Tag Archives: identity

BELGIUM and THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY

By: Abdul Khalique Junejo.

Holding of general elections and subsequent formation of government, some times coalitions, is just a routine matter and a normal course of life in the countries of Western Europe. But not so in the case of Belgium, the country considered and called to be the ‘Capital of Europe’ since it provides headquarters for European Union and the NATO. The recently held general elections in this tiny country of about 10 millions people made bigger and eye-catching head-lines in the world media; not for any ‘Landside Victory’ but because of a split mandate, a mandate that threatens to split the country. For example the news paper carried the headlines; “Separatists claim victory in Belgian election”. These developments have generated extraordinary interest in this part of the world as many regions /peoples here are encountering the problems of similar nature.

Belgium, being situated between France and Holland, is a bi-lingual country comprising the French-speaking Wallonia people and Flemish-speaking Flanders. For many years the emphasis on the linguistic identity has been on the rise and recently quite vociferous voices have been heard for the dissolution of Belgium and creation of a separate country for the Flemish-speaking people of Dutch origin. New Flemish Alliance, the party advocating for separate country, has emerged as the largest party, not only among the Flanders but in the country as a whole. This has given an exceeding impetus to the demands for the parting of ways between the Flanders and the Wallonia.

Pakistan was created by conjoining of different peoples with their own distinct identity based on history, language and culture. After creation of the new country, these peoples (Bengalis, Sindhis, Balochs etc) started demanding recognition of their identity and asking for the promotion of their culture and language. In response the state-organs used the force of gun and the state-intellectuals used the force of pen to suppress such demands and, instead, promote and impose ‘single identity, single language and single culture’. This ‘strategy’ created strong reaction which manifested itself in the shape of mass movements for the ‘restoration’ of different identities.

One of these movements, Bengali, culminated in the ‘split’ of Pakistan and creation of a new country. Bangladesh while Sindhi and Baloch movements are getting fiercer by the time.

Continue reading BELGIUM and THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY

Speech of Dr. Zafar Baloch (BHRC) to the conference on South Asia

The conference on South Asia was organized by International Center for Peace & Democracy (ICFPD) in collaboration with Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada). The conference took place at Hotel Radisson Toronto, Canada on December 11, 2010.

SOUTH ASIAN PERSPETIVE ON REGIONAL STABILITY THE ROLE OF THE STATE: DEMOCRACY, DICTATORSHIP, AND EXTREMISM

ICFPD

Following is the speech delivered by Dr. Zafar Baloch, president of Baloch Human Rights council (Canada) in the conference.

Continue reading Speech of Dr. Zafar Baloch (BHRC) to the conference on South Asia

Spurious symbols — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

I do not understand why pieces of apparel have to be given the status of cultural symbols; only those countries and nations that are culturally bankrupt need to impose them as symbols. This symbolism also reveals the inherent feeling of inferiority and the consequent need to make them appear as important and necessary.

Since last year, at the behest of a commercial television station in Sindh, a so-called ‘Cultural Day’ is being observed in the province. The two media groups that now want to own it celebrate it on two different days. This supposedly Cultural Day is observed by people wearing a Sindhi topi (cap) and an ajrak (shawl). These are being turned into symbols of Sindh; on this day, with a lot of fanfare and enthusiasm, many people adorn themselves with these symbols and the youth dance. Some political, cultural and social outfits wholeheartedly participate in it and, sadly, all believe that, with this, they are reinforcing Sindhi identity, which I think they are not. Sindhi identity is much larger and more varied than two pieces of attire. This Cultural Day is nothing but the commercialisation of culture and a means for raking in profits for television stations and the makers of topis and ajraks.

Advocating spurious cultural symbols helps exploiters distract people from the real threats to their identity and rights. The Sindhis participating in this frivolous celebration return home thinking that they have done enough for Sindh and their annual ritual, which it will now become, is adequate to protect the rights of Sindhis. The rights of Sindh demand sacrifices, dedication and struggle, not dancing and frivolity.

The true symbols of Sindh are its valiant sons who sacrificed their lives without hesitation. Makhdoom Bilawal Bin Jam Hassan Sammo (1451 AD/ 856 AH to 30th Safar 1523 AD/929AH) preferred to be ground in the grinder used to extract oil from seeds than to accept the fiat of the Afghan Arghun rulers. He needs to be emulated; his teachings are the cultural symbol needed to awaken the Sindhis. The poetry of Shah Abdul Latif should be made a cultural symbol and the Sindhis should be encouraged to read and memorise his enchanting verses to promote Sindh and its culture and history. His poetry will give them an insight into Sindhi history, geography and culture. …

Read more : Daily Times

Sindhi be made national language of Pakistan besides Punjabi, Siraiki, Pushto & Balochi

by Manzoor Chandio, Karachi, Sindh

1-Sindhi along with Seraiki, Punjabi, Balochi and Pushto should be declared a national language of Pakistan. (The present national language of Pakistan is the Mother tongue of only 7% population of the Pakistanis)

2-All national identity cards and passports in Sindh should be issued in Sindhi.

3-Coins and banknotes of various denominations should be published in Sindhi along with other  national languages.

4-All signboards and milestones of Pakistan Railways and National Highway Authority in Sindh should be written in Sindhi. (The Civil Aviation Authority should display welcoming banners in Sindhi at all airports in Sindh. The PIA should make arrival and departure announcements in Sindhi as thousands of Sindhis are using the airline daily.

5-All federal bodies in Sindh and all departments of the Sindh government should use Sindhi for official communication. (Ministers should display their name plates in Sindhi)

6-Sindhi members of the Sindh Assembly should make speeches and table bills in Sindhi. The finance minister should make his budget speech in Sindhi. (It seems Sindhi lawmakers are the worst victims of the linguistic chauvinism. One visit to the Sindh Assembly shows how Sindhi legislators are talking in as they were members of Utter Pradesh Assembly.

7-All closed Sindhi-medium schools and colleges in Karachi, Sindh should be reopened.

8-All court proceedings right from civil to high courts should be held in Sindhi. Records should also be maintained in Sindhi.

9-All national and multinational companies, including those of pharmaceutical manufactures, should be asked to produce literature in Sindhi. Otherwise, their products should be boycotted.

10-Elite Sindhis should be asked to talk to their children in Sindhi.

http://manzoorchandio.blogspot.com/

19 Feb. 2009.