Sav­ing Pak­istan’s lost city of Mo­henjo Daro

New Straits Times - - World -

IS­LAM­ABAD: The cen­tre of a pow­er­ful an­cient civil­i­sa­tion, Mo­henjo Daro was one of the world’s ear­li­est cities.

Ar­chae­ol­o­gists be­lieve the ru­ins could un­lock the se­crets of the In­dus Val­ley peo­ple, who flour­ished around 3,000 BC be­fore mys­te­ri­ously dis­ap­pear­ing.

But they warn, if noth­ing is done to pro­tect the ru­ins, it will fade to dust and ob­scu­rity.

“Ev­ery­body knows Egypt, no­body knows Mo­henjo Daro, this has to be changed,” says Dr Michael Jansen, a Ger­man re­searcher work­ing at the sun­baked site.

In summer, tem­per­a­tures can soar above 46°C.

“There is enor­mous ther­mostress,” said Jansen.There re­mains the threat of de­struc­tion by an Is­lamist group.

Most hor­ri­fy­ing, how­ever, is the wan­ton dis­re­gard for Mo­henjo Daro by or­di­nary ci­ti­zens.

In 2014, po­lice stood atop the main stupa as hun­dreds of peo­ple swarmed the site to, iron­i­cally, com­mem­o­rate Pak­istan’s cul­tural her­itage, com­plete with scaf­fold­ing, danc­ing, fire­works, heavy spot­lights and lasers.

Sar­dar Ali Shah, cul­tural min­is­ter in Sindh prov­ince, vowed never to let such a thing hap­pen again.

Yet to­day, vis­i­tors roam the re­mains with im­punity, leav­ing rub­bish in the once pris­tine-streets and wells.

Jansen and his Friends of Mo­henjo Daro so­ci­ety aim to pro­mote the site in­ter­na­tion­ally, with plans to re­cruit Pak­ista­nis around the world for con­fer­ences, sem­i­nars and de­bates.

Dr Kaleem Lashari, chief con­sul­tant to the Pak­istani govern­ment over Mo­henjo Daro, said they would also dig­i­tally ar­chive the In­dus script, which has never been deciphered, in hopes that mak­ing it ac­ces­si­ble will in­crease the site’s pro­file.

At the site, he said, tech­ni­cal re­views were be­ing held to ex­am­ine wa­ter log­ging and other ways to shore up the ru­ins, while ex­plor­ing mod­ern tech­nol­ogy that al­lowed re­searchers to de­ter­mine what lies be­neath the sur­face in the por­tions of the city not yet ex­ca­vated. AFP

AFP PIC

Vis­i­tors walk­ing through Mo­henjo Daro some 425km north of the Pak­istani city of Karachi.

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