Allah Dino is the chowkidar of Chowkandi graveyard. He takes care of our heritage which is at grave risk of disappearing due to lack of funding and infringement. Allah Dino has been doing it for past 25 years. He is from Khairpur district but has settled in Karachi for his professional duties.
Allah Dino has not studied much but he can proudly converse in English. Chowkandi is very popular with foreigners and Allah Dino has greeted them well. Things are not the same now. He sighed wistfully. Foreigners are scared of Karachi now. Locals were never regular visitors. Sometimes I sit here all day waiting for people to come.
He suffered from heart disease and now wears a battery which makes his heart more dependable. He is fond of poetry and quoted Shah Latif at few occasions. He knew Chowkandi architecture in and out. His greatest desire is to save the heritage for future generations who in his opinion is devoid of arts and crafts display of their older generations. He has been pledging higher ups for constructing a wall around Chowkandi to demarcate the area and quell the possibility of snatching from the tourists. People do that, he said dejectedly. People here don’t understand that foreigners bring money for everyone, he further added. People are losing their interest in things which bring them no cash. He was convinced. He showed a small trail on the pathway between graves. Its ants’ works, he said. See how disciplined and selfless they are. We have lot to learn from them.
He proudly showed me his guest book. It contained remarks, photos, letters and envelopes from tourists who have visited Chowkandi in past 25 years. There were comments in English, Urdu, Sindhi, Spanish, Chinese and other languages which I could not recognize. There was a photo of his eldest son who died sometime back.