My city ‘Shikarpur’ is situated in Pakistan’s second most populated province, Sindh. The word Shikarpur is comprised of two words; ‘Shikar’ means to hunt and ‘Pur’ means region or area.
The name Shikarpur is given to this city because people would come to this place for hunting. The language spoken here is normally ‘Sindhi’ and mostly the culture followed is also ‘Sindhi culture’.
The population of Shikarpur is like Pakistan as most of the people are Muslims and some belong to minorities like Hindus. It is also included in warmer cities of Sindh.
My home city is remarkable for its culture, trade, civilization, tradition, architecture, embroidery, monumental buildings and narrow streets. It shares the name with a town in India as well.
Shikarpur is covered with seven gates and one window usually considered as security guards and main entrances to enter the city.
The eight security guards of Shikarpur are:
- Lakhi Gate.
- Hathi Gate.
- Hazari Gate.
- Wagono gate.
- Karan Gate.
- Civi Gate.
- Khanpur Gate.
- Siddiqui Mari (Window).
Historically, Shikarpur was established in the 17th century and was ruled by Daudpotas for a long period. It was once called the ‘Paris of Sindh’ because it was the province’s most civilized city. Shikarpur had been a land full of forests and been a famous hunting land.
Most of the economy of Sindh was due to trade, agriculture and investment in Shikarpur. The city was famous for its underground drainage system.
Literacy rate of Shikarpur was enough in earlier days along with many educational institutions.
Sheikh Ayaz, one of the famous poets of Sindh was born and grown in Shikarpur. It was the first city of the district to have an intermediate college named as C&S College after the credit of Chela Ram and Sital Das.
The natural beauty of Pakistan has some traces in Shikarpur. Work of architecture is mind-blowing especially some old buildings plus the Dhak Bazar (covered market) which is the longest market in my city. It is covered with pure woodwork with enough ventilation and reach of sunlight. The biggest park of Shikarpur is Shahi Bagh(garden) with glittering flowers and artwork. Shikarpur’s Aachar(pickle) is famed all over the Sindh, and Kulfi-Falooda of Deewan Ramchand’s Restaurant is a special eatable of the city.
There is a clock tower at the Lakhi Gate built by two Hindu businessmen in the memory of their father. Among religious places, the biggest mosque is Nabi Shah Mosque and the biggest temple is Pooj Shiri Samadha Ashram.
Another interesting religious place is the temple called ‘Khatwari Darbar’ known for the presence of Charpai(woven bedstead) in it. The railway tracks are also situated is Shikarpur with a railway station known as Shikarpur Railway Station. Many new restaurants for food and other eatables, as well as water parks for summer amusement, have been established.
However, the condition of Shikarpur is worse than the old-time due to poverty, mismanagement, corruption, illiteracy, lawlessness, destroyed architecture, changed design and danger.
While pondering at the phrase ‘Paris of Sindh’ and then coming down to the lowest category of the worst hit in history, it feels disappointing. Shikarpur has gotten as many issues as its name was once the ‘City of Issues’.
The public in my city is deprived of education, the basic right of every human being. Not even one school or college has been established for many years but they should at least maintain and preserve the existing educational institutions.
There is only one public library named as ‘Qadir Bux Bedil Public Library’ and one university called ‘Sheikh Ayaz University’ in the whole city in this modern time.
In addition to this, there is an absolute lack of a technology and science research centers in this modernity. Many of the old, well-designed and beautiful buildings have been destroyed by the landlords and the rich people due to lawless and corruption conditions.
The Shahi garden is also in danger whose beauty and art is diminishing day by day. The city which had had the efficient drainage system in past has deficient drainage system these days. The famous hospitals of Shikarpur are still present but in dreadful maintenance without modern medical tools and treatments.
How could a city have good trade and a good economy if its transport is not deserving?
This is the same situation with my city that the city which was once master of trade and economy is now prevented from proper roads and railways. Furthermore, the air route has not been established yet in the boundaries of Shikarpur.
In the former days, Shikarpur was known for its cinema houses which were three in number available for entertainment and refreshment namely Plaza cinema, Afshan cinema and Naz cinema.
The first two were demolished by its owners and the third one is in not less than a wreck which was also called ‘Capital Talkies’ cinema in the earlier times.
What would be the state of that civilization whose entertainment has been vanished?
Shikarpur is famous for its narrow lanes but now the garbage and solid wastes at the corners, have poisoned the environment.
Furthermore, the drains which run beside the streets are open but looking at 4500 years old civilization namely Moen-jo-Daro had closed drains. The people of our city think that they are better than villagers but the fact is our situation is worse than 4500 years old people.
Therefore, the condition of the city is getting worse. The world is rushing forward and my city is not even taking a single step forward.
If this continues, we shall be considered as the dead civilization even more dead than Moen-jo-Daro.
Shikarpur can be as better as other developed cities of Pakistan or like foreign cities. We can revive and can become people of ‘Paris of Sindh’ once again with the combined efforts of its people and the government.
To secure the future of Shikarpur, first of all, corruption should be buried. If the corrupt politicians and businessmen are arrested then the funds received from the government will be positively used for the survival of the city.
Corruption is also directly proportional to terrorism. Thus, the elimination of corruption is the main key to look forward to the development of Shikarpur.
Along with the eradication of corruption, education must be improved. The educational institutions must be established as well as extracurricular activities and career counselling must be provided to the youth. This would cause many opportunities, industries and businesses.
Plantation of trees by the side of roads will make this barren city beautiful and can also decrease intense hotness form the environment.
Conservation of art and architecture would help attract tourism and in result, the economy can be upgraded.
So, the city which was once called the ‘Paris of Sindh’ has become worse than Moen-jo-Daro.
The city with beauty, art, culture has an uglier face now. The city with a clean and pure environment has been in the cover of pollution.
The famous seven gates, hospitals, colleges are present but in miserable conditions in Shikarpur. The city with better trade has a poor economy these days. The city with stories of peace and prosperity is in the deceit of corruption. The city which had proper education has insufficient educational places. This is my city, Shikarpur.
This does not indicate the end. Everything can be revived back.
Education, art, beauty, peace, entertainment, trade, economy, cleanliness, transport, medical health and every single facility lost can come back to civilians of Shikarpur but the efforts and unity of government, as well as public, are required for this glory.