Courtesy: Capital Tv
WHILE visiting Balochistan, one becomes aware of just how removed that province is from mainstream Pakistan. And it’s not only the obvious things — such as the dire lack of development, the air of oppression or the stories of enforced disappearances and dumped bodies. There’s also the more subtle issue of language.
According to Article 28 in the chapter on fundamental rights, the Constitution says: “… any section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture shall have the right to PRESERVE and promote the same and subject to law, establish institutions for that purpose”. Most of the national conversation on this is centred on the fact that many private schools, at least in urban areas, do not teach the relevant provincial language in contravention of provincial laws to the effect.
In Turbat some weeks ago, I learnt that the situation is quite the opposite in Balochistan. This is the only province where government schools do not teach either Balochi or Brahui, the two most widely spoken native languages outside the Pakhtun-majority areas in the north of the province. Balochi is only taught in a few private schools here.
Public schools in Balochistan teach neither Balochi nor Brahui.
One of the most devastating weapons of repression EMPLOYED by a state is the suppression of a native language.History is replete with examples of forcible assimilation of a people in this manner.
To exclude the teaching of a native language while imposing on its speakers the language of the dominant polity is exactly what it sounds like — an act of cultural warfare. Language is an inherent part of a people’s identity, the repository of their history and culture, a record of epic battles fought and of heroic exploits for its generations to emulate.
By Dr Ali Akbar M. Dhakan, Karachi, Sindh
We Sindhis have sacrificed a lot as we have lost many political leaders since independence of our country Pakistan like the father of nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Liaqat Ali Khan, G. M. Syed, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Shaheed Mohotarma Benazir Bhutto and many other political parties workers. We have therefore got attachment and sincerity, love and affection with all our country leaders and workers. Similarly the same attachment we have with our own language or mother tongue. Every language has its own importance and status in every country. We feel pride if we speak Punjabi in Punjab, Pushto in Pakhtunkhawah, Siraiki in Multan areas, Balochi & Sindhi in Balochistan and Sindhi in our own Sindh. But we being Sindhi speaking in Sindh have not been so careful to save our own language even in our own Sindh not only outsiders have neglected but even our own Sindhi speaking people in Sindh have neglected speaking Sindhi language in right dialect and pronunciation. We senior citizen Sindhis born before the creation of Pakistan, speak sindhi somewhat in its proper dialect but sorry to express with greater grief and sadness that even we being elders of our families have never given attention towards our younger generations and future children to speak in proper pronunciation and status according to our Sindhi alphabet as the new born children particularly born in big cities of Sindh like Karachi, Hyderabad and other big towns, I have not learnt the right dialect of the Sindhi language because of being spoken generally Urdu and English in the elite families of Sindhis. It is not common in these homes where the mothers of our children are non-Sindhis and do not speak Sindhi language, they do not try to let their children speak in Sindhi. Most of our elite Sindhi families themselves do not allow their children to talk in their own language and therefore they avoid speaking their own language.
Aid cut to Pakistan won’t be in US interest: Kerry
During the hearing Congressman Brad Sherman urged the Secretary of State for broadcasting the service of the Voice of America in Sindhi language.
“There’s probably no more important country than Pakistan and nothing more important than our public outreach to the Pakistani people, yet we’re broadcasting only in Urdu. This committee voted overwhelmingly that we should spend a million and a half dollars broadcasting in the Sindhi language,” he said.
At 49:45 (49 minutes and 45 seconds in) you can see and hear our esteemed US Congressman Brad Sherman mention the Sindhi Language and advocate for Sindhi VOA Programming in today’s Subcommittee Hearing!
[“Language is as old as the Humanity and Civilisation itself. The Cradle of Civilisation which is my Motherland, Sindh, has always had its OWN sweet language and culture! Sindhi is a glorious, grand and secular sufi NATION and Sindhi is the bright, brilliant and sweet language of mother Sindh! Please ‘n kindly – I urge, I implore ye, O Sindhis, to speak, read and write in our Mother Language, SINDHI!” — Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom]
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 21, 2013 » YouTube
India: Chhattisgarh: Thanking Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh for according him with status equivalent to a State Minister, Chhattisgarh Sindhi Sahitya Academy President Murlidhar Makhija has requested the State Government to include Sindhi language as one of the subjects for the competitive examinations including Public Service Commission (PSC).
Addressing a press conference at Raipur Press Club, Makhija informed that Sindhi language has been approved by the constitution of India in schedule 8 and it allows the candidate to compete for IAS, PCS and other exams in Sindhi as well. Therefore, he proposed the Chief Minister to include the subject in syllabus of PSC exams too. He also requested State Education Minister Brijmohan Agrawal to include Sindhi as an optional paper in Chhattisgarh Madhyamik Shiksha Mandal so that students would have an opportunity to learn the language.During the conference, Makhija expressed his concern for the great personalities from Sindhi society like Vir Shaheed Hemu Kaladi, Sant Kavar Ram, Sai Jhulelal and Maharaja Dahirsen.
Sindhi Kachhi TV, Adipur (Gandhidham), India ask your cable operator satellite insat2e 83e, you will love Classic Sindhi Music, they also teach Sindhi language.
By Zubeida Mustafa
THE language dilemma in education remains unresolved in Pakistan because educationists fail to understand how basic language is to the child’s learning process, as also to the psyche of the speakers.
Those who ignore this fundamental truth can undermine national integrity. If they are running schools they cannot maximise the learning advantage of their students. Language has a political dimension as well. When our leaders fail to understand that imposing a language on a people amounts to linguistic imperialism, the consequences can be grave. We know what happened in 1971.
In this context, Sindh should be the last province to pose a problem. It has speakers of mainly two languages — Sindhi and Urdu. Geographically they are broadly divided between the rural and urban areas. Public-sector education follows this demographic feature in the medium of instruction policy. Unsurprisingly, from ASER 2012 (the annual report on the status of education) to be released in January it emerges that 90 per cent of the parents in Sindh want their children to be taught in Sindhi (presuming that is the language of their choice when they said no to Urdu and English and opted for “other” in a survey conducted there).
By: Shaikh Aziz
Besieged by unending issues, yet aspiring to build a ‘New Pakistan’, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto did not have a smooth sailing from the very beginning. Even provincial matters that should not have stretched beyond provincial barriers drew him into difficult positions — sometimes embarrassing for his political agenda. This may have been due to centralisation of powers and lack of coordination among various departments. Yet, it dragged Bhutto into several unwanted wrangles.
In July 1972, Sindh — one of the two bastions of PPP — saw a difficult and tragic situation, in the shape of language riots that set Sindh ablaze. The frenzy claimed hundreds of innocent lives, destroyed property worth millions of rupees and created hatred that had never been seen in the history of Sindh for thousands of years.
In the historical backdrop this was very painful in a land of love, peace and hope. After Independence, hundreds of thousands of refugees migrated to Sindh who were not only welcomed here but were also given everything that the uprooted needed. New settlements sprung up, and social services were provided by the government and the people alike. New political and social groups emerged to help the deprived people without discriminating on the basis of cultural or linguistic backgrounds.
Washington, D.C: [press release] The Sindhi American Political Action Committee applauds the efforts of Honorable Congressman Brad Sherman for Sindh and Sindhis. The Hearing at Capitol Hill on ” The State Department’s center for strategies counter terrorism communications: Mission, operations and Impact” on August 2nd, 2012.
“The US must reach out to Sindh, where the Sindhi language is spoken by more people than Urdu,” Sherman said in his remarks at the hearing of the terrorism, non-proliferation, and trade subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Congressman Brad Sherman’s continuous efforts and support for Sindhis and Sindh are unforgettable. He is the founder and Co-Chairman of Congressional Sindh Caucus. He initiated the efforts for VOA program in Sindhi language.
He will be keynote speaker and special guest at SAPAC’s upcoming 3rd Annual Celebration on September 12th, 2012 in Washington, DC.
The e-mail exchange below highlights the discussion about why it is important to preserve Sindhi-medium teaching in Sindh and why some people are bent upon imposing Urdu-medium teaching in Sindh. ….
Mr. Ursani counters Mr. Farhat’s arguments in logical and rational manner and in my view wins the case for Sindhi-medium teaching in Sindh. His arguments are:
He says as Sindh is part of Pakistan, saying Sindh watan zindabad or jiye Sindh is also saying Pakistan zindabad. He makes the point that Pakistan is a multi-national state (note by Khalid: like UK, India, Canada, Belgium, and Switzerland. Surely, the British do not perceive do not accuse Scottish people as being against Britain).
He says that wanting to teach Sindhi students in their mother tongue is natural. After all, Sindhis “read, write, think, and even dream in Sindhi Language.”
.Countering to Mr. Farhat’s objection about calling Sindh as watan, Mr. Ursani says “.. up to the time Sindhis are not ejected from their land then this will remain their watan and this is indisputable fact because this land is chosen by God for Sindhi people.”
About Pakistan’s break-up in 19971 that Mr. Farhat implies because the refusal of Bengalis to accept Urdu-medium schools, Mr. Ursani says “That happened because people like you failed to recognize that Pakistan is multinational country.”
About the implication asserted by Mr. Farhat that since Punjab does not want Urdu-medium of teaching, Sindh should also have only Urdu-medium schools, Mr. Ursani says that this argument is neither logical nor rational. We respect decision of Punjab and do not insist that they should be taught in Sindhi-medium schools after Sindhi language is the only fully developed language native Indus valley language.
Countering Mr. Farhat’s argument that it amounts to “myopic attitude in this modern age of technology “, Mr. Ursani says there is nothing that proves that Urdu means forwardness and Sindhi is backwardness. He continues that implying that Sindhi as a backward language amounts to showing hatred against it.
Mr. Ursani concludes “By saying that if we get education in Sindhi, we will not be well dressed, enlightened, and technical minded speaks volumes about your mentality.” He continues “As you have clearly mentioned your desire in your email that Pakistan should be uni-lingual country therefore now there remains no doubt schools being opened by non Sindhis in Sindh have clear agenda of eliminating Sindhi language from education and this is what we called “nefarious design”.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 15 Julay, 2012.
Bashir Khan Qureshi, the roaring and raging voice of Sindh, the versatile leader of Sindh, the brave and courageous person, the humble and loving human being is no more with us! He fought for Sindh, he agitated for the rights of downtrodden Sindhis, he vociferously, vehemently and valiantly declared Independence and Freedom for Sindh and, sadly, he paid the ultimate price – the martyrdom.
جي تُون وِڙھٞندي تہ مَا رِيو ويندين؍
سَڄي سِـنڌُ تان وارِيو ويندين؍
دودا؍ تُنھِنجو ساھُ ثہ وِيندو؍
پَرَ قومَ جو ويساھُ نہ وِيندو؍
“Je tuun wirrhandein ta maaryo weindein,
Sacjee Sindhu taan waaryo weindeinn;
Dodaa, tuhinjo saah ta weendo,
Para qoma jo weisaahu na weendo!”
“Fight, and sure to die on field art thee,
Sacrificed for Sindh, thy life admirable be;
Oh Dodo, breathe thy last will certainly thee,
Never shall diminish Nation’s trust in thee!”
(Shaikh Ayaz: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)
How long can the sacred and sentient land of Sindh continue to be desecrated, demeaned and debased? How long can the effervescent and exuberant children of Mother Sindh keep on being poisoned, murdered and butchered? How long can Sindhis keep on tolerating the savagery against their Motherland? How long would the peace-loving Nation of Sindh continue to witness the ethnic cleansing and genocide being perpetrated against them ruthlessly by the demonic forces of evil?
How long Sindhis will continue to turn the other cheek when their language and culture, values and way of life, history and heritage are systematically being punched, punctured and pulverized by the uncivilized marauders, tyrants and terrorists of deep dark forces? How long peace loving Sindhis continue being taken for a ride in the caravan of fraud, deceit and duplicity by the looters, liars and loafers?
Yes, how long might the Sindh and Sindhis continue to endure with patience? How long will Sindhis keep on suffering in acute pain and anguish? Till the Sindhis in Sindh have become extinct? Till the Sindhi language and Sindhi culture of peace, values and way of life, history and heritage has been deleted, destroyed and dumped by the deep dark forces of the security establishemnt?
Promoting Sindhi through Media , Demanding our Right, Send this letter to Prime Minister of India.
Post Card Campaign — a unique campaign for 24×7 Sindhi DD channel is launched and Sindhi-speaking people across the globe would send a post card to Prime Minister of India Demanding our Right. Keep postcards ready on Cheti Chand (Sindhi Thanks giving day), Get signatures from Sindhi and post to PM of India.
We Sindhis are a gifted community, always addicted to success in everything we do. This time let us put all our might to save our Sindhi language and culture. The language of the video clip is Sindhi.
Courtesy: Sindhi Sangat » Asha Chand
By Dilip Tekchandani, India
Please write a post card to the Prime Minister of India to demand for the DD SINDHI channel, the text for the letter is given below;
Dr. Man Mohan Singh,
Honorable Prime Minister of India
South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi, 11 00 01
Dear Sir, I am a SINDHI speaking Citizen of India. We sacrificed our motherland SINDH for the Independence of India.
Help us to preserve our Language, Culture & Identity through TV. Give us 24 Hours DD SINDHI channel to preserve our Identity.
Sindhi Citizens of India
By: Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia
A clique of hoodlums, urchins and loafers came out on streets of some wild gang-infested areas of Karachi, the bustling capital city and business-centre of Sindh. These nefarious and abominable elements gathered in groups, pasted and posted some slogans and posters on the walls of shops and houses and raised shrill slogans for the creation of a ‘Muhajir’ province. No Sir, it is not me who call them ‘Muhajirs,’ they themselves, call ‘Muhajirs,’ meaning ‘refugees’.
These belonged to a hitherto unknown wicked fraternity known as “Mohajir Sooba Tehrik (MST), which translated in simple English means, “Refugee Province Movement.” Is there any such parallel example anywhere in the world, where the ‘refugees,’conquer and demand a separate state within a state for themselves?
The numerous nations that formed a Federation of Pakistan were Bengali, Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi, Seraiki, Kashmiri, and Pashto. Each of these nations had their own language, culture, heritage, history, arts, music, norms, traditions and historical land.
Millions of innocent lives were lost during unfortunate partition of the sub-continent of south Asia and then the urdu Language was imposed as a national language on the Nations who had formed the federation of Pakistan. This created restlessness in Bengal and after sacrificing millions of innocent lives on the question of language, Bengal became Bangladesh, a Sovereign, Independent and Free nation – free from unfair rule of the security establishment of the deep state . Today, Balochistan is on the same path which was taken by East Pakistan (Banglades) yesterday. The security establishment of the deep state continuously working on its policies with their subjugation of Sindh and Balochistan and trying to convert Sindhis and Balochs into minority in their historical lands.
Gullible Sindhis who gave them shelter on their historical land but unfortunately it seems that they had no respect whatsoever, Sindh gave them honour and dignity. Sindh accepted them as her own children! Sindh called them ‘Sindhis’ not ‘Muhajirs!’
65 years on – they still have not adopted the language of Sindh. They had never respected and appreciated the glorious and peace loving Sufi culture, norms and traditions of Sindh. They are remain thankless, ungrateful, unappreciative towards Sindh and calling themselves ‘Muhajirs’ and asking for the division of the land of Sindh which is providing them shelter and living.
Now, let me give a piece of advice to them: “Go read the glorious History of Sindh!” Many conquerors entered in Sindh and each time the valiant sons of Sindh fought and sacrifice their lives for their beloved Motherland Sindh and then those tyrannical invaders all left with their tails tucked. If any one doesn’t adopt Sindh and calling and think themselves as invaders then the Sindhis will really treat them and would play their historical role as sons of the soil and sacrifice their lives for the defense of their motherland.
The Indus civilisation is centuries old and the borders of this glorious, illustrious and exalted land of Sindh are historical and inviolable! If any one tries to violate this sanctity of Sindh, or any other force including the conspirators of the deep state, then it will destabilize whole of the region! Therefore, the loyal and filial children of Motherland Sindh are reminding those individuals, “Don’t think about the division of Sindh because it is better for them not to do so.”
by Syed Atiq ul Hassan
Pakistani politicians and army officials blamed people of East Pakistan as being burden on Pakistan’s treasury. They were called coward and beggars. Today, Bangladeshi economy is better than Pakistan’s. Today Bangladeshi Taka is better than the Pakistani Rupee in international market. Today, Pakistan is begging Bangladesh to play cricket in Pakistan with assurance to provide them full security so that the Pakistani image can be restored for holding international cricket events in Pakistan.
“There is no question that the situation in Baluchistan is alarming and needs urgent attention….Military operation cannot be the solution – Pakistan should not forget what happened in East Pakistan.”
First East Pakistan to Bangladesh and now towards Baluchistan to Independent Baluchistan, political reasons may be un-identical but the tale of injustices; ignorance and autocratic behaviour of Pakistani establishment and civilian federal bureaucracy remain the same.
We are happy to release the Sindhi Resource Grammar. It is 5th Indo-Iranian language added in the GF resource grammar library (Others are Urdu, Punjabi, Persian, and Nepali). The development took almost 6 months, and was developed as a Master thesis project. Sindhi belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family. It is widely spoken in Pakistan and India. In Pakistan it is the official language of Sindh (province of Pakistan), and in India it one of the scheduled languages officially recognized by federal government of India. There are more than 22 million native Sindhi speakers. In Pakistan Sindhi is written in Perso-Arabic script from right-to-left, while in India it is written in Devanagari script from left-to-right. Rich morphology, verb-compounding, relatively free word-order are the major characteristics of Sindhi.
It seems the founding fathers of Pakistan never really imagined a place for a Bengali speaking, large Hindu minority province. This is because the TNT demanded a full divorce from all that was Hindu. Such was the force of the ideology, there was even an effort to make Bengali arabicized and de-sanskritized!!
Bengali muslims were at the forefront of the partition movement but giving up Bengali was a bridge too far for them.
In the course of the Pakistani government’s occupation of Bangladesh (is there a better word though there were benighted efforts to improve “East Pakistan” it seemed an occupation stroke colonisation) to “Arabify” & “DeSanskritise” Bangla or Bengali (I don’t know which is appropriate to refer to in the English language I prefer using Persian over Farsi, Gypsy over Romany, Eskimo over can’t remember what oh yes Inuit, etc etc) it inadvertently sparked off a global movement to preserve “mother languages” (the usage of the word mother language reminds of me of the elegant song ….
Read more » Brown Pundits
Mother Language Day: National Language Conference to be held tomorrow
ISLAMABAD: Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS) will hold the `National Language Conference’ tomorrow (Tuesday) to mark International Mother Language Day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.
The national conference is being arranged in collaboration with the National Language Authority (NLA), which will be attended by writers, intellectuals, linguists and leading politicians from across the country.
Talking to APP, SAS Secretary Sarwan Chandio said the national conference was expected to prove a milestone in the promotion of mother language, besides providing an opportunity to intellectuals to sit together and understand each other’s viewpoint.
“The national conference is being arranged for the first time in the history of the country where intellectuals and politicians will highlight the issues related to mother languages,” he added.
Member of the Federal Assembly Nawab Yousaf Talpur will be the chief guest, while the conference will be presided over by Sindhi Adabi Sangat Secretary General Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Phull.
Senators Sabir Baloch and Zahid Khan, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi, Jami Chandio and senior journalist Ejaz Mehar will be the honorary guests.
Writers from across the country, including Saleem Raz, Dr Shah Muhammad Marri, Abdul Rehman Baitab, Wahid Bozidar and Khalid Majeed, will highlight the importance of mother tongue as a national language on the occasion.
Continue reading 21st February is an ‘International Mother Language Day’- Sindhi Adabi Sangat will hold a `National Language Conference’ in Islamabad to mark the day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.
By Z Ali
The bill called for using Sindhi for official correspondence and asked the National Assembly to grant it the status of a national language.
HYDERABAD: Encouraged by the consensus reached in the National Assembly over the 20th constitutional amendment, Sindhi writers and scholars lobbied for Sindhi, Punjabi, Balochi and Pushto to be acknowledged as national languages.
The representatives of the Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS), Sindhi Language Authority, Sindh Democratic Forum, author Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo and others met with the federal law and parliamentary affairs minister, Maula Bux Chandio, on Wednesday. They asked the minister to fight for national status for Sindhi in the National Assembly.
Dr Fehmida Hussain, the chairperson of the Sindhi Language Authority, asked the minister to form a language commission comprising officials, writers and scholars for the languages. However, Chandio, despite being receptive to their demands, expressed a lack of optimism about the passage of the bill in the near future.
“The federation is rife with misgivings,” he told the delegation. “First it will correct the structure before such a bill can sail through.”
The SAS launched a three-week long campaign from February 1 for the implementation of a bill passed unanimously by the Sindh Assembly in 1972. The organisations’ leaders, Mehrunissa Larik, Amin Lakho and Zaib Nizamani, want the enforcement of a 1972 bill. It called for using Sindhi for official correspondence and asked the National Assembly to grant it the status of a national language. “All the major languages of the provinces should be given national status,” said Larik. “Even the Britishers used Sindhi as an official language,” she claimed. The SAS will organise an event on February 21, which is International Mother Language Day, to press for their demands.
The National Assembly’s standing committee rejected a similar bill in May 2011, introduced by former MNA Marvi Memon. The names of Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Saeed Ahmed Zafar and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement MNA Iqbal Qadri have surfaced with objections to the bill.
But Chandio said that the bill lay with the constitutional committee. The standing committee on law and justice had scrutinised the bill. “It will get through,” he said, but did not say when. Some members in the Standing Committee opposed the bill, he added, but did not name them. ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
– Let’s Learn Sindhi
Sindhi Classes will begin on February 14th and continue every Tuesday evening until first week of May from 7:30PM to 9PM.
SUNY-Stony Brook (Manhtattan), 101 East 27th Street (Entrance Next To Devon Shops), Between Park And Lexington Avenue, New York, NY
1) The first class will be a special presentation done by Ankita Mandhyan, one of our fellow Sindhi class members, who recently went with her family for the first time to Sindh to retrace their roots. Her father Kishore Mandhyan from the UN who presented at the last class in December also expressed an interest, schedule permitting, in stopping by to share his experiences on the dynamics of his Sindh trip. All are welcome to attend.
2) Tuesday February 21st onwards – Sindhi Language Lessons will begin led by our instructor Raj Udeshi.
Please respond us if you plan to attend any of the sessions as we will have to put your name on the attendance list for security purposes.
3) Fellow Sindhi friend Sachal Vasandani performs at the Jazz Standard performs tonight to Feb. 16th at the Jazz Standard. Please go check him out. He has been featured on NPR and the NY Times and is a rising star on the global jazz circuit. Sachal Vasandani – website http://www.svjazz.com.
Saaiin Parso Gidwani had a bhuungo constructed in a small village Kutch and stayed there. His love of Sindh was legendary. I went to visit Saaiin Parso Gidwani in 2000 in Kutch but he had gone for treatment to Mumbai they said. Some time after I returned to the US, he wrote to me and very kindly sent a copy of his book on the Sindhi language. “The Parso Gidwani Centre of Sindhi Studies was created in 2011 in memory of the Ethnolinguist Parso J. Gidwani (1937-2004) who was a pioneer in the field of ethnology and linguistics related to the Sindhi world. The PGCSS results from a cooperation between Dr Michel Boivin, Centre for South Asian Studies, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France) and Dr Charu Gidwani, R. K. Talreja College (Ulhasnagar, India). The Centre is a first step towards realizing Parso Gidwani’s wish for an Institute for Sindhi Studies. Its policy is framed by an Advisory Board whose members are scholars of international fame. The PGCSS is an integrated approach to Sindhi Studies with perspectives on Sindhi History, Culture, Literature and Language.”
Via » above article adopted from Gul Agha’s facebook page.
By Haider Nizamani
PROPRIETORS of media houses dabbling in politics has a long history in South Asia. The power and propaganda nexus is nothing new.
What is somewhat different is the mushrooming of television channels creating new forms of this nexus. Understanding the multifaceted dynamics of this interaction is a relatively unexplored area for the social scientist in Pakistan.
The new kid on Sindh’s political block is Ali Qazi. His family owns the most popular, hence the most powerful, media house of the Sindhi language. Daily Kawish, its flagship newspaper, probably sells more copies than the combined circulation of all its competitors.
Kawish Television Network (KTN) runs a dedicated 24/7 news and current affairs channel and two other channels. Kawish and KTN are household names for the Sindhi reading and viewing public.
Ali Qazi’s recent foray into politics climaxed on Jan 22 in a public meeting in Bhit Shah, a small town in central Sindh where the shrine of the venerated Sindhi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is located.
English-language dailies treated this rally as a page three news item whereas the largest circulated Sindhi daily, Kawish, went into overdrive to cover the event and published plenty of Op-Eds before and after the rally.
The public meeting was preceded by a month-long campaign of 187 smaller meetings Ali Qazi and his associates held all over Sindh. The purpose? To convince the Sindhi masses to seek change on the lines Mr Qazi is proposing.
What does Mr Qazi’s entrance into politics signify and symbolise? Will he be as successful in politics as he has been in establishing a mammoth media house? Will his politics benefit from his media empire or will the latter suffer due to his politics? Is this a case of conflict of interest? His ambitious entry into politics throws up all these questions.
The Qazis of Hyderabad are no strangers to media and politics. Daily Ibrat, owned by this family, for a long time had the lion’s share of the Sindhi newspaper market. Its current owner, Qazi Asad Abid, has been a member of the National Assembly. His sister, Dr Fehmida Mirza, is the speaker of the National Assembly. Their father, Qazi Abid, was a member of the provincial and national legislatures and held various ministerial portfolios.
Ali Qazi is the nephew of Qazi Abid. In the 1990s, Ali Qazi and his brothers started their own daily, Kawish, which over the years not only challenged the dominance of Ibrat but eventually replaced it as the largest circulated Sindhi newspaper. Ali Qazi, until recently, steered clear of party politics and focused on building his media house. For the past few years, he has championed causes such as the celebration of Sindhi cultural days through his popular print and electronic media outlets. He makes regular, some would say excessive, appearances as an expert and anchor on current affairs programmes on his television channel, KTN.
He uses Op-Ed space in daily Kawish with impunity to share his thoughts with the readers. In these columns he started to float the idea that the Sindhi public aspires for change that mainstream political parties are either unwilling or incapable of providing.
He claims to have become the epitome of the change he has been seeking, thus the name of his group ‘Tabdeeli Pasand’ (change-oriented). The main ill afflicting Sindh, according to Mr Qazi, is the bhotaar culture. Roughly translated it means the politics of patronage. The answer lies in replacing it with a system based on merit, good governance and transparency.
In the prelude to his Bhit Shah show of Jan 22, the Op-Ed write-ups in Kawish went overboard in portraying Ali Qazi as the saviour Sindh has been waiting for. Contrary to the anticipated announcement of launching his own political party at the Bhit Shah public meeting, Ali Qazi chose to defer that move and stuck to criticising the politics of patronage in Sindh.
As he weighs his options, here are some advantages he enjoys and disadvantages he is likely to encounter should he decide to establish a new political party.
Among his three advantages, the most important is of having access to a well-oiled and sophisticated print and electronic media. He has an edge over any other new entrant in this regard as far as Sindh is concerned.
If the current trend is any indication then he has no compunction in using the KTN-Kawish combo to promote his viewpoint.
Secondly, politics in Pakistan is becoming an expensive undertaking and Ali Qazi has deep pockets to sustain his political venture.
Lastly, lack of effective performance by mainstream parties has created widespread anti-politics sentiment amongst various sections of the middle classes. Imran Khan is exploiting it in Punjab and Ali Qazi is attempting to do the same in Sindh.
The launch of a party by Ali Qazi on his suggested lines will face following hurdles. Firstly, since he owns the most powerful media house in Sindh, his competitors will not give the desired coverage to Ali Qazi’s party. In fact, if the KTN-Kawish combo chooses to become blatantly partisan in promoting Ali Qazi this may provide his competitors an opening to create healthy competition for Sindh viewers.
Left-of-centre politics in Sindh has organisations such as the Awami Tehrik of Rasool Bux Palijo with a political history spanning over several decades over which it has created a reasonably organised party cadre. Assorted Sindhi nationalist parties are a divided lot but they have a collective legacy of creating a secular ethos in Sindhi politics.
Above all, Ali Qazi will have to challenge the PPP’s mighty emotional and electoral support base in Sindh. The PPP has jealously guarded its vote-bank in Sindh for four decades and in the process has weathered many challenges. It has unmatched expertise in constituency-based politics backed up by the Bhutto charisma. Ali Qazi has remained careful in not naming the PPP as the culprit.
If Ali Qazi wants to be an alternative to the PPP in Sindh then he will have to confront the most popular party head-on. If not then his dream of being a change-seeker backed up by his media empire will serve as valuable pressure on PPP politicians to pay closer attention to the kind of issues Ali Qazi is raising.
The writer is a Canada-based academic. He can be reached at, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sindhi is a very sweet and melodious language. Writes Dr. Annemarie Schimmel, Harvard professor of linguist: “Since every word in Sindhi ends in a vowel, the sound is very musical.”
Sindhi is a very rich language with a vast vocabulary; this has made it a favourite of many writers and so a lot of literature and poetry has been written in Sindhi. Writes K. R. Malkani in “THE SINDH STORY”: ‘The Sindhi language and literature reflect the rich variety and quality of Sindhi life and thought. Sindhi has 125 names for as many varieties of fish. From Hyderabad to the sea, a distance of less than one hundred miles, the Sindhu river has half a dozen names — Sahu, Sita, Mograh, Popat, Bano, and Hajamiro — to reflect its many moods. The camel has a score of names, to indicate its age, colour, gait and character.’
It is the language of Saints and Rishis of ancient Sindh. It has been the inspiration for Sindhi art, music, literature, culture and the way of life. Many great poets and literatis have been profoundly inspired by the beauty of Sindhi language.
A song in Balochi for all those who never heard the language, but have thrived on the resources of Baluchistan. Akhtar Chanal and Komal Rizvi performing Daanah Pah Daanah in coke studio season 4 episode 1. Translation is embedded in the video.
Courtesy: Coke studio » YouTube
By Khalid Hashmani
As relationship between Pakistan and the USA moves downwards, Washington DC is once again seeing a flurry of seminars, discussions and briefings organized by various Think-tank and academic institutions. One such event was focused on astonishing expansion of Karachi. The event was inspired by a recent book called “Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi” written by Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition. Using this book as a backdrop, Global Economy and Development and Metropolitan Policy at Brookings Institution organized a discussion on November 29 with Steve Inskeep. Other panelists included Stephen Cohen, Alan Berube, and Shuja Nawaz. Johannes Linn moderated the discussion. One highlight of the discussion was a rebuttal by a Sindhi-American that “Karachi is the heart of Sindh and Sindhis will never allow separation of Karachi from Sindh” when panelist Shuja Nawaz stated that a proposal to make Karachi as a separate province along with creating other provinces. (Full audio and details at http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/1129_instant_city.aspx).
Karachi could lead growth of Pakistan
Steve Inskeep, a reporter for more than twenty years has been a frequent visitor to Karachi and other parts of South Asia. His interest in Karachi intensified after he attended the trial of killers of journalist Daniel Pearl in the city. In 1947, Karachi’s population was only 400,000 lived in Karachi; most of who proudly identified themselves as Sindhis. The UN population figures show Karachi’s population to be around 13.1 million. The population growth has been astonishingly high with migrants coming from other provinces and neighboring countries. Every imaginable problem of instant urbanization can be seen in Karachi. Steve gave an example of person who migrated from Swat some years ago. Originally, he came to Karachi for better education but ended up opening an import-export wholesale business. The rampant corruption touches every aspect of life. A place where already rich politicians, political parties, military and civilian officials, and gangsters become super rich by using their influence to take over large pieces of land including parks, schools, playgrounds, or any land or condemned building and then sell the land in small parcels at huge profits. A city that has become as ungovernable as the central government and sees constant interference from Pakistan’s military and other semi-organized groups. Unlike other mega cities in India like Mumbai where economic growth is impressive, Karachi remains stagnated under the weight of unhealthy competitive interests, ethnic rivalries, and religious differences. In concluding his presentation, Steve said if there is a way that Pakistan could get back to the path of economic growth, Karachi will lead the way that growth. In an answer to a question, Steve talked about Karachi could follow the footsteps of Hong Kong and become a big commercial center in South Asia if Pakistan gets its act together and manages its relationship with India more cooperatively.
In some ways Karachi-Sindh is like Los Angles and New York
It is not only Sindhi-speaking people who are participating but also Pashto-speaking Sindhis, Urdu-speaking Sindhis, and Punjabi-speaking Sindhis, who live in Sindh are demonstrating their love for Sindh.
By Khalid Hashmani
The Sindhis who live in and around the Washington DC area joined festivities of the annual “Sindhi Culture Celebration Day”. The event was organized by Mrs. Nasreen and Mr. Iqbal Tareen at their residence in McLean suburb on the night between Saturday, November 19 and November 20, 2011. Several local Sindhis joined Tareens in this event to make it a memorable celebration of Sindhi culture, language and identity.
Join Tri-State (NY, NJ and CT) Sindhi Community in celebrating International Sindhi Cultural & Solidarity Day
Venue: Kabab King Mehal, 495 Hempstead Turnpike, West Hempstead, NY 11552. Date: Saturday November 26th, 2011 , Time:7:00 pm
Wear Sindhi Ajrak and Topi and Join millions of Sindhis all over the world in celebrating their culture, language and heritage. Sindhi people cherish their Universalist peace cultural practices. This event is open to all ages. Event includes food, music concert and cultural demonstrations.
“In January 1948—about four months after the creation of Pakistan—the federal government of Pakistan sponsored pogroms by refugees against Hindu Sindhis in Karachi, then the shared capital of Sindh and Pakistan. The pogroms resulted in the massacre of over 1200 Sindhis. When the Sindh government attempted to restore public order and return looted property, Pakistan removed the duly elected Sindh government from office. Today, exiled Hindu Sindhis are denied the Right of Return.”
“Of the approximately 30 million Sindhis living in Sindh today, approximately 3 million are Hindus and suffer particularly under Pakistan’s oppressive laws and dis-criminatory practices. Pakistan imposes the death penalty for blasphemy or apostasy.”
“With the connivance of the Pakistani authori-ties, tens of thousands of Sindhis, including a disproportionately large number of Hindu and Christian Sindhis, are held in virtual slavery as bonded laborers.”
“The last census systematically undercounted the number of Sindhis. The census forms in Sindhi were simply printed in insufficient quantities so data could not be collected in many remote villages. In addition, Hindu Sindhis were intimidated by Pakistani authorities who ac-companied the census takers in Sindh.”
“The Pakistani government has designated homes and businesses of Hindu Sindhis in this area as ‘Enemy Evacuee Property’ and seized the legal deeds to their properties.”
“Religious Studies has been made a compulsory subject for Muslims in all government and private schools. The officially mandated textbooks preach a fundamentalist and militant ideology, contravening the indigenous universalist Sufi beliefs of the Sindhis.”
“Pakistan controls all public and private advertising in newspapers through a government body called the Pakistan Information Board. In 2003, the government ordered a cut in Sindhi newspapers’ advertisement ‘quota’ by an additional 50%. Although Sindhi speakers account for about 20% of Pakistan’s population, Sindhi newspapers now receive less than 1% of the total advertising revenue.”
“In 1999, the largest circulation Sindhi monthly magazine Subhu Theendo (‘A New Day will Dawn’) was banned for spreading disaffection against the ‘ideology of Pakistan.’ The magazine focused on sustainable development and environmental protection.”
“A majority of the officials and government employees appointed in Sindh do not speak the Sindhi language. Pakistan refuses to allow the use of Sindhi in University entrance examinations or in job interviews for government employees in Sindh, and severely limits radio and television broadcasts in the language.”
“Pakistan has built several mega-dams and barrages up-stream that have impeded the flow of the Indus (Sindhu) River and its tributaries to Sindh. As a consequence, the floodplains that fed Sindh’s forests are gone, resulting in massive deforestation: less than 20% of the original 600,000 acres of forest land is now being regenerated. ”
“Water no longer flows to the sea; as a consequence, the mangrove forests have experienced a 90% decline—from 2400 square kilometers to 200 square kilometers. With-out protection from the mangrove forests, seawater has encroached—inundating 1.2 million acres of agricultural land and uprooting residents of 159 villages. The once plentiful seafood catch has been drastically reduced. The net result is that throughout Sindh, poverty levels, malnutrition and disease now match those in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
“The Sindhi national poet, Shaikh Ayaz (d. 1999) was charged with treason—a crime punishable by death—for advocating peace with India.”
Courtesy » Sonething fishy’s going on