Tag Archives: Mohenjo-daro

Movie on Ancient Indus Civilization, Mohenjo Daro | Official Trailer | Hrithik Roshan & Pooja Hegde

UTV Motion Pictures and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions Present Mohenjo Daro starring Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde The film is directed by Ashutosh Gowariker and releases on August 12, 2016.

Courtesy: UTV Motion

 

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Sindhis of Chile

Sindhis and Hindus in Chile

By Saaz Aggarwal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Punta Arenas, Chile, is one of the southern-most cities in the world. There was a time when every ship crossing from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Straits of Magellan or around Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn) halted there.

Navigating giant waves, deadly currents, Antarctic blizzards and icebergs, the journeys took months. Arriving at Punta Arenas, the storm-battered, scurvy-ridden sailors would stumble out of their cramped quarters in relief. The town thrived.

We flew in more than a hundred years after the Panama Canal had changed things for Punta Arenas. At the Hotel Cabo de Hornos, we bumped into someone from our plane who had stayed over to catch his (once-a-week) flight to the Falkland Islands. Paul, from the South Atlantic Research Institute, told us that there was a post office nearby where Robert Scott, the early Antarctic explorer, had posted letters and packets.

These days too, this historic town is a base for Antarctic expeditions. The less adventurous can catch the tourist boat to a nearby island thickly populated by penguins. Punta Arenas, like much of Chile, nestles between wooded slopes on one side and a lavish seafront on the other. Like other Chilean cities, it has well-maintained public spaces that sport sculptures of different types: traditional European, contemporary and aboriginal. Its cemetery is said to be exceptionally beautiful and historic. We saw none of these, however, having come with the specific purpose of meeting the Sindhi families of this town.

I first saw the name Punta Arenas on a map in a book by the French scholar Claude Markovits, The Global World of Indian Merchants – 1750-1947: Traders of Sindh from Bukhara to Panama.

The map marks places around the world which had branches of trading firms headquartered in Hyderabad, Sindh, between 1890 and 1940. I felt surprised and impressed to see that it included about a dozen places in South America. How had Sindhis got so far away from home so long ago?

Invited to meals at the homes of the Sindhi families of Punta Arenas to be told their stories, it felt like I was eleven and invited to Harry Potter’s birthday party.

The first evening, Chile was playing arch-rival Bolivia in the Copa America, and I was learning how, one day in 1907, a Sindhi merchant, Harumal, came ashore. As the fascinating story proceeded, raucous cries rang out and vehicles revved loudly on the streets outside. Chile had won, 5-0.

The account of how Harumal opened his first store; how it got handed over to someone else; what happened during the First World War and then the Second; how Partition affected the Sindhis of Punta Arenas, will form part of Sindhi Tapestry, the ‘companion volume’ to my first book, Sind: Stories from a Vanished Homeland.

So far away from India, and with their home here for more than a hundred years, the Sindhis of Punta Arenas still speak Sindhi and eat Sindhi food. Like other diasporic Sindhis, they have an international network. Three household help I saw in the homes of these Chilean Sindhis were from, respectively, Nigeria, Indonesia and Burma.

The homes were lavish and decorated like those of fabled Oriental potentates, thick with curios and mirrors and objets d’art.

On Sunday morning, we attended satsang in the Hindu temple of Punta Arenas, which occupies prime real estate on the seafront. It was a moving service, conducted in both Sindhi and Spanish.

Like in other Sindhi mandars around the world, many world religions are represented here. It was once an essential characteristic of Sindh that spirituality and the inner life were revered beyond human classification. And then, it became an irony of history that the Hindus of Sind turned out to set such store by their own religion that they were forced into exile from a beloved homeland on account of it.

In 1947, these doughty people lost more than their homeland and their possessions. In their determination to move on and make the best of what they were left with, they lost their past too. In an extreme endorsement of this easily verified fact, someone in Punta Arenas told me, “I really learnt a lot today. I never even knew that Mohenjo Daro was
in Sindh!”

Yet another thing that suffered a blow was the Sindhi brand identity. In new lands, and with the urgency of feeding their families, trading was a way to make a respectable living. Competing as they were with cartels entrenched for decades, and obliged to trade on lower margins to get a foot in the door, they were branded early on as ‘cheats’.

The early resentment in Bombay produced Bollywood caricatures of wealthy and villainous businessmen speaking in thick Sindhi accents, and widespread aphorisms of the “If you meet a Sindhi and a snake, whom should you kill first?”

In 1947, when the Hindus of Sindh dispersed and sought new homes, many settled in Bombay. However, an early foundation had been established for the diaspora by the pioneering Sindhi entrepreneurial community, the Bhaibands, who had their kothis in the Shahibazar locality of Hyderabad, Sindh. As mapped by Markovits, they had branches all over the world, particularly dense in South East Asia and Africa, and even South America. This gave a base to the displaced ones. Families sent their young sons out to these outposts. They worked hard, deprived themselves, sent money home, and (some sooner than others) started their own businesses which, over the years, grew and grew. Often enough, they were displaced yet again by global politics and economics. In the 1950s, events in Vietnam sent them out to Thailand and Laos. In the 1960s, their stronghold in Indonesia loosened and Hong Kong opened up. In the early 1970s, Africa became hostile. The story went on.

It was something that happened in Chile in the mid-1970s that took today’s Sindhi population there. A government leaning to Communism was violently overthrown by the military dictator Augusto Pinochet. The new government began to nurture the Chilean economy with policies formulated by a group of young US-educated economists wryly referred to as the Chicago Boys. One of the initiatives was the Iquique free trade zone. In came the Sindhis.

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Punjab: Did you hear what the Chinese president said?

BY MUSHTAQ SOOFI

Would the prime minister, the cabinet ministers, the members of the National Assembly, the senators and other power wielders pause for a moment and ponder over what the president of the People’s Republic of China said in the beginning of his address to the joint session of Parliament held this week in Islamabad.

He described Pakistan as a country ‘young and ancient’. In the euphoria created by a huge pile of MOUs (which definitely would have economic bearings on our future) no one would care to understand the implied suggestion this apparently simple statement carried. But anyone who knows how Chinese are subtle in the matters of statecraft, politics and diplomacy will not miss how significant is the unsaid in what he said.

We all know we are a young country. The president reminded us that though a young country we have been a product of a brilliant ancient society spanned over thousands of years. What prompted him to iterate that is obvious? Our attitude towards the past and what it offers! Our past and what it offers constitutes ‘ancient’.

It’s precisely this very ‘historical mess’ that we abhor and are scared of, thus exposing an unbridgeable gulf between our being ‘young’ and ‘ancient’. So far we have tried though not successfully to build everything around the fact of our being young in search of ideology driven utopia that has landed us in a grey zone of historical dis-orientation.

With the emergence of Pakistan in 1947 our ruling elite strengthened the faith-based narrative, exclusive and monolithic, which was and is still being touted as a raison deter of the new state. Such an unnatural and a historical thinking caused an almost complete rupture with our long past especially the shared one spread over at least five thousand years.

In our world of make-belief we thought as if we came into being out of thin air of abstraction forgetting that we are what we have been and what we have been belongs to the irretrievable, the past. One can interpret and re-interpret the past but cannot change it.

It does not in way mean that humans are mere prisoners of history. On the one hand they are product of history and on the other they are capable of making history. However it is to be remembered that though ‘men make their own history they do not make it as they please. They do not make it under the circumstances chosen by themselves but under the circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past’. Our elders made history by creating a new state but they did this under the circumstances created by history itself which made the peaceful co-existence of Hindu and Muslim communities a distant dream cherished by many.

The new state while endeavouring to realize a different and secure future for its citizens suffered from a fatal fallacy. That is that the past can be declared an alien territory having no presence in the collective conscious and subconscious of people and hence one can have absolutely clean break with it.

The past, to the dismay of ideologues, is not something completely solid that can be demolished and buried under the debris of intellectual claptrap. What is most tangible about the past is its ever present intangibility as submerged experience at subterranean level that refuses to fade out from the psychic space.

Pakistani state and the elite with a deep sense of insecurity have been trying to build an exclusive national identity based on the denial of the past that we shared and still share with India.

The irony is that what is conceived as Indian and debunked is the cultural and intellectual manifestation of our ancient culture. What is the Indian civilization san Indus valley?

Can you imagine Indian civilization without Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, Rig-Veda (composed by Rishis at the banks of river Ravi), Gandhara and Taxila? Can you write the history the political science ignoring the Chanakya Kautilya’s Arthshastra, the first book on statecraft and art of politics?

Continue reading Punjab: Did you hear what the Chinese president said?

Sindh Festival is a ray of hope: Bilawal Zardari

KARACHI: Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said Sindh Festival is a ray of hope and it will bring Mohenjo Daro and Makli back to life.

In a televised speech on Tuesday, he said that Sindh festival would become an annual event. “We are proud of our old heritage and will protect it,” the young PPP leader said. Patron-in-chief of the PPP was of the view that our civilisation is under threat because of the Taliban. We will fight against terrorism. The PPP’s outspoken leader, who criticises Taliban militants often, said the world would see how deep our roots are. “We will tell the world that we are not as we are presented,” he said. Bilawal claimed that militants want to take everyone back to stone age, but ‘we’ will not bow before the terrorists. “We were civilized five thousand years ago, which they (militants) are far from even today,” said Bilawal. He reiterated “Marsoon marsoon, Sindh na daisun.”

Courtesy: Daily Times
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/22-Jan-2014/sindh-festival-is-a-ray-of-hope-bilawal-zardari

The 4,500-Year-Old City of Mohenjo Daro Is Crumbling, And No One Is Stopping It

Mohenjo Daro likely was, at its time, the greatest city in the world. Roughly 4,500 years ago, as many as 35,000 people lived and worked in the massive city, which occupies 250 acres along Pakistan’s Indus river.

Mohenjo Daro sat beneath the soil for thousands of years, a preserved relic of the ancient Indus Valley civilization. But excavation exposed the city to the elements, and now, says the Telegraph, the ruins may have as little as 20 years left.

[T]he once lost city is in danger of disappearing again as its clay wall houses, grid system roads, great granaries, baths and drainage systems crumble to dust, a victim of government neglect, public indifference and tourists’ fears of terrorism.

Archaeologists have told The Sunday Telegraph that the world’s oldest planned urban landscape is being corroded by salt and could disappear within 20 years without an urgent rescue plan.

Last year, heavy flooding threatened the ruins, but even outside of natural disasters the town is fading fast.

Preservation work has been going on since the first major excavations in 1924 and intensified after it was made a World Heritage Site in 1980, but the effort has flagged as scarce government funds have been diverted by earthquakes and floods, officials said.

They need 350 labourers, as well as masons, supervisors and technical staff, but on the day The Sunday Telegraph visited there were just 16 men wheeling barrows of mud to shore up the walls.

Mysterious Mohenjo-daro, Sindh

Mohenjo-daro meaning Mound of the Dead was one of the largest city settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization which thrived in ancient times along the Indus River. Mohenjo-daro itself is located in Larkano District in the modern day province of Sindh. Built before 2600 BC, the city was one of the earliest urban settlements in the world, existing at the same time as the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Crete. The archaeological remains of the city are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.