14-15 August : Independence Day – TRYST WITH DESTINY


by: Deepak Mirchandani, Toronto, Canada

…I am a Sindhi – a Hindu Sindhi, with roots in Hyderabad, Sindh, in modern day Pakistan. I cannot celebrate the partition – because the partition stands as a reminder that my family was uprooted. Having history embedded in the motherland of Sindh for 11 generations, my parents had to flee angry mobs. And what reason do I have to celebrate the freedom of India? The generation before me spent time in refugee camps, with no sanitation. They begged and pleaded the government of India for assistance, and received none. Sindhis, being who they are, with a spirit of adventure and resilience to the harshest environments, took matters into their own hands, scattered the world over, and made fortunes that most only fantasize about.

Hindu Sindhis don’t have a homeland in India. Where is Sindhi culture heading in India? Towards extinction, in my opinion. My generation, and the one after me, can barely speak the language, let alone read and write it. Who are Shah Abdul Latif, Sachal Sarmast to us? Some obscure names in Sindhi Literature.

While most Hindu Sindhis the world over rejoice during India’s Independence Day, I for one, shed tears for the lives lost during the mayhem of 1947, on both sides of the great divide. I shed tears for never having set foot on the sacred soil of Mother Sindh. I shed tears that future generations will have but a fleeting glimpse of where their heritage is from. I shed tears because my culture is slipping away from me.

But, I rejoice that I am a Sindhi. I rejoice that I belong to one of the richest cultures in the world. I rejoice that we have a rich literary background in the Sindhi language. I rejoice for Sindhi values. I rejoice for Sindhis being a kind and compassionate people.

And yet, I am saddened that I don’t have a homeland. My fellow Sindhis, the future of Sindh has been entrusted to you. Stand tall, stand proud of the soil of Sindh. I repeat this story time and time again. I once asked a fellow Sindhi what it is that he likes most about Sindh. His reply – “the fragrance of the soil after a rainfall.” Alas, will I ever experience that fragrance?

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists, e-groups, August 13, 2009

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