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4 February 2007
Ancient Pakistani site vanishing bit by bit

The ravages of time, common lack of interest in preserving history plus traditional indifference of government bureaucracy have all but ensured that the 4,000-year-old ruins of Jhukarjodaro, 8km away from the city Larkana (Pakistan), remain no more but ruins.
     The main stupa has been left perforated and worn out by visitors’ frequently touching and climbing up and down in the absence of any effective check by the authorities concerned on their movements. The twin menace of waterloggedness and salinity, too, has wrecked havoc on the stupa and the hitherto unearthed mounds around it spread over 40 acres.
     Many parts of the site had been encroached upon over time due to sheer negligence of the Archaeological Department, which had not even bothered to post a site attendant there to guide visitors around. Uncontrolled cultivation of paddy, too, has contributed to the destruction of ruins by raising water table level which has in turn resulted in salt collection over the remains.
     The site is divided into two mounds 300 feet at a distance from each other. The bigger mound is 63 feet high while the smaller one is 17 feet high. "What makes Jhukarjodaro more peculiar is the fact that it spans both the pre-historic and historic period," says Manzoor Kohyar, a well known anthropologist. This outstanding feature had given Jhukarjodaro an edge over Mohenjodaro, which was only a pre-historic site, he said.
     N. G. Mujmdar in 1928 was the first to excavate Jhukarjodaro. The findings of his excavation were reported in 1931. The excavation by Mujmdar had revealed that the mound had three strata superimposed one upon another in different periods of the history. "The first two lower layers of the mound referred to pre-historic period while the upper layer indicated historic period," said Prof. Mukhtar Samo, director of Knowledge Centre. He expressed serious concern over the site’s condition and feared it might disappear over time if the department concerned did not take any concrete steps to preserve it. He said that the department should at least install barbered wires around the site to stop people’s entry and protect the stupa and other remains so far uncovered.
     The site received attention again in 1972 when Dr. Rafique Mughal, former director general of Archaeology Department, made some excavation work on the Juhkarjodaro but the report on his findings never saw the light of the day.

Source: Dawn (30 January 2007)

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