BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Date of Submission



Shahana Rajani, Visiting Faculty, Department of Social Sciences


Aliya Iqbal Naqvi, Visiting Faculty, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


This research uses the scholarship on heritage politics to explore how a city of Indus Valley Civilization- Mohenjodaro has become an icon of national importance in Pakistan. The current scholarly discourse argues that claims to heritage are political, as these heritage sites serve important functions of legitimacy for certain national interpretations of the past. These interpretations are justified citing artefacts of these sites as material proofs. These narratives usually serve specific needs of the present. The identities associated with these heritages are also fluid and in flux.

My dissertation uses these scholarly insights. It argues that the present needs of the forth President of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (1928-79) made him patronize this site and use state ritual performance to create collective memories of the site. It further argues that the symbol thrived even when the state patronage reduced with the end of Bhutto‟s rule; it thrived through state education, visual culture and discourses of opposition to the state. The interest of the state was renewed in a post 9/11 era; it was because through this heritage site it could tell the world that Pakistan is something more than a hub of global terrorists.

Indus Valley Civilization is an important symbol of civilization; Pakistani state associating itself to it serves specific functions, most importantly, Pakistan communicating to the world and its own population that it has something valuable to offer to the world. A critical analysis of how Indus Valley Civilization has been appropriated by Pakistani state to create certain collective memories is missing. This research attempts to bridge that gap.


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