In memory of: 30th death anniversary of man who brought ‘Sindh’s history to life’

By Z Ali

HYDERABAD: Hundreds of people, besides scholars, historians and writers attended the 30th death anniversary of historian, Pir Hasamuddin Shah Rashdi at Makli, also his final resting place. Rashdi was born in Larkano on September 20, 1911, and spent most of his life in Karachi, Sindh.

He wrote more than 50 books on history and literature in Persian, Sindhi and Urdu languages and also contributed profusely to research papers. Makli Namah, Masnavi Mazharul Aasar, Maqalat-i-Shuira Qani, Mazhar Shah Jahani and Razaatul Salatin are some of his famous books which have been translated in Sindhi from Persian. Others include Mir Masoom Shah Bakhri, Tazkira-i-Amir Khani, Akhund Muhammad Bachal, Daheen Sadi Ji Sindh (10th century Sindh) and Talpuran Joon Muhroon (The remnants of the Talpur era).

His work primarily focused on the era between 1500 AD to 1736 AD, but he also documented the times of Samma dynasty as far back as 1352.

Rashdi died on April 1, 1982, and was laid to rest in Makli, as instructed by his will.

Dr Khizar Noshahi, who came from Mandi Bahauddin, said that Rashdi brought the history of Sindh back to life after it was hidden in Persian. “His translations introduced Sindhis to the contributions of Mir Ali Sher Kane, Shewak Ram, Syed Jamaluddin Shirazi, Ghulam Ali Maddah Thattvi and many other Sindhi writers who wrote history and literature in Persian language.”

Rashdi’s protégé, Prof. Dr Nawaz Ali Shauq, recalled how the writer cherished Thatta and Makli because of its rich history of art, literature, music and learning. “He would dig, explore and bring all the personages which lit the constellation of Thatta back to life.” In an interview Rashdi gave in the last days of his life, he predicted that the use of Sindhi will rise. Prof. Abdullah Mallah agreed and said that it is expected given the way poetry, prose, history, stories, dramas and songs are being written by the modern writers.

Lakho too referred to a report by United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation, cited by an editorial in an English newspaper. “Literature produced in Sindhi, a much older language in its written form, is thriving compared to Urdu, Pushto, Balochi or Punjabi languages,” he quoted the editorial.

We would not have known Sindh as a cradle of civilisation where art and literature flourished, whose people were loving, peaceful and tolerant and never invaded the outside world,” said Prof. Dr Ghulam Muhammad Lakho, a history professor at Sindh University. “But their resistance was such that the invaders ended up buried in this necropolis [Makli] today. But Sindh still lives.”

The chief guest, Sindh Culture Minister Sassui Palijo, announced that a library will be established in the name of Rashdi at Makli and his books will be translated.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2012.

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