Call to elect scheduled caste people
UMERKOT, Oct 13: Representatives of minorities and civil society have called for giving scheduled caste people representation in parliament and putting in place an inexpensive election system to ensure election of honest persons, good governance and religious harmony in the country.
They were speaking at a consultative workshop organised by the Forum for Human Rights Pakistan in collaboration with the Centre for Peace and Development here on Saturday.
Mirchand Sahjani and Popat Kolhi of the Bheel Intellectual Forum said that members of minority communities had no representation in the assembly and those who were elected to reserved seats for minorities had no interest in resolving people’s problems because the seats were sold to the highest bidders. They did not feel themselves answerable to people because they did not have any constituency or the electorate, they said.
HANDS activists Bansi Malhi and Sawai Malhi denied discrimination of non-Muslims by Muslims but said the country’s constitution was discriminatory towards minorities as it did not allow any non-Muslim to become president, prime minister and Chief of Army Staff.
Hindus and Muslims lived in perfect harmony in Umerkot and Tharparkar, Sindh and they attended one another’s weddings and religious festivals. In fact, upper-caste Hindus looked down upon scheduled caste Hindus and poor Muslims, they said.
By Haider Nizamani
….. 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.
By: Amar Jalil
Sufism (Sindhiyat) is neither a religion, nor it is a doctrine, a myth, a cult, or dogma. Sufism can neither be taught, nor it can be explained in concrete terms. Like fragrance Sufism is felt. It surrounds. It overwhelms. It encompasses us in serenity. Sufism Touches inner cords of our existence . It ultimately liberates human to embark upon his/her search for ultimate truth.
Courtesy: adopted from Facebook wall
By Qaiser Butt
ISLAMABAD: The minister for national harmony has alleged that about 100 non-Muslims, mostly Hindus girls, were forced to convert to Islam in recent months. The minister, Akram Masih Gill, told The Express Tribune that stronger legislation was required to protect minorities from forced conversions. ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
A friend on Facebook had status which said (Translated from Sindhi): “Mian Mithoo can harass a helpless, poor girl to say whatever he likes! Let us give this Pir of Bharchundi (alone) to the men of Bal Thackeray and he would convert (to Hinduism) in no time! (sic)”
Sindh has been known for its Sufi culture which has kept pushing the extremism off its borders. It has in it several shrines, religious harmony, coexistence and tolerance, not to mention the centuries-old civilization, Mohen-jo-Darro. Sindhis have always claimed to have secularism and Sufism to be present as if in their gene and, thus, they wouldn’t ever side with religious intolerance and extremism.
Well, this is true to a great extent since we can see that where Pakistan has seen surge in extremism throughout the post-9/11 period, Sindh has remained comparatively more peaceful and, especially, incidents of extremist activities have been equal to none. There definitely was an incidence of burning NATO oil tankers in Shikarpur, Sindh, but the same was condemned by the Sindhi nationalist parties attributing the incidence to the agencies trying to tarnish the soft image of Sindh; in fact, there were massive protests against the blazing up of the oil tankers throughout the land.
Sindh has been home to many religions, all coexisting peacefully. However, there have been certain incidents which would reveal the nature of the ‘rare’.
One such event which took place on the unfortunate day of November 02, 1939, which blotted the humane face of Sindh, was when a saintly Sufi singer and poet of humble and peace-loving nature, Bhagat Kunwar Ram was murdered at Rukk Station, Sukkur (Sindh) in the name of religion – for being a Hindu.
The person booked as the major perpetrator in the murder was Mian Abdur-Rahim of Bharchundi Dargah, a religious center in a small village of the same name. Bhrarchundi Dargah is famous for spreading hatred against the Hindus, and converting them to Islam forcibly for years now.
Thus, to many in Sindh, this news did not come as a surprise, but it did disturb them to come out on roads and protest against the Pirs of Bharchundi — what happened was that Rinkle Kumari, a Hindu teenage girl, was kidnapped on February 24, 2012, forced to convert to Islam and, subsequently, marry a Muslim boy, Naveed Shah (a Punjabi settler). And the person involved is none else than a Pir of Bharchundi Dargah, Mian Abdul Haq (popularly known as Mian Mithoo), the son of Mian Abdur-Rehman, the major perpetrator in the case of Bhagat Kunwar Ram’s murder in the past. Mian Mithoo also happens to be an MNA of the Pakistan People’s Party, the ruling party.
KARACHI: Preetam Das is a good doctor with a hospital job and a thriving private clinic, yet all he thinks about is leaving Pakistan, terrified about a rise in killings and kidnappings targeting Hindus.
A successful professional, he lives in mega city Karachi with his wife and two children, but comes from Kashmore, a district in the north of Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh.
His family has lived there for centuries and in 1947 when the sub-continent split between India, a majority Hindu state, and Pakistan, a homeland for Muslims, Das’ grandparents chose to stay with the Muslims.
They fervently believed the promise of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah that religious minorities would be protected. Sixty years later, their grandson says life in Kashmore has become unbearable. “The situation is getting worse every day,” he says.
Two of his uncles have been kidnapped and affluent Hindus are at particular risk from abduction gangs looking for ransom, he says.
Rights activists say the climate is indicative of progressive Islamisation over the last 30 years that has fuelled an increasing lack of tolerance to religious minorities, too often considered second class citizens.
Das says the only thing keeping him in Pakistan is his mother. “She has flatly refused to migrate, which hinders my plans. I can’t go without her,” he said.
Hindus make up 2.5 per cent of the 174 million people living in the nuclear-armed Muslim nation. Over 90 per cent live in Sindh, where they are generally wealthy and enterprising, making them easy prey for criminal gangs.
An official at the ministry of external affairs in New Delhi who declined to be named said: “Every month about eight to 10 Hindu families migrate from Pakistan. Most of them are well-off.”
He had no comment on whether the number was on the rise, but Hindu community groups in Pakistan say more people are leaving because of kidnappings, killings and even forced conversions of girls to Islam.
“Two of my brothers have migrated to India and an uncle to the UAE,” said Jay Ram, a farmer in Sindh’s northern district of Ghotki.
“It’s becoming too difficult to live here. Sindhis are the most tolerant community in the country vis-a-vis religious harmony, but deteriorating law and order is forcing them to move unwillingly,” he added.
POETRY – IBRAHIM MUNSHI
FILM “MAHA CHOR” (1976) STARRING RAJESH KHANNA, NEETU SINGH, PREM CHOPRA, ARUNA IRANI. MUSIC: RD BURMAN; LYRICS: ANAND BAKSHI; SINGER: KISHORE KUMAR; DIRECTOR: NARINDER BEDI.
– 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.
Information Officer Andie is in the latest issue of Khabr-o-Nazar magazine talking about Sindhi Culture Day! You can see other pictures and articles in previous issues now- go to http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/khabr_o_nazar.html
News adopted from Facebook.
The time I’ve spent in Sindh, Pakistan over the last year and a half has been life changing. It’s taught me much about the history of South Asia, the cultural heritage of Sindh, our Sindhi brothers and sisters, the dynamics of the Muhajir- Sindhi relationship among a few things. But I believe these to be the more obvious lessons that every second generation removed Sindhi Indian American would also search for when they visit.
There’s been a deeper and much more personal journey involved for me as well: a spiritual one. I came to the land of Sufis to find myself with the hope to find my God as the grand triumph and ultimate destination of my quest.
I’ve learnt that I’m still learning and still looking. On this journey I’ve found beautiful hidden messages that I’ve read in books or inscribed on the walls of temples and Sufi durgahs:
“Ekam sat viprah bahuda vedanti.”
“Satyam amritasya putrah”
To give pleasure to a single heart by a single kind act is better than bowing your head in prayer a thousand times. -Shaykh Sa’di
I believe not in the outer religion,
I live ever in love.
Say Amen! When love comes to you.
Love is neither with the infidels nor with the faithful.
– Sachal Sarmast
If you are seeking Allah,
Then keep clear of religious formalities.
Those who have seen Allah
Are away from all religions!
Those who do not see Allah here,
How will they see Him beyond?
– Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai
My time in Sindh surrounded by Sindhi Muslims has shown me the other side of Sindh’s story and another side of Sufi Islam. The stories of the Sindhi who provided their Hindu counterparts their homes to hide out in during the violence that broke out, the Muslims that bid a final farewell to their Hindu friends with tears in their eyes, the Sindhis who still hold those memories close to their hearts and feel the loss of the Sindhi Hindus as something Sindh never recovered from.
On November 7, 2011 three Hindus were killed in Shikarpur district of Sindh, Pakistan. As many of you already know, I worked in Shikarpur at the start of my time in Sindh. I still maintain close contact with my co-workers. A member of my family also sits on the board of a Hindu association of Sindh. Here’s what I must say, as it is the other side of the truth that exists.
Immediately following the killings the religious (Hindu in this case) spokesperson jumped on the bandwagon to claim religious bias as a cause of the killing. I turned to my personal network in Shikarpur for answers: there had been an election recently in which the Hindu community had supported the ruling party which won due to the large number of Hindu votes they received. The opposing party didn’t take their loss lightly and instead decided to teach a lesson to the opposite party. The end result of which was the death of the three Sindhi Hindu of whom only one was a doctor. Religious bias was not the reason for their death, politics was. Anyone who follows politics closely shouldnt be shocked to learn of the ways in which politicians use religion as a political strategy. As they say, ” The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
What followed next was an absolute uproar within the Sindhi community and an alternate backlash against the government for their inadequate response and towards Sindh warning all Sindhis that this type of violence and is anti Sindhiyat and will not be tolerated by the residents of Sindh. They further emphasized that Sindh is the land of Sufis and believes in living in a tolerant society. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as I was in Islamabad on official business. A young activist was kind enough to send me pictures.
Following the killings thousands of Pakistanis, both Hindu and Muslim, gathered publically across Pakistan to stand against the death of the three victims and the inaccurate message of intolerance it displayed. There was also a hunger strike that followed.
Sayings in books thousands of years old that we claim as ours aren’t good enough. It is far more necessary to put those words to action and there is no better time than now. Hate only breeds hate. History is meant to learn from not to regurgitate. It’s wrong to paint today’s canvas with yesterday’s paint. When you reach into the paint jar you may end up with dried out, useless paint. This is perhaps why they say one should not live today in the past of yesterday.
No one is saying that the sentiments of the Hindu Sindhis are wrong. Anger for being removed from motherland and from sacred river Sindhu is justified. But another truth follows suit: there’s a time for anger and then there’s a time to let go, to change and to move on.
Tides must turn. Peace must prevail.
Only then will their be prosperity in South Asia again.
Praying for peace
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mohandas Gandhi
To find out more or to support our work in Sindh, Pakistan please visit our website at www.thelifebridge.us
– Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan saw yet another moment of national shame right on the day of Eid-ul-Azha when four Hindus, including three doctors, were brutally killed in broad daylight. Conflicting media messages and false claims about the motive are but an ugly attempt to justify the crime. According to the story given out to the media, the murders took place after a boy from the Hindu community sexually assaulted a girl from the Muslim Bhayo tribe. Bhayo is the third most influential tribes of Shikarpur after the Jatois and Mahars in Chak town of Shikarpur. Hindus make around 6,000 out of the total 40,000 people in Chak town and are the predominant contributors to Sindh’s economy through trade and other professions. In the local politics of the area, the Hindu community has never been as muted as it is now, after the advent of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), working openly through their unmarked offices and representatives since at least a decade.
One was appalled listening to the people of the town about the immunity with which the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) operates in Shikarpur in cahoots with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and with the support of local tribal chiefs and state machinery, especially the police. The accused Bhayo tribe has its members in not only the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (the main accused Babul Khan Bhayo is district head of the PPP), but also in pro-Taliban Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and proscribed militant extremist organisation, the SSP.
According to the details gathered from the local communities, a young girl from Bhayo community went to see her Hindu friend on Diwali night. The girl was seen entering the autaq (sitting area used by males), which was unusual in the local culture. Discovering the boy and the girl together, community elders (Hindus) reportedly beat the boy and sent the girl back to her home. The event triggered the ‘honour’ of the Bhayo tribe. What made things worse was the boy’s religion. The Bhayos felt doubly humiliated.
The Bhayo members of the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) started threatening the entire Hindu community since that day. The community requested the police for security after which the police established a small picket near the Hindu neighbourhood. But two hours before the incident, policemen vanished from the scene only to come back half an hour after the ambush. Just when the police pretended to start searching for the culprits, SSP and JUI-F workers gathered around the police station and amid the slogans of Allah-o-Akbar (God is Great) and Jihad Fi Sabilillah (war in the cause of God), they intimidated the police staff and asked to close the case. Resultantly, the FIR could only be registered around 36 hours after the crime. The victims’ family does not agree with the facts described in the state-registered complaint.
Noteworthy is the fact that the victims were not even remotely related to the Hindu boy accused by the Bhayo tribes of being ‘karo’ (accused boy). According to a much-criticised tradition, when an unmarried couple is caught together, they are murdered after the Panchayat is informed. The accused girl (kari) is usually murdered before or with the accused boy (karo). According to the tribal code, karo can only be the one directly involved in the ‘illicit’ relations with the kari. In this case, even the principles of this tradition (unapproved by educated Sindhis), karo-kari (honour killing), were not followed. It is a case of simple and direct targeting of the Hindu community, which remains an endangered one after the religious extremists were installed in the area for running the madrassas.
Madrassa tradition in Shikarpur is almost 40 years old, which is the age of the oldest madrassa here. According to the locals, Pashto speaking Niazis from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjabis from south Punjab were brought in over a decade ago. Totally alien to the local culture and traditions, they tried to impose strict Islamic code, which initially did not work. But after more than a decade, an entire generation has been out of these madrassas in the social life of Shikarpur. When I spoke to over a dozen people from the local Muslim community, I found them extremely opposed to and fearful of the Islamisation being brought to Sindh, which they saw as a part of the larger design of ruining the Sindhi culture.
The fact that the common people still value local pluralistic culture is evident from the fact that over the last few days, people — mainly Muslims — are coming out in the streets every day in almost 500-600 villages and towns of rural Sindh against this incident. It was heartening to know that not only thousands (6,000 according to a conservative estimate by a member of the local Press Club) of Muslims participated in the funeral of their four fellow citizens; hundreds of them have taken upon themselves to ensure the security of the frightened Hindu community. They stay day and night at the entrance of the Hindu neighbourhood. These common people, one Hindu resident of the area said, are not only from the influential Mahar and Jatoi communities but also some Bhayos are seen among them.
When asked how the pro-Taliban Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) guys got such an influence in an otherwise sufi and secular culture of this city, the people proudly said that the fact that these extremists need political backing, support of the tribal influentials and police machinery, is enough evidence of their weakness. Had they had a popular support, they would not have needed any of these tactics. A local rights’ activist (Muslim), who is a key organiser of a protest rally today (Monday) at 12 noon in Hyderabad, wanted me to tell the world that Pakistanis would fight extremism till the last drop of their blood.
This is Pakistan! Those in the charge of things must realise that the people of Pakistan are committed to their pluralistic values ingrained in their sufi culture. Any effort to dismantle plural and secular social base would be met with fierce resistance. The ones who believe that we, the ‘liberal fascists’, are few in number and are irrelevant, should see how this battle is being fought by a common citizen in Sindh, original home to a wonderful Hindu community who made Shikarpur mercantile hub of Sindh before the Talpurs came in. Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world. And in Shikarpur, it was our Hindu trader community that started the system of payments through cheques. Home to poets like Sheikh Ayaz, this city has produced seers and litterateurs alongside professionals of the highest quality. Today Shikarpur is determined to fight extremism more than ever.
Islamabad: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has strongly condemned the killing of Hindu doctors by armed assailants in Pakistan’s Sindh province.
Four Hindu doctors were attacked near Shikarpur district of the province Monday. Three of them — Ashok, Naresh, Ajeet Kumar — who were brothers died, while the fourth was Satya Pal was injured.
Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), in a satement issued by his party’s central secretariat, said that the murder of Dr Ashok, Dr Naresh and Dr Ajeet Kumar marked a sad day for Pakistan, as PTI (Paksitan Tehreek-e-Insaf) believed in peaceful and harmonious co-existence of all religious and ethnic groups and an indiscriminate practice of the rule of law, Daily Times reported.
Stating abdication of governance by the corrupt ruling mafias had resulted in an increase of violence in the society that needed to be checked immediately, Khan condemned the role of the law-enforcement agencies that tended to side with the criminals.
On Thursday, condemning the brutal murder of Hindus in Shikarpur, civil society and human rights organisations announced they would stage “Fill the Besant Hall Road against Religious Intolerance” rally in front of the Theosophical Society’s interior Sindh centre in Hyderabad Nov 14.
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has also strongly condemned the killings and directed that the culprits be brought to book.
The US has asked Pakistan to bring to justice those involved in gunning down the Hindus in Sindh province and condemned all violence directed at religious, ethnic and other minorities.
By Tarek Fatah
Today, millions of Sikhs and their friends around the world are celebrating Gurpurab, but few outside India know the significance of this day or its history. It’s the 543rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith and one of the greatest symbols of pluralism and tolerance in the world.
The 5,000-year old Indian civilization, born on the banks of the Indus [Sindhu/ Sindh] and nurtured …
Read more » The Huffington Post
By Javed Qazi
Hardly a day of the great murder of the history of Sindh passed by, that 72 years back, Sindhi Sufi mystic singer, Bhaghat Kanwar Ram, was killed near Shikarpur, that we always remember him on his anniversary day, 1st Nov. We have got a blow due to another shock that three Hindu doctors have been killed by the Bhayo Tribe in Shikarpur. Prima Facie it is due to the fact that recently the persons of this tribe had kidnapped a Sindhi Hindu girl and wanted to convert her religion to escape from the crime of kidnapping. The Sindhi Hindu community, who was in majority in the area prior partition of India, is still living by about 50000 houses, in Shikarpur. They couldn’t let this happen and they got the girl back from the Bhayo tribe. In the tribal context it was shameful for Bhayos that the most weak community, forced Bhayos and got the girl back. In a ray of revenge on very Eid day, just to send a loud and clear message to the Sindhi Hindu community, three Hindu doctors in Shikarpur were killed while they were performing their routine professional work in their respective clinics.
This is same Shikarpur where the great leader of Sindh, Shaheed Allah Bux Soomro was murdered on same grounds, almost 68 years back. Shikarpur was Hub of trade and commerce, which even Karl Marx has acknowledged on his notes on India as colony of British Empire. Prior partition it was either Karachi or Shikarpur which had colleges and best education institutions and hospitals that even Hyderabad and Sukkur was far behind it. Shaheed Allah Bakhsh Soomro was the first premier of Sindh, who was against the formation of Pakistan, was from Shikarpur city. This was due to the fact that communal groups of Manzil Masjid Gah were spread. The symbol of religious harmony, Bhaghat Kanwar the great mystic singer was murdered at that time. Allah Bux soomro another symbol of religious harmony and secularism was murdered at that time.
– Dr. Geeta Chainani, Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, Dr. Louis Flam, Dr. Gul Agha to join panel at congressional briefing Hosted by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus. Date/Time: October 13, 2:00p.m. – 4:00p.m. Place: Capitol, room HC-5.
Beginning in August, the monsoon season hit Pakistan and has come to devastate the province of Sindh. With over 5 million people affected, including 2 million homeless and hundreds dead, the people of Sindh remain in a precarious situation. With little aid and relief, the Sindhi people are suffering from diseases, loss of livelihood, and nowhere to go.Join us to learn more about the Sindh, who the people are, and most importantly, how the Sindh region plays a crucial part in the United States’ relationship with Pakistan and its security.
– Rapprochement is possible
By Abrar Kazi & Zulfiqar Halepoto
ONCE again, differences between the PPP and MQM have translated into a Sindhi-Mohajir confrontation. In fact, the reasons for this are inherent in the politics of both parties.
The politics of PPP which it calls ‘the politics of reconciliation’ is in fact politics without principles that negates its manifesto. For example, the party promised to undo the Musharraf-era division of Hyderabad district and the clubbing together of Karachi’s five districts, which Benazir Bhutto criticised as an administrative division imposed by a dictator. But the promise was never fulfilled.
The PPP’s major fault is, however, to take the support of Sindhis for granted. It has failed to recognise that the Sindhi people’s love for their motherland transcends party lines, all sacrifices rendered by the PPP or any other party notwithstanding, and that their unity of thought on major issues is phenomenal.
The MQM’s politics appears to be based on the ethnic sentiments of its voters, which when exploited, have the damaging effect of causing dislike for those who do not speak Urdu. The journey from ‘Mohajir’ to ‘Muttahida’ was considered a policy shift towards the integration of MQM supporters with the rest of Sindh. But it turned out to be more a change of strategy than of heart.
Such politics tend to paint all Urdu-speaking people with the same brush although most are progressive and liberal and desire peace and integration. Pakistan’s security establishment, the guardians of the ‘ideological and geographical frontiers’ of the country, have contributed their own bit to this confrontation so that the province has reached its present status of seemingly insurmountable problems.
Consciously or unconsciously, a large segment of the Urdu-speaking intelligentsia, civil society and media have either kept quiet or are perceived as supporting such an ethnic viewpoint thereby increasing the rift. Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship further widened the gulf through deliberate design to give control of Sindh’s urban centres to the MQM as independent administrative units through the district government system. The LGO 2001 appeared to dovetail with the thinking of those who supported the idea of a Mohajir province in Sindh. This resulted in causing suspicion among Sindhis, who despite the numerous merits of the local government system, rejected the change as an attempt to divide Sindh.
Sindhis voted for the PPP and its manifesto which promised to undo all Musharraf’s actions including the local government system of 2001. Since then, there have been incessant demands for the promised actions.
One point must be noted here. Since 1988, the MQM and the PPP have shared power in Sindh three times. Without going into the deeper factors, the general acceptance of the power-sharing by the masses is indicative that by and large the voters and also the people are fundamentally in favour of coexistence between the Sindh- and Urdu-speaking-sindhis of the province.
Another point worth noting is that the ‘Sindh card’ often played by the PPP whenever it has been in trouble is in effect dead from this point on.
Rather than acting on people’s aspirations, the PPP government has resorted to unprincipled politics, refusing to understand the larger issues involved in the present controversy and thus further aggravating the Sindhi-Urdu (Mohajir) divide.
The angry reaction of Sindhis against the PPP and MQM must be seen against this backdrop. It is not about a few nationalist leaders, intellectuals and members of civil society agitating the people. Neither is it about the present district government controversy. It is the pent-up frustration and anger of many decades of authoritarian and military rule in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. It is about what is seen as the plunder of Sindh’s resources without corresponding benefits to Sindh.
It is about the ownership of two prosperous cities of Sindh, established and developed by a competent and dedicated mercantile and cosmopolitan Sindhi Hindu and Muslim class that flourished much before Pakistan came into existence. It is about the humiliation of seeing a provincial assembly passing a resolution to in effect put a ban on Sindhis getting admission in public-sector professional institutions and employment in the multinational companies. It is also about the frustration at the unending cycle of blood on the streets.This constant confrontation between Sindhis and Mohajirs (urdu-speaking-sindhis0 is a source of great loss to Pakistan and still greater loss to Sindh. Despite being secular and progressive, Sindh lags behind in terms of economic and social development because of the albatross of PPP and MQM policies. Sindh is a prosperous and resource-rich province. It is also a land of secular and liberal people who have given strong political leadership to Pakistan from Jinnah to Benazir Bhutto.
It presented the incumbent PPP government an unmatched opportunity to correct all the wrongs done to the country by the civil and military establishment of Pakistan. A strong democratic and plural society, could have been created to tackle terrorism, the sectarian and ethnic divide and violence in politics but the opportunity was lost by the PPP. The MQM’s alignment with the security establishment further damaged the cause.
There is still hope though. The present revolt against the PPP indicates that Sindhis can reject their own elected government if they fear a division of the province. This raises the opportunity for progressive Urdu-speaking Sindhis to join hands with the Sindhis to make the province an ideal homeland setting an example of peaceful coexistence and democracy.
By: Iqbal Tareen
I have been following the current political events with solidarity and some concern. I could also notice well planned provocations ignited by some media to catalyze outburst of civil and ethnic conflict in Sindh.
I was very concerned that a possible knee-jerk political reaction to these provocations could damage our moral stand maintained against fascist and parochial groups.
I am delighted to see that significant number of individuals, political parties, and the members of the Sindhi media are fully aware and are able to see through the thick skin of bullying security establishment and their agencies. Although the issues of Sindh’s unification and sovereignty are real but we should trade very carefully and skillfully. Every time we give vent to our grief, we should reiterate Sindh problem on non-ethnic basis. Real children of Sindh will not be divisive and parochial.
All Sindh friendly and human rights forces must work toward a new and inclusive dawn in Sindh that will bring peace, prosperity, individual and collective human rights and freedoms for all in the nation of
Sindh and not for Sindhi speaking Sindhis only.
Mother Sindh shall remain to be the custodian and protector of all her children regardless of their color of skin, ethnicity, religious or political preference. That is the Sindh I am living and will die for.
About: → Writer is an author of “Harvest will come – Embracing diverse Pakistani heritage”, President of Silver Lining International, Inc. and Chief organizer of “Democracy, Individual and Collective Human Rights, Education and Skills Development, and Fight against Hepatitis in Pakistan”
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 19, 2011.
Na mein Aabi
Na mein Khaki
Na vich Paleedi Paki,
Na mein Mosa
Bullah ki janaaan mein kaun?
Na mein Arbi
Sirf Apna Ap pachan, Doja koi hor na janaan
Methon na koi hor Sayana
Bullaya O khara hai kaun?
Bullah ki janaan mein kon
…. Muhajirs cannot go back to India, and … Muhajirs cannot be drowned into the sea and division of Sindh is undesirable, so a formula for peaceful, respectful co-existence, independent of the ideology of Pakistan must be sought. Absence of a decadent government and weakening of the usurping military should serve as a chance for ordinary Sindhis and Muhajirs to come together as sovereign of Sindh. Respecting and learning from each other and accepting the precedence of indigenous Sindhi language would not only produce a peaceful atmosphere but open Muhajirs to the wisdom of thousands year old Sindhi culture.
Peaceful acceptance of indispensability of Muhajir existence in Sindh by accommodating an urban language of India should not hurt the Sindhi cause. Pragmatic consideration has compelled Indians to adopt English as lingua franca and it has served them well towards integrating into the environment of globalization.
Politicians fanning hatred between Sindhis and Muhajirs do not represent the aspiration of the people. Though the 20th century history of Muslims in India has been marked by violence and extremism, it is about time we attempt to change that in Sindh, in the 21st century.
To read complete article → CHOWK.COM
by Ali Nawaz Memon
Karachi is capital of Sindh. Yet, Sindhis have a little role in afairs of Karachi. … .The following points come to my mind. …. Sindhis should play a constructive role in bringing and maintaining peace in Karachi in every possible way including demonstrations for peace and stability in Karachi. Sindhis should work closely with MQM, ANP and others. Urdu speakers, Pashto speakers and Sindhi speakers are legitimate part of Karachi, Sindh. They should all work together to protect Karachi from violence and make it prosper for all people of Sindh.
Courtesy: Sindh e-lists/ e-groups, July 12, 2011.
After the partition of sub-continent, when the huge influx of immigrants were coming into Sindh, they were the Sindhis, who welcomed them with open arms, as per their culture, values, traditions and generous heritage. Sindhis accommodated them throughout and gave them place in the eyes!
Even though, their influx into Sindh, prompted and forced millions of indigenous sons of the soil of Sindh to leave their homes and hearts, saying ‘good-bye’ to their ancestral land, where they had been living since time of immemorial. All this because of historically proven centuries old civilised values and norms of Sindh. And, the sons and daughters of Sindh departed tragically to India in the name of partition.
The immigrants who came from all corners of India to Sindh, unfortunately they didn’t accept or adopt Sindhi language and Sindh’s evergreen, ever-shining culture of love, peace, tolerance and communal harmony. However, there were many who accepted Sindhi language, culture, values, songs and music. And, Sindh loves them, accept them and embrace them as her own children! One such beautiful immigrant was Ustad Manzoor Ali Khan, who revolutionised Sindhi classical music. He sang beautiful Sindhi songs and taught many young aspiring Sindhi students the art of classical singing. Sindhis are truly indebted to Ustad Manzoor and others who made Sindh their home.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups → YouTube
– 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
CHETTI CHAND, SINDHI NEW YEAR!
It is a time of Sindhi New Year again when many of us to stop to take time out from our busy life and join in Chetti Chand celebrations. As we reunite with family and friends to honour the traditions of Chetti Chand and the memories, let’s: Remember the diversity of our Sufi secular values and beliefs at the time of Chetti Chand celebration. Let’s pledge to change the world to one that shares opportunities with everyone through fairness and justice. Let’s dare to create the peaceful world we want. Let’s make the world around us practice, access, equality and inclusion for all. This is just a small message of Sindhyat, peace, love, happiness and hope of Chetti Chand. Sindhi Nain Saal Joon Mubarkun/ Wadhayoon and Jai Jhulelal to those who want to make Sindhi Boli ain Sahit Sabha an inclusive reality of our World.
Unique Holi event advocates harmony
HYDERABAD, March 23: Awami Tehrik President Ayaz Latif Palijo said on Wednesday that Hindus and Christians should be given equal rights and they should not be referred to as minorities or scheduled caste.
Addressing a big Holi function organised after several years by Sindhi Hindu Sujaag Tehrik at Sindh Museum which was also attended by a large number of Muslim women and children, Mr Palijo said that all religions preached peace, love and tolerance and Sindhi people would never accept extremism.
He said that history would never forgive those who had forced tens of thousands of Hindus to migrate from Sindh. Sindhi Hindus are natives of Sindh and they have been living here since thousands of years, he said, adding that Sindhi Muslims had always shared their joys and sorrows with Hindus.
He said the upper class of Sindh had always been opportunist and demanded that the Waderas who were responsible for the murder of Bhagat Kanwar Ram should tender an apology to Sindhi people.
MPA Chetan Mal said that despite hardships, Hindus would not leave Sindh.
A journalist Satram Maheshwari said that such programmes would go a long way in creating Hindu-Muslim harmony. …
Read more : DAWN
By Shahid Nadeem
Pakistani cricket fans are on their way to Chandigarh to cheer their team in the mother of all matches taking place at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Mohali.
Among them are Pakistani peace activists who will be joined by their Indian counterparts to promote peace. Pakistani cricket fans would have crossed the border without obtaining no objection certificates from Rehman Malik and by passing the Indian government’s newly introduced stringent visa policy. While stepping over the imaginary border line, they will surely notice the well-built, tough-looking border security jawans from both sides, who behind their thick, oiled moustaches, may be hiding their desire to join the cricket caravan. Back home, people will be taking half day off, even if the government doesn’t announce it. The tyre-burning mobs may suspend their ‘noble’ campaign and Karachi’s target-killers may give themselves a much-needed break for the day. Cricketing hero-turned-playboy-turned-The Avenger, has already instructed his Tehrik-i-Dharna brigade to schedule the anti-Nato sit-in well after the World Cup final. …
A place to call home
Pakistani-born immigrant credits Canada for helping him explore his identity
by Tayyab Rashid
When I came to North America some 15 years ago, I thought that most of us are migratory beings, or some part of our constitution is. Living in Canada has changed or perhaps expanded my thinking — we are also sedentary souls. …
The prayer/ Namaaz is same since Hazrat Adam, that is why the way of performing Namaaz is not described in the Holy Quran. Islam, Christinanity, and Judaism is one and the same religion.
There are 5 places where one “bends-down” during this prayer (HT5:10). Each time one “bends-down,” he should arch his back bending over …
The content of this prayer were established by the Court established under Moses, at the time at which it was headed by Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Zechariah, etc…( HT5:2); It’s also called the Shemoneh Esreh …
When beginning … daily prayers, start from a standing position facing toward …, with feet side by side, eyes lowered, and ones right hand clasped over his left hand over his heart, with his heart turned to “Above” in fear, awe, and dread, as a servant before his master, (HT5:4).
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