Down the history lane

I stand facing the entrance, done in elegant blue tiles, red blocks combined with traditional Islamic architecture comprising of arches. This two story building is the Museum of Sindhology, situated in the Institute of Sindhology at Jamshoro University. If someone needs to know what Sindh is and what does it mean to the locals, this museum is an excellent place to start.

Museum of Sindhology

Enter the museum and you will find a map of Sindh in golden on a blue background. Tiles from different historical places are placed in various locations, sometimes giving the impact of placement for the sake of filling an empty space.

The museum is full of artifacts from history. Here you see a collection of flutes, next to an assortment of stones. A broken tile done in blue and white from a shrine is also prominent among other earthen tiles.

Move ahead to find an impressive collection of historic arms. Starting from the Stone Age with axes as the ultimate safety and hunting tool, swords come next, and then revolvers and rifles.

A malakhra ring is shown with two players trying to outdo each other. Malakhra is asian version of sport wrestling very popular in interior Sindh. The most catchy artifact is the 16 step process of Ajrak making. No wonder original Ajrak costs a lot. Various kinds of rallis, rugs and daily wear clothes are also exhibited.

16 step Ajrak process

The museum also houses a room dedicated to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, eminent politicians in Pakistani history. Sindhis have a strong association with the father and daughter duo, hence a room dedicated to them. Here you can find various shields presented to Benazir Bhutto during her two tenures as a Prime Minister. A number of gifts, presented to Mohtarma as a good will gesture on her tours to different countries, are also displayed. There are different post cards as well, sent to Mohtarma by foreign dignitaries on different occasions. Models of different developmental projects carried out over Sindh are also displayed.

As for her father, a number of items released by Rawalpindi Jail after his hanging are showcased. They include his clothes, glasses etc. A number of books containing his speeches and policies can also be found in the museum, all for display only.

The museum of Sindhology is not just about politics. It covers Sindhi culture and traditions very well. There are a number of models presenting different casts and their daily lives. Each cast has a glass showcase dedicated to them, showing them in the common area of their house, which is generally the “sehen” or verandah.

Jogi

These models are done in intricate details. Family structures, roles, even pets are shown in there. And pets are in realistic details.  A scene from a Sindhi village wedding is captured with all its glory. There are the bride and groom sitting opposite each other with family members around them.

The model seems to come alive with the vibrant colors and accurate facial expressions. No details are missed in the village house; there even are crows sitting on the shade of the house. A corner is dedicated for storage, while female members of the family seem to be busy in singing songs to the beat of the drum.

One room is dedicated to the picture gallery of prominent people including writers, poets, politicians, spiritual leaders, social reformers. For some reason, pictures for politicians and spiritual leaders were not displayed at the time of the visit.

On the first floor, there is photo gallery showcasing photographs of historical buildings and ruins by photographers. Photos done in black and white add an extra dimension to already majestic places.

Artists are not left behind. A number of works depicting Sindhi culture adorn the walls. Multiple medium artworks are very intriguing and one can spend a lot of time in absorbing the beauty of the art.

Last but not the least, miniatures of contemporary furniture and household items, donated by students are showcased in all their glory.

The museum is very well maintained. The only thing that lacked was Urdu language. All the signs were either in English or Sindhi, none was in Urdu. Also missing was the guidebook, which helps enhance the museum visiting experience. Entrance costs Rs. 10 for adults and Rs. 2 for children under the age of 5, which is very nominal, considering the wealth of information contained inside. This place is a must visit for students and families alike.

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