Lakhyun-jo-Daro, the 5000 year old industrial area settlement of Indus period, is now a modern day industrial site
By Yasir Babbar
Lakhyun-jo-Daro, a repository of nearly five thousand years of history, is a classic example of governmental neglect: The Archaeology Department has ignored it; the authorities of archaeology department of Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU) Khairpur have not properly documented the rich history of this ancient site; the announcement of a museum at the site made by ex-Chief Minister Sindh Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim in 2006 has not been fulfilled either.
Indus, being one of the most enigmatic civilizations, was a herald of numerous developments in human culture. This was a period of aggregation and establishment of metropolitan centres with pervasive interaction networks through which many commodities moved around and consequently arrived in far-flung corners of the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra valley. According to research, 1500 Indus period settlements existed and still many more await the spade and Lakhyun-jo-Daro is one of them. It is located in the Northwestern part of modern city of Sukkur. Advocate Shabir Hussain Khoso, a resident of Khosa, a village near the site, in a private excavation discovered certain articles of archaeological worth and showed them to the archaeology department. He also wrote an article about this site which was published in a local Sindhi magazine about 40 years ago.
The site of Lakhyun-jo-Daro is situated near a village and graveyard named Lakha. The area is in the middle of the city in between the industries; the plots for which were allotted in 1970s. Unfortunately the archaeologists did not survey the area at that time. Now this area is under Sindh Industrial Trade Estate (SITE) Department and is called the industrial area of Sukkur.
In 1981 Maalik Khoso, a student of Archaeology Department, SALU Khairpur had brought some potsherds (pieces of pots) to M. Mukhtiar Kazi, the Chairman of the Department of Archaeology SALU at that time. In 1988 the first archaeological work was carried out jointly with Federal Department of Archaeology and Archaeology Department SALU Khairpur. The first research paper was published by M. Mukhtiar Kazi and Qasid Ali Mallah, which drew the attention of archaeologists worldwide to this site. Since then, Lakhyun-jo-Daro became the focus of scholars and archaeologists.
Unfortunately, the area has received scant attention by officials of Archaeology Department SALU Khairpur and Federal Archaeology Department in the last three years. SITE Department allotted an area of 2 acres for the construction of a factory to the president, Sukkur Chamber of Commerce a few months ago but it was cancelled after a huge struggle. SITE Department then allotted another plot to a local political leader for the same purpose which was also cancelled. After the cancellation of these allotments, the authorities of Archaeology Department did not make further efforts to secure this site.
According to the SALU Khairpur, at least five small-scale excavations in 1988, 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2006 were launched at the site. During 1988, a drain about 259 meters long and almost one meter wide and deep, running east and west, was dug for the disposal of sewage water by the modern factory owners. During this process, cultural deposits were seen but were destroyed by the local workers. Nothing was left at the site except the section wall of the trench.
In 1994, the Archeology Department SALU and the provincial Department of Archaeology and Museums jointly planned a small-scale quarry ((extracting stone or slate) and a total of seven trenches were opened at different parts of the mound. Mud and mud-brick structures, artificially raised platforms and burnt brick structures were exposed along with a huge variety of cultural material.
In 1996, eight trenches were opened where residential features like walls, floors, covered drain, single burnt brick line structures, bathing platforms along with a huge assortment of cultural material was discovered. The evidences of a white paste micro-beads manufacturing workshop, copper implements, copper figurines, semi-precious stone beads, polishers, bone tools, weights of terracotta and banded chert seal and a huge number of terracotta artifacts were discovered. The painted pottery of typical Mature Indus wares, in various decoration styles and shapes, was part of the collection.
In 2000, the excavations resumed and only three trenches were partially excavated, where artifacts including terracotta figurines, toy cart frames, cups, and sling balls were discovered. The pottery with several decorative motifs of Mature Indus period (2600-1900 BC) was part of the cultural repertoire.
The inhabitants of this ancient site had a river port on the Indus and were transporting goods through the Indus highway. Materials like copper and industrial objects like jewellery, statues and other goods were exported to Iraq, Bahrain and other countries.
Dr. Michael Jansen, a German archaeologist, agreed with Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Shar, Chairman of Archaeology Department SALU Khairpur that people of Lakhyon-jo-Daro planned and built Mohenjo-Daro. Dr. Michael Jansen has done a lot of work on Mohenjo-Daro who visited the Lakhyun-jo-Daro recently.
Dr. G. Mustafa Shar, while talking to TNS, told that according to research the area of Lakhyun is about 3x4 Kilometres (12 square kilometres) whereas Mohenjo-Daro is 2x5 km (10 sq kms). So Lakhyon is bigger than Mohenjo-Daro. Dr.Shar added that the findings from this site are several seals of copper and steatite, which bear Indus period language, workshops of semi-precious stone like agate, lapis, carnelian, and turquoise. One of the most important antiquities is the measuring scale which decoded and measured the length of time. The next major discovery is the copper figurine or statue. This human figurine is wearing a modern style trouser and a belly belt.
Dr.Shar claimed that now it is going to be reported to UNESCO as an endangered site. Dr. Michael Jansen has promised this in recent visit to Lakhyun-jo-Daro. The 5000 years old precious city, proved to be an industrial area settlement of Indus period, is a site where another industrial area has been built.
Dr Shar condemned the recent illegal allotments made by SITE officials. "Our own people are damaging the culture for the achievement of temporary monetary benefits. If we could save the site, we will have antiquities for hundreds of museums, and the country will attract tourists and earn huge foreign exchange. We are the caretakers of most civilized period of our past and it is our responsibility to transfer it to the coming generation without damaging it. We must save it. There is also an Antiquity Act 1975 present in our constitution. The law must act against those who have no respect for their ancient civilization and history."
Ali Hyder Gadehi, an officer of Archaeology Department, said while talking to TNS: "Our department is working to secure ancient sites including Lakhyun and others in Sindh. But there is a huge shortage of staff as well as lack of funds in our department."
Utopia is not just disillusionment with reality, it is also belief in the potential of mankind to bring about change
By Muhmmad Ali Jan
It is often said that Utopianism is a reflection of disappointment; disenchantment with 'reality' leads to the construction of imaginary lands and systems. It is only when the cruelty and barbarism of the 'real world' dawns upon a human being, does he or she find solace in his or her own 'perfect world'.
Such behaviour is critiqued as being marred by romanticism, Idealism; in short, 'impractical'. The self-proclaimed sages of today tell us that life is 'short, brutal and nasty', echoing Hobbes' declaration four centuries ago, and the only desirable attitude is that of passive acceptance and submission to these harsh realities. As a result, acquiescence to exploitation, injustice and blatant violations of human dignity is considered 'practical' behaviour.
However, as I will go on to show, Utopia is not just disillusionment with reality, it is also belief in the potential of mankind and their capacity to bring about change for the better.
There are several problems with the belief that Utopia is a product of disenchantment with the harsh realities of life, largely stemming from the vision of a better world, something disillusionment can never bring about. A more plausible outcome of disillusionment would be nihilism, which is characterised by a conception of the meaninglessness of the world, in which no change is possible and the only way to survive is an acceptance of the status-quo. If you have not noticed by now, the so-called 'practical approach' that we are taught to follow at every level of society, be it the family, the school or the professional arena, is indistinguishable from the nihilist point of view.
This means that the 'brutal' reality that we are always reminded of by those who believe in its un-changeability, is in fact one part of reality and not reality as a whole. In the real world, wherever there is brutality, there is always struggle for justice, wherever there is individuality and greed, there is always solidarity and altruism, every Mua'wiyah has an Imam Hussein to battle against, Colonial brutality would have to contend with a Bhaghat Singh, and a Castro would always rise against Imperial ambitions.
In short, history has taught us that the notion of the 'brutality' of life is offset by countless instances of heroism, solidarity and struggle by human beings.
This means that Utopia is no escape from reality, but a vision of things to come. It is not disillusionment with truth but a cure of ills of the present based on the achievements of the past. It is in no way unconnected with reality, but is in fact informed by it.
When Robert Owen created the cooperative societies in the Lancashire Mills, he believed that human beings were capable of living in peace and harmony because they had done so in the past. If humans were capable of producing unimaginable amounts of wealth, find the secrets of the universe and recognise rights of each other, they were also capable of sharing the fruits of this wealth jointly with each other. When Leonardo Da Vinci painted a plane, he merely envisioned a time when the forces of nature would be moulded by man to reach the skies.
This is by no means an incorrect thought; it merely shows that the Utopians emphasised more on the 'good' side of humanity, its yearning for freedom and solidarity, rather than its destructive capability. By emphasising the good in humanity, they create visions of a better world and when all one hears of is death and destruction, Utopians help us realize that humans are equally capable of doing exactly the opposite.
The Utopia I envision for the world is also inspired by the courage and sacrifice of all those who struggled for a better world. This Utopia is of a society where the safety of all human beings is guaranteed, where equality is not just in name, i.e. not in legal doctrines, but equal access to resources. An equality not premised on individuals abstracted from the society, rather an equality in which the individual is seen through society and the unique contributions he or she makes to the well-being of all. Where the well-being of one individual does not result in the suppression of many, but where the well-being of one contributed to the well being of all.
A society in which religious bigotry, racism, sexism are not the facts of daily life, but where they are never found. I too believe in these dreams and they are by no means unique to me; these are dreams for which many before us have laid down their lives and the least we can do is to defend their dreams, their Utopias!