Washington discussion on future of Sindhi speaking people

– Ali Nawaz Memon, USA, sindhhouse@hotmail.com

A group of concerned Sindhis gathered in a continuing series of meetings on Sunday December 14, 2008 to discuss future of Sindhi speaking people.  The participants included Sain Shafiq Siddiqui, Iqbal Tareen, Sarfraz Memon, Ali Nawaz Memon, Waseem Cahchar, Mansoor Quraishi, Fuad Qadri, Fahim Larik, Jabar Siddiqui. Each of the participants is a established professional as well as a very concerned Sindhi. The discussion was failry detailed. Here is a simplified short report. As always, there was some discussion of who is “Sindhi”. The defination was left to each participant. every participant was free to think of whoever they considered to be Sindhi speaking…

It was noted that there were many aspects to future of Sindhis. Survival and advancement of language, culture, community relations, law and order, economic advancement, political situation are just a few factors. However, for this discussion, we agreed to focus on economic development/ advancement for survival of Sindhis and their children.

The participants were generally disappointed with performance of the current government. It was recognized that some continue to work very hard but unfortunately, the majority in the government did not. There was a feeling of sadness that after years of dictatorship and waiting, the current leaders had done little to advance Sindhis. All mourned passing of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and thought that life may have been better if she was alive.

There was a recognition that unfortunately, little can be expected from the current or probably likely future governments. LIKE OTHER WEAK COMMUNITIES OF PAST, SINDHIS WILL HAVE TO STAND ON OWN FEET. This means that the community has to take responsibility for own individual and collective education, health, employment and other aspects of economic development, survival and advancement. STRATEGY BASED ON PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTOR PARTICIPATION IS EMERGING AS A WAY OF ADVANCEMENT for people IN THE WEST. A SIMILAR APPROACH WILL HAVE TO BE ADAPTED in Sindh too.

Education and preparing for market oriented skills and jobs is going to be more and more necessary. Training in technical skills, vocational jobs, IT, nursing (which is in demand all over the world), establishment of small and large businesses are going to be some of very important professions for future survival.

Role of overseas Sindhis such as ourselves was discussed in greater detail. It was noted that overseas Sindhis have to mobilize and do more for the community back home. They can do this as individuals, through home town organizations such as “Shikarpur Association” or SANA or EducateSindh or “Memon Association” , or “LMC allumni association” or what ever they choose. But they must visit back home periodically and work from current place of residence to:

Motivate the community, Advance education and educational projects, Give broader vision for long term advancement, Open doors for others within Sindh, Pakistan and overseas including information dissimination, Identifying places where job seekers and students can stay, Encourage hard work, Competition (rather than copying)
Introduce legal ways of accountability for elected officials and government officials, provide scholarships and other assistance to others on basis of merit and need.

It was noted that many overseas Sindhis are doing good work. They all were requested to keep up their good work. But, lot more was needed, with much larger participation, in an organized manner.

There was support of periodic delegations of overseas Sindhis from USA, UK and other places who should visit public and private institutions in their own towns, universities, schools, political leadership of all types, government leaders etc in order to better understand the situation, convey concerns, build network, and provide encouragement. SANA has done this in past. Charitable organizations do this. Individuals and other groups should do this too. Whenever we are visit in Sindh, we must take a few days to focus on these activities; go beyond political discussions and help people facing real issues.

One of the participants indicated that he has a number of offices in Sindh. He can provide logistics to hold meetings and seminars if necessary…

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