Ourview | Preserving the past

Ourview | Preserving the past

On Tuesday, the BBC News website published a story by one of its correspondents in Pakistan that should be a cause for worry for any Indian history enthusiast. Aleem Maqbool reports that the Bronze Age archaeological site of Mohenjo Daro is in a state of grave disrepair.

Mohenjo Daro is one of the greatest Bronze Age sites in the world, a marvel of urban planning that many Indian cities still aspire to some 5,000 years later.

Attempts at conservation have been inadequate so far. And, when they have taken place, have often been woeful, Maqbool says.

While Mohenjo Daro might lie in Pakistani territory, it is a site of grave importance to India and the entire region. On the World Heritage Centre website, Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) says that Mohenjo Daro is “the most ancient and best-preserved urban ruin on the Indian subcontinent, dating back to the beginning of the third millennium BC, and exercised a considerable influence on the subsequent development of urbanization on the Indian peninsula."

Cooperation between Pakistan and India on economic, political and military issues remains complicated. However, there is no reason why the two nations should not cooperate on conserving what must surely be one of the most important chapters in their common history.

Maqbool quotes Pakistani experts who lament a lack of funding, manpower and local interest. Those are all issues that India can help with. Provided, of course, both nations don’t seek to grandstand over Bronze Age history.

Mohenjo Daro is one of the greatest historical sites on the planet. It will be a pity if apathy ruins it once again, leaving behind vestiges only in Pakistani and Indian school textbooks.

What can India and Pakistan do to ensure that Mohenjo Daro is protected? Tell us at views@livemint.com