Tag Archives: memories

“Memories of Another Day” An account of 1973 Baloch Struggle

The 1973-77 struggle for rights had proved to the Baloch people, and to the world, that the struggle for their rights could bear fruit with tenacious dedication and perseverance. The Baloch have not been cowed down by the ever-increasing presence of the army and have stood up for their rights, which no government here is ready to concede or even listen to. The Baloch have resorted to the use of arms only because their rights have been trampled upon and all other avenues of redress have been blocked.

by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The Baloch resistance to the unwarranted and unjust military operations, after the equally illegal and unfair dismissal of Sardar Ataullah Mengal’s government in February 1973, only 10 months after being sworn in, was the most protracted, pervasive and forceful struggle which demonstrated the determination and resilience of the Baloch when faced with overwhelming odds.

The Mengal government was sworn in on May 1, 1972 amid hope and expectations, but from the first day, the Federal government created hurdles and problems. The Federal government among other things created a law and order situation in Lasbela by making supporters of Jam Ghulam Qadir take up arms against the provincial government alleging persecution. Mengal government had to raise a Levies force to quell the trouble as Federal government refused to send help. Jam Ghulam Qadir, the Jam of Lasbela, later became the Chief Minister after Mengal government dismissal.

Continue reading “Memories of Another Day” An account of 1973 Baloch Struggle

Sindhi Hindu family’s heritage home in Hyderabad rescued from time

By Mahim Maher / Photo: Suresh K. Bhavnani / Photo: Ayesha Mir / Photo: Mahim Maher

HAWAI’I / HYDERABAD: This story starts in Hawai’i and ends in Hyderabad, spans half a century, includes a death threat and arson, 27 heirs, Rs28 million and a happy ending. (Jawaharlal Nehru makes an appearance too, although in passing.)

This December, if all goes according to plan, 79-year-old Indru Watumull will travel from her home in Hawai’i to see her family home in Hyderabad, Mukhi House, whose building has been 95% restored after five decades of abandonment. “Every time I hear[d] of something happening in Pakistan [over the years], I’d wonder what’s happened to Mukhi House,” she told The Express Tribune at her home this summer.

Mukhi House was built in 1920 by prominent Hyderabad figure Mukhi Jethanand (see box). “Mukhi wanted a real palace,” explains Kaleemullah Lashari of the antiquities department and the one-man army who has been working for five years to restore it. Indeed, one of the Mukhi family daughters, Dharam, who has incredibly sharp memories of the place even at 95 years of age, refers to it as ‘Mukhi Palace’ and not ‘house’ as the plaque says outside.

Unfortunately, Lashari’s searches of municipal archives and interviews with the family did not yield an architect’s name. But this much is clear: The house had all the trappings of a palace. It was built in the Renaissance style, but has strong influences from art deco in the form of murals, art nouveau via the stained glass windows and the Classical in the shape of its columns. And it looks magnificent.

Continue reading Sindhi Hindu family’s heritage home in Hyderabad rescued from time

Toronto Sun: Bloodbath hits a nerve: Batra

Wisconsin shooting triggers painful memories of racism aimed at Sikhs

By Adrienne Batra

TORONTO – When news broke last week of the horrific shooting at the Sikh Gurdwara (which means gateway to the `Guru’) in Oak Creek, Wis., my mother had phoned me within minutes insisting I turn on the TV to see how `these idiots in the media are talking about our people.’

She was specifically referring to CNN’s coverage, which felt it necessary to constantly interrupt its commentary about the massacre to remind the audience that Sikhs aren’t Muslims.

Admittedly it was annoying, because, to me, it seems obvious since I’m Sikh and am therefore acutely aware of the difference.

However, it really bothered my mother. When probed as to why, she summarily said that, in this day and age, she couldn’t believe people don’t know how to differentiate the two.

It doesn’t, though, surprise me.

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, pictures of Osama bin Laden were running on network television 24/7. In the picture most often showed of him, he was attired in a white turban and had a long beard. This could explain why some just assume anyone with a turban is Muslim. A turban and beard, of course, are two of the most distinguishing features of a Sikh man.

The white supremacist trash who murdered six people and injured police officers (the cops who gunned him down should be given medals) at the Gurdwara last week probably fell into this category of people who live their lives blissfully ignorant.

And since 9/11, Sikhs in Canada and the U.S. have spoken out against increased `hate crimes’ perpetrated against the community. The Sikh Coalition, which has kept track of such incidences, reported in the months after 9/11 `300 cases of violence and discrimination against Sikh Americans throughout the United States.’

In November 2001, some teens in New York burned down Gobind Sadan Gurdwara `because they thought it was named for Osama bin Laden.’ A Sikh family in New Mexico had their car defaced with images of genitals and profanities about Allah. There were numerous other brutal attacks on elderly Sikh men and young boys, many of which were motivated by hatred against Muslims. The Huffington Post’s Religion section has done an excellent job of putting together an unfortunately lengthy list of these acts of violence.

When my parents moved to Canada, my father cut his hair and chose to no longer wear a turban. That choice had consequences for him as his uncle, an over-educated doctor living in England, ostensibly disowned him.

But I know why my father did it – the same reason why our parents gave my brother, two sisters and I `Canadian’ names. He knew it would be tough enough growing up in Saskatchewan in the 1970s – not a lot of `brown’ people around, already looking different, and people having difficulty pronouncing your name – without compounding the issue of racism.

We didn’t experience such things as our cousins who grew up in Vancouver – they had their turbans kicked off, were called `towel heads,’ and told to `go back where you came from’ (even though they were born in Canada).

Despite my parent’s best efforts, I had my own brush with racism, but it pales in comparison to what others endured. I distinctly remember one incident when I was growing up in Saskatoon. At a friend’s house party, her father looked straight at me and said he didn’t want `Pakis’ in his house. I told him to go f— himself. At the time it, didn’t dawn on me that his pejorative reference was because he thought I was from Pakistan.

`My parents are from India you twit,’ kept running through my head.

Continue reading Toronto Sun: Bloodbath hits a nerve: Batra

Manto and Sindh – Excellent write up of Haider Nizamani, it helps to understand why Sindh is tolerant and secular society in nature.

Punjab at the time of partition in 1947.

Manto and Sindh

By Haider Nizamani

SINDH has no equivalent of Saadat Hasan Manto as a chronicler of Partition. And the absence of a Manto-like figure in Sindhi literature on that count is good news. It shows the resilience of Sindh’s tolerant culture at a time when Punjab had slipped into fratricidal mayhem.

While Amrita Pritam called out for Waris Shah to rise up from the grave to witness the blood-drenched rivers of Punjab, Sindhi woman writers such as Sundari Uttamchandani were not forced to ask Shah Latif to do the same.

The tragedy of Partition inflicted different types of pain on the Punjabi and Sindhi communities and these peculiarities shadowed and shaped post-Partition communal relations between people of different faiths who traced their roots to these regions. What Manto endured and witnessed in 1947 and afterwards, became, through his eloquent writings, simultaneously an elegy and indictment of Punjab losing its sense of humanity at the altar of religious politics. The political air in Sindh was filled with religious demagogy but it did not turn into a communal orgy.

Urdu literati and historians interested in Partition and its impact on the subcontinent have used Manto’s birth centennial, that was recently observed, to remind us of his scathing sketches of lives destroyed by Partition. Ayesha Jalal in her essay ‘He wrote what he saw — and took no sides’ published in the May issue of Herald, writes Manto “looked into the inner recesses of human nature…” to “fathom the murderous hatred that erupted with such devastating effect” …in “his own home province of Punjab at the dawn of a long-awaited freedom”.

There was no eruption of murderous hatred between Sindhi Hindus and Muslims. They did not lynch each other en masse as was the case in Punjab. The violence against Sindhi Hindus and their mass migration to India was a tragic loss scripted, orchestrated and implemented by non-Sindhis in Sindh. As result of varying trajectories of interfaith relations during the Partition period, the intelligentsia of Sindh and Punjab evolved and adopted different views towards Hindus and India.

The collective memory of the Partition days in Punjab is marked more by the stories and silence of the victims and perpetrators of violence. Even the journey towards the safer side was fraught with danger. People who survived had bitter memories of the ‘other’.

The Sindh story is not the same. Ram Jethmalani, a leading lawyer in India today and a member of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was a young advocate in Karachi in 1947. His senior partner was none other than A.K. Brohi, a right-wing Sindhi lawyer who became federal law minister during the Zia period.

Jethmalani has no compunction in saying that there was no love lost between the two because of Partition. Jethmalani stayed back in Karachi and only left for Mumbai in 1948 when Brohi told him he could not take responsibility for his safety as the demography of Karachi had changed with the arrival of migrants from the northern Indian plains. That arrival was accompanied by violence against Sindhi Hindus.

Kirat Babani, a card-carrying communist, chose to stay in Sindh after 1947 and was thrown in prison in 1948. Released 11 months on the condition of leaving Karachi within 24 hours, Kirat took up a job with Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi, pioneer of the peasant struggle in Sindh. The administration pressured Jatoi for harbouring an atheist. Jatoi advised, much against his desire, Kirat to go to India. Even the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that groomed L.K. Advani, a native of Karachi who later became India’s deputy prime minister, acknowledges that Sindhi Muslims did not push Hindus out of the province.

Continue reading Manto and Sindh – Excellent write up of Haider Nizamani, it helps to understand why Sindh is tolerant and secular society in nature.

Tariq Ali’s backhanded tribute to Salmaan Taseer

by Mahvish Afridi

Is Tariq Ali a reporter, a Marxist activist or an author of fluffy Islamist novels reminiscent of Nasim Hijazi? Or is he just an ideologue past his sell by date, cashing in on his Communist Cows.  Nonetheless, he clearly has his prejudices and his article “Salman Taseer Remembered” (London Review of Books) reveals some of them.

In what should have been a tribute to a childhood friend, Tariq Ali can’t help himself and resorts to his typical petty digs based on his own prejudices and neurosis. He remembers their childhood memories but cannot bring himself to appreciate the late Salman Taseer’s business success and political activism.  I suppose that is natural given that Tariq Ali comes from a privileged feudal background and ran off from Pakistan instead of facing any consequences for being part of the Left movement of the late 1960s. Tariq Ali’s grandfather Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan was a leader of the Unionist Muslim League, a feudalist political party formed to represent the interests of the landlords of Punjab. It is the same feudal lord about whom Allama Iqabl wrote: nigah-e-faqr mein shaan-e-sikandri kia hai

In Tariq Ali’s elitist lexicon, being a self made and highly successful businessman is far inferior to being a paid lecture circuit mouthpiece for Hamas and Taliban and their supporters that reside on the fringes of the Far Left.

His glossing over the incarceration that Taseer had to face for his political affiliation with the Pakistan Peoples Party and its leadership are probably an indication of his insecurity for running away to England at the first sign of trouble. Not unlike other members of Pakistan’s ‘fake civil society’, Tariq Ali hates the PPP and the Bhuttos because they deprived him and his likes of the imaginary revolution that Tariq Ali so much wanted to lead but never possessed the guts and heart to do so.

In his back handed tribute to Shaheed Taseer, Tariq Ali reveals more about himself and his prejudice than about the late Governor’s successful life. …

Read more : CriticalPPP

Benazir Bhutto: Brilliant, Bold and Beautiful

by Faiz Al-Najdi

On 27 December 2007 Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was martyred in the garrison city of Rawalpindi where her father – another great and popular leader of Pakistan – was hanged some thirty years ago by a mean, vindictive and a heartless military dictator. It is needless to underscore that like many other Pakistanis, I was totally devastated at this tragic end of a great leader.

Who killed her? It is a million dollar question though. However it is very clear that her killer or killers hated her brilliance, beauty and boldness. These savages could not silence her messages so silenced the messenger, who remained a hope and aspiration of the poor of our country. They snatched away our Shehzadi from us – the symbol of democracy and a unifying force of the federation. It is hard to believe that she is no more and now all we are left with is her memories on this second shahadat anniversary of hers. We are only left to mourn her death and sing the requiem – our Pakistani requiem in her memoriam.

Robert Novak in his Op-Ed, “Who Wants to Kill Benazir Bhutto” (30 October 07), was all praise for her boldness. He said, “When I interviewed Bhutto in New York in Aug-07, I asked whether she thought she might be killed if she returned to Pakistan. She answered by saying she must return. She gives the impression that being in danger is her fate”. …

Read more : BoloJi

Book review – DIL JE DAFTAR MAAN [Saroonyoon]

The memoirs of Dr Kazi Khadim Hussain

Reviewed by Altamash M. Kureshi

Courtesy: daily dawn, 20.9.2009

The autobiography is an account of oneself, narrated by oneself and the biography is an account narrated by some one else; whereas the memoir is author’s personal experiences about series of events. The book under review falls within the category of a ‘memoir’.

There is a strong tradition of writing memoirs by the prominent writers, scholars, politicians, artists and important persons belonging to various fields of life. In Sindhi Language most significant memoirs are, ‘Yadgeereon’, by Seth Naomal (1804-1880), ‘Uhe deenhan uhe sheenh’ by Pir Ali Mohammad Rashdi, ‘Kaee kitab’ by Rais Karim Bux Nizamani, ‘Yadgireon’ by, Gurdas Wadhwani, ‘Janam Guzrium Jineen Saan’ by G.M Syed and Uhe Dothee Uhe Deenhan’ by Pir Hisamuddin Rashidi et al.

The memoirs of Rashidi brothers and GM Shed are in form of life sketches of prominent persons writers have come across. The only However, memoir which commensurate with the present one is ‘Yadgireon’ written by, Gurdas Wadhwani. However peculiarity of the present memoir is that events are not narrated in a time sequential method but as the title of book goes, events are narrated as and when recalled. This typical style of reminiscences has made the book more enchanting as it does not develop monotony or boredom at any stage of reading.

Continue reading Book review – DIL JE DAFTAR MAAN [Saroonyoon]