Saving ruins of a lost city, Mohen jo Daro

MOHEN JO DARO: Ruins of the metropolis that existed around 3000 BC, boasting toilets and a water waste system, Mohen jo Daro, could fade to dust and obscurity if nothing is done to protect them, archaeologists have warned.

“Everybody knows Egypt, nobody knows Mohen jo Daro, this has to be changed,” says Dr Michael Jansen, a German researcher working at the sun-baked site on the banks of the Indus River in Sindh.

Jansen is at the forefront of a new effort to promote the site internationally while finding ways to protect what is left of the settlement that was once the centre of a powerful ancient civilisation.

In summer temperatures can soar above 46 degrees Celsius (115 Fahrenheit). “There is enormous thermo-stress,” says Jansen, adding that salt from the underground water table is also damaging the ruins.

But it is more than just the weather and time. Pakistan´s bloody fight against militancy has also raised the spectre of destruction by an Islamist group, much like Daesh destroyed the ruins in Syria´s Palmyra.

Most horrifying, however, is the wanton disregard for Mohen jo Daro — a Sindhi language phrase that means mound of the dead — by the 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.

Sindh Minister for Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Sardar Ali Shah had vowed never to let such a thing happen again.

“It´s like you are jumping on the bed of a 5,000-year-old ailing patient,” he tells.

Yet today curious visitors still roam the remains with impunity, many 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 Mohen jo Daro, says they will also digitally archive the Indus script — which has never been deciphered — in hopes that making it accessible will increase the site´s profile.

Similar Posts