KARACHI: A historic graveyard lies forgotten in a jungle where the presence of dust-covered graves shows that no one visits the site, a mere 40 kilometres from Karachi’s Toll Plaza. Locals call it the ‘Graveyard of Mor Muradi’, named after a couple buried there along with around 150 others, dating back to the 16th century.
The graves of males are embossed with turbans, swords and horses while the graves of females with jewellery such as bangles, bracelets and rings. The unique structure and stone carvings on the graves resemble the Chawkandi and Makli necropolises.
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“We know that this graveyard was named after a couple who were buried here,” a herdsman tending to his flock of goats in the area said. He added that villages dominated by dwindling populations of Sindhi and Baloch residents were located in the area near Karachi but fall under the domain of Jamshoro district.
“This is wonderful heritage site but unfortunately it has been abandoned. No one has worked or conducted research on it,” said Gul Hasan Kalmati, a researcher who has previously worked on many heritage sites in Sindh. According to Kalmati, this graveyard seems to be older than Chawkandi, as the stone carving techniques on most of the graves were most likely adopted during the Samma Dynasty (1351-1524). He added that more than 37 heritage sites exist in Karachi and its adjoining areas, yet no one pays heeds to them. “Successive governments, researchers, scholars and citizens only discuss the Chawkandi graveyard and its loss of authenticity but no one talks about other sites,” he said.
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He added that locals such as the Chhutta, Burfat, Burra, Gondar and Kalmati families have lived in this area for centuries and this graveyard belonged to them. “I have brought and facilitated a few renowned scholars to work on this site yet no one has conducted research which could lead to authentic information about this graveyard,” he said.
“Around 2,500 heritage and archaeological sites have been documented but most are neglected, as the government does not conduct research on them,” said Hakim Ali Shah Bukhari, former archeology director. He added that similar heritage structures can be found in Turkey, Iran and India.
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Heritage work started in Sindh during the Soomra Dynasty (1024-1351) and reached its peak in the Samma period. Later, the Kalhora and Talpur rulers also attempted to continue this legacy. “In the Chawkandi Graveyard, the graves are attributed to influential people of the Jokhio tribe but later wealthy people started following the trend of building similarly structured tombs and graves for their loved ones,” Bukhari said. There is a dire need to conduct proper research on these sites, he added.
“We have learnt about this site and I will direct my department’s officials to ensure its demarcation and conduct research on it,” said Culture, Tourism, Antiquities and Archives Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah while talking to The Express Tribune. He added that the department will soon start surveying the graveyard by initiating geo-tagging of the site.
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Source: Tribune News | The forgotten graveyard of Mor Muradi