May 20, 2021
For many people Thatta is mere a picnic point, due to Malki graveyard, Shahjehan Mosques and Keenjhar Lake. But has more than that. Before reaching the present day Thatta, it has experienced many ups and downs. Was attacked, ransacked, and burnt at least half a dozen time. And then turned to be a very small and backward town of Sindh.
This city carries many love and folk stories like Noori Jam Tamachi, historical happenings of attacks, burning of entire city and mass migration.
Stories of Sufi Shah Inayat Shaheed at Jhok Sharif, birthplace of founder of Pakistan in Jhirk are another leading points of attraction.
Very interestingly, a city remained the capital of Sindh, was annexed with Karachi district by the British rulers.
Thatta once recognized as capital of Sindh in Samma’s period, a historical town of around 220,000 inhabitant in the south cast, probably known as Central Rome of Pakistan but unfortunately central government’s policies, lack of education, lack of management it was pushed to backwardness.
I am not going into the details of Tarkhan ruler Mirza Baki Tarkhan’s ruthless persecution of residents both Hindus and Sikhs. Who used to steal the grains from the farmers and left them to starve. Thatta witnessed the cold-blooded murder of the Shia Muslims of Sindh and the persecution and conversion of Hindus. So much so the Susfi saints and person of scholarly eminence were not spared in massacre.
This city also witnessed a large scale migration of Muslims -Memons, Bohra and Jain, Hindu and Lohana merchants towards the port of Gujarat, crossing Kuchha and heading towards Saurashtra where Hindu branch of Samma had kingdom at Nawanager now known as Jamnagar.
Mirza Baki Tarkhan’s ruthless persecution of residents both Hindus and Sikhs. Who used to steal the grains from the farmers and left them to starve. Thatta witnessed the cold-blooded murder of the Shia Muslims of Sindh and the persecution and conversion of Hindus. So much so the Susfi saints and person of scholarly eminence were not spared in massacre.
The theocracy and tyranny weakened Arghoon’s rule. Meanwhile the Europeans also rose. The Portuguese also attacked Thatta on the trade dispute with Arghoon. Thatta was burned. As historian write: “There was nothing left for people to hang on to and they just moved to save their lives.” This created second wave of migration towards south
After these migrations and devastation, Thatta turned to be less important for rulers and exploiter. From onwards, Thatta became with an atmosphere, the way people used to live happily, peacefully, on that time period there was quality of education but after attacks from those kings education was disturb, agricultural land were damaged and ratio of unemployment increased on high level.
Now, there was no any concept of snatching, robbery, there was zero concept of these sort of crimes but not crimes ratio has increased. Their life was simple like their houses, their houses were constructed by clay, wood, steel pins and limestone which made their houses cool, unlike now houses are constructed from cement and blocks and these cement houses has seriously affected atmosphere.
Once Thatta had huge amount of forests which made environment cooler and forests helped to maintain temperature, and due to forest ratio of rain was huge but now those forests of Sujawal, Faqeer Jo Goth, Chato Chand to Jhirk has vanished because of negligence of the government.
The Portuguese also attacked Thatta on the trade dispute with Arghoon. Thatta was burned. As historian write: “There was nothing left for people to hang on to and they just moved to save their lives.” This created second wave of migration towards south
In Ayyub Khan’s period Thatta got water from Khenjhar, as we are aware with the fact lake water has Cement (Wari in Sindhi) and cement is not good for agricultural land, and due to that water Thatta faced huge financial trouble. On the other hand link canal was introduced in Ayyub khan’s period which was from Jamshoro to Khenjhar and that link canal gave tough time to Thatta.
In past Thatta was blessed with different arts and craft. Creativities, local people were blessed with art, on that time (Adara, handmade clothes), local people used to make clothes from their hand and it was their source of income, there were internationally recognized cloth called “Mal Mal” was on its peak, people used to purchase from all over the world, as time passes these handmade work was forcefully stopped and industries were introduced and huge amount of local people of people lost their jobs and this is also reason why Thatta people are unemployed and poverty is on peak.
Ayub Khan set up some industries in Gharo road side. Unfortunately these industries were not for local people, labour for those industries were outsiders, depriving the local people from new opportunities of livelihood.
There was a time, when Thatta had Thatta Cement Factory had around 80% local workers. Thatta Sugar Mill where 400 to 500 local people were employed. A good number of people from Thatta were employed in Pakistan Steel Mill, but only a few dozen are there.
Government educational institutions had quality education in Thatta. But now commercialization of education has ruined the public sector institutions.
The government schools and colleges are also facing complications and troubles, some government schools colleges have no electricity, their buildings are damaged, whiles other have no teachers, some don’t have grounds. There is no educational atmosphere. Government run hospitals are also facing same problems as in the educational institutions.
The influential are promoting corruption in different government sectors. This has made elites and bureaucracy more powerful, leaving a little space for common man to raise voice.
In yester years people of Thatta were more honest, there were hospitality, peace, accommodating attitudes. Now one can see encroachment from roads and streets to the minds and mind sets of people and roads were vast.
A positive side according to me, now Thattvis are allowing girls to studies and jobs, which was rare in past.
Blogger hails from Thatta and student of Media & Communication Department University of Sindh