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Sindh’s state of denial

The rise of militancy in the province in recent decades remained under-reported by the media. The attack on Imambargah in Shikarpur has therefore come as a rude shock, along with a warning that extremist forces will now target liberal and secular forces

Sindh’s state of denial

Steeped in history

The streets in Shikarpur are lined with heritage buildings on both sides. The buildings have unique architecture, which varies from French to Victorian to masonry brick. Many of these buildings have exceptional centuries-old mud and wood structure, with lime work, stucco tracery and brick mosaic flooring. One sees wrought-iron religious signs of Om and statues of Queen Victoria. These archaeological buildings depict the rich history of the city and show how much the residents love it.

At many places in the city, mosques and Hindu temples stand together — a testimony of religious harmony.

According to locals, the city was once located inside a fort with around seven huge gates or entrances. Lakhi Darr is one such entrance that opens towards the Lakhi town. That is site of the Imambargah where the terrorist attack not only claimed scores of innocent people but also a centuries’ old history of tolerance.

Another entrance is named Haathi (Sindhi word for elephant) Darr. This is where, in the past when Shikarpur was the commercial hub, elephants carrying trade goods were allowed to enter.

In Shikarpur’s Dhak Bazaar (the covered bazaar) people used to keep cold water so that travellers could drink water in the sizzling summer. There is a Dewan Hotel just opposite a public park that is still known for the Hindu deity Ganesha’s name, Ganesh Park and a huge sized Bajaj Tower built in memory of Hindu businessman Seth Hiranand Bajaj.

Much before the establishment of port in Karachi, Shikarpur was supposedly the commercial hub of Sindh. Owing to the beauty and cleanliness of the city, it was known as the “Paris of Sindh”. But now it is a living sign of sheer negligence of government authorities. With its collapsed sewerage system, encroachments, broken streets and dirt and dust, one can not believe this is the city that had such a glorious past.

— A. Guriro

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One comment

  • Very nice story. Still we Sindhis will continue beating drums about Sufism?

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