Tag Archives: सिन्धी ਸਿੰਧੀ

Sindhis of Chile

Sindhis and Hindus in Chile

By Saaz Aggarwal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Punta Arenas, Chile, is one of the southern-most cities in the world. There was a time when every ship crossing from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Straits of Magellan or around Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn) halted there.

Navigating giant waves, deadly currents, Antarctic blizzards and icebergs, the journeys took months. Arriving at Punta Arenas, the storm-battered, scurvy-ridden sailors would stumble out of their cramped quarters in relief. The town thrived.

We flew in more than a hundred years after the Panama Canal had changed things for Punta Arenas. At the Hotel Cabo de Hornos, we bumped into someone from our plane who had stayed over to catch his (once-a-week) flight to the Falkland Islands. Paul, from the South Atlantic Research Institute, told us that there was a post office nearby where Robert Scott, the early Antarctic explorer, had posted letters and packets.

These days too, this historic town is a base for Antarctic expeditions. The less adventurous can catch the tourist boat to a nearby island thickly populated by penguins. Punta Arenas, like much of Chile, nestles between wooded slopes on one side and a lavish seafront on the other. Like other Chilean cities, it has well-maintained public spaces that sport sculptures of different types: traditional European, contemporary and aboriginal. Its cemetery is said to be exceptionally beautiful and historic. We saw none of these, however, having come with the specific purpose of meeting the Sindhi families of this town.

I first saw the name Punta Arenas on a map in a book by the French scholar Claude Markovits, The Global World of Indian Merchants – 1750-1947: Traders of Sindh from Bukhara to Panama.

The map marks places around the world which had branches of trading firms headquartered in Hyderabad, Sindh, between 1890 and 1940. I felt surprised and impressed to see that it included about a dozen places in South America. How had Sindhis got so far away from home so long ago?

Invited to meals at the homes of the Sindhi families of Punta Arenas to be told their stories, it felt like I was eleven and invited to Harry Potter’s birthday party.

The first evening, Chile was playing arch-rival Bolivia in the Copa America, and I was learning how, one day in 1907, a Sindhi merchant, Harumal, came ashore. As the fascinating story proceeded, raucous cries rang out and vehicles revved loudly on the streets outside. Chile had won, 5-0.

The account of how Harumal opened his first store; how it got handed over to someone else; what happened during the First World War and then the Second; how Partition affected the Sindhis of Punta Arenas, will form part of Sindhi Tapestry, the ‘companion volume’ to my first book, Sind: Stories from a Vanished Homeland.

So far away from India, and with their home here for more than a hundred years, the Sindhis of Punta Arenas still speak Sindhi and eat Sindhi food. Like other diasporic Sindhis, they have an international network. Three household help I saw in the homes of these Chilean Sindhis were from, respectively, Nigeria, Indonesia and Burma.

The homes were lavish and decorated like those of fabled Oriental potentates, thick with curios and mirrors and objets d’art.

On Sunday morning, we attended satsang in the Hindu temple of Punta Arenas, which occupies prime real estate on the seafront. It was a moving service, conducted in both Sindhi and Spanish.

Like in other Sindhi mandars around the world, many world religions are represented here. It was once an essential characteristic of Sindh that spirituality and the inner life were revered beyond human classification. And then, it became an irony of history that the Hindus of Sind turned out to set such store by their own religion that they were forced into exile from a beloved homeland on account of it.

In 1947, these doughty people lost more than their homeland and their possessions. In their determination to move on and make the best of what they were left with, they lost their past too. In an extreme endorsement of this easily verified fact, someone in Punta Arenas told me, “I really learnt a lot today. I never even knew that Mohenjo Daro was
in Sindh!”

Yet another thing that suffered a blow was the Sindhi brand identity. In new lands, and with the urgency of feeding their families, trading was a way to make a respectable living. Competing as they were with cartels entrenched for decades, and obliged to trade on lower margins to get a foot in the door, they were branded early on as ‘cheats’.

The early resentment in Bombay produced Bollywood caricatures of wealthy and villainous businessmen speaking in thick Sindhi accents, and widespread aphorisms of the “If you meet a Sindhi and a snake, whom should you kill first?”

In 1947, when the Hindus of Sindh dispersed and sought new homes, many settled in Bombay. However, an early foundation had been established for the diaspora by the pioneering Sindhi entrepreneurial community, the Bhaibands, who had their kothis in the Shahibazar locality of Hyderabad, Sindh. As mapped by Markovits, they had branches all over the world, particularly dense in South East Asia and Africa, and even South America. This gave a base to the displaced ones. Families sent their young sons out to these outposts. They worked hard, deprived themselves, sent money home, and (some sooner than others) started their own businesses which, over the years, grew and grew. Often enough, they were displaced yet again by global politics and economics. In the 1950s, events in Vietnam sent them out to Thailand and Laos. In the 1960s, their stronghold in Indonesia loosened and Hong Kong opened up. In the early 1970s, Africa became hostile. The story went on.

It was something that happened in Chile in the mid-1970s that took today’s Sindhi population there. A government leaning to Communism was violently overthrown by the military dictator Augusto Pinochet. The new government began to nurture the Chilean economy with policies formulated by a group of young US-educated economists wryly referred to as the Chicago Boys. One of the initiatives was the Iquique free trade zone. In came the Sindhis.

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Sindhi Language Authority (Sindhi Computing Deptt) presents – A dictionary of Print Technology

This dictionary was published in book form by Sindhi Language Authority, compiled by: Mr. Ameen Laghari. The basic motive of this dictionary is to deliver simple translation of Print Technology terms, day to day most used words and phrases as a helping tool to the Sindhi students of Mass Communications & Journalism.
Looking the importance of this helpful dictionary SLA has aimed to develop this App for students of Mass communications, journalism and also for professionals of related fields.
Main features:
• More than 4375 words, phrases and terms of Mass Communications.
• Simple and easy meaning of the words from English to Sindhi.
• Updated with current phrases of related technology
• Bookmarking and History of search facility for easily reach of recently checked words.
Technical Features:
• Quick search facility while you type.
• Developed on Updated programming and script.
• No need of internet, app will run offline after installation.
• App will not access your own personal data.
• Lightweight & user friendly
The dictionary is the helping tool of the students, teachers and communication related professionals in better understanding the phrases, words and traditional language of Mass Communications field.

Courtesy: Sindhi Language Authority
Read more » https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.sindhila.printtechnology

Sindhis of Kolkata – Sindhi spirit endures at Sindhi New Year

Sindhis bond over struggle and success Sindhi spirit endures

– Uprooted community celebrates new dawn, Scot discovers hometown roots at city cemetery

BY SUSHOVAN SIRCAR

If you are a Sindhi living in Calcutta, you have got to know Mohini Bhawnani.

In case you don’t, trust someone to tell you at your first Cheti Chand celebration in town how a spunky 14-year-old had fled Karachi alone aboard a ship in the blood-soaked summer of August 1947 to reach this city and go on to become the first woman engineer at Calcutta Telephones.

To the close-knit community of Sindhis, 82-year-old Bhawnani epitomises the spirit of survival that had brought the first batch of post-Partition migrants here more than six decades ago, scarred but not subdued.

This spirit was on show during an advance Sindhi New Year celebration last Sunday at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra when the elderly and young lined up to greet and shake hands with the still sprightly Bhawnani.

“You can say she is the living embodiment of the history of Sindhis in Calcutta,” said travel company owner Anil Punjabi, who was among those who sought Bhawnani’s blessings.

Cheti Chand, which falls on the second day of Chaitra, is on Tuesday but the community decided to have a get-together on a weekend so that everyone could attend the event. The turnout in excess of 10,000 included Sindhis who came from places like Raidighi and Kalyani.

The Sindhi New Year rituals invoke Ishtadev Uderolal, the presiding deity who is worshipped as Jhulelal and believed to have risen from the sea astride a giant fish. But Sunday’s was more than just a community coming together to celebrate a festival. To those who had risen from the horrors of Partition, the assembly of 10,000-odd Sindhis symbolised a triumph.

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