There are many historical graveyards in Jamshoro district, where are buried Samma-, Arghun-, Tarkhan-, Mughal-, Kalhora- and Talpur-period nobles. The majority of these graveyards are in shambles and these historic sites escape the attention of the authorities concerned. Sometimes, a few catch the attention and get the due facelift. One of these graveyards, locally known as ‘Jam Chatto Jo Muqam,’ was restored by a team of the Centre for Documentation and Conservation of the Heritage (CDC), a wing of the Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh (EFT) in 2018. This graveyard is located west of Shalmani stop near Sann in the district of Jamshoro.
I saw ten stone-carved graves when I first visited this graveyard in 2005. Later in 2016, I revisited and found only seven graves. During my recent visit in January 2022, I observed that two platforms were restored by the EFT. There were the remains of two collapsed canopies (chatris). Both were twelve-pillared canopies. One of the canopies belongs to Jam Chhato, who was a disciple of Mian Nasir Muhammad Kalhoro (d.1692) according to a manuscript by Faqir Mohiuddin Lahori, which is kept in Zakhira Makhtota Shirani in the Oriental language section of the Punjab University Library. In the manuscript, the name of Jam Chhato is mentioned as Jam Chhato Nasir Muhammadi, meaning he was a disciple of Mian Nasir Muhammad. Faqir Mohiuddin Lahori was a disciple of Syed Muhammad Naushah Ganj Bakhsh Qadiri (d.1654). Syed Muhammad Naushah Ganj Bakhsh Qadiri, who lived in the seventeenth century, was the founder of the Naushahiyya branch of the Qadiri Silsila. Faqir Mohiuddin Lahori was a Naushahi saint who later became a disciple of Main Nasir Muhammad and a friend of Mian Sultan Manjhi Kalhoro.
I saw ten stone-carved graves when I first visited this graveyard in 2005. Later in 2016, I revisited and found only seven graves
Spiritual links between the Mianwal Suhrawardi Silsila or Tariqa and the Nasuhahiyya Qadiri Silsila were established during the frequent exchange of letters between Mian Nasir Muhammad Kalhoro and Syed Muhammad Naushah Ganj Bakhsh Qadri (d.1654). These ties were then strengthened when the former visited Sahan Pal in the then Gujrat district (now Mandi Bahauddin). The spiritual links later continued via the disciples of both Mian Nasir Muhammad Kalhoro and Syed Muhammad Naushah Ganj Bakhsh Qadri.
Mian Manjhi Sultan Kalhoro was a disciple of Mian Muhammad Kalhoro (d.1692). It is believed that Mian Nasir Muhammad Kalhoro went to Lahore. From Lahore, he went to meet Syed Muhammad Naushah Ganj Bakhsh Qadri at Sahan Pal, now in Mandi Bahauddin district. Faqir Mohiuddin Lahori later became a disciple of Mian Nasir Muhammad and called himself a friend of Mian Manji Sultan Kalhoro, who initiated the devotional composition Sur Manjh in the Mianwal Suhrawardi Tariqa of Mian Nasir Muhammad Kalhoro. The grave of Mian Manjhi Sultan Kalhoro is located in Wasu Kalhoro in Nasirabad taluka in the Kamber-Shahdadkot district. Many poets composed poetry on Sur Manjh, in which they praised their mentor Mian Nasir Muhammad Kalhoro. The Mianwal Faqirs still play Sur Manjh on the surando (fiddle) at all the shrines of Miawal Faqirs and their mentors.
Moreover, Faqir Mohiuddin mentioned many disciples of Mian Nasir Muhammad Kalhoro in the manuscript. The name of Jam Chhato is also mentioned here. The same manuscript was also mentioned by Dr. N.A Baloch in his book Rehan Hiran Kha’n Vol.1 Some of the prominent disciples and nobles of the Kalhoras mentioned by Mohiuddin include Mian Abdullah Shah Godriya, Mian Hamdi Shah Chaddar, Mian Yousaf Shah, Mian Meran Shah Jhinjhan, Mian Bago Kanial, Mian Hoat Khoso, Mian Karam Ali Attar, Mian Rohal, Mian Rajo, Mian Shahdad, and many others.
Jam Chhato was a disciple of Mian Nasir Muhammad and administrator of the Lakhat area during the rule of Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro (1757-1772 AD). He died in 1170 A.H (1760 AD). A twelve-pillared canopy was erected over the grave of Jam Chhato in the same year. There were three other stone-carved graves on the platform of Jam Chatto. One of the lintels of collapsed canopy bears the name of Jam Chatto. The date also appears on the lintel, which reads as 1170 A.H (1760 AD). Building a canopy or chatri over mortal remains of the nobility was a symbol of power, authority, and royalty in medieval Sindh. Canopies became public identity during Kalhora rule, as many of Kalhora nobles erected chatris. Almost all the graveyards of those who served the Kalhoras contain stone- or brick-built chatris.
Apart from the Chatri of Jam Chatto, there is another collapsed chatri which is located south of the canopy of Jam Chhato. There are three stone-carved graves on this platform which have now been restored by the Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of Sindh. There is also a brick-built tomb in the graveyard that the local people ascribe to Jam Chhato – which is not correct, as there is an inscribed lintel of the Chatri near this tomb. Like the graveyard of Jam Chhato, some other necropolises need to be restored by the Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh (EFT). There are some stone-carved graves at the cemetery of Owais Qarni, which is located about 8 km west of Manjhand town in Jamshoro district. Stone-carved graves to the west of the shrine of Lakhi Shah Saddar are also crumbling. The majority of the stone-carved graves belong to the Samma period (1351-1524 AD). Likewise, the stone-carved graves of the Chang tribe on a hill near Laki spring are in shambles, and they should also be restored by authorities concerned.
The author is an anthropologist. He tweets at: @Kalhorozulfiqar. All photos are by the author