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Unearthing Ancient Pottery Legacy: Rehman Dheri's Enigmatic Past

Experts unveil that while the civilizations of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa date back approximately 4000 to 4500 years, Rehman Dheri's civilization stretches back 6000 to 6500 years.
by TNN Editor - 12 Aug, 2023 1610
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Nisar Bettani

Is Rehman Dheri (Ram Dheri) the True Birthplace of Ram and Krishna? Shedding light on this intriguing question, Abul Moazam Turabi, a renowned analyst and avid historian from DI Khan, explains that some archaeologists assert Rehman Dheri is the actual birthplace of Ram and Krishna, contrary to the claim that the Babri Masjid in India holds this distinction.

In certain historical contexts, even Hindu scholars contend that Rahman Dheri rightfully deserves this status. Notably, Rehman Dheri boasts a civilization predating even the ancient realms of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, renowned as the world's oldest civilizations.

Experts unveil that while the civilizations of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa date back approximately 4000 to 4500 years, Rehman Dheri's civilization stretches back 6000 to 6500 years. These historical facts substantiate Rehman Dheri's claim as one of the globe's most ancient civilizations. Although current excavations at Dheri Rahmani yield no traces of older civilizations, the soil's enigmatic depths hint at the potential for unearthing even more ancient wonders in the future.

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Situated about 20 km west of Dera Ismail Khan on Peshawar Road, Rehman Dheri—formerly known as Ram Dheri—occupies a significant place within the Southern Circle of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. This civilization, spanning 6500 years, is steeped in mysteries that remained concealed beneath the earth's surface for millennia. The year 1970 saw the initiation of excavations by the Archaeological Department of Peshawar, revealing numerous hidden truths.

Experts contend that this civilization holds the distinction of being South Asia's oldest. Given the historical penchant for human settlements along riverbanks, the world's oldest civilizations invariably emerge beside rivers such as the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, and Indus. With water and agriculture serving as fundamental to ancient survival, riverbanks were chosen for human habitation due to abundant water sources and fertile soil yielding sustenance in the form of fruits, grains, and vegetables.

Rehman Dheri's placement along the banks of the mighty Indus River solidifies its status as one of the world's most ancient civilizations. Some experts even propose its antiquity surpasses that of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa. Archaeological endeavors have unearthed a treasure trove of valuable artifacts, including gold and silver adornments, clay household utensils, human and animal remains, intricately designed wells, the remains of refined yet rudimentary dwellings, and a rich assortment of sculpted dolls, vases, and pottery fragments.

Unveiling the Legacy of Pottery Makers in Rehman Dheri

Addressing this intriguing query, Abul Moazam Turabi highlights that due to the passage of millennia, the ancient civilization of this region became shrouded beneath layers of soil. Consequently, the existing clay artifacts have fragmented over time, leaving behind scattered remnants of pottery. It's conceivable that this area once thrived as a hub for skilled potters or even harbored pottery workshops. In bygone eras, clay and pottery constituted essential components of daily life, suggesting the prominence of these materials in this ancient society. The absence of iron, glass, steel, or aluminum used could indicate either a preference for traditional materials or limited technological access among the inhabitants.

A distinct and somewhat peculiar tradition surrounds Rehman Dheri. Local lore narrates that the inhabitants of this region, characterized as disobedient and ruthless, were buried under layers of earth alongside their families, livestock, and belongings as divine retribution for their transgressions. Abul Moazam Turabi, however, notes that this theory lacks substantiated and verified historical evidence. The religious affiliations of the Rehman Dheri settlers remain unconfirmed.

Similarly, no authoritative sources validate Rehman Dheri as the birthplace of Ramakrishna, according to Hindu narratives. While the area's name was indeed Ram Dheri before Pakistan's creation, the exact reason behind this nomenclature remains undocumented—whether it was linked to Ram and Krishna's birthplace or had different origins.

Expanding on this subject, Alam Khan, curator of the DI Khan Town Hall Museum, underscores the archaeological significance of the site. The excavations have yielded a collection of rare and antiquated artifacts, now displayed in museums across Peshawar and Bannu. These findings affirm that Rehman Dheri's civilization predates other regional counterparts by several centuries. The artifacts and insights from this civilization, spanning thousands of years, portray a populace well-versed in the knowledge and craftsmanship of their era. Their intricate woven items serve as a testament to their artistry and refinement.

Alam Khan surmises that the denizens of Rehman Dheri were early torchbearers of civilization, adapting and evolving with the evolving times. Their lifestyle and culture reflect a progressive spirit that allowed them to flourish amid the challenges of their era. Whether they met a natural end or were engulfed by the earth remains unknown, yet the enduring lesson is that human existence is transient. Now lies the choice: whether to be an indelible part of history or remain anonymous, awaiting discovery to astonish future generations.

The discovery of Rehman Dheri stands as a testament to the existence of an accomplished and cultured society. However, countless other civilizations akin to Rehman Dheri may still lie dormant beneath the earth's surface, awaiting their moment of archaeological revelation.