by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA
Once again comes the heart-wrenching story about the plight of Tharis whose struggle for dignity and simple essentials of life continues unabated. This time, it is a video documentary produced by a Pakistani reporter named Kamran Shahid for a Television program. The video focuses on the daily struggle for for water, education, and jobs for this small Sindhi village and assails the uncaring attitude of politicians, particularly those of PPP. Many of Sindhis if they watch this video are likely to be impacted emotionally and strengthen their resolve to vigorously participate in the alleviation of their plight.
The video shows the daily struggle of village men, women, and children to find drinkable water. It depicts animals and human beings drinking water from the same pond and the effort it takes to pull water from a deep well with the help of donkeys that must pull ropes for almost 100 yards. The broken Urdu that these broken people will convey the sense of helplessness that these people feel to communicate in broken Urdu that they hardly understand. They wish people who knew their own language would come to listen to their sorrows and have heart-to-heart chat about the misery that they suffer.
The reporter is taken to a a site where bare walls of a school that was supposed to start long time ago stand on an empty lot. The video shows disappointed and loitering kids roaming in streets without any where to go without a village school. The kids and their parents demand schools, education, and other opportunities to improve their livelihoods.
The reporter points to the border between India and Pakistan one mile away and asks the villagers if they knew how people lived in villages across the border. They reply immediately that the villagers on the other side have much better lives – they have piped dirking water, many tube-wells, and access to schools. The reporter comments that what is the fault of these people on this side of the border (Pakistan) that they should suffer so much and what makes the people living on other side of the border (India) to live better lives.
The reporter asks if the village has a dispensary or a medical clinic. The villagers reply that such they are not fortunate enough to have such a facility. They must carry their very sick relatives on carts to a hospital 30-40 miles away in the town of Umerkot. Many die sooner as the medical help cannot reach them on a timely basis.
I hope we will double our efforts to put pressure on Pakistani and international governments and institutions to come to rescue of poor Tharis and other Sindhis.