A peep into Harappa through the ages.

LAHORE -- Archaeologists and experts from related fields got together at the roundtable conference at the 11th Thaap Conference here on Saturday and discussed the past and present of Harappa.

The theme of the conference this year was 'Archaeology and Living Cultural Legacy of Harappa Civilisation'.

Dr Rafique Mughal, a former professor of archaeology, raised the question whether 'the people currently in the region are descendants of the people of Harappa and how much change, if any, has occurred in the lifestyle of the people living in the region since that time'. He wondered whether we were genetically linked with the residents of Harappa.

There was research that the residents of Harappa in recent and current times were the descendants of the ancient Harappans but it went unnoticed. He said 'gughu ghoras' were there in all cultures but the question was whether Harappan artifacts were connected with other civilisations, reminding the audience that the horse had not arrived in India when Harappan civilisation existed.

Linguist and language historian Dr Tariq Rehman said, 'the Harappan language does not exist now as the language is spoken but the script is there now, which has not been deciphered. But the question is how old it is.'

A recent book, Dawn of Everything 2021 by David Graeber and David Wengrow, claimed that it could be 15,000 to 25,000 years old which meant that not only the Harappan script but everything related to that civilisation was much older than what it was earlier thought.

He says deciphering the script was another problem. 'All we know is that there was some kind of script but we don't know what it is. There are words which don't belong to Sanskrit, Persian or any other known language in the subcontinent,' he said.

Dr Nadeem Omar Tarar, executive director of the Centre for Culture and Development, Gandhara Resource Centre, said archaeology was just one discipline of the field of study of heritage but there were disciplines also like linguistics, folklore, anthropology, painting and sculpture. He said anthropology was needed today.

The ancient civilisation of India has been bracketed by religions in Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim terms. Even today in Sindh, Buddhists are still living around Buddhist sites which was an example of the living cultural tradition that we are looking for, he said.

'Archaeology needs historical anthropology along with the cultural anthropology being practised in Pakistan since 19th century. In the...

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