US scholar, Jonathan Mark Kenoyer has said that Indus technologies such as metallurgy, ceramics, ornaments, textiles and writing provided a unique window into the socio-economic, ideological and political organization of the early Indus cities during the Harappa Phase of the Indus Tradition.

Kenoyer, who is Professor at Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison ,said that study of seals and artefacts from the major sites of Harappa and Moenjodaro, and Lakhanjodaro, Pakistan and Dholavira and other sites in Gujarat, India provide a new understanding of the complex nature of internal trade between the major regions of Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Gujarat. He also highlighted new research on sourcing of materials and tracing the movement of raw materials and finished goods within the Indus civilization.

He also looked at major discoveries in adjacent regions that show the extent of trade in goods produced within the Indus Valley and the possible movement of Indus traders and craftsmen to adjacent regions. The areas with the most concrete evidence for Indus trade include Oman and the Gulf, Greater Mesopotamia (Iraq and Iran) and Central Asia. The paper will also emphasize the important links between the Indus Tradition and historical period cultures that continue to inhabit the same regions, with a special emphasis on Sindh.

In his research paper, “Between the River and the Desert: The significance of Sindh over millions years of incredible human history, Atsushi Noguchi, researcher at Archaeological Investigation Unit, of Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan, said Sindh was the cradle of the Indus civilization in prehistoric times as well as the melting pot of various cultures and ethnic groups.

“Sindh keeps its unique position through more than 1.5 million years of incredible human history. Handaxes and cleavers, the oldest form of stone tools, found in the Rohri Hills could be clues of Afro-Asian connection 1.5 million years ago. This shows us the route of the earliest migration of hominids out of Africa into Eurasia”, he stated.

Noguchi said another stone tool component from Veesar Valley in the Thar Desert, where our Pakistan-Japan Archaeological Mission is now running a joint research project, has big potential in revealing the history of encounter with and replacement of Archaic Homo by Homo sapiens.

According to him after the Pleistocene Ice Age human beings developed three different types of subsistence economy. In the Thar Desert, new micro-blade technology appeared around the saline Duhbi Lakes at the western fringe of the desert. He maintained that in n Middle Eastern cases, hunter-gatherers with micro-blade technology intensified interaction with herds, learnt controlling and maintaining them, and finally achieved to be the first herders. This probably happened in the Thar Desert in same way.

He said that according to the recent studies, the origin of human adaptation to coastal environment probably appeared in South Africa 100,000 to 70,000 years ago and spread to the Mediterranean region during the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Age. Thus there is the possibility of discovering older evidence of coastal adaptation along the coast of Makran to Karachi.

In his research paper on ‘Indus Valley Heritage Dholavira’, Dr. Jetho Lalwani, a retired professor from India said that in the third decade of 20th century, while digging of Moenjo Daro, the discovery of ancient and cultivated civilization of Sindhu Valley motivated the scholars to write a new history of human civilization of the world. The major sites discovered so far are Harappa, Moenjo Daro, Ganeriwala, Rakhigarhi, Kalibangan, Rupnagar, Lothal and Dholavira.

After partition the places where digging has been done are Gujrart’s Lothal and Dholvira which are of great importance. During this digging it was found that the towns had been populated in the rectangle are of nearly 48 hectares divided into three parts, this town is the best example of structure. In this town in addition to Rajmahal, the houses too were constructed with planning. Like in Moenjo Daro high ways, streets, magnificent houses, pakka wells, ponds and drainage facilities in each house etc are seen.

Dr Nilofer Shaikh, former Vice Chancellor, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, presented her paper ‘Sindh: The Millenniums Unravelled’. Her paper focused on unveiling of the earliest levels of prehistory in the above region followed by the settled village cultures, the magnificent Indus Civilization and it’s fading away in the early 2nd millennium BCE. According to her, the millennium that followed evanesce of the Indus civilization, is still shrouded in mystery.

Mohammad Rafique Mughal, Professor at Department of Archaeology at Boston University, Massachusetts, USA, presented an overview on ‘Archaeological Heritage of Sindh from Prehistory to the Islamic times’. He highlighted significant aspects of archaeology of Sindh as revealed through excavations and intensive surveys, especially in the post-colonial period since 1947.

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