Director’s Statement (S.S. Mausoof)
I was born in Pakistan and have always felt a strong connection with Sindh, Indus River and Mohenjo Daro. I work in advertising and my job is to be a storyteller for brands and therefore it is natural for me to leverage my skills to tell stories from the land of my birth in a way that they deserves to be told, through the voices of its citizens, the inheritors of the Indus civilization. In Search of Meluhha, is the story of Mohenjodaro actually told through the eyes of its inheritors. The last is important, because while I have tried to frame the film with verified archeological research, this project is not an academic exercise, or a thesis statement. In fact the narrative represents the voice of Sindhu culture, by the people who live in the land of Indus and are for most parts its inheritors. Some points that I have tried to address in the narrative are outlined below. These are my opinions as a filmmaker. 1. The name Meluhha is what the Indus Valley Civilization was called by Sumerians. It is so mentioned in Akkadian scrolls, and therefore I have opted for this name rather then Mohenjo Daro or Harappa. 2. The name Indus itself is a British invention, although now popular and accepted, a more appropriate name is Sindhu valley civilization. However, for wider recognition I have used the name Indus. 3. The local voice is frequently missing from the conversation on the Indus civilization, as most experts are western academics. This is not a criticism of the excellent work that has been, but rather an attempt at raising awareness of local activist, archaeologists and artists. Throughout this narrative we play out issues that capture the effect of Indus flooding, impeding climate change, the attitude of successive Pakistani regimes and how the Indus valley civilization plays out in modern Pakistani culture, a predominantly Muslim nation on the fault line of modernity and militancy 4. The question on the status the dancer of Mohenjo daro remains debatable as well. How the dancing girl’s statue, one of the most endearing findings from Mohenjo Daro, was first categorized by the Colonial archeologists as a dancing girl, i.e. a nautch girl, then later used in advertising brochures to attract tourism and now she(the dancer) is being termed a priestess and a princess in a wave of political correctness. However, the fact that the dancer can be an inspiration for the inheritors of the Indus is seldom considered, and how much her stance and boldness is a symbol of modern feminism. 5. The potential of the Indus valley site is immense with regards to cultural and anthropological learning that are part of the history of the Indus Plains. In addition, cross-border tourism to the mega cities of the Indus civilization can really uplift the lives of the people who live and thrive on the Indus delta as well as give an opportunity to our neighbors to see their and our combined heritage. 6. Lastly, a call out to people who care about this wonder so that they can join the cause to help preserve Mohenjo Daro and Harappa cities as they fight against salinity and general wear and tear of 5000 year old structures exposed to flooding and erosion.