Tag Archives: Indus

Stupid propaganda in favor of controversial Kalabagh dam

– by Gul Agha

Stupid propaganda resumes.. now some clowns are claiming that another mega-dam (KBD) would have spared flooding! How can a dam upstream hundreds of miles away provide safety from the monsoon rains? The dams already built have devastated forests in the floodplains removing trees which help soil absorb water and reduce flooding. Time to tear the dams down and let the river recreate land and regenerate forests through seasonal flooding.

Courtesy: Adopted from Facebook.

“The Sindhi community is deeply concerned about the issue. Our sentiments are attached. Sindh is a culture. It cannot be measure[d] on geographical boundaries [alone]” –Bharatiya Sindhi Samaj President Pradeep Bhavnani The Samaj represents 3.30 lakh Sindhis in Mumbai.

– ‘Sindh to remain in nat’l anthem’

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday said that as the Supreme Court already ruled that the word Sindh is correctly used in the national anthem, it shall remain.

A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice R G Ketkar was hearing a PIL filed by retired professor Shrikant Malushte, challenging the use of the word in the anthem. He said that Sindh, now a part of Pakistan, should be replaced with Sindhu (Indus), a river in north India. He pointed out that the word had been replaced by the Indian government in January 1950, but the anthem continues to be sung using the wrong word.

The judges said that on May 13, 2005, the SC , while rejecting a petition filed by Sanjeev Bhatnagar,confirmed the word Sindh will remain in the anthem. “The Supreme Court said that it is correctly used. It quoted the authentic text. We shall go by the SC’s ruling,” said Justice Desai. – Rosy Sequeira ….

Read more → TOI

Dr. Geet: Yankee doctor, speaking Sindhi, in the flood zone of Sindh

– Dr. Geet: Yankee doc, speaking Sindhi, in the flood zone

SINDH : KARACHI — Dr. Geet Chainani is the young American dream I hadn’t counted on meeting in Pakistan this summer. She’s a Yank born in India, raised in New York City, trained as a medical doctor in the Caribbean. And for most of a year now she’s been treating families, especially children, in the tent cities of the flood waters of the Indus River, upstream from Karachi. When we met, almost by chance, my first thought was: this is an American vision to be shared — of the trans-nation at its best, at home in the world, our useful hands-on gifts being shared, as if it came naturally.

Geet Chainani grew up on Staten Island with a grandmother who told her “we were Sindhis first.” Meaning: master the Sindhi language early; think of yourself as a child of the world’s first big-city culture, at Mohenjo-daro, from 2600 B.C. Her grandparents were part of the vast Hindu migration out of Sindh to India in 1947, at the partition that created Pakistan. But Sindh was where Geet came looking for her roots a year ago — for the tombs of the Sufi saints and the world’s oldest plumbing. The first big shock was Pakistan’s devastation by immersion. The second, when she pitched herself into the emergency, was discovering, with mothers in distress, that knowing their language was as valuable as her medical training.

All that in a woman who sounds to us, as I said, so New York. “I am very New York!” she laughed. “Being American is the ground for the work I do — the fundamental belief that all men are created equal. In the Preamble, you know… People say to me now: so you picked Sindh, and you’re saving these people. I’m, like: No. It [SINDH] picked me. And they’re saving me.”

Courtesy: → RadioOpenSource

The above news adopted from Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 24, 2011.

The uniqueness of Sindh

– By Ayaz Amir

Just when the sector commanders had been put on the back-foot, and the MQM was vociferating in a manner not seen since 1995 (Gen Babar’s operation), who should come to their rescue but President Zardari’s personal emissary, Montecello University’s most celebrated doctoral figure, Dr Babar Awan.

He has brilliantly appeased the MQM by restoring Gen Musharraf’s  loaded [undemocratic, black, repressive & discriminatory] local government system – first just to Karachi and Hyderabad and then, when … Sindh rose up with one cry against this hasty move, to the whole of Sindh. The MQM can hardly believe its luck – perhaps it hadn’t counted on so swift a Zardari capitulation – but anger in … Sindh is on the rise.

Dr Zulfiqar Mirza’s outbursts had angered the MQM but secured the PPP’s vote bank in rural Sindh. Dr Awan’s gymnastics have pleased the MQM but poured fuel over the burning embers of Sindhi anger. From one extreme the PPP has swung to the other.

The choice of Dr Awan as PPP plenipotentiary was bizarre. How was he qualified to negotiate on behalf of Sindhi interests? The PPP is now on the back-foot. All the certificates of cleverness earned by Zardari for his supposed political sharpness have gone with the wind.

Dr Awan has proved adept at stalling and frustrating the Supreme Court. From the PPP’s point of view, he should have confined himself to that doctrine of necessity instead of floundering in the waters of Sindh.

In an ideal world, the PML-N should have been quick to exploit this opening. Alas, if wishes could be horses. It showed itself eager, a bit too eager, to embrace the MQM when the latter fell out with Zardari. But this proved embarrassing when the MQM’s falling-out proved to be less than definitive. Small wonder, it has yet to get its thoughts in order on the anger on the rise in backwater Sindh.

All of us could do with some clarity on a crucial issue: while the logic of smaller provinces applies to Punjab, because it is too huge and unwieldy, it does not, and cannot, apply to Sindh. Babar Awan and the PPP came perilously close to the idea of Sindh division when they proposed one dispensation for Karachi and Hyderabad – the restoration of Musharraf’s  [undemocratic, black, repressive & discriminatory] local body system – and another for the rural, revival of the commissionerate system. Sindh rural instantly saw red and the PPP had to back down immediately, in the space of a mere 24 hours. But the alarm had been sounded and Sindhi concerns have yet to be addressed or placated.

Carving a southern or Seraiki province out of Punjab will not endanger Punjab identity. Indeed, it will facilitate the task of governance and give a sense of belonging to the people of southern Punjab who feel left out of the orbit of Punjab affairs. But anything even remotely connected to the notion of Sindh division is almost an invitation to dangerous conflict in this most sensitive of provinces.

We should not forget the history of 1947 migration. If we leave Bengal out of the equation, there were two great waves of migration in northern India at the time of Partition: one from East Punjab to West Punjab, and vice versa; the other from Delhi, Lucknow and Bhopal in the north, and Hyderabad Deccan in the south, to Karachi. These migrations were dissimilar in character.

While Punjab suffered the most in terms of looting, plunder, killings and mass rape, when the dust settled and passions had time to cool, the process of assimilation was relatively quick because East and West Punjabis, minor differences of course apart, came from the same cultural stock. With minor variations of dialect, they spoke the same language and shared the same history.

This was not so with the southern migration to Karachi and Hyderabad. Karachi was a cosmopolitan city even then – a mini-Bombay, so to speak – but it was the capital of Sindh, the culture and language of whose native inhabitants was radically different from that of the people who were coming to it from India.

Karachi soon became the centre not of Sindhi culture but of the culture of displaced Dehi, of Delhi as it had been before the tumult of Partition. Delhi today is a Punjabi city. Its old composite, Muslim-dominated culture, the culture from which arose the poetry of Mir and Ghalib, is a thing of the past, lost to the upheavals of time and history. No conqueror, not Taimur and not Nadir Shah, could destroy Delhi, or transform its character, as decisively as Partition did. Those who seek the old Delhi, authors like William Dalrymple, have to come to Karachi to catch a whiff of the past.

Pakistan would be the poorer without this infusion of Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad Deccan culture. True, there was a downside to it as well, …. brought with their culture also their own prejudices. Insecurity and fear were part of their migrational baggage and these were infused into the thinking of the new state. But in cultural terms the arid wastes of Pakistan were enriched by that influx of talent and learning.

Punjabis being Punjabis, no new centre of culture arose in Punjab. But in Karachi we saw the birth of a transplanted culture, its soul carrying the imprint of loss and nostalgia, the usual hallmarks of any migration.

The downside comes from this very circumstance. Sixty four years after Partition we continue to live in the past, beset by old insecurities even though the times have changed and the old certitudes which gave birth to those insecurities no longer survive.

Sindhis are entitled to be a bit upset by all these changes. After all, they too are the inheritors of a great civilisation. Moenjodaro is the oldest pre-historic site discovered anywhere in India. There are other mighty life-giving rivers in the sub-continent: the sacred Ganges, the winding Brahmaputra. But only the Indus, sacred river of Sindh, gives its name to India. Hindus migrating to India from Sindh in 1947 take great pride in their Sindh ancestry.

Sindhi anger, nay Sindhi anguish, is centred on a primal concern. Why must the transposing of cultures be at their expense? And there is a fear lurking in their hearts, the fear of the Red Indian and the aborigine, of becoming strangers in their own homeland. This is a concern which must not be scoffed at. The rest of us, and this includes the successors to the civilisation of Delhi, should avoid words or gestures that smack even remotely of designs against the unity and integrity of Sindh.

From the immortal land of the five rivers, now only three left with us, thanks to the vagaries of history, more provinces can be carved out and no harm will come to it [Punjab]. But let no Punjabi leader or politician say that if Punjab is to be divided the same logic should apply to other provinces. This is wrong thinking. The same logic does not apply to Sindh, it does not apply to Balochistan. It is relevant only to Punjab and Punjab will be doing itself and the nation a service if it takes the lead in this respect, illuminating the path that others can follow.

A word may also be in order about another fixation of the Punjabi mind: Kalabagh dam. If Kalabagh dam is right then there is nothing wrong with the dams India is building on the rivers Chenab and Jhelum. If we are objecting to run-of-the-mill dams in Kashmir, dams whose water is not stored but is allowed to run, how can we support a storage dam on the Indus at Kalabagh? The logic just does not hold.

History cannot be undone. We have to live by its consequences. But Sindh of all regions of Pakistan requires a balance and moderation in the conduct of its affairs. Any hint of an unnatural hegemony of one part over the other is an invitation to anger and despair.

Courtesy: → The News

Those Who Reconcile Every Thing For Their Personal Interests, Have Finally truncated Their Motherland

– By Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom, Singapore

When the world was still to be born
When Adam was still to receive his form
Then my relationship began
When I heard the Lord’s Voice
A voice sweet and clear
I said “Yes” with all my heart
And Formed a bond with the land (Sindh) I love
When all of us were one, My bond then began.
Sufi (mystic) poet of peace, Shah Abdul Latif

There are Protests and Rallies being organised by caring, concerned, loving and valiant children of Motherland against the threats to mother Sindh, throughout the length and breadth.

My apologies for not being able to attend the Protest Rally. However, in spirit, I shall be there with you all. My full and comprehensive support and prayers shall be there for my kindred folks of my Motherland.

Mother Sindh is wounded – by our own traitors! Capitulation, Surrender and Submission! This is the first step towards the annihilation of Sindh – the Cradle of Civilisation. This is the step towards the extinction of Sindh as a glorious Nation, as cultured citizens of earth and as gregarious people living in Love, Peace and Harmony on the surface of this Planet.

STAND UP and BE COUNTED! Fight against the partitionist forces & threats to the integrity of mother Sindh from barbarians now! Peace-loving, people of Sindh CANNOT tolerate threats to mother Sindh.

In the annals of history every act of treachery, betrayal, and treason, is punishable! What is our duty? Are we going to be a witness to the destruction, and drowning of our Motherland by traitors??????

Are we going to watch and see our Motherland being truncated, tormented and finally annihilated? Are we going to sit on our haunches seeing the extinction of the Cradle of Civilisation, Sindh?

Enough is enough! Time for silly talks is gone! Now, is the time to DELIVER! STAND UP and BE COUNTED! FIRST UNITE!  AND THEN FIGHT AGAINST HATE AND FASCISTS GROUPS. We have to STAND UP against tyranny for Survival!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-groups/ e-lists, August 8, 2011

All parties of Sindh including Altaf Hussain/ MQM Oppose Division of Sindh then why a private channel conspiring against the unity of Sindh!?

To read a column of writer, journalist and intellectual Nazir Laghari on the unity of Sindh in urdu daily Jang, click → Arz-e-Haal.

Courtesy: → urdu daily Jang, Wednesday, July 27, 2011

via → Revolution Reader blog

People of the World: Please Take Note! Where is your Conscience!

“Shattered Humanity on Move Again”

By Dr Ahmed H. Makhdoom

According to the Times Of India News: [“ AMRITSAR: As many as 600 Hindus, including women and children, arrived in India via Attari land border on Monday. Custom’s deputy commissioner RK Duggal said that the group arrived here on pilgrim visas. Sources at Attari said that these Hindus, largely from Sindh province of Pakistan, had expressed their desire to permanently settle in India and have come with a large quantity of luggage and household goods.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Large-contingent-of-Hindus-from-Pakistan-arrives-in-India/articleshow/9193434.cms]

This is absolutely sad, heart-breaking, heart-wrenching news! Why do the simple, innocent and peace-loving people be forced to take such painful and nerve-wrecking course in their life? Why do they have to resort to this tragic move of leaving their Motherland?

Why do they have to abandon and forsake their motherland where the ashes of their ancestors lay strewn in field, plains, hills and rivers! Why do they give up on their motherland, where the bones of their loved ones are entombed since centuries? Why do they have to take such a drastic action! Does the civilized world take note of such tragic, catastrophic and calamitous plight of desperate human beings?

Oh Prince! How can this maid ever abandon, Thought and yearning for my own kith and kin? Within heart and soul are love’s sharp skewers, Pierced inside me without blacksmith’s hammers; Darts and arrows coated with love and longing, Thousands of them my beloveds kept striking; Humble dwellings back home and kindred dears, Alas! This unfortunate maid had not seen for years.” (Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom) (Note: In Bhittai’s epic ‘Umar Marvi;’ Soomra=the caste of Prince Umar, the ruler of Sindh)

Surely, it is not easy or joyful leaving ones beloved kindred folks, with whom they have spent years with love, happiness and mutual respect and admiration! Certainly, it is not pleasant to leave ones Motherland, where one had stayed since centuries! Really, there must be something wrong! Certainly, serious human rights violations must have taken place! Surely, the lives of these despondent people must have been at risk! Surely, these simpleton people must have been threatened, abused and vilified!

Where is the civilized world? Why they have shut their eyes to the sorrows and sufferings of human beings? Why the powerful countries, world’s human rights organizations, international social and welfare organizations and resourceful, potent and mighty individuals closed their ears to the cries of pain and anguish of these punctured, pushed and punched people?

This is a clear case of ethnic cleansing and serious human rights abuse perpetrated, planned and engineered by the policies of establishment. And, the children of the Soil leave, and Mother Sindh becomes dejected, demoralized, and depressed! And the Sons of the Soil in Sindh become extinct!

We demand immediate investigation into this very sad and sordid affair! We appeal and plead the World’s Human Rights Organisations, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court and the United Nations Organisations to enquire from government officials about what is going on and why poor innocent people are being resorted to take such drastic action! The culprits who have been the cause of such a tragedy should be apprehended, tried and punished. Long Live Humanity!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 16 July, 2011

Sindhis are truly indebted to Ustad Manzoor and others who made Sindh their home.

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

SINDHIS OF KURDISTAN

The Aryan Period

People in the ancient world that came from the region of India were known as ‘Sindhi. There are people recorded in Turkey and also North of the Black Sea who were referred to as Sindi.It was like people nowadays that are in Canada or the UK are referred to as Indians.This fact is also the source of the theory that the Kurds of the SE Greece, Turkey, NW Iraq and Northern Syria are believed to have had their origin in India as the tribal name ‘Sindi’ is big amongst the Kurds.

As early as 2000 BC, the vanguards of the Indo-European speaking tribal immigrants, such as the Hittites and the Mittanis (Sindis), had arrived in southwestern Asia. While the Hittites only marginally affected the mountain communities in Kurdistan, the Mittanis settled inside Kurdistan around modern Diyarbakir, and influenced the natives in several fields worthy of note, in particular the introduction of knotted rug weaving. Even rug designs introduced by the Mittanis and recognized by the replication in the Assyrian floor carvings, remain the hallmark of the Kurdish rugs and kelims. The modern mina khâni and chwar such styles are basically the same today as those the Assyrians copied and depicted nearly 3000 years ago.

The name ‘Mittani’ survives today in the Kurdish clans of Mattini and Millani/Milli who inhabit the exact same geographical areas of Kurdistan as the ancient Mittani. The name “Mittan,” however, is a Hurrian name rather than Aryan. At the onset of Aryan immigration into Kurdistan, only the aristocracy of the high-ranking warrior groups were Aryans, while the bulk of the people were still Hurrian in all manners. The Mittani aristocratic house almost certainly was from the immigrant Sindis, who survive today in the populous Kurdish clan of Sindi—again—in the same area where the Mittani kingdom once existed. These ancient Sindi seem to have been an Indic, and not Iranic group of people, and in fact a branch of the better known Sindhis of IndiaPakistan, that has imparted its name to the River Indus and in fact, India itself. (footnote 8) While the bulk of the Sindis moved on to India, some wondered into Kurdistan to give rise to the Mitanni royal house and the modern Sindi Kurds. …

Courtesy: http://oldenhistory.blogspot.com/2009/12/sindhi-people.html

In India, the courts are acting on the problem of the pollution in Sindhu river, it would be better if the clowns in the Pakistani courts would do something real to save the river Sindh from pollution instead of playing petty power grab games.

PIL to save River Sindh: HC appoints commissioner

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court here on Wednesday appointed a commissioner to ascertain allegations levelled in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that illegal constructions have come up along the banks of River Sindh.

An official said that Justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain and Justice Hasnain Massodi appointed Registrar Judicial, Kaneez Fatima, as commissioner and directed her to inspect along with Tehsildar Kangan the site and submit report within two weeks.

The PIL was submitted by advocate Qazi Rashid Shamas. The petitioner alleges that structures were being built on the river bed at three places— Mamar, Murgund and Knagan in violation of various statutes.

“In the process water is getting polluted and if immediate steps for retrieving river from encroachments and removing illegal constructions are not undertaken, the river environment and the surrounding ecology faces threats and hazards,” reads the PIL.

Continue reading In India, the courts are acting on the problem of the pollution in Sindhu river, it would be better if the clowns in the Pakistani courts would do something real to save the river Sindh from pollution instead of playing petty power grab games.

Rasool Bux Palijo, a Politician, a Tactician & a Writer

Notes From My Memory, Part VII, By Mir Thebo: Rasool Bux Palijo, a Politician, a Tactician & a Writer

by Mir Thebo

In early 1960s, Rasool Bux Palijo and I were neighbors in Rosy Corner flats in Hyderabad. Those were very dirty pigeon hole flats in Tando Wali Mohammad area. Palijo lived on 2nd floor while I lived on the 1st. floor. Occasionally I went to his flat. He had no furniture and no proper bed in the flat. Palijo hated cleanliness. One could rather say that he hated regular life therefore he didn’t like well-dressed petty bourgeoisie people. He never cared about food. Shoes would be lying over the floor. He had good collection of books but they would be scattered all over the place. He didn’t like to live there so most of the time he remained outside.

By profession, he was a lawyer, a mediocre advocate at that because he was not interested in practicing law, although he was intelligent and had a logical mind. He had a small office in the Circular Building, which didn’t look like a professional lawyer’s office. He didn’t care much about these things. He was a good reader though. He read non-fiction, fiction and poetry books. He loved Shah Latif’s poetry. He was also an admirer of Shaikh Ayaz’s poetry. In later period, he disowned Shaikh Ayaz and his followers glorified Ustad Bukhari more than Ayaz but they were friends during 1960s. Ayaz also liked Palijo.

Palijo also read Urdu, Russian, Chinese, English and Arabic literature. He had good knowledge of history and international situation. He also had a good knowledge of the history of Sindh. He was great at appreciating someone. He will make you fly higher and higher until you reach the top of the world. He would say things that will make you wonder if you really possessed such ‘qualities’ as mentioned by Palijo. But if you disagreed with him, he will throw you in the dust mercilessly so much so that he will not allow you even to protest. He is a witty person with good sense of humor. He has good hospitality. He will serve you meals and every thing including drinks, etc. I have few chances to drink with him along with other friends. I never observed him out of control but he is careful not to drink too much with casual visitors.

Palijo was a Marxist at that time. I don’t know if he still is or has changed as many of us old Marxists have said goodbye to our once favorite ideology of Marxism. During my last meeting with him at his residence in Naseem Nagar in 2005, he came across as neither a Marxist nor a Maoist. He didn’t mention either of them in his analysis. He sounded like a populist Sindhi nationalist political leader.

Palijo is considered to be a great tactician but sometimes he is caught in his own tactics and faces failure. Many times he has stumbled and fallen down but he has good stamina to rise up again and start a fresh. He is very swift in changing tactics and at that moment he never cares about the principles. Any way lets talk of his life of the earlier period of 1960s. As a politician, you will see his glimpses many times in my memoir.

In 1960s, Palijo was General Secretary, National Awami Party (NAP), Hyderabad City. NAP at that time was the open united front of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) headed by Khan Abdul Wali Khan.

Continue reading Rasool Bux Palijo, a Politician, a Tactician & a Writer

Fukushima lessons for Pakistan

by A.H . Nayyer

Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) is now forty years old. It is rated among the worst functioning reactors of the world. Situated on the Arabian Sea, it was originally far away from populated areas of Karachi, but now many residential schemes have moved close to it. The reactors at Chashma are relatively new. The site is on the bank of River Indus, situated between Indus and Chashma-Jehlum Link Canal. The reactor site is known to be on top of a series of tectonic plates …

Read more : View Point

Controversial Kalabagh Dam will hurt the interests of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh and Pakistan as well

A Case Against Kalabagh Dam: Aziz Narejo

Filling in the Dots: Why PILDAT is Reviving Kalabagh Debate: Introductory Note by Kamran Shafi

Kalabagh Dam is a very bad idea indeed. If ONLY for the reason that 3 out of 4 federating units of this blessed country have rejected it.

I am familiar enough with the Mardan-Nowshera-Charsadda area well enough to know that when without this monstrosity there is water standing along the roads just three feet below the level of the road there has to be a big problem of water-logging already.

I can only hope that sense prevails and that our already frayed federation is not damaged further.

We also must ask the question WHY an organisation whose goal is “to strengthen and sustain democracy and democratic institutions” in this poor country should re-raise a hugely contentious issue like the Kalabagh Dam? Which has been DEMOCRATICALLY rejected by three-fourths of the country.

– = – = – = –

A case Against Kalabagh Dam – by Aziz Narejo

A recent seminar in Karachi organized by an NGO, PILDAT has again brought the issue of Kalabagh Dam to the fore. Especially an irrational and unscrupulous statement at the seminar by IRSA chairman (from Punjab) has flared up the emotions among the stakeholders.

Actually he is not alone in this. There is a certain lobby in Pakistan, which continues to insist on the construction of Kalabagh Dam on Indus River ignoring the fierce opposition from the provinces of Khyber- Pakhtoonkhwa and Sindh …

Read more : Indus Herald

Responsibility to preserve Mohenjodaro transferred to Sindh

By Shahid Husain

Sindh: Karachi – The responsibility to preserve and maintain the 5,000-year old city of Mohenjodaro has been transferred to the provincial government, the Sindh Minister for Culture, Sassui Palijo told The News on Wednesday.

The minister said that this decision is in accordance with the current devolution plan in the country.

“Health, education, culture and tourism are being given to the provinces, in accordance with devolution plan, to ensure maximum provincial autonomy,” Palijo said. “The Antiquities Act will also be amended after a long time.”

Palijo further said that the Sindh Government has signed an agreement with UNESCO for the preservation of Mohenjodaro, which happens to be one of the largest heritage sites in the world. “The majority of the funding for the preservation of the site will be provided by UNESCO, while the Sindh Government and others will also make contributions,” said the minister.

Palijo credited Senator Rabbani for playing a vital role in the devolution plan. She said that work will also begin on ‘frozen projects’ that had been neglected for quite a while due to the lack of funding. Mohenjodaro was one of the greatest civilisations of ancient times and flourished on the banks of the River Indus (Sindhu).

“Before the arrival of the Aryans, the people of the Indus (Sindh) had already become a highly developed civilisation that spread over half a million miles. But then the civilsation vanished and all its glory was buried under massive mounds of sand. Excavations at Mohenjodaro and Harrapa proved the maturity and refinement of the people living in both areas. They used cotton for textiles, built large spacious houses and there were a number facilities for the residents, such as public baths ad well as an excellent drainage system. All these factors indicate that in many ways, the Indus Valley civilsation was more advanced than the Persians, Egyptians and Mesopotamians,” wrote former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and distinguished intellectual, Aitezaz Ahsan in his book called “The Indus Saga and the making of Pakistan. …

Read more : The News

MOEN JO DARO – SINDH

by Chandiramani

Ruins of Moen jo daro : 25 kms. Away from Larkana city in Sindh .. It was inhabited in 2000 B.C , abandoned in 1700 B.C and rediscovered in 1920 ‘ Around 5OOOO people stayed there at one time. Maybe more.

It was probably abandoned due to the floods as river Indus (Sindhu) changes its course very often Declared as Unesco world heritage site, Unesco 1n 1997 gave U.S $1O million for restoration and strengthening the base of the city .

5 artistic seals prove the extent of progress achieved in 2OOO B.C itself . The dancing girl denotes self confidence.

Wayang Kulit of Indonesia bears a lot of similarity to it. Scholars must do research on this similarity .

The priest or the king shows power and dignity and quite a few statues of goddesses were also found at the site.

Shiva was worshipped in this area is proved by phallus shaped stone objects in Moen jo Daro.

Moen jo daro had an excellent drainage system, planned wide roads, two storied houses – made of baked mud. There were also huge granaries for storage.

A great public bath has also been found at Moen Jo Daro with steps going down to a pond. Elliptical disc was found recently which may have been used fork eeping holy water . Pieces of charcoal were found at Moen jo Daro. This will help us to pin point the age of the site. According to latest reports on google all the ancient sites are eroding due to goverment neglect and public aphathy.

It is very heartening to know that Tata’s Fundemental Institute of Research which is highly respected all over the world, is undertaking a research on Moen jo Daro to find out if the city was laid as per astronomical placements of stars at that time like is the case with Borobudut, the largest Budhhist Complex in the world ( In Indonesia ). and Angkor Vat in Cambodia. Moen Jo Daro is a few hours drive from Karachi – Sindh.

According to Makarand Khatavkar who also conducted a lot of research on Moen Jo daro, the layout of the ancient Moen Jo Daro is astonishing and so are the seals.

Some streets in Moen Jo Daro were 33 feel broad, and had markets on both sides. At Moen jo Daro , there is a 5OOO year old well and the workers were drinking water from it.

Another very striking point was that no weapons of war were found at Moen Jo Daro.

Now about the script;: The Indus script has been known for the last century but until today it has not been deciphered.

However the studies by TIFR scientists and other world institutes suggest that Indus people wrote in a literary style and the script may have been written close to spoken languages like Tamil and Sanskrit .. The linguistic structure of the Indus (Sindhu) script suggests this .. Now the efforts are on to understand the grammatical structure of the script.

6 rare dolphins found dead on river bank in Pakistan; authorities suspect poison

KARACHI, Pakistan — Wildlife authorities say they have found the carcasses of six endangered river dolphins in Pakistan over the last month.

Sindh Wildlife Department deputy head Ghulam Mohammad accused on Monday local fisherman, saying their poison and nets were to blame for the deaths of the Indus River Dolphin.

The blind mammal is found only in the Indus River. A 2006 survey put the numbers left in the river at 1,300.

Increasingly low water levels and the spilling of pesticides into the river have reduced the dolphins’ habitat.

Courtesy: The Canadian Press

Source – http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5ioQMBhWL0VGxaxOX5R-kiZ3UBgzA?docId=5811123

Sindhyat means unity through diversity

. Sindhyat

by Govind Chandiramani, India

Lots of Sindhis write about Sindhyat from time to time in different parts of the world. They write beautifully well, show the articles to their friends, who praise them. Afterwords they forget about it. But have we gone deep enough to understand Sindhyat? For understanding it, one has to go to the most ancient records available.

1. What are the oldest monuments still existing which provide us proof of the great civilisation we had in the past? .The answer is Moen jo Daro , Mehrgarh, Kot Diji etc.

What steps have we taken to preserve it? On the google , one comes across reports of neglect and chaos in Moen jo Daro. Our 25OO B.C monument. If Mohan jo Daro is neglected like this, what about places like Kot Diji and Mehrgarh? All these ancient proofs of our civilisation should be protected.

It is very heartening to know that Tata’s Institute of Research which is highly respected all over the world, is undertaking research on Moen jo Daro to find out if the city was laid as per astronomical placements of stars at that time. They have appointed a team of 4 experts. I can send the information to anyone who is really interested.

Continue reading Sindhyat means unity through diversity

Music for Life : Beethoven for the Indus Valley

Another big humanitarian event being organized by George Mathew, a South Asian New Yorker. Hope you can attend. Below is our press release and a list of the South Asians involved with the concert.

Beethoven for the Indus (Sindhu) Valley. BEETHOVEN’S NINTH SYMPHONY at CARNEGIE HALL. FOR LIFE AND RENEWAL IN PAKISTAN AFTER THE 2010 FLOODS. Who: Music for Life International Inc. and American Pakistan Foundation,

George Mathew, Conductor, Glenn Dicterow, Concertmaster, Laquita Mitchell, Soprano, Margaret Lattimore, Mezzo-soprano, Sean Pannikar, Tenor, Morris, Robinson, Bass. What: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. When: January 31, 2011 at 8pm. Where: Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. Tickets: Tickets are $35 – $199. For information or to purchase tickets, Carnegie Hall Box Office, or online at www.carnegiehall.org.

Continue reading Music for Life : Beethoven for the Indus Valley

Hundreds of Sindhi-Americans Gathered in Houston to Pay Tribute to Their National Leader

Condemned the religious intolerance and human rights violations in Pakistan

HOUSTON, TX, USA. Tens of hundreds of Sindhi-Americans gathered in Houston on Saturday, January 15, 2011 to commemorate the 107th birthday of Mr. G. M. Syed, a national leader of the Sindh who waged a nonviolent struggle against religious fundamentalism and for freedom.

Sindh is home to the ancient Indus (Sindhu) Valley civilization and is now a unit of Pakistan. A vibrant Sindhi-American community numbering in the tens of thousands lives in various U.S. cities. More than 30 million Sindhis live in Sindh today. Sindhis are supportive of democracy and secularism and have been marginalized by security establishment of the country and its religious extremist reactionary ideology.

Continue reading Hundreds of Sindhi-Americans Gathered in Houston to Pay Tribute to Their National Leader

Article about Sindhi Hindus

The forgotten prayers of a people

By Sadef A. Kully

KARACHI: The legend is almost as old as the Indus River, Lord Shiva and his consort Sati, daughter of King Dakhsha, were vexed by Sati’s father for not inviting them for a ceremony. Sati went to the ceremony uninvited and in return was ignored. She was hurt by the behavior that she sacrificed herself in the fires and was burnt alive. Upon hearing the fate of his love, Lord Shiva went mad and began chaos on earth.

In order to help Lord Shiva deal with his grief, Lord Vishnu cut Sati’s body in 12 pieces and scattered them across the earth where her head fell upon Hingol. Wherever the pieces of Sati’s body fell became Shakti Peethas, holy places of cosmic power, for all gods and worshippers.

Hingol is not a legend – as a matter of fact – today it is known as Hingol National Park and lies almost 170 km outside of Karachi in Balochistan. Sati’s head fell by Hinglaj Matajee Temple located inside a natural cave of a hill which is a holy pilgrimage site for the 2.5 million Hindus in Pakistan, although many feel the numbers have doubled in the last decade, and more than 90 per cent of them live in the Sindh province.

Hindus are the third religious group, after Muslim and Christians, and Hinduism is considered the indigenous religion of the sub-continent by local and international historians, which is not far from the truth.

There are over 40 Hindu temples across Pakistan, and in Sindh alone there are almost 30 temples in Karachi and interior Sindh. …

Read more : DAWN

In Pakistan, ‘Munnis’ are angry with ‘badnaam’ tag

‘Munni’ embarrasses many women in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Munni, a mother of two, has been unable to open her little shop in the eastern city of Lahore since “Munni Badnaam Hui” from the Bollywood film ” Dabangg” became a huge hit in Pakistan.

The story is much the same for other ‘Munnis’ on this side of the Indus who wish the song had never been written.

First it was the boys in the neighbourhood, and then the men got wind of the popular song from Salman Khan’s film, and they would all come to Munni’s store and sing ” Munni badnaam hui darling teray liye” and embarrass her.

Read more: THE TIMES OF INDIA

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Munni Badnaam Hui song of film Dabang

You Tube Link

THE UNIQUE FIVE MILLIONS SINDHIS : WITHOUT A MILIMETER OF LAND … STATELESS!?

They were the people, Who were denied their ancient land 5000 years old Civilization. Moen Jo Daro. They paid supreme price for FREEDOM OF INDIA. They were the people, Who dwelled on the banks of river Sindhu, Where Rig Veda was evolved, Then Upanishads took shape, Who believed in peace and tranquility and in universal brotherhood. But in the year 1947, were forced to migrate. They came empty handed, many with only clothes on their back. Assigned in dilapidated barracks, leaking roofs and missing privacy and had to stand in line for free rations. But, instead of whining or moaning, they stood proud and erect. They took, not arms, but creative intelligence, they believed in knowledge and education and went forward.

Next 50 years, they traversed many lands and oceans by hard work and perseverance. They spread prosperity everywhere. They built new houses. They built new hospitals. They built new schools and colleges. Gave free aid and scholarships and advanced trade and industry.

The Original Unique five Million Sindhis of Sindhu-Sarswati Civilization, the peaceful people, the hospitable people, the generous people, the proud and independent people, the self-reliant people without a millimeter of their land. They survived, they are survivors,they are tough, they are SINDHIS LIVING IN INDIA.

SINDHIS HAVE BUILT MORE COLLEGES AND HOSPITALS IN INDIA AND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PEACE LOVING & HARD WORKING COMMUNITY…  BELIEVE IN BROTHERHOOD IS STATELESS.

Courtesy: Sindi e-lists/ e-groups, Sat, September 11, 2010.

International Sindhi Cultural & solidarity Day- Houston

International Sindhi cultural, Heritage and solidarity day celebrated in Toronto, Houston Texas, Washington, New York, London and Saint Louis by Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and World Sindhi Congress (WSC).

Around one hundred Sindhi living in Houston gathered and enjoyed a colorful and cold evening. Majority was dressed in Sindhi cultural Ajrak and Topi and enjoyed Sindhi music.

Continue reading International Sindhi Cultural & solidarity Day- Houston

Rama Pir Sufi Saint of Sindh and Hind

 

Rama Pir Mandar

– Riaz Sohail, Karachi, Sindh

To read the report in Urdu, please click the following link;

or click the following link;

Courtesy: BBC urdu

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/story/2008/10/081010_rama_pir_mandar_rh.shtml


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‘Beyond Hindu and Muslim’:

Rethinking Iconographic Models and Symbolic Expressions in Sindh, A Case of the Tradition of Rama Pir

By Sohail Bawani

Images, signs and symbols have always been significant intermediaries between the world and its representation before individuals. These images, signs and symbols portray more than just graphical facts, figures and forms; they are a means towards construction of human perception of ‘reality’: the ‘meaningfulness’ of the material world through the same (Lichty 2003: 1). Similarly, iconography, particularly portraying religious images, had played an important role in understanding and describing human interpretations about things beyond human imaginations, for example the matter of the creation of the universe.

The valley of the Indus River, since the time of its civilization’s peak and through local inhabitants and arrival of Muslims, including the Sufi saints, has been rich in its symbolic expressions and materials related to ‘image writing’; more specifically, within the context of the interaction between ‘Hinduism’ and ‘Islam’ in the Indian subcontinent (Khan 2004: 30). Moreover, not much has been written through the iconographic perspective about the cultural heritage in shape of sacred symbols among the various religious traditions in Sindh today.

With this perspective in mind, this paper is an attempt to explore the visual culture related to a devotional worship through a temple called Rama Pir or Ramdev Pir mandir, situated in Tando Allahyar, Sindh. The first part of this paper briefly describes different aspects of iconographic legends and symbols concurrently ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ in nature related to the famous charismatic figures in Sindh at present. This will be important in contextualizing the above visual culture in the broader context of religious traditions in Sindh. Moreover, the second part will take the tradition of Rama Pir, a Rajput prince-deity, as a case for depicting ‘syncretic’ (‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’) iconographic figure and symbol system. The third part will lead towards the main problem, by arguing as to what extent is it feasible to identify symbols and icons as ‘Hindu’ or ‘Muslim’ by taking the tradition of Rama Pir again as a case. Lastly, this paper will conclude by synthesizing the above part to draw some general principles on the same argument.

‘Neither Hindus nor Muslims’: Iconographic Legends and related Symbolic Expressions in Sindh, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and Uderolal in Perspective

Richard Burton, in his famous account on Sindh has mentioned some Pirs revered by both Hindus and Muslims, in the portion in which he discusses tasawwuf, Sufism in Sindh (1975: 326). Among those Pirs he mentions Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and Sheikh Tahir containing both identities, i.e. as a Muslim Pir and also as a Hindu saint: Lal Shahbaz Qalandar as Raja Bharatri and Uderolal as Sheikh Tahir (ibid.). It is interesting to note from this observation regarding the names that perhaps it accentuated the perception of a community about a charismatic figure; which could be Muslim or Hindu.

It has been said that before the advent of Lal Shahbaz there was a Shivaite temple located in Sehwan in Sindh, where the shrine of this saint is situated. It might be an ancient pilgrimage center of the Hindus before the erection of the dargah (Boivin 2003: 7). Besides, a saint named Bharatri, an icon of ascetism in Indic traditions said to have been there before the arrival of the famous saint of Sehwan (Boivin 2003: 19); perhaps later became the appellation for Lal Shahbaz by the Hindus. On the other hand, it seems that association of Raja Bharatri, already a known character for Hindus, continued to exist in the form of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar later, as a Muslim Sufi saint. We may observe the impact of these parallel identities even after the demise of the saint-pir. For instance, a Hindu originated man called Lal Das came to Sehwan from Kashmir to pay homage to Qalandar and never went back (Boivin 2003: 13). A dargah of Lal Das was also erected after his death, who was buried rather than cremated. A small population of Hindus frequently visits this ‘Hindu’ shrine (Boivin 2005a: 316). Today, one of the most important rituals performed at the time of the urs (anniversary of a Muslims saint) of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is the mehndi; an important element for the bride and groom in Indian weddings even in present times. It may come as a surprise that the mehndi ritual is performed by the Thakurs, local Hindu inhabitants, even before the proceedings of the sajjada nashins commence (Boivin 2003: 18-19).

The Indus has been worshipped since the earliest times in the form of water and light by local dwellers. Uderolal has been invoked as the incarnation of the river-god of the Indus and known under various names such as Khwaja Khizr, Darya Shah, Dulah Lal, Amarlal, Zinda Pir and others (Dawani 2002: 63-64). Popular poster art, available at local bazaars and temples represents Uderolal sitting on a fish with his white beard and mustache, resembling that of a Muslim Sufi saint floating on the River Indus. This iconographic description resonates with the continuation of the ‘river-cult’ in the Muslim era in the form of Sheikh Tahir and Khwaja Khizr; perhaps by those proselytes who still venerated Hindu sacred spaces even after becoming Muslims. This fact can be understood by the architectural structure of the shrine of Uderolal; situated in Hala, near the Uderolal railway station, Sindh. This shrine-complex was built under the supervision of the Mughals having Kashmiri and Persian importation of design (Dawani 2002: 67). This shrine-complex has both a temple and a mausoleum. A wooden Samadhi has been erected in memory of the river-saint including his image in the temple, however, no idol can be found. An oil lamp burns there regularly (Dawani 2002: 68). After this observation, one may ask, which structure is older, the mausoleum or the temple? We may propose tentatively the ‘Mughalization’ of the ‘cult’ of Uderolal after the advent of the Muslims. The restoration of the place into a gigantic structure indicates that the Mughals perhaps attempted to appropriate the spiritual heritage within the Muslim context: continuing the tradition of river-worship by associating a similar figure called Khizr, a wali2 related to the river and a famous symbol among the Sufis; who used to guide their disciples, those not having any formal relationship with a Sufi master, but on their way towards unification with the divine in various Sufi tariqahs.

The Tradition of Rama Pir in Sindh

Rama Pir is popularly known under the name of Ramdev Pir in the Indian subcontinent. In Sindh he is also known as Ramlo Pir; lo with Rama is an expletive rhythmic Sindhi suffix (Boivin 1998b: 28), and Pir, a Persian derivative to denote a saintly figure. Apart from these names, he is also venerated as Baba Ramdev and Ram Shah, probably referring more towards Muslim appellations such as Baba and Shah. It is not far away that at Runicha-Ramdeora, where the main shrine of this saint is located in Pokran, Rajasthan, in India, some Muslim votaries suspect him to be a Muslim saint; whose dargah, later on taken away by the Hindus, was transformed into a temple (Khan 1997: 64).

Present hagiographical accounts depict Ramdev as a Kshatriya Rajput deity-saint and an avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu-Krishna; who miraculously appeared in a cradle where his elder brother Viramdev was sleeping. His father Maharaja Ajmalji (King of Pokran) secured him through a sacred boon conferred by the Lord Krishna. The child was held in awe as he used to perform miracles since an early age. As the legend goes, he killed a demon called Bhero, who used to slaughter and eat the people of that area.

Khan suspects that the present form of the tradition is a transformed version due to many reasons and now turned merely into a ‘bhakti cult’ and a pilgrimage center in Rajasthan; which is a heterogeneous tradition from ‘mainstream Hinduism’ (1997: 62). However, she classifies Ramdev Pir as a guru or a spiritual leader of the ‘cult’ rather than the founder of the ‘sect’; and possibly connected with the Nizari Ismaili dawa: a highly organized proselytizing campaign of the Ismailis to propagate Islam that recognizes the right of authority of the Imams as their sole guide3 (Khan 1997: 60-96). The Ismailis are one of the important facets of Islam related to Shiite ideologies. An alleged Ismaili Pir called Pir Shams was actually responsible for initiating this tradition by proselytizing a lineage of Tanwar Rajput in which Ramdev Pir was an important figure, as the devotional hymns related to Meghwars, the traditional followers of Ramdev, have shown (Khan 1997: 68, 82-82) (Mallison). Ramdev, as a result, happened to be an alleged ‘forgotten’ saint of the Ismailis, who went back to ‘Hinduism’ later on; since Ismaili dawa perhaps could not be able to hold its vigor on the propagating reigns.

It seems that the tradition related to Ramdev Pir in Sindh is a recent phenomenon, not before the twentieth century if we are to consider Aitken’s (1986: 182) remarks on the worship of Ramdev Pir (Bawani 2006: 27). Before Aitken (1986) we are unable to trace any source informing us about this deity-saint. However, according to a popular legend, the tradition of Rama Pir in Sindh starts with his journey towards a place called Umerkot; a desert area of Tharparkar in Sindh, situated in modern day Pakistan. It is believed that he visited this place for his wedding with a Sodha princesses called Netal Devi; Sodhas are a famous tribe that ruled Umerkot around the twelfth century (Chanuriya 2005: 91-102). Historical sources do not conjure up any event like this, though they show strong martial relations between the ruling tribes of Sindh and Rajasthan (Allana 1995: 68) (Butt 2003: 94).

Currently, for the Hindus in Sindh, who are mostly the so called ‘untouchables’, the temple of Rama Pir in Tando Allahyar is one of the third largest pilgrimage centers. It is situated in the midst of the main bazaar near the railway station of Tando Allayar, approximately 20 kilometers from Hyderabad in Sindh, Pakistan. Every year at the time of the annual fair held in the first week of September, this sacred space attracts thousands of devotees who pay homage and visit in fulfillment of their vows. For the votaries, Rama Pir is a savior deity; who also cures every kind of ailment if called upon from the heart. For the staunch bhakt or devotee he is said to appear mysteriously when his followers are faced with a terrible situation.

He has been worshipped as a hero-saint and for the ‘low caste’ Hindu communities as a caste demolisher. More particularly so, due to the suppression of the upper caste Hindu and Muslim feudal, borne by the low caste which forms a considerable number of peasantry and field labour force in various parts of Sindh.

Iconography and Symbolic Expressions

The first impression of the figure of Ramdev is an idol installed in the mandir of Tando Allahyar, which appears more like a Muslim saint riding a white horse. Popular iconography presents him with his beard and mustache like that of a Sufi with a two-sided conical banner in his hand. Traditionally, idol worship is strictly prohibited. It may possibly be related to the nirgun principle: a concept of immaculate god in Indic tradition; or perceived as a Muslim concept of unity of ‘being’. It is however, in recent times that the popular icon of Ramdev Pir has been introduced in Sindh. Before, as some of the devotees suggest, it was only a lamp that was regularly kept burning inside the main areas of the worship.

One of the important symbols related to the tradition of Rama Pir in Sindh is the constantly maintained oil lamp inside the mandir. It is believed that the temple situated in Tando Allahyar was erected when an upper caste Khatri, after the fulfillment of his vow for a child, took this lamp from Runicha; where the main center of pilgrimage of Ramdev Pir is located. Lamps have been kept in all major shrines of the Sufis in Sindh as a sacred object. One is also kept in the shrine of Uderolal already discussed. Moreover, light itself is a popular element in various sacred traditions.

One will feel amazed to observe the building of the temple, which is again close to a structure of a shrine than a temple. Usually, temples of the Hindus have cone-shaped roofs with many of the icons and carved images installed on the walls and on the pillars. However, at the mandir of Rama Pir, arches or mehrabs can be observed from the front view of the temple. Mehrab is thought to be a common characteristic associated with the structural designs of the sacred spaces of the Muslims. Moreover, the use of Hala and ceramic tiles has given this sacred site a traditional Sindhi feel.

Another prominent symbol of the tradition is the foot-print (qadam) and the banner (dhaja). The foot-print is generally painted or woven in the speared-flag mostly accompanied with a crescent and a star. This flag or banner has been carried by the devotees in atonement of a vow. In the context of the Indic tradition, this foot-mark is supposed to be of the Alakh, the formless god of the Jogis (ascetics) or it belonged to Vishnu (The Nirgun Lord), (Khan 1997: 106-107). A similar foot-mark is also common among the Muslims, for instance, the sacred qadam sharif or qadam rasul can be found in Jerusalem that has been ascribed to the prophet of Islam, Muhammad (pbuh); whereas, an impression of his cousin’s foot namely Ali, the first Imam of the Shias, can be observed in the sanctuary dedicated to him near Hyderabad Deccan in India (Schimmel 1994: 3). Moreover, related to the speared-banner is the main alam or banner installed in front of the temple. It has been raised in veneration of Rama Pir at the time of the annual festival where all the devotees take part in the sacred flag ceremony. In the Shiite tradition, one may find a similar vocabulary of alam and a flag with palm and fingers on the top, referring to the numeral five for the Panjetan Paak: the five key figures among the Shias namely, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Hazrat Ali, Bibi Fatima, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain.

An Approach towards Rethinking Iconographic Models and Symbolic Expressions in Sindh: A Case of the Tradition of Rama Pir

The decisive principal thought behind the above discussion has continually focused: interaction between ‘Hinduism’ and ‘Islam’ on different levels; from sharing symbolic expressions to charismatic figures. Experts have tried to understand this phenomenon through different approaches and many theories had been proposed for the same. For instance, this interaction has recently been understood anew by the concept of ‘liminality’4 by Dominique Sila-Khan (2004) in the context of South Asia. The word ‘liminal’ emanates from ‘limen’ – Latin in origin – to mean a ‘boundary’ or a ‘threshold’. However, in the context of South Asia, she has used this concept to articulate the state of shared religious practices among the Hindus and Muslims; for example, rituals, formulas, literature, legends and even religious figures…a state of ‘religious identity’ that is ‘in-between’ and is difficult to draw a margin on to call something or someone a ‘Hindu’ or a ‘Muslim’. With this remark, we can argue the approach in which iconographies and symbol system has been interpreted. For example, what is the criterion that qualifies Ramdev Pir as a Muslim saint? His beard and mustache, which seems ‘Islamic’? Or does the title of Pir makes him eligible? More precisely, we may argue, if iconographic models or symbolic expressions are ‘Hindu’ or ‘Muslim’ in nature?

It will be significant to observe these ‘objects’ (signs, symbols and images) when they became ‘sacred objects’, i.e. a phenomenological approach towards them. In other words, these signs, symbols and images are more ‘cultural’ than ‘religious’. For example, the symbol of the foot-print associated with the tradition of Ramdev Pir and the Muslims is first a natural object, a stone. The use of stone is as ancient as human societies for conveying abstract meanings. Stones have been taken as signs of power and sometimes as eternal strength, perhaps due to the hardness and perpetuity (Schimmel 1994: 1). Moreover, in the Indus Valley, stones are prominent objects of worship related to the mother goddess in the form of rings (Jairazbhoy 1994: 9). The famous practice of worshipping lingum, an important symbol in the Shivaite tradition, is also associated with the stone (Jairazbhoy 1994: 12-13).

Similarly, flags or banners are supposed to be the developed form of rod or wand – which is again a symbol that is derived from the tree – widely used to satisfy superstitions and magical practices in primitive societies. Besides, it has also been thought to increases human power and used as a sign of guidance (Schimmel 1994: 29-30). However, a Peepal tree (ficus religiosa) has been a sacred object depicted in a seal found in the excavations conducted in Mohenjodaro, Sindh. The mother goddess can be seen sitting in its shade (Jairazbhoy 1994: 8). In Sindh, a Sufi master called Pir Jhandewaro (Pir of the flag’) has also been named after the flag (Schimmel 1994: 30).

The same can be said for the architectural design of the sacred spaces that are so-called ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’. Both derive their architectural heritage from neighboring cultures and civilizations. For instance, architecture associated with the Muslim societies is mostly influenced by the Christians, like the Copts or Mozarabs, Jews or the Armenians; who sometimes acted as material and cultural contact agents between Muslims and themselves, by means of commerce (Irwin 1997: 214). Similarly, temple structures in Indic traditions evolved out of the Stupas5, known in India since the first century BC, but possibly were more ancient than the suggested era of their identification. The Stupas were designed to be ‘seen as the image of the cosmos’, again symbolizes a universal phenomenon of encompassing transcendent ‘reality’ through a corporeal object.

We may now conclude that ‘objects’ remain the same but the ‘vision’ or creative imagination have made them abstract and appropriate for the respective ‘religions’, or sacred traditions which are at the core of every religion. And, every religion or sacred tradition internalizes the eternal ‘existential quest’ of human beings; personal search for some questions that transcends reason: to whom I belong? Who is the creator of this universe and how it works? They become ‘meaningful’ through various religious visions by materialization of the same through cultural items. Since, ‘…vision is implicit in culture’ but it is encapsulated into social and cultural practices; similarly, symbolic expressions and images are encoded values of the religious visions, more or less common in every human culture but they vary in their meanings.

Courtesy: http://www.nuktaartmag.com/Nukta/GeneralContent/View/110

An approach to win equal rights for Sindhis in Pakistan

Preamble – “Leading towards Peace & Progress – Indus Peoples Forum (IPF)
Traversing through the yeras of history Sindh maintained its existence as an independent state even when invaders were ruling the large part of sub-continent. It maintained this status as recent as British Raj that merged Sindh into Bombay presidency in 1840s. Sindh played pivotal role in the struggle for Pakistan. Sindh Assembly was first in the sub-continent to adopt a resolution in favor of Pakistan in 1940. Sindhis wanted a Pakistan as envisioned in Resolution of 1940 and pinned their hopes in the new country.

However all the hopes were shattered with the passage of time. During initial years, vested interest forces took over the reins of power. Civil and military bureaucracy aligned with opportunist political forces to rule the country. These elements dominated all sorts of decision-making and alienated majority of people from the mainstream of the country. East Bengal, Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) were denied of their due share in federation. Bengalis parted their way after a bloody battle in 1971, Balochis faced a series of armed operations and Pakhtuns are struggling for their historic identity and rights. Whereas Sindh has been facing ceaseless stream of tyranny and injustice.

Continue reading An approach to win equal rights for Sindhis in Pakistan

Pakistan: Kalabagh dam threatens livelihood of millions

by Ray Fulcher

GREEN LEFT

… construction of a massive dam in 2016 on the Indus river at Kalabagh, near the border between the Punjab and North West Frontier provinces. Opponents of the World Bank-funded dam project see it as another grab for water by the Punjabi ruling elite, which dominates federal politics in Pakistan.

The government claims that the dam is necessary for Pakistan’s economic development, that it will provide 3600 megawatts of hydroelectric power and 35,000 jobs.

Musharraf has said that the dam project will proceed against any opposition and that the federal and Punjabi governments will topple any provincial government that opposes the project. Of Pakistan’s four provinces, three provincial parliaments — North West Frontier (NWFP), Sindh and Balochistan — have passed resolutions opposing the dam.

On December 31, four progressive parties in Punjab united to protest against the proposed dam. The rally, held in Lahore, was charged by police, and activists of the four parties — the National Workers Party, the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), the Pakistan Mazdoor Mehaz and the Mazdoor Kissan Party — were beaten.

Farooq Tariq, an organiser of the rally and national secretary of the LPP told Green Left Weekly by phone: “The LPP opposes the dam because it will deny Sindh its share of water and turn it into a desert. We oppose the construction of big dams on environmental grounds. Furthermore, this dam will benefit the Punjab ruling class and will add to the exploitation of Sindh. All provinces except the Punjab have repeatedly opposed the construction of this dam. This democratic verdict should be taken as a referendum and the dam abandoned.

Continue reading Pakistan: Kalabagh dam threatens livelihood of millions

LEH LADHAK– WHERE SINDHU RISES

Watch on Saturday 02nd October 2010 On DD Girnar (formerly DD Gujarati) at 8:30 PM DUBAI time and 10:00 PM IST, Dish TV # 872 – Tata Sky – Active DD

The river Sindhu (Indus River) … the identity of the Sindhis all over the world.. Watch this beautiful trip into the lush green valley of Leh Ladhak blessed by nature and surrounded by mountains WHERE Sindhu River is born.

Sponsors: Garden, Al-Maya Group, K.M. Garage, Gulf Technical Printing Press, Petrotech, Suresh Basantani, Ajit Tahiliani – Abu Dhabi, Demure -Okinawa Japan

– Asha Chand (Sindhi Sangat)

Observing Sindh through the eyes of Del Hoste

Book review – Preparing The Grounds

Reviewed By Asif Farrukhi

Before the British Empire moved in to pluck Sindh like the low-hanging fruit it had become, there were a number of travellers who acted as advance-guards to serve the purpose of the rapidly advancing empire.

Edward Paterson Del Hoste was one such traveller but he still retains a sense of mystery. We can only speculate if his correct name was Delhoste, or perhaps even De L’Hoste. The name may be mysterious; however, one thing about him is very clear: he was not one for mincing his words.

Regarding the government in Sindh he said: ‘I am doubtful if the manner in which Sinde is ruled deserves the name of a government’. Hard-hitting and strangely apt, it is only the quaint spelling of Sindh which makes you suspect that this is not from today’s newspaper or some present day politician’s speech. Has Sindh really changed substantially from the days of the Amirs and the subsequent colonisation? Due to their astute observation and sharp, if somewhat biased analysis, these travellers pose a challenge for Sindh which still interests many.

It is not only the government with which Del Hoste found fault in the report he prepared based on his 1832 visit. His sharp observations can also be read as a list of faults. He finds the climate ‘intolerable’ and the insect-infested violent winds likely to cause death among men and beasts.

Continue reading Observing Sindh through the eyes of Del Hoste