Sindhis as ‘an Indo-Pak bridge’

Across the Wagah : An Indian’s Sojourn in Pakistan

by Mohammad Ali Mahar, Austin, TX

… an interesting book, ‘Across the Wagah : An Indian’s Sojourn in Pakistan’. The author of the book, Maneesha Tikekar, a Marathi professor, spent almost all her time in Pakistan — which was not more than only a few months — in Islamabad. However, her study of the life in Pakistan is astounding, to say the least. Even though the book has other areas dealing with different parts of Pakistan, including Sindh, the following piece exclusively deals with Sindh.

“During the British rule, Sindh was reduced to the backyard of the Bombay Presidency. It remained poor and backward except for Karachi whose prominence increased after Sindh’s separation from Bombay. Sindh’s fortunes changed little after the creation of Pakistan for, it has been made to play the second fiddle to Punjab.

Contours of the Sindhi society have been shaped by three major forces; a handful of biradaris like Chandios, Jilanis, Talpurs, Khuhros and Bhuttos; powerful landlords, waderas, whose stories of exploitation of women and repression of the poor farm labour, haris abound in Sindh; and the Pirs of Hala and the most (in) famous Pir of Pagara. Urban Sindh has been dominated by mohajirs. Ethnic conflict in the southern province of Sindh between indigenous Sindhis and Urdu-speaking mohajirs, claimed hundreds of lives during the 1990s. Traditionally the Sindhi Muslim was poor, backward and uneducated and the middle class barely existed. At the time of independence Sindh ‘was beset with extremes of wealth and poverty. Since the creation of Pakistan Z.A. Bhutto was the only Sindhi leader who had stirred the masses so deeply that they rose above biradari links and voted for him and his party. The disciples of Pir of Pagara are reported to have said, sir Saeen da, vote Bhutto da meaning ‘our life is for the Pir but vote for Bhutto’.

Hindu-Muslim relations in Sindh were cordial and they have survived the trauma of the partition. It is the Sindhi Sufi tradition that bound the two together. Sufi poet saint Shah Abdul Latif is revered by both Muslims and Hindus alike. Despite the fact that Pakistani establishments kept the communal equation unsettled in Sindh, the bonds between the two communities have not been snapped altogether. If along with the Mumbai-Karachi ferry service, Munbao-Khokrapar (Rajasthan-Sindh) rail link is also revived as proposed by India in October 2003 as a part of the package of confidence building measures between the two countries, then it will be a double bonus to the Sindhi community living on either side of the border. Saeed Naqvi, a noted Indian journalist describes Sindhis as ‘an Indo-Pak bridge’.”

One may or may not agree with the observations made in the above piece, it is interesting to know how the world sees us, Sindhis.

August 20, 2010

Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara, Karumpur, Jacobabad, Sindh provides shelter to Muslim flood victims

Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara Saheb and an other Hindu temple of Karumpur, Jacobabad, Sindh provide shelter to Muslim flood victims in their Gurdwara and Mander (temple).

Courtesy: DunyaTV

via>> ZemTV

>> Link

The Kashmir Calculus

by Dr. Uddipan Mukherjee

After a period of relative calm, Kashmir is on the boil again. Over the years, analysts have come up with a plethora of way-outs of this tangle. While accepting the Line of Control as the international border is one among many theories, none seems to take the bold path. This essay attempts a workable and pragmatic solution to this ‘singular’ security calculus from the Indian nationalistic perspective by proposing an “All Kashmir Federation”. …

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Joining hands

In this crucial moment of need we should stand all together and do our best is the order of the day. Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and World Sindhi Congress (WSC) (USA & Canada Chapter) have joined hands together and doing at their maximum. Nevertheless Sindh Doctors Association UK (SDA) along with parent organization Sindh Development Alliance (SDA) deserves lot of appreciation and encouragements for donating generously for the relief efforts.

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Efforts by Sindhi Americans Influence USAID Flood Assistance to Provinces

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA
Finally, the USAID authorities have accepted the long-standing demand of Sindhi-Americans to monitor fairness and equitability in the distribution of aid for flood victims in Pakistan and ensure that the aid reaches all provinces and is not controlled by the highly centralized federal government of Pakistan. The report gives a breakdown identifying several items by each province.
However, much more advocacy activities have to be undertaken by Sindhi-Americans for even the USAID report does not include province-by-province breakdown of large amounts and simply says “Affected Areas”.
To learn more about USAID, go to http://www.usaid.gov
USAID: http://www.usaid.gov/pakistanflooding/
The Center for International Disaster Information: http://www.cidi.org
Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at http://www.reliefweb.int

Appeal to Overseas Sindhis for Advocacy to International Governments for Aid and Fair Distribution to all Provinces

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA

As of today, more than 250 million dollar has been pledged by International governments and communities to help the flood victims in Pakistan. It is great that many overseas Sindhis and Pakistanis have been generously donating through their favorite charities and organizing distribution of food and other essential items in the affected areas. However, equally important task is to make sure that the world communities will not only increase their commitments but also ensure fair distribution of aid to all provinces with full accountability to minimize leakage due to corruption.

Continue reading Appeal to Overseas Sindhis for Advocacy to International Governments for Aid and Fair Distribution to all Provinces

Pakistan accepts India’s offer, appeals for more aid

… Moreover, Pakistan has decided to accept flood aid from its neighbour India, saying the offer was a “very welcome initiative” as both countries look to improve their tense relations.

Foreign Minister Qureshi told India’s NDTV television in an interview broadcast Friday that Islamabad would take India’s offer of five million dollars which was made last Friday.

“I can share with you that the government of Pakistan has agreed to accept the Indian offer,” Qureshi said from New York, where he addressed a special session of the UN General Assembly called to boost aid for flood victims.

“I think this initiative of India is a very welcome initiative.” …

Read more >> DAWN