As part of the increasing give and take exchanges taking place these days between India and Pakistan, the latter has demanded that the Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro be returned to it.
Dancing Girl is a bronze statuette excavated from the Mohenjo-Daro site before India and Pakistan became two separate nations. It is just 10.5 centimetres high and is about 5000 years old. The pubescent girl is stark naked except for a whole array of bangles and a necklace. The posture looks like that of a dancer though she might have been confidently making a statement to her audience. She holds her chin up and looks smug. In short, she is a total contrast to what today’s Pakistan expects of a young girl.
Let us visit her briefly at the National Museum in New Delhi to ask her what she thinks of her threatened extradition.
“Oh, I think it would be horrible,” says DG losing all the panache that has graced her face for millennia. “What will they do to me there? Will they throw a purdah over me? Will they lock me up in some closet? They might even blast me to smithereens.” DG shivers.
You understand her feelings and emotions. She belonged to a culture in which people lived together as a cooperative community the kind of which cannot exist even in the most fantastic of human dreams today. Mohenjo-Daro.
Mohenjo-Daro was a dream. You can read it in the radiance of her demeanour. Mohenjo-Daro was a city of excellence built almost five millennia ago. The Citadel had a large residential structure which could house about 5000 people. It had two huge assembly halls and a number of public baths. Then there was the Lower City. There was the market. An excellent drainage system. There was love among the people. Women were not discriminated against. It was a civilisation that was superior to most that came later.
“Okay, I can’t ever go back to that, I know,” says DG plaintively. “But why would I go to a place that is absolutely opposite to all that I ever lived in?”
You know you have no answers to her questions. You know you live in a world that is strange even to you. You don’t understand things like nationalism and jihadism. You don’t understand why people create wonderful things only to bombard them in the name of some oddities allegedly living along with aliens up there somewhere.
You bid adieu to DG. You wish her good luck. You know she cannot shed tears. Thousands of years of existence is certain to make you hard.