A leaf from history: Language frenzy in Sindh

By: Shaikh Aziz

Besieged by unending issues, yet aspiring to build a ‘New Pakistan’, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto did not have a smooth sailing from the very beginning. Even provincial matters that should not have stretched beyond provincial barriers drew him into difficult positions — sometimes embarrassing for his political agenda. This may have been due to centralisation of powers and lack of coordination among various departments. Yet, it dragged Bhutto into several unwanted wrangles.

In July 1972, Sindh — one of the two bastions of PPP — saw a difficult and tragic situation, in the shape of language riots that set Sindh ablaze. The frenzy claimed hundreds of innocent lives, destroyed property worth millions of rupees and created hatred that had never been seen in the history of Sindh for thousands of years.

In the historical backdrop this was very painful in a land of love, peace and hope. After Independence, hundreds of thousands of refugees migrated to Sindh who were not only welcomed here but were also given everything that the uprooted needed. New settlements sprung up, and social services were provided by the government and the people alike. New political and social groups emerged to help the deprived people without discriminating on the basis of cultural or linguistic backgrounds.

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What mental cues do most people associate with Sindhis?

The New Sindhis

By: Shefalee Vasudev, New Delhi

What mental cues do most people associate with Sindhis? It’s either a comical sidekick in a film, a smarmy merchant type or girls in mini skirts and designer bags whose filthy rich fathers run business empires in “Bambai” and Dubai. If the Sindhi stereotypes still prevail or if Sindhi curry and papad is all there is to know about the community’s cuisine, there’s good reason. Being rendered stateless after Partition also led to Indian Sindhis becoming somewhat rootless. But the younger generation wants to change that, without wearing lament on their lapel. Meet the new Sindhis.

Hanee Tindwani, 31, gave up her job as a radio jockey to become a teacher at the Vision Sindhu Children Academy in Ahmedabad, where Sindhi culture is being resurrected. Or take celebrated folk singer Dushyant Ahuja. He consciously steers clear of mass entertainment and sings Sindhi ghazals and folk songs for select audiences in India and abroad to draw attention to the poetic heritage of his community. Writer Vimmi Sadarangani, a Jaipur Literature Festival regular and historian Nandita Bhavnani, who does research on the Sindhi cultural connection between Pakistan and India, are both prominent names among the new Sindhis.

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