Tag Archives: river

Tradition of nonviolence originated along the banks of the Sindhu (Indus) River

Tradition of nonviolence originated along the banks of the Sindhu/Sindh (Indus) River. The American Institute of Sindhulogy (AIS) is dedicated to spreading the lessons of the ancient Sindhu-Saraswati River Civilization and its message of nonviolence. ….

Read more » American Institute of Sindhulogy

More » Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky supports American Institute of Sindhulogy’s Nonviolence Initiative

Who wants to divide Sindh?

By: Zulfiqar Shah

Sindh is on the verge of widespread political violence due to newly announced local government ordinance. The situation can possibly be disastrous for the future political course of Pakistan and might even have disastrous impact on South Asia and the rest of the world.

SINDH IS undergoing an unending and nerve taking process of political standoffs since the creation of Pakistan, and therefore, has been continuously struggling since last six decades over the rights, sovereignty, security, and interests of the province and its indigenous underdeveloped majority population.

The recent issue of Sindhi-Hindu exodus is still waiting to be concluded positively, yet rise of another issue of People’s Local Government Ordinance (PLGO) promulgated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) may possibly open a new chapter of popular movement and possibly a slight degree of violence in Sindh. The dilemma of the issue is the violation of citizen’s right to information by the government through avoiding to public the text of the ordinance; however some features of the ordinance have been made public by the provincial information minister.

Continue reading Who wants to divide Sindh?

‘Downstream Kotri’

By: M Khan Sial, Karachi, Sindh

This refers to letter of Choudhry Hamid Malhi, Lahore (Aug 7) headlined above.

It was unfair to claim the so-called study of downstream Kotri was conducted by WAPDA in 2005, had approval of Sindh government. First of all, what was justification for WAPDA to delay the already agreed important survey for long period of 14 years of signing the Accord? This shows the malafide intentions of WAPDA against Sindh and as such WAPDA should clarify the reasons for delay and fix responsibility for this?

It was on record, the Sindh government had rejected the said so-called survey conducted by WAPDA as Sindh govt was not taken on board. Attending one or two meetings if any, does not mean, its decision had Sindh Government’s final approval.

If there is any approval of the so-called survey by Sindh government, WAPDA should release the copy of the agreement in media showing signatures of all concerned.

Later, the Sindh government had arranged survey through an international organisation as its own and as per media, it was recommended to release at least 10 MAF water annually downstream Kotri whereas internationally organised IUCN had also conducted the survey separately that recommended release of 32 to 35 MAF water annually as mandatory requirement. It was claimed that in WAPDA’s survey even it was agreed that 25 MAF water to be released within five years, but till today the said water was not released leaving Indus delta to ruin completely.

Continue reading ‘Downstream Kotri’

An appeal to Khadim-e-Aala

BY: MOHAMMAD KHAN SIAL, KARACHI, SINDH

Sindh Irrigation minister Saifullah Dharejo has repeatedly pointed out that Sindh’s share of water is being stolen through uplift pumps installed in the jurisdiction of Punjab for the past many years.

I request Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to take stern action against those who have been stealing Sindh’s share of water as this is creating a serious rift between the two provinces. I also request Irsa to ensure delivery of Sindh’s share of water at Guddu instead of Taunsa/Chashma in Punjab.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

http://www.brecorder.com/articles-a-letters/188:letters/1225503:an-appeal-to-khadim-e-aala/?date=2012-08-09

Sindh’s missing water in Punjab

By: MOHAMMAD KHAN SIAL, Karachi, Sindh

Sir: Water released in Punjab meant for Sindh is being frequently and daringly stolen for the last many years. As per press reports, a team comprising of Sindh’s engineers recently visited Punjab to find out the clue of missing water of 37 thousand cusecs from River Indus between Chashma and Taunsa barrages (both in Punjab) but obviously, they returned in disappointment due to the non-cooperative attitude of the Punjab government as usual.

This is not the first time that Sindh’s share of water has been stolen in Punjab’s jurisdiction. In the past, such incidents were echoed in the houses of parliament and Sindh Assembly but in vain. Unfortunately, such practices continued without any check for the last many decades. Meanwhile, Sindh’s irrigation minister, Saifullah Dharejo has recently shown his inability in public to stop incidents of stealing water in Punjab. Nonetheless, Sindh government has claimed that it has brought such incidents into the notice of the Punjab government numerous times without any improvement.

Continue reading Sindh’s missing water in Punjab

23rd March 2012 Freedom March Rally in Karachi JSQM Chairmen Bashir Qureshi’s Speech – English Version

Long live Sindh Long live Sain GM Syed − The heirs of Sindh, My dear sisters and brethren! − I welcome you all cordially who came here from nook and corner for gathering in the capital city Karachi which is not only capital city but the heart of Sindh. − − عمر يست ڪه آواز منصور ڪهن شد − من از سرنو جلوه دهم دارو رسن را − (Time has elapsed that the voice of Mansoor has been obsolete; I want to re-embellish ropes and hang) − Sons of Sindh! − Pakistan has never been a country in any episode of history but the Sindh has remained such a motherland since thousands of years and has been bestowed with bounty of natural resources including fertile agricultural lands, roaring Indus River and coastal belt. Therefore the populace of Sindh has been the custodians of civilization when it was newly evolving elsewhere. − Out of excavation of Moen-Jo-Daro it reveals that the Sindh has traversed the different periods of olden civilizations since the period of Euphrates, Samaritans and Babylons. Comparative it was more civilized and prosperous then the contemporary civilizations of that period.

Continue reading 23rd March 2012 Freedom March Rally in Karachi JSQM Chairmen Bashir Qureshi’s Speech – English Version

Pakistan: Demand for Independence of Sindh

By Aamir Raz Soomro

It was not long ago that a bill was tabled in the US Congress in support of giving Balochistan – the land of the Baloch – the right to self-determination against their ‘forced accession’ into Pakistan on March 27, 1948. The day is still mourned as a Black Day throughout the Baloch land, including parts of the provincial capital, Quetta.

In the year 1971, the erstwhile East Pakistan had already witnessed a bloody independence war with Pakistan, which culminated in the creation of the country now known as Bangladesh – it was a real bloody war since hundreds of thousands of people were massacred in this ‘genocide’ to crush the Bengali freedom-fighters.

In the present times, however, it is not just Balochistan which has the separatist sentiments, but Sindh under the leadership of Mr. G.M. Syed, has also been fighting for independence soon after the creation of Pakistan. From the platform of various nationalist political parties, Sindhis demand separation from Pakistan and creation of proposed, Sindhudesh, the Land of Sindhu (River Indus). They support their demand with the arguments that, 1., the British had invaded the independent Sindh and, 2. that they have a distinct rich history and secular culture which dates back to 5000 years. ….

Read more » Global Voices Online

OSHO on Sufism

A great Sufi – you must have heard his name, Al Hillaj Mansoor – was killed by fanatics,because he said, ‘ANAL HAK.’ When you penetrate into the mystery of life, it is not that you are an observer, because an observer is always an outsider – you become one with it. It is not that you swim in the river, it is not that you float in the river, it is not that you struggle into the river. No – you become the river. Suddenly you realize the wave is part of the river. And the contrary is also true: that the river is part of the wave. It is not only that we are parts of Lord – Lord is also part of us.

When Al Hillaj Mansoor asserted, ‘I am [Being],’ fanatics killed him. Sufism is always killed by religious people, so-called religious people – because they cannot tolerate it; they cannot tolerate a man asserting that he is [Being]! Their egos feel offended. How can a man be a God? But when Al Hillaj says, ‘I am [Being],’ he is not saying, ‘I am God and you are not’; he is not saying, ‘I am [Being] and these trees are not’; he is not saying, ‘I am God and these stones, rocks are not.’ Asserting that ‘I am [Being]’ he is asserting that the whole is divine, sacred. Everything is divine.

So these people, fanatics, believers in dogmas – they said that God created man, so man can only be a creature, not a creator; and this is profanity, the very apex of profanity to assert that ‘I am [Being]’– they killed him. And what was Mansoor saying when they killed him? He said loudly to the sky,‘You cannot deceive me! Even in these murderers I see you – you cannot deceive me. You are here in these murderers! And in whatsoever form you come, my God, I will know you, because I have known you.’

Sufism is not thinking about existence, it is being existence. It is not thinking, it is not doing something about existence. It is neither thought nor action. It is being. ~~OSHO~~

Soruce – Adopted from Facebook.

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

Stupid propaganda in favor of controversial Kalabagh dam

– by Gul Agha

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

Courtesy: Adopted from Facebook.

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy: → RadioOpenSource

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

The uniqueness of Sindh

– By Ayaz Amir

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy: → The News

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

“Shattered Humanity on Move Again”

By Dr Ahmed H. Makhdoom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SINDHIS OF KURDISTAN

The Aryan Period

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

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

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

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

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

PIL to save River Sindh: HC appoints commissioner

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Case Against Kalabagh Dam: Aziz Narejo

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

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

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

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

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

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A case Against Kalabagh Dam – by Aziz Narejo

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

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

Read more : Indus Herald

Responsibility to preserve Mohenjodaro transferred to Sindh

By Shahid Husain

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more : The News

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy: The Canadian Press

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

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

Condemned the religious intolerance and human rights violations in Pakistan

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

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

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

Article about Sindhi Hindus

The forgotten prayers of a people

By Sadef A. Kully

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

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

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

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

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

Read more : DAWN

Rama Pir Sufi Saint of Sindh and Hind

 

Rama Pir Mandar

– Riaz Sohail, Karachi, Sindh

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

or click the following link;

Courtesy: BBC urdu

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


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‘Beyond Hindu and Muslim’:

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

By Sohail Bawani

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tradition of Rama Pir in Sindh

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iconography and Symbolic Expressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pakistan: Kalabagh dam threatens livelihood of millions

by Ray Fulcher

GREEN LEFT

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Pakistan: Kalabagh dam threatens livelihood of millions

LEH LADHAK– WHERE SINDHU RISES

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

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– Asha Chand (Sindhi Sangat)

Observing Sindh through the eyes of Del Hoste

Book review – Preparing The Grounds

Reviewed By Asif Farrukhi

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Observing Sindh through the eyes of Del Hoste

Villagers say landowners breached levees to save their own property

Pakistani villagers say landowners breached levees to save their own property

Several canal walls were breached during last month’s floods, and accusations are mounting that the ruptures were deliberate. But an irrigation chief says the surging Indus [River Sindh] alone is to blame. …

Read more >> Los Angeles Times

WSC asks all the Sindhi political and civil society organisations, technocrats, and intellectuals to rise above political differences, and to work together in order to help and lead people out of this flood disaster

SITUATION OF FLOODS IN SINDH AND WORK FOR THE RELIEF AND REHABILITATION OF SINDHI PEOPLE

London – The unprecedented floods in Sindh continue even after a month. Scandalously still new major towns and hundreds of villages continue being inundated resulting in displacement of hundreds of thousands more Sindhis, bringing further destruction of communities, livelihood, crops, homes and infrastructure.

WSC believes, that the current floods in Sindh and resulting unprecedented destruction is a concerted effort to direct the destructive powers of a natural phenomenon to eliminate and uproot a nation and subject them to a long-term process of slow genocide. These assertions are based on the following facts, inferences and analysis:

1. Sindh has been drowned resulting from literally hundreds of breaches to river waters in Kashmore, Jacobabad, Sukkur, Shikarpur, Larkana, Dadu and Thatta. There are serious questions, suspicions and concerns within Sindhi people, and now even the government circles, about the first major breach, Thori bund. This breach so far has resulted in displacement of about five million people, drowning of 4000 towns and villages, loss of trillions of worth property and crops and immeasurable pain, suffering and indeterminate consequences. The British authorities who built the Sukkur barrage recommended cutting river Indus from Ali Wahan if the water levels cross the threshold of barrage’s capacity. As the waters will then divert to the desert areas of Naro, Thar and eventually ending in sea taking historical routes of Hakro and Mehrano riverbeds. Off course, this also would have resulted in displacement but the population is sparse, sand has far greater ability to absorb water and people in such circumstances occupy high locations on sandy dunes. It is now emerging that the river Indus was cut at Thori to mainly to save Panoo Aaqil cantonment, Qadirpur gas installations and Fauji Fertiliser.

Continue reading WSC asks all the Sindhi political and civil society organisations, technocrats, and intellectuals to rise above political differences, and to work together in order to help and lead people out of this flood disaster

Rural Sindh is the most backward area in all of Asia

A New Deal in Pakistan – By William Dalrymple

The province of Sindh in southern Pakistan is a rural region of dusty mudbrick villages, of white-domed blue-tiled Sufi shrines, and of salty desert scrublands broken, quite suddenly, by flood plains of wonderful fecundity. These thin, fertile belts of green—cotton fields, rice paddies, cane breaks, and miles of checkerboard mango orchards—snake along the banks of the Indus River as it meanders its sluggish, silted, café-au-lait way through the plains of Pakistan down to the shores of the Arabian Sea.

Read more >> The New York Review of Books

Devastating Pakistan floods finally heading to sea

By ASHRAF KHAN, Associated Press Writer

KARACHI, Pakistan – Floodwaters that have devastated Pakistan for five weeks headed to the Arabian Sea on Tuesday after swallowing two final towns, but the challenges of delivering emergency aid to 8 million people remained.

The floods have moved down from the mountainous northwest, submerging or affecting almost one-fifth of the country at their peak. Waters have begun to recede in the north and in the eastern province of Punjab, but they have been submerging towns in southern Sindh province close to the Indus River over the last 10 days.

The scale of the disaster has raised concerns about the stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan, which is already reeling from al-Qaida and Taliban violence and massive economic woes.

Read more >> YahooNews

Flood devastation and fixing of responsibility

by Altaf Hussain, Hyderabad, Sindh

The deluge that brought immeasurable agony and destruction in the country was not unanticipated as China weather department had given forewarning of harsh monsoon months before the rains started. Whereas Sindh was even aware precisely about the magnitude of impending super floods as torrents which destroyed much of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and inundated southern Punjab was ultimately destined to discharge in Arabian Sea through river Indus.

Thus the super flood ultimately hit with full ferocity the fragile dykes of Sindh and inundated almost 1/3 of the province was not a surprise. Almost most of its northern districts have been submerged into flood waters leaving millions of people shelter less. Their only livelihood the standing crop and livestock has vanished. Once living contended in their huts and small houses since centuries these people are now nomads in their own homeland; malnourished sick and with no future in sight.

Now question arise as to who is responsible for the agony of millions of people? Although floods of high magnitude have pass through Indus system almost once in a decade but the scale of present destruction is unheard of in the history of floods. The reasons are obvious. Not only upkeep of protective Bunds was completely ignored and left to builders mafias to dig its gravel for construction, especially near big towns but the reverine forests existed on both sides of riverbed and used to protect the dykes were mercilessly slaughtered and virgin lands were allotted to influential people. They created there own dukes to protect their crops; one of the major cause of damaging the protective Bunds.

Obviously the maintenance and upkeep of Bunds is the sole responsibility of Provincial Irrigation Department. For which millions of rupees are allocated in the budget every year. The Irrigation Department not only failed to maintain the protective Bunds but when the crises unfolded abandoned its responsibility handing over maintenance to Pak Army. Now the senior irrigation people apart from justifying their failure sheepishly in talk shows are almost non existent on the sites.

The handing over safety of Bunds to Army at eleventh hour could not save millions of people from total ruin and obviously will not absolve Irrigation department from the destruction wrought by the river even in settled/pacca areas. This is clear cut case of dereliction on the part of irrigation department requiring independent judicial commission to fix guilt and take to task those howsoever powerful they may be who are found responsible.

The present regime, which claims to have roots in the masses, has to take immediate action against the culprits for whose negligence entire Sindh has suffered incalculable destruction.

August 29, 2010