Tag Archives: cultural

Shades Of The Old Punjab – Across rural Punjab, Sikhs and Hindus are helping restore mosques destroyed during Partition

By Chander Suta Dogra

Around 200 mosques across Punjab have been repaired, rebuilt or built from scratch with the help of Sikhs and Hindus in the last 10 years. Many destroyed during Partition riots are now being restored by village communities. It’s a reassertion, after decades, of Punjab’s unique religious and cultural synthesis

Read more » OutLookIndia
http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?265962

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Who orchestrated the exodus of Sindhi Hindus after Partition?

By Haider Nizamani

Excerpts;

….. The lone source Ajmal sahib has cited is not a thoroughly researched book but a ‘polemical brochure’ written by the then-secretary of the Sindh Assembly Congress Party, PV Tahalramani, in November 1947 to persuade the Indian state to intervene in Sindh. Let’s look at the role the Sindhi leadership in the days immediately following Partition and compare it with the role of some key figures of the central government on the matter of anti-Hindu riots. Because of space constraints I will only briefly refer to the political leanings and the role of the Sindhi Hindu leadership of that time in facilitating the migration of Hindus from Sindh. The exodus of Hindus from Sindh cannot be seen in isolation from the influx of refugees in Sindh and the setting up of the central government of the newly-founded state of Pakistan in Karachi, Sindh.

Sindh’s governor, Francis Mundie, described Sindh in the days leading up to Partition as a place which “characteristically carries on almost as if nothing had happened or was about to happen”. It changed when, according to Hamida Khuhro, Karachi rapidly became “a vast refugee camp”, making Jinnah “extremely worried about the mass exchange of population which was taking place and the bloodshed that accompanied it…. In fact Jinnah told Ayub Khuhro, premier of Sindh, categorically that he expected to retain the minority communities in Pakistan. Khuhro fully agreed with Jinnah. Hindus, he felt, ‘were an essential part of the society and economy of the province’. The events took an ugly turn in Karachi and Hyderabad (where) the new arrivals were entering and occupying houses where the owners, particularly Hindus, were still living, and throwing out the owners”.

Congress leaders advised Hindus to leave Sindh which was viewed by the Sindhi Muslim leadership as a ploy to deprive Sindh of its merchants, bankers, and sanitation workers. According to Brown University’s associate professor of history Vazira Zamindar’s book The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia (Columbia University Press, 2007): Ayub Khuhro, the premier of Sindh, and other Sindhi leaders also attempted to retain Sindh’s minorities, for they also feared a loss of cultural identity with the Hindu exodus.” The Sindh government “attempted to use force to stem” the exodus “by passing the Sindh Maintenance of Public Safety Ordinance” in September 1947. On September 4, 1947 curfew had to be imposed in Nawabshah because of communal violence. It turned out that the policies of a local collector resulted in the exodus of a large Sikh community of Nawabshah to make room for an overflow of refugees from East Punjab. The Sindh government took stern action to suppress the violence.

The Sindh government set up a Peace Board comprising Hindu and Muslim members to maintain order in the troubled province. PV Tahilramani was secretary of the Peace Board. He is the one who rushed to Khuhro’s office on January 6, 1948, at around 11 am to inform the chief minister that the Sikhs in Guru Mandir areas of Karachi were being killed. According to Khuhro, senior bureaucrats and police officials were nowhere to be found and he rushed to the scene at around 12.30 pm where he saw “mobs of refugees armed with knives and sticks storming the temples”. Khuhro tried to stem the violence and Jinnah was pleased with his efforts.

The prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was angry with Khuhro when he went to see him on January 9 or 10. Liaquat said to Khuhro: “What sort of Muslim are you that you protect Hindus here when Muslims are being killed in India. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself!In the third week of January 1948, Liaquat Ali Khan said the Sindh government must move out of Karachi and told Khuhro to “go make your capital in Hyderabad or somewhere else”. Liaquat said this during a cabinet meeting while Jinnah quietly listened. The Sindh Assembly passed a resolution on February 10, 1948, against the Centre’s impending move to annex Karachi. The central government had already taken over the power to allotment houses in Karachi. Khuhro was forced to quit and Karachi was handed over to the Centre in April 1948.

The above facts made me write that the violence against Sindhi Hindus and their mass migration to India was a tragic loss scripted, orchestrated and implemented by non-Sindhis in Sindh. I will happily withdraw my claim when furnished with the evidence to the contrary.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/388663/who-orchestrated-the-exodus-of-sindhi-hindus-after-partition/

Pakistan’s super-elite cannot find a piano tuner

A requiem for music

By: F.S.Aijazuddin

WHAT was a Czech violinist Jaroslav Sveceny doing in Lahore recently?

Was he just another Raymond Davis-type of subversive, camouflaging his weaponry like an Italian mafia hit man in a violin case? Or was he something more sinister, a musical reactionary intent on disturbing our cultural complacency?

The moment Sveceny tucked his prized violin under his chin that evening and began playing, he reminded his audience (all graying and on the wrong side of 40) that he did not simply come from another country. He came from a different world, a world in which its citizens express themselves in sound, in colour and in musical notes. We in Pakistan by contrast are reconciled to thinking in silence. We view life in monochrome. We speak in a monotone. The only notes we recognise are bank notes.

It was not always like this. For thousands of years, we have laughed and sang and danced. One needs to remind oneself that the female figurine discovered at Mohenjodaro was a dancing girl, not some lacquered doll pouting on talk shows.

Continue reading Pakistan’s super-elite cannot find a piano tuner

Balochistan is an occupied land, Balochs don’t allow IPI on its soil – Hyrbyair Marri

The Baloch nation will not allow IPI gas pipeline to pass through Balochistan: Hyrbyair Marri

Excerpts;

….Mr Marri said “we would like to make it clear to all international companies that we consider Pakistan as an occupying state that is why until regaining their independence the Baloch will not accept any agreement made with Pakistan about the fate of Balochistan. Neither can the Baloch give any guarantee for the protection of anyone’s wealth in the occupied land of Balochistan that helps make Pakistan and Iran’s strategy stronger but weakens the Baloch liberation struggle.” However, after freedom the Baloch state, for the Baloch interest, will be willing to allow and guarantee all International Companies in a competitive environment to spend their wealth in Balochistan, he added.

Hyrbyair Marri said that Pakistan cannot hoist it’s flag in Balochistan and the so called national anthem of Pakistan is not played in schools, in these circumstances how Pakistan can guarantee the protection of the wealth of other countries. He has also categorically rejected Pakistan’s claim that Pakistani top officials had contacted the Baloch pro-freedom leaders to join the so called mainstream Pakistani politics. Mr Marri said “Our stance is crystal clear to the world and to the Baloch Nation that we have no historical, linguistic and cultural ties with this state [Pakistan]. We have not accepted this state since its coming into being, similarly the state by its violent actions have proved that Balochistan is an occupied territory.” ….

Read more » BALOCHWARNA

India is likely a dangerous place for women

Visualizing Violence Against Indian Women

By

(Via SepiaMutiny Newsfeed):  A Malayali civil engineer and  former software developer, Shemeer Padinzjharedil, came to a conclusion that many BPs have already done through deduction: India is likely a dangerous place for women relative to the Western world.  Inspired to debunk the results of a Thompson-Reuters poll of gender ‘experts’ perception of danger to women, where three of the five worst offenders were south asian countries, Shemeer thought the reported statistics would paint a different picture.  Given the survey  combined questions about statistics with reporting bias problems (sexual assault, trafficking, non-sexual assault) and factors (cultural and religious) for which one could combine statistics about which I would be more comfortable citing (maternal mortality, female literacy and other health stats), he faced a difficult task.  Given that the solid numbers are unambiguous, Shemeer decided against deconstructing this picture and sought, instead, to flesh it out with self-reporting by building a site where anyone can report violence: www.maps4aid.com  The site is in it’s infancy but you can already see some trends: centers of population and urbanized areas report the most violence regardless of the category.  A second site, blogs4aid, has handy bar graph breaking it out by state.  For 2010 you may find a few surprises:

Read more » Brown Pundits

‘Karachi Sindh Aahey’- (Karachi is an integral part and heart of Sindh)

People of Karachi and rest of Sindh meet at CHOKUNDEE to pledge preservation of Sindhi Heritage and welcome New Year!

Every year on 31st December, Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF) arrange DUYA/ Pirathna for the prosperity of Sindh and rest of the world and bid farewell to the last sunset of every year at some selected place of cultural and historic importance.

Today we are going to gather at one of Sindh’s greatest sign of cultural richness CHOKUNDEE graveyard Karachi. Please join us having candles and flowers to say good bye to the last sun of 2011 and pray for the prosperity of humanity and revival of peace and tranquility in Sindh, Pakistan and rest of the world.

Meeting time is 4.pm sharp and own Karachi, an integral part and heart of Sindh.

Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

By Declan Walsh

Even before you reach Pakistan there’s reason to fret. “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing shortly, inshallah,” says the Pakistan International Airlines pilot, 10 minutes outside Islamabad. To the western ear this ancient invocation – literally “God willing” – can be disconcerting: you pray the crew are relying on more than divine providence to set down safety. But these days it’s about right – Pakistan, a country buffeted by mysterious if not entirely holy forces, seems to have surrendered to its fate.

Viewed from the outside, Pakistan looms as the Fukushima of fundamentalism: a volatile, treacherous place filled with frothing Islamists and double-dealing generals, leaking plutonium-grade terrorist trouble. Forget the “world’s most dangerous country” moniker, by now old hat. Look to recent coverage: “Hornet’s Nest” declares this week’s Economist; “The Ally from Hell” proclaims the Atlantic.

Continue reading Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

Beyond Borders, a journey of friendship between India and Pakistan by Shariq Ali

The village was small and the entire community was tied together like a family, with common cultural values and traditions evolved over hundreds, if not thousands of years. They were farmers and knew very well as to how to work in the fields and love and sing together, but had poor understanding of the political realities of their times.

One day, they saw the sunset as one community but at the dawn, realized that the village is divided by an invisible line created not by Hindus and Muslims, but by few British advisors called Radcliffe commission. And so was the territory of 88 million people of the subcontinent. ….

Read more » ValueVersity

Join Tri-State (NY, NJ and CT) Sindhi Community in celebrating International Sindhi Cultural & Solidarity Day

Join Tri-State (NY, NJ and CT) Sindhi Community in celebrating International Sindhi Cultural & Solidarity Day

Venue: Kabab King Mehal, 495 Hempstead Turnpike, West Hempstead, NY 11552. Date: Saturday November 26th, 2011 , Time:7:00 pm

Wear Sindhi Ajrak and Topi and Join millions of Sindhis all over the world in celebrating their culture, language and heritage. Sindhi people cherish their Universalist peace cultural practices. This event is open to all ages. Event includes food, music concert and cultural demonstrations.

Another Pakistan

Pakistan Aslant: the two-hour version

by Chris Lydon

We’ve just put the finishing touches on a two-hour distillation of our long-running series of late summer and early fall, “Another Pakistan.”

The first hour explores the living history and swirling, murky present of “the country that could kill the world …” In the second, I’m probing the “Roots of Resilience,” the vital cultural and intellectual currents that we don’t hear about in the standard coverage, but that still run strong under the fractured state.

There’s nearly a month’s worth of strong conversation here illuminating for me the judgment that (1) Pakistan is not about to destroy itself, much less go away and (2) that Pakistan’s mutually-abusive marriage with the United States is not about to end, either. When our Pentagon accuses the Pakistan’s army intelligence of targeting American troops, and when Secretary of State Clinton is openly torn between war and peace initiatives in the tribal areas, count on it that the contradictions of the Pakistan story are with us for a while. But what’s the history unfolding here? How did it come to this? What do Pakistanis say?

So here is a start at the answers to these questions, gleanings from the artists, writers and thinkers who so often point the way through confusing and disturbing times.

Read more » Radio Open Source

Kashmir: A troubled paradise

– As a child growing up after India’s partition, Kashmir to me was always a part of India. Only in middle school did I begin to realize that it was considered “disputed territory” by much of the world, the sentiment being especially fierce in neighboring Pakistan. The map of India that we studied in school showed Indian Kashmir as a larger territory than what was actually under Indian control. Parts of it in the north and the west were in reality, within China and Pakistan. The scenic northernmost state, a popular destination for summer tourism and the backdrop of many a puerile romantic song & dance number of made-in-Bombay movies, was not a very urgent topic of discussion for the general Indian public. Kashmir for most Indians, evoked benign, pretty images of apple, apricot and walnut orchards, chinar trees, shimmering lakes, snow capped mountains, houseboats, fine pashmina shawls, lacquered papier mache ornaments and the valley’s light skinned aloof inhabitants.

Later in my teen years I began to understand that Kashmir was not the placid paradise we had imagined as children. Its politics were complicated and its population sharply divided on the state’s rightful status – part of India, part of Pakistan or a wholly independent/ autonomous entity. The difference of opinion fell across religious lines. Kashmiri Hindus wished to remain with India and the majority Muslim population of the state did not. Even then, things were mostly quiet and free of turmoil. There were quite a few Kashmiri students in my school. Many had ancestral homes and relatives in Kashmir and they visited there regularly during summer breaks. Those friends were all Hindus. Come to think of it, I did not know a single Kashmiri Muslim on a personal level until I was in college. There were Muslim traders and merchants who came down to major Indian cities bearing expensive and much coveted Kashmiri merchandise such as saffron, dried fruit, nuts and embroidered woollens, but they did not reside in the plains permanently and their children did not attend our schools. The first Kashmiri Muslim I came to know well was Agha Shahid Ali, a graduate student a few years ahead of me in Delhi University who later became a lecturer of English at my college as also a poet of some renown. It was Ali who first revealed to me that most Kashmiri Muslims did not identify themselves as Indians and many felt a greater emotional and cultural allegiance with Pakistan. An equal number wanted an autonomous state with a very loose federation with India for economic reasons. The Indian government spent large sums of money to subsidize the state’s economy and prohibited non-Kashmiris from buying land there while also meddling in local politics. Kashmiris became increasingly suspicious of the central government’s motives and the rift with India widened both politically and culturally.

Despite tensions and uncertainties, Kashmir never experienced the sectarian violence that had racked the eastern and western wings of India around partition time. Even when India and Pakistan fought several wars over their disagreement surrounding the region, Kashmir itself remained relatively free of communal strife for many decades after India’s independence. The uneasy calm ended in the late 1980s and early ’90s when the Kashmir valley became a battle ground for armed insurgents trained in Pakistan and the Indian military forces. The conflict caused a communal rift among long time residents and resulted in a mass exodus (some say expulsion) of Kashmiri Hindus from their homes. Those tensions remain to this day laced with bitterness on both sides.

I had never visited Kashmir when I lived in India. By the time the political upheaval unfolded in the 1990s, I had already left and had been living abroad for a decade. Kashmir’s troubles and deteriorating political situation were not something I paid close attention to until the Kargil War erupted in 1999. It became clear then that Kashmir had become an intractable problem for India. I am still not sure how I feel about the situation. What can India gain by holding on to a territory whose residents do not want to be a part of India? Can India protect regions like Ladakh and Jammu in the vicinity which identify firmly with the rest of India? What would happen if India does decide to vacate the valley and stops spending money to placate the population and maintain the large presence of its armed forces? Would Kashmir valley remain “independent” or will some other country like China or Pakistan march in and establish control even closer to other Indian states? How does one balance the interests of Kashmiris and the rest of India? Is peace ever possible when the citizenry perceives the government as an “occupying force?” Most confusing of all, will Kashmiri Hindus be permitted go back to the homes they abandoned out of fear and panic? And even if it was possible, would they ever want to return to a place that had cut all ties to India? ….

Read more → Accidental Blogger

We are living in a Taliban state – by Nayyer Khan

The ‘forced fasting’ of Zia’s time, like many other such laws, was never reversed by the PPP despite its third time in power. The reason could be that during Zia’s years, the fundamentalists became so powerful that they were now the masters of the country’s fate

Recently, a police SHO barged into Nairang Gallery located on Jail Road, Lahore, which is an art gallery-cum-rendezvous spot for the city’s social and cultural elite, intelligentsia and artistic and bohemian classes, and harassed the staff as well as visitors and customers present for violating the ‘holiness’ of Ramzan. According to him, food and beverages were being served there during fasting hours. He also objected to the attire of the female staff and customers there, calling it revealing and thus un-Islamic, and against the sacredness of Ramzan. He did not like both genders mixing freely either. He misbehaved with and even manhandled the female curator of the gallery. This incident has stirred a wave of condemnation and protest from civil society and the cultured classes.

This kind of forced ‘sanctification’ of Ramzan is a routine matter in small cities and towns in Pakistan. Such highhandedness by the authorities in small places is seldom reported in the media. For instance, the following incident, which, somehow, did get reported in a leading daily may give a faint idea as to what kind of thrusting of one’s values on others is prevalent in our society.

On September 16, 2009, during the month of Ramzan, about two dozen people were made to parade semi-naked in a market place in Mianwali, with their hands tied by the clothes stripped off their bodies, on the orders of a deputy district officer before they were put into the lockup. The guilt of those subjected to this humiliation was that they were caught sipping tea at some tea stalls at the railway station and bus stands during fasting timings.

This act of disgracing human beings reminds one of the black days of General Zia when ‘Ramzan violators’ were given similar treatment by the authorities, by painting their faces black or shaving their heads in public. But the irony of the matter is that this practice continues even during the government of a supposedly secular and moderate political party. However, with events like the one that took place in Mianwali, one fails to find the difference between the present regime and that of Zia.

According to the present laws, the administration grants special permission to some eateries to serve food and tea to patients, travellers, etc, during the fast. The above action against alleged Ramzan violators by the local administration of Mianwali raises two questions. First, how did the police establish that the alleged Ramzan violators were not patients or travellers? Second, how would a patient or a traveller know that the eatery serving food and beverages during fasting timings does not have such permission from the administration? Obviously, a customer would presume that such an eatery has permission. He would not demand to see the license first before ordering any eatables. The customer could be an uneducated person who may not even be able to read such a paper issued by the administration to the eatery. Then why were those citizens of Pakistan punished by the authorities?

Before the black year of 1977 — when Zia took over Pakistan — all restaurants here served food and beverages during fasting hours in Ramzan. The only difference was that during Ramzan, the doors and windows of the eateries were covered with thick curtains so that those who were fasting and passing by the restaurant were not tempted by the eating and drinking activities going on inside the eatery.

Since the inception of Pakistan till the government of the PPP before Zia’s coup, the above-mentioned norm remained in practice. After the PPP’s regaining of power in 1988, many draconian laws and practices from Zia’s regime were undone. Unfortunately, however, the ‘forced fasting’ of Zia’s time, like many other such laws, was never reversed by the PPP despite its third time in power. The reason could be that during Zia’s years, the fundamentalists became so powerful that they were now the masters of the country’s fate.

In any civilised society, it is considered an individual’s prerogative to follow a certain religious practice or not. Many people in the cities of Pakistan live forced bachelor lives away from their native towns. Even living in their home towns, many people have their work places situated far away from their homes. The only source of food and beverage for such people is the eateries. Many from amongst them suffer various medical conditions that force them to eat and drink regularly. For instance, a diabetic person has to eat at regular intervals to maintain his blood sugar level. A kidney patient has to take a lot of liquids to flush his kidneys. A person suffering from low blood pressure can faint without sufficient salt intake. There are so many other instances where the old, sick and weak have to indulge in a normal food and beverage intake to live. Where would such people go if they are not even allowed to drink water outside their homes? Thirst and hunger can be felt at any time whether one is in the concealment of a house or moving out in the open.

If fasting is a religious duty then so is offering prayers. In the ‘model’ police state of Saudi Arabia, clergymen called mutawas go about the streets and market places with sticks in their hands during prayer times and harass and even beat up people to join prayer offerings in the nearby mosque. Why is Pakistan this one step behind Saudi Arabia? If laws here force people to follow one religious duty, why do they not make them follow the other one too?

What is a Taliban mindset? It is to impose one’s religious values on others. The laws of Pakistan overlap with Taliban laws. Let us admit that we are living in a semi-Taliban state, which may become a full Taliban state one day.

Courtesy: → Daily Times

Save Pakistan or Taliban?

By: Former Senator Iqbal Haider

Excerpt;

…. The term “Taliban” being used here is inclusive of all their factions, groups of al-Qaeda and all the extremists, militant religious or Jihadi forces under whatever name or banner. In my view they are all the same. They all indulge in terrorism. They all have the common object of taking over state of Pakistan through terrorist activities. They all denounce other sects of Muslims as “Kafir, Wajibul Qatal”. Their different names with any prefix or suffix of Lashkar, Sipah, Jihadi or Tableeghi etc., do not matter.

Now that the same suggestion is being actively pleaded, the supporters of this suggestion must answer the most pertinent questions. First are Taliban willing to hold negotiations? I find no credible evidence to this effect. Secondly, why none of the pleader ever demands cessation of terrorist activities in Pakistan by Taliban as a condition precedent to negotiations? Thirdly, what would be the agenda of negotiations? Suppose if Taliban agree to hold dialogue, will they agree to abandon and denounce (a) terrorism; (b) their peculiar believes in the name of Islam and the policies that were followed by Mulla Omer in Afghanistan? Will the Taliban allow education to women, music, films, video shops, barbershops, television, photography, sportsmen wearing shorts, judiciary, democracy and democratic institutions such as are in Pakistan? Will the Taliban respect the historic monuments, places of worship and rights of the minorities without any discrimination and forcing them to wear any kind of mark of distinction? Will the Taliban respect all other sects of Muslims and allow them to freely practice all their religious rites and ceremonies without being branded as “Kafir” or “Wajibul Qatal”.

It is not expected of the Taliban to give answers in affirmative to these questions. Then the question arises that on what basis the negotiations are expected to be concluded? Are the advocates of this suggestion on the other hand willing to adopt the peculiar religious believes, policies, norms and practices of Taliban, which were in vogue under the rule of Mullah Omer? Is it possible to spell out the meeting points of negotiation with Taliban without subjecting the people of Pakistan of the beliefs and policies of a negligible number of Taliban in Pakistan.

There are no two opinions that Pakistan is at war with Taliban from within. The worst and longest war causing unprecedented and incalculable devastation in Pakistan. Never before our law enforcement agencies particularly our arm forces, paramilitary forces, police etc., had to sacrifice thousands of the lives of their officers and soldiers at the hand of Taliban. Never before so many thousands of innocent citizens became victim of the attacks unleashed by Taliban. Never before sense of insecurity of the life and property of the citizen as well as of the integrity of our country loomed so large. Never before Pakistan suffered such immense destruction of our economy, political, social, cultural life and sports.

Pakistan is facing the worst challenges from three fronts. Firstly the US and Nato countries are emphasizing that their war is against al-Qaeda. They are drawing a naive, illogical and untenable distinction between al-Qaeda and Taliban. Meaning thereby that their war against terrorism is confined against al-Qaeda only. As far as Taliban are concerned, is the headache of Pakistan mainly. The US is eager to strike a deal with Taliban through negotiations. ….

It is crystal clear that Pakistan and Taliban cannot coexist. If the Taliban are allowed to survive and increase their hold in Pakistan, it would amount to negation of Pakistan and negation of Quaid-e-Azam’s dreams, vision, philosophy and commitments as well as the objects and purposes for which Pakistan was created. Hence, we have no option but to cleanse Pakistan of all the Taliban groups, extremist obscurantist religious forces and all kinds of terrorists, so that Pakistan can be made a non-violent, peaceful, moderate, tolerant, progressive and modern state.

The writer is Senior Advocate Supreme Court, former Senator, Attorney General & Federal Minister for Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs & Human Rights

To read complete article → THE NEWS

“Cultural Terrorism” in Pakistan

By Omar

Pakistani Islamist Groups Call Pro-LGBT Event “Cultural Terrorism” | Care2 Causes.

More interesting than the small-scale event is the deliberate announcement of the same by the embassy. This, along with today’s “leak” that the US knows that the ISI killed Saleem Shahzad (an accusation almost universally believed in Pakistan’ s journalist community in any case) may indicate that the US (which taught these “skills” to the ISI in the first place) is ready for some aggressive psyops in this “transactional relationship”. …

Read more → BrownPundits

SANA’s 27th annual convention begins in St. Louis, USA

St. Louis: Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) is a symbol of peace, brotherhood, love & unity. It is a platform where cultural ideas meet practice. SANA is holding its 27th Annual Convention in Saint Louis, Missouri from July 1-4. We will have two nights of Sindhi music at the Convention. We have invited best artists from Sindh.

The venue and the room reservation: The venue of the Convention is ST. LOUIS AIRPORT MARRIOTT, 10700 Pear Tree Lane · St. Louis, USA.

SINDH & SINDHIS – CRISIS IN ISLAMIC WORLD

London – The World Sindhi Congress AGM and International Conference “SINDH & SINDHIS – CRISIS THE ISLAMIC WORLD” was held in Sindh House & Conway Hall, London, on 18th – 19th June 2011. The conference was held in the background of increasing conflict, violence, bloodshed and unnecessary loss of innocent lives. The world is going through a historic change, and there is an unprecedented ‘Crisis in the Islamic World’ partly because of the misunderstanding and religious & cultural difference and partly because of the slowness in adapting the change and progression. As a result we are witnessing war in Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and not to mention Bahrain, Indonesia, Philipines, Nigeria, Sudan, India, Afghanistan & Pakistan.

The delegates discussed the ongoing issue of ‘Kala Bagh Dam’ resulting from the intransigence and arrogance of Punjab, violating all the treaties and accords, along with other important issues of economic collapse, unemployment, settlement of illegal immigrants, military colonisation and victimisation of Sindhis by the security forces.

Continue reading SINDH & SINDHIS – CRISIS IN ISLAMIC WORLD

From Hindi to Urdu – Language can unite

– Language can unite – by Zubeida Mustafa

MORE than six decades after Partition, India and Pakistan continue to be locked in disputes which even take them to the brink of war.

It is difficult to believe that people who had lived side by side for centuries now refuse to recognise the commonalities in their culture and languages. Against this backdrop comes a breath of fresh air in the form of a new book that focuses on social harmony rather than cultural discord.

Dr Tariq Rahman, a professor of sociolinguistic history at the Quaid-i-Azam University, has published his 11th book titled From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History (OUP) that should make many scholars sit up. Some have already challenged his findings. …

Read more: DAWN.COM

G. M. Syed’s Birth Day in Jail, Living With Enemies, Palijo’s Ideology, Life in Jail

Notes From My Memory, Part VIII: G. M. Laghari, Syed’s Birth Day in Jail, Living With Enemies, Palijo’s Ideology, Life in Jail

By Mir Thebo

Excerpt:

…. Living with ideological enemies: It is very difficult to live with an ideological enemy in one compound especially when there is just no way to avoid or escape him. And what do you do if that ‘ideological enemy’ is Rasool Bux Palijo who is always eager to pinch you with sharp and dreadful remarks? When we were in jail together (1968), as I mentioned in my previous note, R. B. Palijo came with the idea on 17th January to celebrate G. M. Syed’s Birth Day! I thought it was his ploy to criticize and condemn us [Communist Party (CP)] on the national question. Palijo arranged a birthday cake and some refreshments for the day. We all sat together including two muhajir comrades and paid rich tributes to Saaeen G. M. Syed.

When my turn came to speak, I compared Syed with other historical personalities like Dr. Sun Yat Sen, (Chinese nationalist leader, who played a great role in 1911 Chinese nationalist revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty in China), Jawahar Lal Nehru and Khan Ghaffar Khan. When Palijo’s turn came, he brutally attacked my comparison of Syed with those leaders and said, ‘Syed is far above than these leaders. Mir has tried to minimize G. M. Syed’s stature and his role.’ In rhetorical manner, he continued: ‘G. M. Syed is equivalent to Marx, Lenin and Mao’. He said: ‘these people don’t know how great G. M. Syed is’. I was flabbergasted by Palijo’s remarks. We knew how Palijo used Syed’s personality for his own narrow political interests. He himself knew very well the place of Syed. But, alas, that has been Palijo’s style all along.

R. B. Palijo’s political ideology: For political purposes, Palijo used Mao Tse-Tung whose little red book was

compulsory for every Chinese to carry during the cultural revolution (1966 to 1976) otherwise one will be labeled as counter revolutionary or an agent of the enemy. Thousands of people were persecuted especially the writers, intellectuals and middle class people. They were ruthlessly taken from their homes in the cities and were uprooted and sent to far-flung rural areas. They were humiliated under the guidance of the so-called vigilant party committees and people were forced to confess that they were anti-party and reactionary to bring them to shame in the public. Same thing was practiced in the Soviet Union during the Stalin period. They called it ‘The Great Purge’ to purify the party and the society.

Palijo found it easy to convince his workers through this sacred red book that all are enemies except his party people and that he can expel any leader or worker in the name of the great cause or the party. The same practice was common in our party too. It was actually a common practice in 3rd. world countries. Therefore almost all parties were divided in many groups and during that period Euro Communism emerged. The Western European parties denounced the Soviet system of one party rule and the dictatorship of the proletariat and the concept of democratic socialism and multi-party system emerged. New ideas emerged in 1980s in the Soviet Union too. They were called Glasnost and Perestroika (openness and restructuring) and M. Gorbachev declared a famous quote for the liberals that ‘Man is above the Ideology, the ideology is not above the man’. Those who are still Marxists and glorify the former USSR, consider Gorbachev the traitor and the one who brought down the grand empire of the UNION OF THE SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC.

Palijo brought Mao’s thoughts to his workers and Sindhi peasants and mixed it with Sindhi nationalism and formulated the idea of a Chinese model revolution in Sindh and repeatedly told his innocent workers the famous quote of Mao that “all political power comes from the barrel of the gun”. But Mao’s revolution was typical Chinese revolution. Mao didn’t copy the Russian model and he was against Russia. Both the communist powers even went to a war in 1969 over some piece of land along one of the longest international borders between the two countries although they both believed in the ideology that in future states will wither away and only universal communism will prevail. More funny thing is that it was America, the big capitalist enemy, who stopped Russians from attacking Chinese nuclear installations and Russians backed off (US journalist Harrison Salisbury reported that Soviet sources implied a possible first strike against the Lop Nur basin nuclear test site; and military documents of the time indicate that the USSR had more nuclear-attack plans against China than against the US. The United States warned the USSR against launching a nuclear strike against China. WIKI). Mao didn’t use even Marx very much. He brought the revolution in his own way as he convinced Chinese people how to fulfill difficult task through this old Chinese saying, ‘The foolish old man who moves the mountain’. ….

To read complete article: Indus Herald

Problems of Sindhi Nationalism – What way forward?

Written by Dr Beenish Shoro

Excerpt:

…. In Pakistan the national question exists in its worst form because Pakistan itself is an example of a failed nation state. Pakistan was created as a result of the partition of the Indian subcontinent as the British imperialists and the local/national bourgeois leaders feared that a united national liberation would not stop there but would move towards a social transformation that would overthrow landlordism, capitalism and the imperialist strangle hold. To avoid a socialist revolution they conspired and split the movement along religious lines that led to the reactionary and traumatic partition of a land that had more than five thousand years of common history, cultural and socio economic existence.

Pakistan was founded not as a nation state, but as a state made up of nationalities. Even the abbreviations which form the word Pakistan are a testimony to this fact. This corresponds to its belated character. … National oppression has been brutal and rough ever since the country came into being. ….

….the separation of Bangladesh, the inability to resolve regional and sectarian disputes, the inability to sustain a clear concept and direction to Pakistan’s Nationalism and finally failure to create a modern cohesive nation state.

Pakistan’s political system is dominated by elite groups. In addition it faces the dilemma of chronic military rule. ….

….Sindh, the southern most province of the state possesses one of the most varied demographical set-ups in Pakistan. There is a very fragile ethnic balance between Sindhis and non-Sindhis. After partition many of the immigrants from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in India moved mainly to Karachi, but also to Hyderabad, Sukkur and other cities of Sindh.

This massive influx of Mohajirs from India and other nationalities resulted in a greater control of people from this transmigration over the economy, jobs and posts in the state apparatus. Although this phenomenon had a greater impact on urban Sindh, the deprivation was felt also in rural Sindh especially amongst the Sindhi middle classes. The acquisition of State and other lands by Punjab Generals and other settlers further aggravated this feeling of national deprivation amongst the Sindhi populace. There are several other factors which fuelled these sentiments. ….

….At the heart of nationalist sentiments in Pakistan is the perception by non-Punjabis that the Punjabi nationality dominates the economy, politics, society and the state. There is considerable evidence to support this perception. First, Punjabis constitute a majority of the population, approximately 60%; second, they dominate the civilian bureaucracy and the military; third, the Punjab is by far the wealthiest and most developed province in the state. And this perception is ironically fuelled by governmental policies designed to assuage such perceptions. ….

…. G. M. Syed can rightly be considered as the founder of Sindhi nationalism. He formed the Sindh Progressive Party in 1947 and demanded provincial autonomy within a socialist framework. In 1953 he formed the SindhAwami Mahaz. G. M. Syed himself a middle sized landlord represented the grievances of that class as well. …

… There have been several movements in Sindh over the last 60 years but there are three very significant mass upsurges that shook the echelons of power in Islamabad. These are the movements of 1968-69, 1983 and to some extent that of 1986. All these movements had different intensities, character, orientation and motivations. …

Zia was the son of a Mullah who had migrated from Eastern (Indian) Punjab and was American-trained at Fort Bragg. His atrocities, his make up and his background were enough to provoke massive hatred from the masses in Sindh. Zia’s repression of the Sindh was no less than the brutalities of British colonialists inflicted upon the mass of the subcontinent and other colonies. All this unleashed a glorious movement of the Sindhi masses against the military dictatorship. Although this movement had significant nationalist overtones, fundamentally it was linked to the general class resentment against this regime.

The movement failed because the regime was able to foster ethnic and nationalist discord especially in urban Sindh and in other main cities and provinces of Pakistan. In Karachi the Pakistani state devised the instrument of the MQM, the Punjabi Pushtoon Ittehad, Islamic fundamentalists and other reactionary outfits to break the momentum of struggle that was developing along class lines.

Still the movement raged on. In such circumstances whenever national antagonisms coincided with class contradictions they became especially hot. According to the official figures 1263 innocent people were slaughtered by the army in rural Sindh while thousands more were injured. There are heroic episodes of resistance that have now become legends in Sindhi folklore. …

… In 1986 the movement in Sindh was actually the last nail in Zia’s coffin. …

… If we in Sindh should achieve “freedom” through the same phenomenon as in Bangladesh we may well get freedom from non-Sindhi capitalists, but we will be all the more cruelly exploited by Sindhi capitalists and landlords. These nationalists do not want freedom from poverty, misery, unemployment; they just want freedom to establish control over their own market where they could extract a huge surplus by squeezing the last drop of the workers’ blood.

The feudal landlords want freedom to exploit the peasants and working class …

… We will take revenge for the crime of partition of India through the formation of a Red Revolutionary Subcontinent. As Comrade Lal khan says, “The unification of the Indian subcontinent will be on a much higher plane than the 1947 Partition.” …

To read full article :→ Marxist.com

Let us strengthen Pakistan

Let us Unite to Uphold 18th Amendment including Devolution of HEC

By Khalid Hashmani

As more and more information comes out in the waning days of Higher Education Commission (HEC), most Sindhis are shocked to know that out of ten thousands (10,000) foreign and domestic scholarships that have been distributed by HEC so far, Sindh received only 892 (http://ejang.jang.com.pk/4-7-2011/Karachi/pic.asp?picname=99.gif). This amounts to about one third of the number that Sindh would have received even if the NFC award rules were applied. There is no province/ state or ethnic group anywhere in the world that has suffered as much as Sindhis have when it comes to scholarship opportunities in Pakistan. Instead of defending an institution that has denied Sindhis their due share in educational opportunities for so many years, we should be demanding trial of those officials who were responsible for denying Sindh its due share in scholarships. It is doubtful that an agency of such dreadful performance should even be given a role of standard setting and quality assurance. The Government of Pakistan should seriously consider creating a new agency with proper representation from each province/ state to oversee the jurisdictions that 18th Amendment allows at the federal level.

Continue reading Let us strengthen Pakistan

States formed on the basis of religion can never survive a peaceful future (Bertrand Russell) e.g; Pakistan and Israel!

Pakistan’s identity war — II

By Saleem H Ali

What does it mean to be an Islamic state? Was there ever such an entity? Can modernity, as it pertains to developing a functional society in a globalised world, be realised within the context of a theocracy? These are fundamental questions which Pakistanis need to resolve, within this generation, in order for Pakistan to develop and reach its potential.

Pakistan shares the distinction, along with Israel, as being one of only two states to have been crafted, in the post-colonial worlds, on the basis of religion. In both cases enormous migrations were involved with questionable legitimacy for the migrants. The ‘muhajir’ identity continues to be perpetuated, as such, on this basis. The creation of both Israel and Pakistan present a perplexing paradox: Created on the basis of religion, their champions were largely secular individuals. The founders of Zionism as a political force, such as Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, were secular. So too were Pakistan’s founders, most notably the Quaid-i-Azam. I would argue that Ben Gurion and Jinnah made a dangerous bargain when it came to conflating cultural identity on the basis of religious adherence.

Pakistan and Israel — two states which don’t recognise each other diplomatically — are facing a similar radicalisation because of that initial crisis of identity which was never fully resolved. Theocratic forces are gaining power in both countries. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

WSC participated in The 16th Session of UNHRC to inform about the worsening human rights situation in Sindh

London, UK, 19 march 2011: Press Release – A delegation of World Sindhi Congress (WSC) comprising of Dr Hidayat Bhutto and Dr Lakhu Luhano participated in the 16th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. WSC delegation made statements at events organised by Interfaith International and RADDHO (Rencontre Africcaine Pour La Defense des Droits de L’Homme).

The delegation also met with numerous ECOSOC NGOs, human rights defenders from South Asia region and from nations oppressed by Pakistan and with the office of UN’s Special Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. In these meetings, the delegation had detailed discussions about the worsening situation of human rights for people of Sindh.

In his statement, Dr Hidayat Bhutto presented detailed views about the worsening human rights situation in Sindh. He mentioned the recent killings of Sindhi political leaders Zulfiqar Kolachi, Yonus Khaskheley and Haji Khan Noonari. He said that the disappearances of political activists continue to occur in Sindh where currently 39 Sindhi people are missing believed to be kidnapped by the agencies. He informed the international community about the second-time disappearance of one of the most prominent Sindhi leader, Muzaffar Bhutto, in daylight by the agencies. He requested the UN and the international community to press upon the agencies for the release of all kidnapped Sindhi and Baloch people. Dr Bhutto mentioned that the agencies are illegally settling people from Punjab and Pakhtunkhwa to colonise Sindh and enhance religious extremism. He detailed how Sindhi people are being systematically denied their social, cultural, political, educational and lingual rights by the Pakistani establishment. He said that the international community to be aware of these issues and requested to support people of Sindh in their struggle for their genuine historical and human rights including right to self-determination.

Dr Lakhu Luhano in his statement said that the Pakistani state is practicing a systematic policy of fanning, patronising, training and funding the violent religious extremism not only for their regional strategic extension but also to suppers, subjugate and colonise Sindhi and Baloch people. This policy has huge and serious implications for regional and global security and peace and for viability and continuance of tolerant Sindhi nation and society. He requested the international community for an immediate, effective and urgent action before it becomes too late. He warned the price for the entire humankind of the spread of this disaster would be unimaginable.

The other delegates at the events extended their support to Sindhi people in their struggle for their human rights including right to self-determination.

The People’s Nauroz

An ancient festival that has the power to heal

by Rafi Ullah

21 of March is the day of Nauroz, a cultural festival spreading over a wide geographical as well as cultural area. It is celebrated in different parts of the world as the beginning of a new year as well as a spring festival.

When a culture’s facts get diffused and are incorporated into others, a vast new cultural area emerges. The more extensive the communication between peoples, the more substantial this development will be. And all this might have happened to Nauroz, especially during the Achaemenid era, in which a lot of religio-cultural syncretism took place over a large geographical area. …

Read more : The Friday Times

Sindhi opera

Sindhi opera Ranni Kot Ja Dharrail enthrals audience

By Sohail Sangi

HYDERABAD: Ranni Kot Ja Dharrail (Dacoits of Ranni Kot), an opera concert at the Mumtaz Mirza Auditorium of Sindh Museum proved to be an event of the season in the cultural capital of Sindh, Hyderabad, as a team of artistes filled the air and many believed that Shaikh Ayaz, the great Sindhi poet and versatile literary figure, was reborn.

This was part of events of festival organised to mark the 88th birth anniversary of Shaikh Ayaz.

A Sindhi private channel and the Sindh culture department organised the concert on Tuesday night. A number of people from various walks of life including writers, intellectuals, activists, women, art lovers and students attended the event. …

Read more : DAWN

Toledo-Hyderabad Sister City

The Honorable Michael. P. Bell, Mayor of Toledo, Ohio; Toledo Sister City International Organization and Toledo-Hyderabad Sister City Committee to celebrate the auspicious occasion of the signing of a Sister City agreement between the two great cities, Toledo, Ohio and Hyderabad, Sindh.

Sister City relationships involve cultural, economic, and educational partnerships. Members of the delegation from Hyderabad want to invest in medicine, alternative energy, media, and other industries in Toledo.

Read more : Toledo

Pakistan : Not revolution but anarchy

– Not revolution but anarchy

by Waseem Altaf

Revolution refers to drastic change in thinking and behaving in the cultural, economic and socio-political context.

Socio-economic deprivation or gross disparity or conflict of interest among competing groups causes frustration which leads to aggression. The aggression so caused is channelized by leaders who symbolize an ideology. A critical mass of the population is necessary who are supportive of this ideology.

Today people in Pakistan are frustrated. This has caused aggression. The manifestations of this aggression are visible everywhere. The irritability of the common men, show of force and inflammatory speeches in public rallies, ever increasing crime rate, intolerance and impatience are all indicative of this aggression. However there is no such leader who has an ideology and who enjoys the support of a critical mass of the population which can bring about a revolution in this country. Hence the thought of revolution becomes even more irrelevant in a country where there are so many ethnic, social, political and religious divides with no leader enjoying mass support at the national level.

However this country is fast drifting towards a change. Let us see what the present state of the nation is:

Today it is not the government, the parliament, the media, the judiciary or even the army which calls the shots but the firebrand mullah in the streets who determines the tone and tenor of the statements and initiatives emanating from all the so called pillars of the State. Sherry Rahman has withdrawn the blasphemy bill, informed the Prime Minister on Wednesday 2nd of Feb. Sitting ministers either support the stance taken by the mullah or remain silent. While it is Mumtaz Qadri versus the State, the case has been shifted to Adiala jail for proceedings as the State does not feel secure in an open court in Islamabad. Last time the public prosecutor could not attend the court as the jail premises was thronged by Sunni Tehrik supporters of Mumtaz Qadri.Today the conduct of the Parliament is determined by the mullah as in the Senate, it was not allowed to say fateha for Salman Taseer in response to a resolution moved by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar. Even the liberal MQM members refused and not a single member of PPP rose to support the resolution. …

Read more : View Point

Bhit Shah

Sindh for grant of visas to Indian intellectuals

Karachi – Sindh Culture Minister Sassui Palijo said on Sunday that she had approached Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi for issuing visas to the poets, writers and intellectuals from India and other South Asian countries who wanted to participate in the 267th annual Urs of Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

She said a similar facility was granted to the participants of the recently held International Urdu Conference.

Ms Palijo said this during a meeting of officials of her department to review the arrangements of the annual Urs.

She said her department would erect a monument of Shah Abdul Latif at Sea

View in Karachi, while a cultural village would be set up at Bhit Shah on the occasion of the Urs. “A round-the-clock Sufi Mehfil will also be organised.”

Secretary Culture Ilmuddin Bulo apprised the minister of arrangements, including face-lifting of the historical Karrar lake, setting up of 12 different entrance points and security arrangements. …

Read more : The News

Current wave of extremism in Pakistan

Statistical ambiguity society

Just how some recent events of our surface politics offer an interesting study of the deep politics

By Dr Ahsan Wagha

It started with the worst ideological polarisation promoted by the military generals in the 1970s when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was forced to invite Saudi ambassador Riaz Al-Khatib to mediate between him and the opposition, a practice that was reverberated during the Musharraf-Nawaz conflict and has almost culminated into becoming one of the basic features of our foreign policy. The phenomenon can be investigated in the background of the history of Arab colonisation of this region.

Continue reading Current wave of extremism in Pakistan

New opportunity and old challenges — Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi

The threats to the Pakistani state include socio-cultural intolerance, religious extremism and the use of violence to pursue self-articulated narrow ideological agendas. If these negative trends are coupled with a faltering economy, there is little hope for a stable, democratic Pakistan. …

Read more : Daily Times