Tag Archives: Rain

Members of US Congress Pledge Support for Flood Victims in Sindh

– Several Members of US Congress Pledge Support for Flood Victims in Sindh – SAPAC Advocacy Campaign

By Khalid Hashmani

A two-day event dedicated to the flood victims in Sindh by Sindhi-American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) was hugely successful. The event was held in Washington DC from October 13 and October 14, 2011. The activities were held in several locations around the US congressional offices. The Sindhi-American community was joined by their friends participated in this focused campaign to draw attention of the US government and the US legislature to the destruction caused by recent floods in Sindh province of Pakistan. They urged members of congress for immediate help to the flood victims. The campaign began with meetings with the staff of 100 Congress members and cumulated in a congressional briefing with testimony from several academicians and NGO officials with eyewitness accounts. …

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, October 16, 2011.

Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship

Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship: How flood aid is of humanitarian and U.S. national security interest

Washington, D.C., Oct. 7, 2011 – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus will host a congressional briefing at the Capitol Hill in room HC-5 on October 13, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00p.m. The topics for discussion at the briefing will be the current floods in Sindh, the U.S. – Pakistan relationship, and U.S. aid and assistance in the Sindh Province in regards to the floods.

Heavy monsoon rains in early August have devastated the Sindh region of Pakistan. Sixteen of the 23 districts in Sindh have been affected with over 1.7 million acres of standing crops, the Sindhis main source of livelihood, destroyed. More than 270 deaths have been reported and more than 6 million people have been displaced or directly affected by flood waters. Currently, there are 700,000 people living in temporary sites and 280,000 have been relocated to 1,800 relief camps within Sindh. There have been 120,000 pregnant women and 500,000 children who have been directly affected by the floods and more than 2 million people are suffering from flood-related diseases. Thousands of flood victims need relief and aid, but the slow and limited response of the Pakistani government and the international community has left a gap that is being filled by Islamist terrorist organizations like Jamaat-ud-dawa.

As the Sindhi people are a peaceful people, wanting a region that is accepting of religions and cultures, they stand as a crucial ally to the United States in this vulnerable region in the world. The briefing will bring to light the importance of maintaining a good relationship between the United States and the Sindhis and the Sindh region and how flood relief is of importance in this endeavor.

Speakers at the briefing will include Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, teaches Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Louis Flam, professor of archaeology, paleoecology, geo-archaeology and South Asian Studies at the City University of New York, Dr. Geeta Chainani, President and co-founder of Life Bridge US, and Dr. Gul Agha, professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Courtesy: » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, October 8, 2011.

Millions at risk in Sindh

Millions at risk: Pakistan needs to own this crisis and then seek aid says WFP

By Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan needs to own this crisis and then get the attention of the international community, stressed the World Food Programme’s Ramiro Lopes da Silva on Monday, while warning that millions of lives are at stake in Sindh unless more attention is paid to mobilising resources.

The situation is alarming but hasn’t received the attention it deserves, the deputy executive director remarked at a press briefing on Monday. …

Read more → The Express Tribune

Dr. Geeta Chainani to join panel at congressional briefing

– Dr. Geeta Chainani, Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, Dr. Louis Flam, Dr. Gul Agha to join panel at congressional briefing Hosted by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus. Date/Time: October 13, 2:00p.m. – 4:00p.m. Place: Capitol, room HC-5.

Beginning in August, the monsoon season hit Pakistan and has come to devastate the province of Sindh. With over 5 million people affected, including 2 million homeless and hundreds dead, the people of Sindh remain in a precarious situation. With little aid and relief, the Sindhi people are suffering from diseases, loss of livelihood, and nowhere to go.Join us to learn more about the Sindh, who the people are, and most importantly, how the Sindh region plays a crucial part in the United States’ relationship with Pakistan and its security.

BBC – Pakistan is ‘failing’ the flood victims of Sindh

– Is Pakistan ‘failing’ the people hit by the floods?

By Aleem Maqbool

Pakistan’s most needy are being left to fend for themselves after flooding devastated much of southern Sindh province.

It is astonishing and depressing that this is all happening again. Only this time, for the people of southern Pakistan, things appear even worse.

In travelling the vast flood-hit areas as we have been doing, what is striking this year, as compared to last, is the massive number of people who tell us they have had no help at all – not from aid agencies, not from the army and not from the government of Pakistan. ….

Read more → BBC

Family marooned in floodwater for eight days evacuated

– by Jan Khaskheli

Shahnaz, a lady health visitor (LHV) in her 40s, was looking upset while being brought out with an eight-member family from her inundated house by a boat. She stayed marooned for eight days inside the flooded house in the affected Sanghar city, which was hit by floods after breaches in artificial drains.

Known among the neighbouring people as Dr Shahnaz, she was running her flourishing maternity home in the city’s neighbourhood. When the floodwater was flowing to the city – comprising a population of 150,000 – she was advised by relatives and family friends to leave her house but she took the floods easy and refused to leave.

The house is located in a low-lying neighbourhood, from where almost all other families had shifted to safer areas. Some of them hired vehicles to reach their relatives living in Karachi and other parts of the country. There was seven feet deep water in the low-lying parts of the city. Many houses collapsed completely. Items were flowing in the streaming water. When she was brought out with her family she was still looking in an unending shock. ….

Read more → The News

The wretched of Sindh – by Asghar Soomro

 …. Last year, donors generously funded the relief work but they must have been shocked to see the way it was managed. Donated materials included food and non-food items, which generally did not reach the needy people on merit. A lot of it was openly sold in the markets or distributed among party loyalists. Moreover, in some places, it was dumped without any reason.

For example, in district Dadu, more than 10,000 mineral water bottles, 12,000 blankets, thousands of warm clothes and drinking water tanks have been destroyed by the recent heavy rains in the area. They did not distribute the items among the people, letting them rot away since last year’s floods in the district. This is a criminal act. ….

Read more → Daily Times

Do not invite nature’s wrath

– By Dr. Manzur Ejaz, DAWN.COM

To describe the irreversibility of events and the determination of socio-historic forces, Waris Shah’s favorite expression was “Vagan paiy dariya na kadi murrde” (The rivers bent on flowing cannot be stopped).

For the last few years Pakistan’s rivers are honouring Waris Shah’s depiction when, in monsoon season, they reclaim the paths that have been usurped by human intruders by way of a quickly multiplying population, anarchy, and lack of governance. The rivers are giving an early warning to every Pakistani that if you mutilate nature, then it will take a very cruel revenge one day. And nature’s revenge is so tough that if the earthquake in the Washington DC area last month had lasted 20 more seconds, very few people would have been left to tell the story.

It cannot be determined if Pakistan and many other such countries have ever been more brutal to nature or with their fellow human beings. In both cases the end result is widespread destruction: probably more people perish and suffer because of floods and their intervention in nature than by jihadi terrorists and sectarian/mafia gangs. It seems like there is a correlation between these both types of brutalities: both are product of irrational approach to earth and the beings that occupy it.

Unlike scientific debates about human- induced global warming, Pakistan’s case is very simple and self evident. An unplanned population has encroached every inch of space that has become the cause of incessant devastations. Since the hapless crowds encroached on reserved lands, drainage and river beds, the monsoon water has no other way but to destroy what comes in its way. Untill the 70s every village, town, city or desert area had natural passages in case of heavy rain and floods. Now, there is hardly any village or town that has not blocked the flow of rain water: raised paved roads everywhere has created a situation in which heavy rains turn the whole village or town into a dirty water pond that can only breed diseases.

People have encroached river beds, and not only cultivate there, but have made brick houses as well. Given the Indus Water Basin Treaty in Pakistan’s rivers like Ravi and Sutlej, there is hardly any water during the winter but that does not mean that they will be dry in monsoons as well. If India does not utilise most of monsoon water to fill its dams built on Ravi and Sutlej, most of central and western Punjab will be drowned by floods. India has no choice but to release water after its dams are filled. And, taking the worst scenario of evil Indian intentions that Pakistanis assume anyway, if instead of filling its dams it lets the excessive water flow, areas around Ravi and Sutlej will see a great human tragedy because of hurdles created in the river beds.

Of course the monsoon and floods are seasonal hazards, but during the rest of the year the situation is very grave though not dramatic to capture the attention of media or the governments. How can the localities handle heavy rains and floods when they cannot handle the sewerage water? Sewerage disposal is handled so badly that it keeps on spreading diseases and killing hundreds of thousands of people every year, specifically in the rural areas. Either it creates ponds of dirty water in the streets or it is disposed off in the irrigation channels. For example, the Lower Bari Doab canal water that reaches the fields in Sahiwal or beyond is heavily polluted with sewerage water: right from its beginning (or even before from Ravi river) every city, town and village drops sewerage in the irrigation distributaries and watercourses. By the time it reaches the crops it has more than half of filth resulting in disease enhancing crops consumed by humans. In addition, such polluted water seeps down to underground water making it extremely harmful for human consumption. No wonder, water borne diseases are so common in Pakistan.

Somehow poor Pakistanis will get through this devastating period of heavy rains and floods, but a lesson has to be learnt: every locality should have a permanent arrangement of drainage of sewerage and excessive water. There are many countries where it rains all year long but they have made befitting arrangements and months of rain do not disrupt normal life.

In Pakistan, instead of making better arrangements for excessive water discharge, human encroachments have blocked the old drainage systems. Pakistan‘s government, at all levels, should take sewerage disposal and water drainage its top development priority. Every locality, small villages or big cities, should be mandated to have drainage systems ready before next monsoon. The developers and constructors, whether building residential dwellings or making metal roads should have a legal binding and liability to first make safe drainage system before they do anything else. Communities should be made liable through legislation, if there is none already, to take collective responsibility for making arrangements of disposing of sewerage and rain water. A compulsory drainage disposal fee should be charged as part of land revenue or property taxes.

One does not have to be a lawyer or a judge to figure out that harming others, as individuals or communities, is violation of human rights and safety. Polluting streets and waterways with sewerage does just that: harm others. Therefore, if the government(s) does not take necessary action then the highest courts should take a suo-moto action to protect the whole Pakistani society. Furthermore, if suicide is a liable act then proliferating sewerage fits this category of crime too. If no one does anything then nature will punish in a way it is doing at the present time.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

VIA → WICHAAR.COM

MQM involvement in 12th May incident – WikiLeaks

The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: → Duniya News Tv (Crossfire With Mehar Bukhari – 20th September 2011)

via → ZemTvYouTube

PAKISTAN: Floods in Sindh-the ‘untouchables’ waiting to get a touch of relief efforts

– An article by Fizza Hassan published by the Asian Human Rights Commission

As Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) predicts more monsoon rains in the coming days, the worst victims of rains and breaches in a monsoon-swollen Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) in Badin district — the Pakistani low caste Hindus (Dalits) of the districts were denied to get in to relief camps for being ‘untouchables.’

In the last five weeks when monsoon-swollen drains and LBOD burst its banks and caused recent history’s worst ever catastrophic disaster, the so-called traditional bigotry continued to run deeper than the floodwaters.

Despite torrential rains majority of these Hindu Dalits in Badin district continue to live in open sky as they were not allowed accommodation in the private/self-built relief camps of Muslims.

What added to the tragedy was the federal government’s ban on NGOs and international donors to work in these areas for ‘security reasons.’ As the government itself initiated relief operation much later, the religious extremist organizations that started relief operation in Badin have completely ignored these Dalits or Harijan, which means ‘Children of God’.

Cahnesar Bheel, a Dalit farmer and resident of Goth Gomando Bheel, Taluka Golarchi [Shaheed Fazil Rahu] is one of around 700 Dalits of his village who have no choice but to live in their submerged village with his nine children.

‘Our village is between the two drains and during rains both burst and inundated our village from either side, so we rushed to a nearby relief camps set inside a government school but the tenants did not allow us to live inside the camp, so we came here and started living under open sky,’ Bheel told media.

Bheel said the people living inside the camps had said them that they are Shudra, so they are not allowed to live with Muslims. His village comprises on 80 households with 700 population and all are Dalits.

A civil society activist, Ameer Mandhro sharing his views said, ‘This is not the only village of Dalits in the district that have no roof on their heads but there are countless other Dalit villages including villages on Khoski road, Seerani, Lonwari Shrief and other areas where Dalits are living this way because they are not allowed a place in the relief camps.’

Same happened with Pibhu Kolhi and 50 other residents of his village, who rushed to a relief camp set inside a government school in Tando Bagho, were not allowed to live in the camp after heavy rains.

However, humanity in still prevails within some hearts as a man inside a camp allotted one isolated class room to a few Dalit flood victims. As Kolhi said, ”The isolated class room is away from the main building where only two families are living while the rest of the village is living in open despite continued heavy rains.” He said some philanthropists came to provide food in the relief camp, but they were not given, so despite rain they are cooking food in open sky.

In the emergency situation the role of the minister for minorities affairs Mohan Lal Kohistani seeks attention. Kohistani, despite such a large number of the Hindu population being a part of flood victims, has not done anything so far for their relief. ….

Read more → Asian Human Rights Commission

Sindh – American Flood Assistance Already at Work

More than 50,000 families reached in Sindh

Islamabad, September 13, 2011 (press release)– In response to the Government of Pakistan’s disaster declaration on September 9, the United States has immediately begun providing a broad range of assistance to Sindh communities affected by this year’s floods, including food supplies for more than 50,000 families, and safe drinking water, shelter, sanitation and hygiene supplies, and basic health care for thousands more.

“Assistance provided by the United States will help thousands of flood-affected families attend to their immediate needs over the next few weeks,” said Andrew Sisson, Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development Mission.

This support is part of the broader U.S. Government commitment to assisting the people of Pakistan by supporting long-term development in times of immediate crisis. It will be delivered by local and international organizations specializing in relief work.

Already, USAID-funded food packages have reached 23,000 families in seven districts of Sindh (Badin, Mirpurkhas, Tando Muhammed Khan, Tando Allah Yar, Tharparker, Umarkot, and Hyderabad). This assistance was delivered by the International Organization for Migration. USAID also paid for nearly 60 trucks to deliver relief to affected areas and 1,000 plastic tarpaulins for shelter, and is financing other efforts to coordinate relief activities.

In the coming days, U.S.-funded relief supplies, including shelter materials, drinking water, sanitation and hygiene provisions will be provided through the Rural Support Programs Network, a Pakistani non-governmental organization. The United States is also contributing funding for 26,000 food packages to be distributed by the World Food Program.

The U.S. has also provided funding to the Agha Khan University’s mobile health unit, which is providing health care to affected communities in to Badin District. Additional U.S.-sponsored medical teams will begin working in other heavily flooded areas within the next several days. These health services are crucial in preventing and treating diarrhea, malaria, and other diseases that typically follow floods.

Courtesy- Information Office, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan

http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/

Via → Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, September 13, 2011.

Join Sindhi Americans (SAPAC’s) Dinner Dedicated to 2011 Flood Victims

– Four members of Congress to speak at SAPAC’s Second Anniversary Banquet Dinner

Washington, D.C., Sept. 13, 2011 – Congressman Brad Sherman and Congressman Dan Burton, co-chairs of the Congressional Sindh Caucus, Congressman Adam Schiff, first member of the Congressional Sindh Caucus, and Senator Robert Menendez will be special guest speakers at the Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) Second Anniversary Banquet Dinner, dedicated to victims of the 2011 floods in Sindh, at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington D.C. at 7:00 P.M. on October 13, 2011. Other special guest speakers will include Dr. Gul Agha, professor at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and Dr. Harold Gould, visiting scholar at the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Virginia.

SAPAC’s Second Anniversary Banquet Dinner will bring Sindhi Americans throughout the nation together to discuss topics relating to Sindhi Americans and issues within the Sindh region. Topics will include the state of U.S. relations with Pakistan, countering militancy through indigenous Sufi beliefs, Sindhi language programming on the Voice of America, Advancement of Women’s health and education in Sindh, Protecting religious minorities from state persecution and terrorism, recent flooding in Sindh, and the history, journey and present status of African Sindhis.

Dinner for the event is $75 per guest with all proceeds going directly to SAPAC and its continuing efforts on behalf of advancing the cause of Sindhis. If interested in attending, please RSVP by September 19th to Mr. Munawar Laghari, SAPAC Executive Director, by phone at (202) 496-5300 or by e-mail at sapac.sindh@gmail.com. Space is limited.

Federal Law requires that all contributions to SAPAC must be from United States citizens or permanent residents only. Contributions from Federal Employees are strictly prohibited. We cannot accept corporate or business checks.

Rain disaster in Sindh – Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

– by SAPAC

Press release – We are sure that most all of you are aware of the recent disastrous flooding that has devastated much of Sindh. We have gathered some information from several resources to help educate you and other members of our community about this catastrophe. Listed below are some informative and unsettling facts about the tragedy so you may get a better sense of what is taking place in Sindh:

· Sixteen of the 23 districts in Sindh have been severely affected by flooding

· Over 4 million acres of land are underwater, including 1.7 million acres of standing crops that have been destroyed and it is estimated that between 8,000 and 100,000 cattle have been killed or are greatly at risk

· More than 5 million people have been displaced or directly affected by flood waters

· 144,000 people have been relocated to 1,800 relief camps located in Sindh

· The Pakistani government reports 126 deaths as a result of flooding and flood-related illness, particularly disease spread by fast-increasing mosquito populations

· In nearly all affected areas, clean water supplies have been contaminated by flood waters leading to a rise in waterborne illnesses such as diarrhea

· Roughly 120,000 pregnant women have been directly affected

· Just under 700,000 homes have been either severely damaged or completely destroyed

· Several towns have been completely swept away, leaving little evidence that they ever existed

· Roads, bridges and other types of infrastructure have been completely destroyed or swept away in many areas, leaving those areas with no electricity, communication or transportation

· Many people whose homes have been damaged are living in tents on roadways.

· No formal plan has announced to provide those living in tents with food or shelter in the near future

· Hundreds of thousands of people without tents are living in knee-deep water inside their homes

· Little effort was made before the floods hit to prepare relief efforts. Additionally, there has been little support for relief at the national or district levels, leaving it up to ill-equipped and underfunded local governments

· Few measures were taken following last year’s floods to prevent future catastrophes, further increasing the impact of flooding this year

· In addition to those affected by this year’s flooding, many victims of the 2010 floods still live in relief camps or depend on relief supplies

· Some officials say that this year’s floods are far worse than last year’s in terms of deaths and long-term socio-economic problems

· Little attempt has been made by the Pakistani government to seek help from international relief organizations

· The price of basic supplies and food items has skyrocketed since flooding began as a result of their scarcity

· Bread and other food items are becoming scarce. Trucks make deliveries of flour to the worst-affected areas, often leading to fights between the local population

· Police, in some instances, have resorted to using batons to disperse crowds attempting to loot from trucks bringing relief supplies to affected areas

Continue reading Rain disaster in Sindh – Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

Rain disaster in Sindh

– Pakistan floods leave hundreds of thousands without shelter

Pakistan has appealed to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for international humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of flood victims in the south of the country. At least 130 people have been killed as mud houses in remote rural areas collapsed in the heavy rain. Among the worst affected areas in the south’s Sindh Province are Badin and Nawabshah. Rains have damaged about 80% of the region’s crops.

Shoaib Hasan reports from Sindh.

Courtesy: → BBC

BOX politics of PPP and MQM is not helping Sindh to lead Pakistan’s journey towards a prosperous land

– Sindh under multiple crises

by Zulfiqar Halepoto

The situation is getting worst day by day in Sindh. This will affect other parts of Pakistan and ultimately whole nation and the entire country will suffer.

Conservative ‘constituents’ BOX politics of PPP and MQM is not helping Sindh to lead Pakistan’s journey towards a prosperous land, full of resources (natural and human) and opportunities on merit with rule of law and constitutionalism. The political rift is dividing the citizens of Sindh on ethnic lines and peace loving and progressive people are afraid.

On the other hand ‘ACTION REPLY OF HUMAN DISASTER’ has destroyed billions of rupees agriculture, crops and food supply in 12 fertile districts of Sindh. Around 100 people are died in couple of days. Thousands of families are displaced. Children and women are the worst victim of the fresh wave of FTAL rain. Livestock and food supply are vanished. People are living measurable lives in camps. Political heat has over shadowed this human catastrophic situation.

Where is the government? Where is the state? Nobody is there to take notice. Government stopped INGOS and UN systems to intervene in the recent disaster relief actions. Government has no capacity to deal with the science of disaster.

Another bad news is that in two years time 600 Sindhi Hindu families have migrated from upper Sindh to India, Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore due to every day deteriorating law and order situation in rural Sindh. People are victim of terrorists in Karachi and other urban towns peaceful citizens of rural areas are victim of kidnapping, Bhatakhoree and forced conversation of their women to other religions.

All anti-Sindh feudal who are destroying the landscape of ‘diversity and plurality’ are now part of PPP government under so-called reconciliation. These feudal and tribal chiefs initiate tribal clashed and instigate their tribesmen to kill innocent people and they maintain their fiefdoms. There is no rule of law. They all are beyond any accountability because they are supported by agencies too to destroy Sindh’s progressive political base. Sindhi Hindu families are also victim of this culture.

Some districts of upper Sindh have become ‘NO GO AREAS’ for innocent citizens. So-called progressive and learned PPP leaders are shamefully kept silent on these crimes. Sindh is about to collapse on all political, economic and social fronts.

I wonder, even the greatest sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto didn’t inspire the rulers to change the CULTURE. I don’t know who is going to stop all this menace in Sindh, which is heating the whole country.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups,  September 3, 2011.

They won’t let UN, and others help: a million homeless, threat of epidemics, no clean water, lack of food. they don’t care. UN says they can’t do anything without a request and have been expressing surprise no request is forthcoming.

– No aid needed from world donors for flood victims in Sindh: NDMA

ISLAMABAD, Aug 20 (APP): Chairman,National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Zafar Qadir on Saturday said that the Authority would not be looking for any international assistance for the current floods which hit Sindh province. NDMA was efficiently managing the relief work and facing no difficulties in its operations, he told APP. The Authority has distributed relief items including 12,700 tents, three water purification plants and 23,000 family ration packs, to the flood-affected people in Sindh. The relief goods have been disbursed in the inundated districts of Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan and Mirpur Khas besides the badly damaged Mithi town of Tharparker district, he said. …

Read more → Associated Press of Pakistan

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.

Naked girls plough fields in India for rain

Courtesy: Reuters, Thu Jul 23, 7:16 am ET

PATNA, India (Reuters) – Farmers in an eastern Indian state have asked their unmarried daughters to plough parched fields naked in a bid to embarrass the weather gods to bring some badly needed monsoon rain, officials said on Thursday. Witnesses said the naked girls in Bihar state ploughed the fields and chanted ancient hymns after sunset to invoke the gods. They said elderly village women helped the girls drag the ploughs.

Continue reading Naked girls plough fields in India for rain

Rain brings smiles to Thar Desert in Sindh

Rain brings smiles to Thar Desert people after three years of successive drought.

By: Gulab Rai,Islamkot, Thar, Sindh

From the first week of July 09 heavy rains have been falling on the whole of Thar Desert in Sindh province of Pakistan. Soon after the rainfall people have started ploughing their land and sowing seeds of traditional crops of bajra (millet) and guwar (cluster beans) in all the four talukas of Thar.

Continue reading Rain brings smiles to Thar Desert in Sindh