Tag Archives: Journey

Story of a Pakistani communist

A significant volume about the history of the Left movement in Pakistan

In 1956 A.B.A Haleem, then vice chancellor of Karachi University, declared Jamal Naqvi as an “undesirable element” depriving him of the chance to get a job in Karachi. At this stage, Mirza Abid Abbas, husband of Mrs Naqvi’s sister who had a private college in Hyderabad, Sindh, rescued him. Mirza Abid’s sons — Athar Abbas (Major General and former director ISPR), Mazhar Abbas, Zafar Abbas, Azhar Abbas (all journalists) and Anwar Abbas — were tutored and trained by Jamaluddin Naqvi.

Jamaluddin Naqvi (known as Jamal Naqvi) joined the Karachi-Sindh group of Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) in the mid 1950s, assumed all important posts in the party, and later ran his own faction of the party like a sole rider till late 1980s when he left the CPP on ideological grounds.

His autobiographical account has been published recently under the title Leaving the Left Behind, which is self-explanatory. If someone wants to know more, he can read the subtitle “An autobiographical tale of political disillusionment that took the life’s momentum away from the myopic politics of the Right and the Left to the enlightened concept of Right and Wrong”.

In a scenario where there is no archival record of the left, either in the form of official statements/documents or memoirs (Dada Amir Haider Khan’s biography being an exception), how can one evaluate our common progressive past politics? This is where the value of this book lies. Jamal has not made any disclosures or revelations in the book. Those who have met him during the last decade or so know this wellLike a bold and courageous political worker, he didn’t hide his change of heart.

When prominent Indian Bengali communist Mohit Sen penned his autobiographical account A Traveller and the Road: A Journey of an Indian Communist [2003], he too faced outright condemnation from the CPI rank and file; yet his book is considered a pioneering effort in unfolding the myth of the Indian left.

Unfortunately, there is a narrow space for rethinking or revisiting the past politics and ideologies among the South Asian left which is said to be dogmatic. We love to live in a black and white world; there is no room for gray areas especially for those who want to move away from their previous ideological positions. When someone changes his position, we treat him as a zandiq (heretic). So Jamal is another zandiq among reds.

Ironically, Jamal gave his whole life and career to progressive thoughts and spent many years in prison but when he amended his thoughts, he was discarded. These memoirs are the only way to revisit the past and to analyse the history of the left movement in Pakistan.

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The journey to Ajmer: From Zia to Zardari

The journey to Ajmer: From Akbar to Zardari

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will become fourth head of state from the neighbouring country to visit the Sufi shrine and seek the saint’s blessings; he joins an elite list that includes Mughal emperors, prime ministers, presidents

From Mughal emperor Akbar who came praying for a son, to a relentless stream of around 12,000 people who throng every day, to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari who will visit it on Sunday, the pull of the 12th century Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer remains undiminished. ….

Read more » http://www.mid-day.com/news/2012/apr/060412-The-journey-to-Ajmer-From-Akbar-to-Zardari.htm

Taliban are generating funds through bank robberies, protection rackets and kidnappings – BBC

Taliban’s brisk trade of kidnapping in Karachi

In Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, police say the Taliban are generating funds through bank robberies, protection rackets and kidnappings.

Abductions are particularly lucrative, with ransom demands sometimes running to millions of dollars. The BBC’s Orla Guerin reports on how the militants are making inroads in Pakistan’s financial capital.

When the doctor had a gun put to his head by a man on motorbike in the evening traffic last month, he thought it was a robbery. He readily handed over his mobile phone and his wallet.

But when he was forced from his car, he realised that he was the prize. A routine journey to his clinic ended with imprisonment in a Taliban hideout.

“They blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back. I was kept in a small space, with a low roof, but they gave me food and a pillow to rest on,” said the softly spoken father of four. For security reasons, we are not revealing his identity. ….

Read more » BBC

Jewish-Taliban fundamentalists

Unorthodox:” A Woman’s Journey from Repression to Freedom

By Sarah B. Weir

Growing up, Deborah Feldman had to wear skirts that covered her ankles and high-necked blouses made of woven fabric so they wouldn’t cling to her body. She wasn’t allowed to read books in English because her grandfather, with whom she lived, said they were written in an “impure language.” When she was twelve, she suffered a sexual assault, which she kept hidden because she had been taught that men’s lust was ungovernable. This was supposedly the reason her world was segregated by gender.

Related: Top Jewish Rabbi: Segregated Buses Not Jewish Law

At 17, Feldman’s grandparents pushed her into an arranged marriage with a virtual stranger, but she had never even heard the word “sex” spoken or learned about the very basics of human reproduction. Once married, she was expected to shave her head and wear a wig—something she rebelled against after a year because she found it so depressing. Seven years later, despite the fact she knew she would be hated as a pariah, she abandoned her community and started life over.

You might be surprised that Feldman didn’t grow up in a far away country with repressive laws against women, but in an ultra-conservative Jewish enclave in New York City. “They’ve passed more laws from out of nowhere, limiting women—there’s a rule that women can’t be on the street after a certain hour,” Feldman told the New York Post describing the Hasidic Satmar community in which she was raised. “We all hear these stories about Muslim extremists; how is this any better? This is just another example of extreme fundamentalism.”

Continue reading Jewish-Taliban fundamentalists

Sindh and Its Sindhiyat – By Geet Chainani, M.D.

Sindh, the land of Sufis, the hope and ultimate destination of my quest!

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:

Vasudeva Kutumbakam”

“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

Reference reading:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=76954&Cat=2

http://www.thehansindia.info/News/Article.asp?category=1&subCategory=4&ContentId=17528

http://www.demotix.com/news/924585/civil-society-protest-against-killing-hindu-doctors

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/11/protest-against-killing-of-hindus/

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

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

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

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

Read more » ValueVersity

Imran’s self-serving journey – by Dr Aparna Pande

Pakistan: A Personal History

By Imran Khan

Bantam Press; Pp 390; Rs 995

Read this quote to a young Pakistani, and it would almost instinctively be identified as coming from the country’s Islamising military dictator, General Ziaul Haq: “Pakistan came into existence as a country because of Islam and the Islamic beliefs of its founders and citizens.” Ziaul Haq expressed the same thought but somewhat differently: “The ideology of Pakistan is Islam and only Islam. There should be no misunderstanding on this score. We should in all sincerity accept Islam as Pakistan’s basic ideology…otherwise…this country (will) be exposed to secular ideologies.” The first quote, however, comes from Pakistan’s latest media icon of ‘change’, Oxford-educated cricket legend Imran Khan who is finally gaining some traction in Pakistan’s treacherous political world after a fringe role for over 15 years.

Imran Khan’s personal memoir is replete with examples of how he represents a continuum in Pakistan’s non-secular establishment worldview while talking of change. Ziaul Haq’s fervent anti-secular admonishment quoted above was itself just an attempt to revive the religion-based nationalism introduced by an earlier military ruler, Field Marshal Ayub Khan. Ziaul Haq felt the secularists had gained ground in the aftermath of Pakistan’s division in 1971. His idiom of ‘change’, ‘accountability’ and disapproval for traditional politicians is uncannily similar to what Ayub Khan voiced in the 1960s and Imran Khan is articulating now.

Not to belabour the point, just compare the above quotes from Imran Khan and Ziaul Haq with this gem from Ayub Khan: “Such an ideology with us is obviously that of Islam. It was on that basis that we fought for and got Pakistan, but having got it, we failed to order our lives in accordance with it…The time has now come when we must…define this ideology in simple but modern terms and put it to the people, so that they can use it as a code of guidance.”

Imran Khan’s political views have obviously been shaped by the narrative of the military dictators under whom he grew up. He betrays an unusual tendency to believe popular conspiracy theories of the variety popularised by Pakistan’s hyper-nationalists, such as some groups of newspapers and the religious political parties, notably the Jamaat-e-Islami. He blames the Americans for most of what has gone wrong with Pakistan. The references to conspiracies starts almost at the beginning of the book with the mention of the assassination of the country’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, on page 23 and the ‘mysterious’ air crash that killed Ziaul Haq on pages 124-125. At a time when an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis believes that 9/11 was part of an American conspiracy to justify attacking Muslim lands, Imran Khan’s predilection for conspiracy theories, though dangerous, might reflect the populist mood of the country.

Like others before him Imran tries to create a pseudo-intellectual justification for his anti-Americanism. He draws a parallel between the British rule in the subcontinent and the lack of sovereignty of British India’s princely states with the current relationship between Pakistan and the US. Ironically, Ayub Khan, towards the end of his decade-long regime had called on the Americans to be Pakistan’s “friends, not masters” and Ziaul Haq had complained days before his death about the US not allowing him space to reap the benefits of the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan as part of the same national narrative.

On page 48 after criticising Pakistan’s English-medium schooling — of which he was a recipient for decades — and tying it to a form of neo-colonialism, Imran Khan states that in other post-colonial countries like India the government imposed one core syllabus on the entire country. A little research would have told Khan that this assertion is not true — there are two federal level systems (ICSE and CBSE) and every state in India has its own state board of education. Also, instead of doing away with English education or English schooling, India has helped deepen it further in the last six decades and benefitted from it. In a country with many languages, the English language has proved to be a unifying, not divisive, element. But such factual quibbles have little value for the ideological paradigm Khan embraces. Narratives get votes, facts do not.

Continuing with what he perceives as the long-term adverse impact of colonialism, Imran Khan also asserts that this has prevented people from wearing their traditional dress (shalwar kameez) and they continue to wear western dress (pg 51). There is no effort at determining what percentage of Pakistanis actually wore shalwar kameez before the advent of colonial rule or after independence. Had it been undertaken, Imran Khan would have discovered that in most of what is Pakistan today, various forms of dress, including dhoti or lungi (loose loincloth), may have been more common than shalwar kameez.

Imran Khan does not even attempt an anthropological or sociological inquiry while making sweeping claims. Culture for him is skin deep and depends on outward displays — what we wear or the language we speak — and not on core values and traditions. There is also no attempt to answer an obvious question: If Imran Khan is really so against the English language and education why has he published his book in English using a British publisher in London and not in Urdu through a Pakistani one?

While talking about the anti-Soviet Afghan jihad Mr Khan’s views resonate the views of Pakistan’s foreign and security establishments — that the mujahideen were created and funded by the Americans for their foreign policy goals and Pakistan was an unwilling victim (pg 70). That Mr Khan sympathised with the mujahideen and their views is apparent from his referring to them as “idealists” fighting for a “romantic” reason and stating that “jihad is a noble cause (pg 70).” His admiration for Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Osama bin Laden too is evident when he refers to them as people “fighting foreign occupiers” and “sacrificing a life of luxury” (pg 72). Like the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, Mr Khan preferred the 1980s arrangement between the ISI and the CIA to the post-9/11 arrangement. “However, unlike Musharraf after 9/11, Zia never allowed the CIA to spread its network within Pakistan. It was the ISI who trained the militant groups, funded by the CIA.” Pakistan’s sovereignty, he seems to be arguing, was protected by Zia but sacrificed by Musharraf though how the country could retain complete independence by allowing a foreign intelligence agency’s massive covert operation on its soil remains unexplained.

After declaring Islam as the basis of Pakistani nationhood, Imran Khan ventures into some discussion of the faith. But the only two Muslim scholars mentioned in his book are Shah Waliullah and Muhammad Iqbal, one with violent sectarian revivalist views and the other a modern-educated Muslim exhorting Muslims to find a new path in an era of western domination. Imran Khan does not seem to know how Shah Waliullah contributed to sectarian division in South Asian Islam by his opposition to heresies and his calls for war against the Shias. For the Oxford-educated cricketer, Shah Waliullah’s views enable him to claim that just as the Mughal dynasty declined because it was “degenerative and bound to decay” all the democracies in the Muslim world today are “sham democracies” and are bound to fall (pg 79).

Playing to the Islamist-nationalist gallery in Pakistan, Imran Khan goes on to argue for an Islamic state and implementation of shariah as that is bound to ensure a just democratic welfare state (pp 80-81). A cursory reading of the 1953 report by the Justice Munir Commission would have enlightened Khan on the problems of defining Islam for purposes of governance — a point that Ziaul Haq also occasionally cited as reason for his inability to complete Pakistan’s Islamisation. “Keeping in view the several definitions given by the ulema [people of knowledge],” the Munir Commission pointed out, “need we make any comment except that no two learned divines are agreed on this fundamental. If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by any one of the ulema, we remain Muslims according to the view of that aalim [learned scholar] but kafirs [infidels] according to the definition of everyone else.”

Although Imran Khan does not like him, his book is remarkably similar to the one by General Pervez Musharraf. Both books have a surfeit of self-praise. Musharraf attempted to portray himself as the school bully turned army commando turned self-proclaimed saviour of Pakistan. Imran Khan comes out as someone who lived a hedonistic lifestyle all his life but is now trying to make up for it. His love for his mother, pride in family roots, love for cricket and constant quotations from Iqbal seem all too contrived. His attempt to show how he may not have been an observant Muslim in his youth but has become one in later years is too self-serving.

Throughout the book Imran Khan is not only disparaging about Pakistan’s politicians but also about the field of politics (pg 82). One wonders how he plans to do well in a field that he hates so much. One of his many criticisms of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif is that these individuals did not have enough political and administrative experience before they entered office and hence they were bound to fail. But then he acknowledges that he does not have any experience in politics but it would be akin to swimming where after jumping in he learnt on the job (pg 186). If that is the case then why could not others too learn on the job and do equally well, if not better? And if it is not possible to learn on the job and prior experience is a must, how would Imran Khan do better?

The reviewer is a Research Fellow at Hudson Institute, Washington DC. Her book, Explaining Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: Escaping India, was published in April 2011

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\11\14\story_14-11-2011_pg3_4

Sindhi-Mohajir Rapprochement is possible

– 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.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Yaar zinda, sohbat baaqi

Musadiq Sanwal recalls the life and ways of a dear poet friend, Hasan Dars

Life is but one of the small pieces of Rilli

If you won’t sit on it,

I better fold it.

Out of the blue the other day I received the text message: “Hasan Dars passed away”. I thought it was a joke. How could it be? Hasan was still an adolescent! Maybe it is not the right word, but his energy, his wide, poetry-breathing grin, how could it all have suddenly evaporated into thin air? There was something terribly wrong with the message.

Continue reading Yaar zinda, sohbat baaqi

Siraiki Province: PML-N Falling Into Zardari’s Trap; To Be Limited To Central Punjab

By: Aziz Narejo

In a glaring example of cynical, reactionary and unprincipled politics, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif the other day demanded that Sindh be divided and Karachi be made a province. His statement justifiably created furore in Sindh and the parliamentary parties including PPP, MQM and ANP as well as other politicians and activists swiftly condemned the unimaginative and unscrupulous statement by the PML-N leader.

The PML-N government and Punjabi nationalists seem to be under considerable pressure as the demand for a separate Siraiki province is gathering momentum in southern Punjab but this was most crooked and uncalled for response that could ever come from anyone with even the slightest political wisdom. PML-N leader was obviously trying to get back with the PPP. It may be noted that PM Gilani has suggested the creation of a new province in southern Punjab and PPP manifesto committee is deliberating to make it a part of the PPP manifesto for next elections.

No Sindhi would have any objections if Shahbaz Sharif, other PML-N leaders and Punjabis as a whole turn into nationalists but all the Punjabis and others should understand that Sindh and PPP are not ONE and the same. They are two separate entities. PML-N can’t and shouldn’t get back with the PPP by hurting Sindh. It must agree or disagree with the Siraiki people’s demand for a separate province with the force of arguments and not by playing tit for tat, conspiratorial and ugly politics.

PML-N should also realize that with this kind of politics they will be completely routed out from Sindh and their aspirations to become a “national” party or to form next government will die for ever.

Do they understand that this is exactly what PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari wants the PML-N to do? Are they willingly falling into the trap set by Zardari ..? Do they realize that with this kind of politics, they will forever become a Central Punjab party? Are there any sane elements in PML-N who would rein in Shahbaz Sharif and the likes of him in their party? Guess not. Good luck to them on their journey to doom.

Courtesy: Indus Herald

Delhi – Shabnam Virmani

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

You Tube

HEC issue to end up in the Supreme Court

By Zubair Shah

KARACHI: It is true that after the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment, the Pakistani federation is inching towards the constitutional sketch made public in the Muslim League’s famous 1940 Lahore Resolution. However, this journey is not without a tough resistance by the country’s entrenched pro status quo centripetal forces, who would like to see a strong centre at the expense of federating units. Nothing highlights this phenomenon better than the drama around the planned devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) announced recently.

Soon after the announcement, a smear campaign was launched by centripetal forces, who have been advocating and supporting the status quo based on numerous technical and legal grounds with apocalyptic predictions. …

Read more : Daily Times

Karachi – Sindh at the End of the British Raj between 1942 and 1947

Sindh: Karachi as seen by a British soldier sometime between 1942 and 1947: lively street scenes, animals, buildings, life in the Karachi Cantonment, followed by the journey back towards Britain on a troop ship through the Suez Canal. A Movie recorded by British solider Stephen in 1942. The author of the film obviously developed a liking of Karachi – Sindh and its people. A few of the shots at the end of the film may be of Bombay/ Mumbai.

via – GlobeistanYou Tube

Nostagia at its zenith: A Trip to Sindh – A Journey to My Roots. Desh pehenjo visaaran dukhyo aa!

Courtesy: Following article has appeared in the ‘Femina’, ‘Bharat Ratna’, ‘Amil Samchar’ and in the Hindvasi (Translated into Sindhi)

A TRIP TO SINDH-A JOURNEY TO MY ROOTS

By Shakun Narain Kimatrai

Mid– 1986 – The Kimatrai Building still majestically stands in Hyderabad Sindh

We finally made it! To Hyderabad Sindh that is! My husband Narain and myself finally left on a trip that would make us set foot on the very soil that we had left 39 years ago.

When I told my Sindhi friends in Bombay that I was leaving for Pakistan, they showed a lot of interest-in fact more interest than had I told them that I was going to London, New York or to Timbuktu for that matter. But why was I surprised at their reaction? After all I was going back to the land of our birth, to the land and houses which we had left reluctantly with tears in our eyes and to which we had been denied access for so many seasons.

Those friends to whom I told about my trip to Pakistan, not only showed interest but a variety of emotions.

I sensed in them envy, apprehension and fear for my safety—as a matter of fact a friend of mine asked: “Going to Hyderabad Sindh, Shakun, are you sure you will be back?

Though I was a little apprehensive myself I was not really afraid. After all of whatever kind may have been the frenzy during partition-I had the confidence on the fact that we Sindhis having drank from the same Indus Sindhu water for centuries prior to the sad separating event, they would welcome us with the age-old ‘Sikka’ (affection) of the Sindhis.

From Bombay, we first landed at Lahore where the hotels are comparable to any other good 5-star hotel elsewhere in the world.

Whenever one goes out of India, one is midst strangers from a different land, so to speak-one looks different and talks a different tongue. While in Lahore, what struck me was that no-one could tell that I was a foreigner there-we looked alike and spoke the same language. Then why? Why did one have to go through customs and immigration at the airport like an outsider? I felt sad.

Amongst the elite, the ladies do not practice purdah as a rule. They wear salwar kameezes made in the latest style. The people of Pakistan enjoy good food, though alcoholic beverages are at least visibly absent.

My charming Pakistani hostess took me around sight-seeing and shopping and she proudly presented me everywhere around as her Indian friend from Bombay. Her friends and the sales people generally welcomed me warmly and even courteously gave me discounts on their goods.

Amongst the common citizens of Pakistan whom I met, I felt that there was competition with India as far as Economical progress or a game of cricket was concerned-which according to me is healthy and natural of any set of neighbors.

At a couple of parties that I attended and where my host learned that I enjoyed singing, they requested me, not to sing a ghazal or a film song, but a ‘Bhajan’! Is it possible that they subconsciously miss the Hindus and their culture in their midst?

I myself having lived in Bombay in cosmopolitan surroundings almost all my life, did feel rather restricted being surrounded by only Muslims in their country.

From Lahore we flew to Karachi from where it was a mere 2 hours drive to my birth-place Hyderabad in Sindh.

It was unfamiliar seeing the Arabic Sindhi script strewn all over on hoardings and advertisements and the milestones on the road ; though odd, the feeling was pleasant.

Once we approached Hyderabad I found my husband’s voice getting more emotional. He remembered the roads, as he was 9 years old when he had to leave his home-town. He instructed our friend who was driving to take us to a certain spot, to stop; after which he wanted to find the way up to his old house himself.

Continue reading Nostagia at its zenith: A Trip to Sindh – A Journey to My Roots. Desh pehenjo visaaran dukhyo aa!

One Sindh – Two Perspectives

Washington Sindhi Sham with Jami Chandio and Sardar Shah

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA

Once again, Sindhis of Washington DC were fortunate to spend a delicious evening with two visitors of Sindh. The gracious host of the evening was  Iqbal Tareen and the two the visitors included a well-known writer and political thinker Jamie Chandio and inspiring poet Sardar Shah. The popularity of the event could be gauged by the fact several people came to meet Jami and Sardar in spite of the fact that Tuesday (July 13) was not only a week day but the rain and lightening made driving conditions rather harsh. One could see that Jamie had made many friends in Washington DC since last year he lived here for several months doing research and analysis sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

One Sindh and Two Perspectives

As usual the Sindhi katchahery (heart-to-heart chit-chat) moved from one topic to another. The optimism of Jami that Sindhis were gaining ground in every city and town surprised many. He stated that the use of Sindhi language and pride in Sindhi culture was on upswing. He said even though the present government has yet to deliver on its promises to Sindhis, the discriminatory policies of Musharraf had ended. This was rather a surprise to some including me as our observations were that there was a immense shortage of Sindhi-medium schools in large cities of Sindh such as Karachi, Hyderabad, and even in Larkano. The fast take over by private school systems such Citizen Foundation of education has made Urdu and English as primary medium-of-instruction in large cities and towns of Sindh while leaving the Sindhi language on backbenches. Another topic of discussion centered on contributions and political mistakes of G. M. Syed and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The contribution of G. M. Syed through his writings primarily through his books had played a major role in the awakening of Sindhis to realize that they were a distinct nation were lauded at the gathering. His political mistakes, particularly the warmth he showed to the dictator General Zia ul Haq and formation of MQM was criticized. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was remembered as some one who inspired and awakened common Sindhi and Pakistani men and women to become conscious of their potential. But, then he was also criticized for not accepting Awami League’s majority in elections that ultimately led to the separation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

He made us feel poverty and sorrows of Sindhis

However, the epic poem by Sardar Shah that he wrote about the simplicities and complexities of Sindh after some one had asked him where he had come from became the highlight of the evening. Sardar literally took us through the valleys, hills, and deserts of Sindh; he introduced us to poets, writers, farmers, waderas, students and small shopkeepers of the home-land; he made us walk through rain, sunshine, floods, droughts, and disappearing mangroves of Indus delta; he made us feel the poverty, sorrows and exploitation of Sindhis; and finally took us to the journey of determination, inspiration, and hopes of his people.

Indeed, it was an evening of Sindhiat that kept me awake long after we left the katchahery and said good by to our Sindhi visitors.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, July 18, 2010.