When Sindhi students started demonstrations in support of their language and culture, the Commissioner of Hyderabad, Masroor Hassan, ordered to open fire on the bare-handed student at Jamshoro Bridge , killing a number of Sindhi youth. Sindh still celebrates 4th. March as the Day of Martyrs to remember the proud sons of the land who laid their lives to save their language and culture.
By Mohammad Ali Mahar, Austin, TX, USA
..The fact of the matter is that Sindh has been the biggest victim of this onslaught of the foreign culture. As soon as the country came into being, Karachi, the heart of Sindh, was taken over by the immigrant dominated central government.
All the Sindhi medium schools in the city started getting converted to Urdu medium schools. The name of Sindh University, which was established in Karachi, was changed to Karachi University because of the hatred to anything indigenous, and Sindhis were told to start a new university in Hyderabad and name it Sindhi University, if they so liked. People like Syed Hashim Raza, Dr. Ishtiaque Hussain Quraishi and Mohammad Hasan Askari were given a free hand to baptize everything indigenous to Urdu and Islam. Sindhi language was declared to be a ‘kafir’ language.
While the efforts went on in full throttle to change everything Sindhi to Urdu and Islam in Sindh, Sindhis could not afford to be the mere onlookers.
Realizing the damage being caused to Sindhi language and culture by the chauvinistic immigrant government functionaries, a delegation of Sindhi legislators, led by Hashim Gazdar, G. M Syed and others, met with the Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan with an intention to request him to look into the matter. Liaquat Ali Khan dismissed the delegation summarily saying the famous words “Do camel herders have a culture?”
Mr. Jinnah refused to even meet the delegation when they arrived in Ziarat to seek his help!
The advent of One-unit brought further misery to Sindh. It became a sin all of a sudden to call Sindh by its name. All the schools that taught Sindhi were told to teach Urdu. When Hassan Ali Abdulrahman, the Vice Chancellor of Sindh University, ordered that Sindhi be taught at educational institutions in Sindh, Brig. Tikka Khan, the then DMLA, Hyderabad (and the same Butcher of Bengal and Baluchistan) , kicked his office door open and barked at the VC “Do you want our kids to read the language of dogs?”
When university students started demonstrations in support of their language and culture, the Commissioner of Hyderabad, Masroor Hassan, ordered to open fire on the bare-handed student at Jamshoro Bridge , killing a number of Sindhi youth. Sindh still celebrates 4th. March as the Day of Martyrs to remember the proud sons of the land who laid their lives to save their language and culture.
During 1970’s when the first democratically elected government of the province decided to return the Sindhi language its status of official language, lost during One-unit, the vested interests, especially Urdu media (remember urdu couplet by Raees Amorhvi, published in Jang: Urdu ka janaza hai zara dhoom se nikle) incited so much violence in Sindh that the mobs of immigrants attacked and killed a number of Sindhis and burnt many an institution of repute including Sindhology building, a number of Sindhi newspaper offices, Hotel Jabees, the Pak Tea House of Sindhi intellectuals in Hyderabad. A new alliance named “Mohajir-Punjabi- Pakhtun Ittehad”, led by Nawab Muzzafar, was forged overnight by the agencies to counter Sindhi popular uprising.
These are but a few facts of the unfortunate history of the province and the country.
Whatever little freedom that you see being enjoyed by the Sindhi language today is not gifted on a platter by anyone but a result of the blood of martyrs who have constantly, throughout the history of the country, been laying their lives to save their language and culture.
V. S. Naipaul visited Pakistan twice and met a number of people in the country. In one of his books (either “Among the Believers, or “Beyond Belief”, I don’t remember exactly) he mentions that unlike any other people of Pakistan, Sindhis were the only ones proud of their heritage and roots and did not want to be related to any other land but Sindh.
Please also read Quratul Ain Hyder’s autobiography “Kaar-i jahaan daraaz hai” to find out how the deliberate attempts started at the inception of the country to Islamize/Urdu- ize everything local, especially, Sindhi — since Sindh was bestowed the ‘honor’ of being the capital of the country.
Dr. Sahib, I am sure you know the above facts. Therefore, it is strange to see the name of Sindh missing from your list of victims of the foreign culture invasion.
If you study the history of the area, you will find out that Sindhis have constantly been fighting to ward off the invasion of foreign culture and language. The war still continues but can only be won if other indigenous forces too joined hands with Sindhis and, like Sindhis, are ready to shed their blood.
I hope you remember that we met at Dallas SANA convention where you very kindly gifted me the translation of Naseem Kharal’s stories with your autograph. I must say that the stories are very well translated and I enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed them reading in original Sindhi language.