Spurious symbols — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

I do not understand why pieces of apparel have to be given the status of cultural symbols; only those countries and nations that are culturally bankrupt need to impose them as symbols. This symbolism also reveals the inherent feeling of inferiority and the consequent need to make them appear as important and necessary.

Since last year, at the behest of a commercial television station in Sindh, a so-called ‘Cultural Day’ is being observed in the province. The two media groups that now want to own it celebrate it on two different days. This supposedly Cultural Day is observed by people wearing a Sindhi topi (cap) and an ajrak (shawl). These are being turned into symbols of Sindh; on this day, with a lot of fanfare and enthusiasm, many people adorn themselves with these symbols and the youth dance. Some political, cultural and social outfits wholeheartedly participate in it and, sadly, all believe that, with this, they are reinforcing Sindhi identity, which I think they are not. Sindhi identity is much larger and more varied than two pieces of attire. This Cultural Day is nothing but the commercialisation of culture and a means for raking in profits for television stations and the makers of topis and ajraks.

Advocating spurious cultural symbols helps exploiters distract people from the real threats to their identity and rights. The Sindhis participating in this frivolous celebration return home thinking that they have done enough for Sindh and their annual ritual, which it will now become, is adequate to protect the rights of Sindhis. The rights of Sindh demand sacrifices, dedication and struggle, not dancing and frivolity.

The true symbols of Sindh are its valiant sons who sacrificed their lives without hesitation. Makhdoom Bilawal Bin Jam Hassan Sammo (1451 AD/ 856 AH to 30th Safar 1523 AD/929AH) preferred to be ground in the grinder used to extract oil from seeds than to accept the fiat of the Afghan Arghun rulers. He needs to be emulated; his teachings are the cultural symbol needed to awaken the Sindhis. The poetry of Shah Abdul Latif should be made a cultural symbol and the Sindhis should be encouraged to read and memorise his enchanting verses to promote Sindh and its culture and history. His poetry will give them an insight into Sindhi history, geography and culture. …

Read more : Daily Times

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