THATTA: Thieves vandalised graves and stole four gauges for measuring cracks fitted in the gradually leaning 33-feet-tall tomb of Samma dynasty ruler Jam Nizamuddin II alias Jam Nindo (1439-1509) at Makli necropolis early on Thursday morning.
Sarfaraz Jatoi, conservator of the necropolis, said that miscreants dislodged and took away four out of the 10 crack monitors commonly called “gauges” which were fitted in the mausoleum to measure widening cracks and also dug out carved stones from graves and wooden door.
He said that watchmen and security guards heard thuds of hammering coming from inside the tomb, went after the sound and managed to round up one miscreant whose name could not be ascertained.
The 15th century architectural marvel, which was adorned with 12 bands of decorative Quranic verses running around the building from top to bottom and lined with stone-carved diamonds, lotuses and geometric patterns, was one of the most attractive and eye-catching structures at the necropolis and was a befitting homage to the illustrious ruler of the Samma dynasty, which ruled Sindh, parts of Punjab and Balochistan from 1351-1551 CE. Jam Nindo’s capital was Thatta and his reign was considered to be golden age of Sindh.
About the present status of the mausoleum, Mr Jatoi said that experts found the 33-feet-tall structure within equal size of plinth was leaning seven inches towards the ground when columns’ position was measured recently through plumb bob and other measuring instruments. It was highly alarming, he said.
Former director general of archaeology department Qasim Ali Qasim, activists of Thatta Historical Society and Sindh Cultural Forum Allah Juriyo Burfat, Sadiq Lakho, Nawaz Ali Qureshi, Ramzan Memon and others said that structural engineers, architects and conservationists from Germany and Spain had recently carried out geo-technical studies on the monument on behalf of Unesco with a view to protecting the heritage site but they had yet to submit their reports.
Meanwhile, they said, extra care needed to be taken to monitor the monument and if the Sindh government had financial constraints help could be sought from the Endowment Fund Trust for the Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh for the rehabilitation of the historical monument to save it from gradually vanishing into oblivion.
The heritage lovers regretted that despite having motorcycles to keep watch over nine mile radius area of the necropolis the guards and the officials concerned were not able to ensure foolproof security at the heritage site.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2018