Tag Archives: Gujarat

Sindhi Hindus in Gujarat

By Khaled Ahmed

Hindus were driven out of Sindh after 1947. They went to the neighbouring Indian state of Gujarat but were not accepted there by the local Hindu communities. Shockingly, these very Hindus, partly to be accepted as true Hindus, participated in the anti-Muslim violence in Godhra in Gujarat in 2002.

These facts have been revealed in the book Interpreting the Sindhi World: Essays on society and history; Edited by Michel Boivin & Matthew Cook (Oxford University Press, 2010). Like East Pakistan, nationalism in Sindh was language-based. The province was pluralist, just like East Pakistan. Hindus and Muslims lived in peace. Richard Burton wrote: “Hindu religion is not to be found in a state of purity in Sindh. Hinduism here is mixed up with the heterogeneous elements of Islam, and the faith of Nanak Shah. A Hindu will often become the murid (follower) of a Mussulman, and in some cases the contrary takes place… all great Pirs revered by the Moslems have classical Hindu names” (p.17).

The Supreme Court of India, in 2004, fined a litigant for asking to delete Sindh from the Indian national anthem, thus challenging any organic relationship between territory and nationalism (p.31).

The modern state of Gujarat consists of a strip of ‘mainland’ Gujarat, the peninsula of Saurashtra, and the western arm of Kutch (p.33). Later, Junagadh was also added. The Hindus of Sindh mostly moved to this state after Partition. They left en masse in 1948, after the immigrating populations touched off riots in Karachi.

Rita Kothari records the Hindu migration into Gujarat. Ships from Karachi arrived at the ports of Porbander, Veraval, and Okha on Gujarat’s coast. Movement towards Gujarat also happened indirectly, especially via Rajasthan, when Sindhis arrived from Mirpurkhas (p.58). These Sindhis looked ‘Muslim-like’ to the locals: “The Hindus of Sindh were not quite the most suitable examples of orthodox Hindus, as they were a meat-eating community in a largely vegetarian region” (p.59).

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/128170/sindhi-hindus-in-gujarat/

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Indus re-enters India after two centuries

Indus re-enters India after two centuries, feeds Little Rann, Nal Sarovar

By D. P. Bhattacharya

The Indus or Sindhu, a major river flowing through Pakistan around which the great Indus Valley Civilisation flourished, may have shifted course after an earthquake in 1819, but recent satellite images show the river has re-entered India feeding a lake near Ahmedabad known as Nal Sarovar.

The discovery has been made by Rohan Thakkar, a postgraduate student of climate change working on the water bodies of Gujarat.

The development will hugely benefit the water-starved Kutch region as well as the Bhal region adjoining Ahmedabad district.

Speaking to Mail Today, Rohan said he spoke to his father about it after detecting that water from a river in Pakistan was flowing into the Rann of Kutch. Further examination of the satellite images showed the water was flowing from the Indus.

Rohan’s father Dr P. S. Thakkar, who is a satellite archaeologist with the Indian Space Research Organisation, said the river started flowing into India last year when the Indus river basin was heavily flooded. “Heavy rains had left the river basin along with the Mancher, Hemal and Kalri lakes inundated and people breached several canal heads,” Thakkar said.

Continue reading Indus re-enters India after two centuries

Sindhis to get a shrine they can call their own in Kutch

By ,TNN

Once, the Sindhu (Indus) river ended here. On the banks of Kori Creek in Kutch’s Lakhpat district in Gujarat and close to Sindh’s capital Karachi, it had the Arabian Sea in the backdrop. From the sea, riding a fish, the deity of Sindhis, Lord Jhulelal, is believed to have emerged to rescue the community from a tyrant king. The place seems a perfect site for Jhulelal Tirathdham, a future nerve centre for the global Sindhi community.

Work on the Tirathdham complex which includes a massive Jhulelal temple, a museum, amphitheatre, auditorium, meditation centre, shelter for pilgrims and other amenities will start soon. As they plan a bhoomi poojan on Cheti Chand, the Sindhi New Year on March 21, the management is trying to invite PM Narendra Modi as the chief guest.

Armed with around 40 acres of land and NOCs from government departments, Shri Jhulelal Tirathdham Trust is embarking on a project never witnessed in the history of Sindhi Hindus, migrants from Sindh after Partition. “Every community has a centre they identify with. Muslims have Mecca, Sikhs the Golden Temple, Hindus have Vaishnodevi and Tirupati even as both Christians and Jews take pride in Jerusalem,” says historian and Tirathdham’s managing trustee, Subhadra Anand. “The scattered and linguistically minority community, Sindhis, have prospered materially but are uprooted culturally and spiritually. The centre will be a bonding force for Sindhis who are fast losing their language and culture.”

It was Anand who, during a lecture on threats to Sindhi identity in Gujarat in the late 1990s, first expressed the desire to build a monument to Sindhi ethos. In the audience was Madhav Joshi, a local who suggested the centre could be in Kutch which houses pilgrim sites like Narayan Sarovar (Krishna temple), Koteshwar (Shiva temple) and an ancient Gurudwara.

Next, Anand and trust chairman and diamond tycoon Dilip Lakhi met then Gujarat CM Modi. “After he heard us, Modi said ‘your dream is my dream’. His response made a difference,” says Anand.

To be created in the helically tapering form of a pyramid, the temple is to be the tallest in India. The project also includes schools, a hospital and a wedding centre. Being backed by rich and not-so-rich Sindhis alike, the trustees are approaching community members for funds. “Sindhis dream big and have built big educational institutions, hospitals and homes. Now building the Tirathdham is the community’s collective dream,” hopes trustee and realty czar Niranjan Hiranandani.

News courtesy: The Times of India
Read more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Sindhis-to-get-a-shrine-they-can-call-their-own-in-Kutch/articleshow/46363798.cms

Software to melt India, Pakistan’s Sindhi script barrier

By , TNN

PATIALA: Bringing down the script barrier between 25 lakh Sindhis in India and four crore in Pakistan, a first-of-its-kind software will enable Sindhis settled on both sides of the border to read each others’ literature despite the different scripts.

The yet-to-be-launched software has been developed by Punjabi researchers in Punjabi University, Patiala and Manchester University, England.

Despite having the same language, Sindhis residing on both sides of the border could not read each others’ literature since Pakistani Sindhis use Perso-Arabic script and those in India follow the Devnagari script.

The software, which is in trial stage, will remove this barrier as it will transliterate Perso-Arabic Sindhi into Devnagari and vice-versa.

“Like Punjabis, Sindhis also follow two scripts. Hence, the immense need to remove this language barrier. We had begun work on this project in March, last year. A Punjabi scholar form Manchester University is also collaborating on this,” said Dr GS Lehal of Punjabi University, coordinator of the project.

Dr Lehal said that the software will be equipped with over one crore Sindhi words in Perso-Arabic script and around 50 lakh Sindhi words in Devnagari script.

“Word bank of Sindhi words in Devnagari is smaller as the volume of Sindhi literature published in India is much less than that in Perso-Arabic. We found soft copies of numerous Sindhi magazines, newspapers and books published in Perso-Arabic script. These words were converted into data bank. Besides, there is dictionary of over 25,000 basic words, which is part of the word pool,” he added.

He said that phase I of the project is complete, which means that software has the capacity to transliterate with 90% accuracy. “We will launch it after we achieved accuracy rate of 95%, which likely in the next few months”, he added.

TRANSITION

Till 1850s, Sindhi was written in several scripts including Perso-Arabic and Gurmukhi by people of different religions residing in Sindh province of Pakistan. “However, in 1850s, a special committee constituted by British mandated use of Perso-Arabic script to write Sindhi, said Dr Lehal. The practice continued till 1947, when large number of Sindhis migrated to India and settled in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Shortly after Partition, Indian Sindhis adopted the Devnagari script.

Courtesy: The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Software-to-melt-India-Pakistans-Sindhi-script-barrier/articleshow/41556896.cms

Former Indian minister handed a 28-year sentence for her role in the bloody anti-Muslim massacre of 2002 in Gujarat, India

Former Indian minister handed 28-year sentence for her role in bloody 2002 riots

By: Stephanie Nolen

New Delhi — The Globe and Mail – A Gujarat court today handed down harsh sentences to 32 people for their role in bloody riots in which some 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in 2002. As the convicts were led from the court, one weeping woman stood out in a crowd of people wailing and clutching at the hands of relatives. Mayaben Surendrabhai Kodnani, sentenced to 28 years for murder and conspiracy to murder, is a former cabinet minister in the state government.

She is also a woman – and a physician, an obstetrician-gynaecologist who once had a thriving practice delivering babies at an Ahmedabad maternity hospital she founded. She held the position of Minister of Women and Child Development in the Gujarat government. She came to court to hear her fate in a silk saree and a string of pearls.

Continue reading Former Indian minister handed a 28-year sentence for her role in the bloody anti-Muslim massacre of 2002 in Gujarat, India

The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

By Haider Nizamani

If Muhammad Ali Jinnah happened to be on the Quetta-bound bus of Shia pilgrims on June 28, the self-proclaimed custodians of Islam would have killed him, along with 13 others. They would do so because Jinnah was a Shia and that would have been reason enough.

Jinnah, for most Pakistanis today, is the Quaid-e-Azam — the man above any sect in the Islamic Republic. As the Republic he founded increasingly becomes a place where minorities feel vulnerable, it would be remiss to forget that the founder of the country was a Shia. Born into an Ismaili family, he later converted to the Twelver (isna ashri) branch of Shia Islam. He died in 1948 and his sister, Miss Fatima Jinnah, filed an affidavit in the Sindh High Court stating that her brother was a “Shia Khoja Mohamedan”. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, jointly signed the affidavit. Khaled Ahmed, in his book Sectarian War, documents in detail how the last rites of the Quaid were performed according to Shia stipulations. Jinnah’s Shia colleagues such as Yusuf Haroon and Hashim Raza attended the namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) at the Governor General’s House, while prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan waited outside in the adjacent room. After the Shia funeral prayer, the nascent state took the body for Sunni last rites at the grounds where now stands the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi. Miss Fatima Jinnah passed away in 1967 and in her case, too, private last rites were performed according to Shia guidelines and the state-sponsored namaz-e-janaza followed it.

Sunni militant outfits portray Shias as lesser Muslims and thus, lesser Pakistanis. This commandeering of state discourse on Islam from the 1980s onward has emboldened the militants to take up arms against their coreligionists in select parts of Pakistan.

Continue reading The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

What’s Wrong with Pakistan?

Why geography — unfortunately — is destiny for South Asia’s troubled heartland.

BY ROBERT D. KAPLAN

Perversity characterizes Pakistan. Only the worst African hellholes, Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Iraq rank higher on this year’s Failed States Index. The country is run by a military obsessed with — and, for decades, invested in — the conflict with India, and by a civilian elite that steals all it can and pays almost no taxes. But despite an overbearing military, tribes “defined by a near-universal male participation in organized violence,” as the late European anthropologist Ernest Gellner put it, dominate massive swaths of territory. The absence of the state makes for 20-hour daily electricity blackouts and an almost nonexistent education system in many areas.

Sindhis meet in Ahmedabad to instil culture among youths

Jhulelal

By DNA Correspondent

Gujarat chief minister inaugurated the three-day International Sindhi Sammelan that began on Friday at Karnavati Club.

Sindhi personalities from the field of politics, industry, banking, arts, and education were present on the occasion. They included Sindhis from USA, Europe, Middle East and other countries. Sindh (in Pakistan) and Gujarat have been neighbours that share a 5000-year-old heritage of the Harappan Civilisation that began in the Indus Valley of Sindh and spread to sites in Gujarat like Dholavira in Kutch and Lothal in Ahmedabad. ….

Read more » DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (DNA)

Sindhis can Prevent Deletion of Sindh

– Sindhis can Prevent Deletion of Sindh From Jana Gana Mana

by Ashok T. Jaisinghani

Some persons are again trying to get “Sindh” deleted from Jana Gana Mana, the National Anthem of India written by the great poet Rabindranath Tagore. The Sindhi leaders can easily prevent the deletion of “Sindh” from Jana Gana Mana if they take one step, which I have explained below.

The main objection to the mention of Sindh in the National Anthem is the fact that Sindh is a part of Pakistan. At present, no part of Sindh is in India, though there are millions of Sindhis living in India.

This objection can be removed if all the Sindhi leaders, living in India and other countries, jointly petition the Government of Gujarat to create a small district with the name of Sindh from the District of Kutch. I am sure that the large-hearted Kutchis will accept this proposal, just as they had welcomed the Sindhi refugees from Pakistan to settle in Kutch after the Partition of India in 1947. [After partition in 1947, Kutchis are cut-off from their fellow Sindhis in Sindh but they are trying to hang on to their dialect of Sindhi, culture and traditions. Watch this  that how Kuchi language and dialect is a part of mainland Sindh.]

Should the Sindhi leaders not send a petition to the Government of Gujarat requesting it to make the region of Adipur-Gandhidham in Kutch into a separate District of Sindh? The Sindhi leaders from all over the world must send such a petition as soon as possible. The majority of the people in the Adipur-Gandhidham region of Kutch are Sindhis, whose parents and grandparents had migrated to India from Sindh after the Partition of the country.

Once we are able to get a very small District of Sindh anywhere in India, there will be no need for the Government of India to delete the name of Sindh from Jana Gana Mana. Even if it is very small, the new District of Sindh will be known as a part of India. Jana Gana Mana will then require no correction, as far as the mention of Sindh in the National Anthem is concerned.

Courtesy: Desi e-lists/ e-groups, 5 October, 2011

Sindhis of Katchh, India

Having lost its independence, amalgamated into Gujarat, like mainland Sindh, Kutchis are also facing a demographic and linguistic challenge. After partition in 1947, Kutchis are cut-off from their fellow Sindhis in Sindh but they are trying to hang on to their dialect of Sindhi, culture and traditions.

Delhi – Shabnam Virmani

Shabnam Virmani is a filmmaker and artist in residence at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India. 7 years ago she started travelling with folk singers in Malwa, Rajasthan and Pakistan in a quest for the spiritual and socio-political resonances of the 15th century mystic poet Kabir in our contemporary worlds. Among the tangible outcomes of these journeys were a series of 4 musical documentary films, several music CDs and books of the poetry in translation (www.kabirproject.org). Inspired by the inclusive spirit of folk music, she has begun to play the tambura and sing folk songs of Kabir herself. Currently she is working on co-creating a web-museum of Kabir poetry & music with folk singer communities in India and developing ideas for taking mystic poetry and folk music to school classrooms. She continues to journey to new areas such as Kutch, Gujarat and draw inspiration not only from Kabir, but also other mystic poets of the sub-continent [such as Shah Abdul Latif] and the oral folk traditions that carry them to us. Her earlier work consisted of several video and radio programs created in close partnership with grassroots women’s groups in India.

You Tube

An international cultural exchange: Indian & Korean Traditional melody – Beautiful Mixture of two Different Instruments of Different Cultures

Renowned South Korean artist Yu Kyung-Hwa performs Korean traditional music in different rhythms on the instrument Cheolhyeongeum, with Sahil Patel on Tabla at Rhythm Riders in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The very unique coming together of these two instruments was highly appreciated by the audiences gathered for this international music exchange.

You Tube link

Prospersous South Asian Sub-continent – A beautiful dream or the future that we are missing!

Beyond the Deep State: Prospects of Pak India relations
by Omar Ali
A friend from “Critical PPP” asked for an article about the current crisis in Pakistan and got me thinking on the question: Is there something peculiar about the crisis in Pakistan or is it similar to all the other countries in South Asia, with the same problems of inequality, poverty, corruption, elite incompetence, poor governance, institutional decay and post colonial hangovers? I would submit that there is, and this peculiar problem is breaking the camel’s back. What is it? It is the ideological mindset of the deep state and it has brought us to the edge of disaster. This Is not a new insight, but I want to put it in terms that are usually avoided in the Pakistani media; Instead of presenting a history of the deep state and its pathologies, I will stand a mile behind the starting line and look far away at a hazy finish line: what I think the shape of a different Pakistan would be.

I think that a Pakistan that has managed to reorient its deep state from its current suicidal course may have some of the following features:

1.       The state will accept that historically and culturally, we are “Western India”, not North-Eastern Arabia or some imaginary concoction whose defining feature is that it is kryptonite for anything Indian.  Having accepted this, we will discover that far from pulling us back into the Indian state, Indian policymakers will spend their days trying to make sure we don’t come back home to mama and that we stay in our own apartment. We can visit anytime and we can use Mama’s name in some songs,movies, overseas grocery stores and restaurants, but she would much rather we stayed in our own pad.

2.       The state will no longer spend every waking moments looking for good jihadis to go blow up India and every sleeping moment dreaming of sticking it to the Brahmans so good they will remember their Naani. In fact, the state will own up to the fact that our Naani is one and the same and both parties could use an occasional day remembering grandma and her glorious cooking. Freed up from the need to shelter every homicidal psychopath in the region, we may find other things to do. And of course, we will no longer have to worry about “good psychopaths” turning into “bad psychopaths” and explosively detonating in our own markets, shrines and mosques.

3.       India will become our largest trading partner and we may become their 4th largest trading partner. Multiple scandals involving the disbursement of franchise licenses to TATA and Reliance will keep NAB busy for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, these interactions will generate real jobs, real industry, real money and real Bajaj motorbikes for every farmer.  Transit trade to Afghanistan will enrich even more retired army officers than the number who have become millionaires hauling NATO supplies.  Students by the thousands will flock across the border in either direction (admittedly, more may go East initially, but we too are an enterprising people and will find ways to correct the balance).

4.       Kashmir will remain formally divided, but practically, will become one large pistachio and shawl manufacturing country. Large numbers of ex-servicemen from both countries will find employment in the various security companies that will protect the handicrafts business from extortionist jihadi gangs as they switch from being supported by Pakistani taxpayers to full time kidnap and robbery operations. Sikhs and Pakistani Punjabis will become so chummy in these security agencies, it will be an embarrassment.

5.       River water treaties will be a cause of friction, but if we can make them work through 60 years of cold and hot wars, we can make them work through 60 years of cold and warm peace. Still, drastic development in agriculture and water-saving technologies will be needed as global warming wreaks havoc. No longer busy planning the next war, both overstaffed armies may find something to do maintaining order and fixing irrigation ditches.

6.       Renewed cultural interaction and absence of GHQ and VHP instigated paranoia will lead to development of all regional languages and cultures in Pakistan. East Punjab will also see a deeper revival of Punjabi literature and arts and Delhi will become a more Punjabi city. Even Urdu may get off its deathbed once a better connection with the heartland in North India is restored. Who knows, Indian and Pakistani Muslims may even revive Islamic learning and turn it away from its current flat-line orientation into something more creative. Cricket will become a South Asian game with Australians occasionally allowed to win a match by the match-fixers. The film industry in India will import even more Punjabis and Pathans to star in “fair and lovely” ads and hundreds of musical geniuses will emerge in Faisalabad and Gojra and take the world by storm.

7.       Pakistani political parties will increasingly resemble their Indian counterparts and both sides will exchange know-how about vote-buying and ballot-stuffing. At the upper end of the political scale, think tanks will gainfully employ bullshitters from both countries without distinction. Since our bullshitters know all about their problems and their bullshitters know all about ours, we can exploit the strengths of both parties. MQM will find much to do in the vast network of sleepy North Indian Muslim communities, where it’s sophisticated and battle hardened cadres will be a little bit like European adventurers used to be among Native Americans in the nineteenth century, but with the added advantage of being racially and linguistically the same people.

8.       Chinese massage parlors will expand from Islamabad to all over India. So will Chinese Qingchi makers and duck egg salesmen. Memons and Marwaris will be given a run for their money by the Cantonese at the upper end of the business spectrum.  Sindhi coal will fire up polluting power stations in Gujarat and Indian wind and solar manufacturers will sell their wares in Mekran.

And so on. It can happen. But someone will have to bring the deep state under adult supervision before it does.

Courtesy: – http://criticalppp.com/archives/25447

Pakistan’s ideological vacuum

Pakistan’s ideological vacuum
by Dr Manzur Ejaz
Courtesy: Wichaar.com
An independent judiciary seems to be taking root in Pakistan, but it is just one institution of many, and cannot induce societal balance on its own. Furthermore, an isolated institution cannot survive for long unless a more modern and progressive political force takes the reins of the state.

Continue reading Pakistan’s ideological vacuum