Sindh is a wonderful land; a unique green belt of Asia having beautiful geography, fascinating history, colorful anthropology, enchanting ethnography and other luring features that have been compelling people of the world to migrate to this legendary land and make it their last resting place.
Sindhu, the greatest Himalayan river of South Asia flows from its midst; the 150-mile long range of Khirthar mountains stand as its natural boundary on the west; the legendary desert of Thar demarcate its geography along with Rynn of Kutchh in the southeast; the vast alluvial plains are spread far and wide in its length and breadth; Runnikot happens to be the biggest prehistoric stone fort of South Asia resembling with the Great Wall of China; the biggest natural sweet water lake of South Asia – Manchhar besides two other equally big lakes – Hamal and Keenjhar – add to its fascinating beauty; the Delta spread in 5,000 square miles in the tail-end of Indus making river’s confluence with the sea through 17 major creeks spreading in 200 miles of the Sindh coast is also housed in Sindh.
The Karoonjhar Mountain standing upright in Thar Desert explains the antiquity of Sindh in a befitting manner. Karoonjhar is 4.7 billion years old. Its stone-formation is of the pre-Cambrian character belonging to the time immemorial, when bacteria and fungus had not as yet appeared on the surface of earth, whose age is around 5 billion years. The legendary river Indus is said to have started flowing since 20 million years; and the remnants of great Indus Valley Civilization of 3rd millennium B.C. at Mohen Jo Daro testify to the great past of Sindh.
Sindh as a land and its people are well documented by its greatest poet – Bhitai – in his Risalo, which is the masterpiece of literature, the magnum opus of past, present as well as future. Shah Inayat Sufi of Sindh set the tradition of revolution in realm of social justice in the history of Sindh through Jhok Commune established in 1717 A.D., 100 years prior to the birth of Karl Marx (1818), 154 years prior to the Paris Commune (1871), and 200 years prior to the Socialist Revolution brought about by Lenin in Russia in 1917.
So, besides its unique geography and history, Sindh has attained a highly developed civilization through centuries-old process of physical labor and intellectual progress. The contribution of the mountains of Sindh towards evolution of Indus Civilization is fundamental. At the time of the evolution of this civilization, the present plains of Indus in the Punjab and Sindh were under the seawater; so the people inhabited the elevated hills and steep peaks of mountains in the Indus valley.
There is ample archaeological evidence testifying to the fact that the Khirthar range of mountains, stretched far and wide in the west of Sindh, has been the cradle of Indus Civilization. It was here that the evolution of human civilization in this part of the world began, which was identified latter as the great Indus Valley Civilization of the 3rd millennium B.C.
The caves and rock-shelters on the banks of torrential rivers, natural springs, waterfalls and oases happened to be an idle abode of the Stone Age man in Khirthar.
The petroglyphs drawn by the Stone Age man on the banks of Seeta (torrential) River and many other rocks in Khirthar range, the fossils of trees at Karchat and Runnikot, and of the sea life in Khirthar, the petrified bones of some mammoth discovered in 1982 in Laki range of Sindh, and a recent discovery of bones of some large animal (dinosaur?) in Ganjo hills of Hyderabad besides the pre-Cambrian rock formation of the mountain of Karoonjhar in Thar Desert, the Stone Age factories at Rohri hills and the Site 101 in Thatta district indicate to the evolution of human civilization in the mountains of Sindh.
It was in the mountains of Sindh that the Homo sapiens learned to live in the caves, went for hunting with stone implements at a later stage, and started pastoral life by domesticating animals and cultivating crops. Thus, the early man entered the arena of modern civilization.
The art of irrigation and house-building besides other arts and crafts, music and mythology were adopted by the early man on banks of mountainous rivers, springs and other water bodies, where he worshiped Water in the times immemorial.
The mountains of world serve as a major source of water for over half of the world's population, and in South Asia alone, some half a billion people depend on mountains as primary source for their water supply. The mountains of Sindh, and particularly Khirthar, which is the biggest mountainous range of Sindh stretching in 150 miles area from Garhi Khairo in District Jacobabad in the north to Pab mountain of Balochistan in the south through which it ends up in the sea, also serves as one of the main sources of water for ecology and agriculture in the lower part of Sindh.
The Gaaj Nai of Khirthar alone once discharged 800,000 cusecs of water as a result of abundant rains on mountains of Sindh and Balochistan. The torrential rivers such as Khenji, Seeta, Mazarani, Dalan, Naig, Hab etc besides natural springs of Kai, Naig etc as well as waterfalls and underground reserves of rainwater in the mountains of Sindh contribute greatly to fulfill the requirement of fresh sweet water of the province. The rainwater descending from western mountains of Sindh comes directly to the Indus. There is no Punjab in the way to make water cuts or diversions of the irrigational supplies. There is also no dam in the way to restrict supply of this water through storage in its lake; so it flows unrestrictedly into Indus and its tail end in the deltaic region of Sindh thereby flowing also into the sea making the natural cycle of water flow complete. So, the water supplied from mountains is the most beneficial for Sindh. But, for it abundant rains are a prerequisite.
It is, however, an irony that the mountains, which are the source of water supply to the plains of Indus, are longing even for the drinking water for their populace. One of the most crucial problems facing the hilltop people is the supply of potable water. The common folk inhabiting mountains are generally seen busy all the day in collecting potable water from far off springs on donkey back for the household use. The sky-high mountainous peaks, which receive the rainwater first, and drain it down to the lower plains generously, keep on longing earnestly for a drop of water during long spell of drought. They wait for the man to pump the water back to the elevated hills, where human beings and livestock, flora and fauna live on it.
While it has been our official culture to manifest cold indifference to the common folk, pay no heed to the problems and add to the intensifying sense of deprivation in all aspects of life; the sufferings of the people in the mountains of Sindh have been manifold. The tendency of neglecting the people and their problems especially in the mountains of Sindh has attained a level of what is called ‘criminal negligence’, so much so that the people living on mountainous border of Sindh with Balochistan have linked their day today life with the geography of Balochistan.
For example, the people belonging to Chhuta clan inhabiting the highest mountainous peak of Dog’s Grave (Kuttay Ji Qabar), which is 7,200 feet above sea level located on the top of Darhiyaro Mountain voted for a few previous elections at the polling stations of Karakh town that is the sub-divisional headquarter of Khuzdar district of Balochistan. They go down to the town of Karakh for purchasing Atta and cloth. They don’t come to Sindh mainly because there is no any road the Government of Sindh has taken trouble to construct for the convenience of the hilltop people.
There is one another reason why the inhabitants of Darhiyaro Mountain particularly the Chhutta people have started saying that ‘Kuttay Ji Qabar’ and Darhiyaro Mountain is in Balochistan. It is also because of a tribal feud between people of Gaeecha clan and Chhuttas. And since the Nawab of Chandio favors Gaeechas, the feeling of alienation has been created in the hearts of the people of Chhutta. They have therefore affiliated themselves with Khan of Kelat.
In this context, there are a number of press statements on record in which the dignitaries of Balochistan have claimed the territory of important tourist spot of Sindh’s highest mountainous peak of Dog’s Grave to be in Balochistan.
It is high time that the issue of Balochistan’s claim on Sindh territory be addressed seriously on both platforms of the Government as well as the Civil Society just for protection of Sindh territory, the issue of whose ownership was settled by the British Government in Sindh in mid-nineties through allocation of cultivable land to the tune of 5,000 acres to Sindh and a few hundred acres to Balochistan on plateau of Darhiyaro Mountain.
And, with it, the Government of Sindh be approached to immediately initiate a scheme of creating an access to the Dog’s Grave through a metaled road. It will certainly help the hilltop people inhabiting the mountains on Sindh-Balochistan border to feel at home in Sindh. But if any further delay is made in tackling down this issue, Sindh might lose its highly important tourist spot to Balochistan.
By Anwer Pirzado