M.H. Panhwar as a Historian


  • Aijaz Ali Thaheem


The scope of this article is to find out the strengths and weaknesses of M.H. Panhwar’s historical work and to compare it with other scholars of Sindh. He is the initiator of scientific history writing of Sindh and the only historian who tried to uncover the face behind the social organisation of Sindh. According to him, ‘History is the history of production, control over the means of production and production to its final distribution’. The history is more about people than that of the ruling class as people are makers of history. He had vision to analyze things in their correct historical perspective and, in this context, he took support of archeology, as it is the source of scientific truth. Writing history with data acquired through carbon testing is a new phenomenon in Sindh, which was locally introduced by M. H Panhwar.1 M. H. Panhwar, therefore, was one of the pioneers in giving a new meaning to history by including both ruling elites and the common folk, progressive science, crop technology, forest, wildlife, etc.2 He was the first to throw light on areas which were ignored by other historians. According to him, history written before him is full of the accounts of the rulers’ role in relation to their nobles and foes, battles they fought, attacks, palace plotting, mausoleums, folklore, fiction and so on. Accounts regarding contemporary climate, environments, diversion of rivers, courses and the resultant ruination of irrigation systems, migrations, shifting of people, occupations, social life of the populace etc. found little room in written histories. For instance changes in production and its means, administration and justice, agriculture, land, animal husbandry, irrigation sources and methods of mining, metallurgy, industry and industrial goods, matrimonial institutions, family and children, houses and interiors, art, architecture, archaeology, personal appearance, dresses, ornaments, foods and drinks, taxes, coins and currency, science and technology, foreign contacts, international trades and traders, routes of trades, religious beliefs, philosophy, hygiene, medicine and doctors, superstitions, common citizens, economic conditions, historical geography of bygone ages, classes of work and their relation with one another, household life, customs, entertainments, pastimes, leisure, attitude of man to nature, languages, literature, literary contacts with outside word, learning and thoughts, status of women and children in affluence and extreme poverty.3 Hence, in real sense M.H Panhwar was scholar of Haig’s Raverty’s and Lambrick’s calibre.4 ______