Tag Archives: Sufi

Back to Syed: Sindhi nationalism & the Bhuttos

Back to G M Syed?

By Nadeem F. Paracha

Last week newspapers reported a series of bomb attacks on railway tracks in the Sindh province. The attacks were owned by an obscure organisation called the Sindhudesh Liberation Front. The name took a lot of non-Sindhis by surprise. Why would there be an angry Sindhi movement when there have already been two Sindhi prime ministers and, what’s more, a Sindhi president is currently at the helm of the federation?

However, according to Sindhi nationalists, the original architect of Sindhi nationalism, the late G M Syed, is back in vogue amongst the new generation of Sindhi nationalists. Back in the 1960s, G M Syed, an accomplished scholar and politician, painstakingly constructed an elaborate historical narrative of Sindh and its people. It presented Sindh as an ancient land whose people have always been one of the most pluralistic and secular under both Hindu as well as Muslim rule.

The narrative goes on to suggest that during the long Muslim rule in the region, Sindh’s pluralistic tradition was carried on by a number of Muslim mystics (Sufi saints) and have continued to demonstrate a passionate attachment to these mystics. Syed’s narratives on Sindh may now have become common knowledge to most Pakistanis, but this was not always the case.

In fact, just like Pashtun nationalist, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and many Baloch nationalist thinkers, Syed too was constantly put on the spot by the state for preaching ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘anti-Islam’ ideas. Syed was a magnet for all sorts of ironies. During the Pakistan Movement he steadfastly stood with Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah. But soon after independence, he became one of the first prominent men to decry the hegemony of the ‘Punjab-dominated elite’ over other provinces (Nations).

Another irony that Syed could never reconcile his politics with was the Bhutto phenomenon. Z A Bhutto, a Sindhi, and his Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), experienced a sudden, meteoric rise (in the late 1960s) when Syed’s narrative had begun to take hold among Sindhi youth. Syed did not applaud Bhutto’s rise in spite of the fact that Bhutto was a Sindhi and a declared progressive.

Bhutto’s leftist but nationalistic rhetoric did not sit well with Syed. To Syed if one brushed off Bhutto’s leftist notions from the surface, underneath was a man willfully doing the bidding for the ‘Punjabi ruling elite’. Syed’s analysis had deemed Pakistan to be a state that was destined to fragment. And just like his Baloch, Pashtun and Bengali nationalist contemporaries, Syed too blamed the myopic view of the ruling elite for this.

He accused the civil and military members of the elite for undermining the cultural histories and traditions of the many ethnicities that resided in Pakistan. He accused them of undemocratically imposing upon the ‘oppressed ethnicities’ a cosmetic version of nationhood. Syed’s suspicion of Bhutto turned hostile when Bhutto used a constitutional process to reinforce the kind of nationhood and faith Syed had accused the establishment of imposing.

To Bhutto it was the dictatorial way that this concept of nationhood had been imposed that made East Pakistan break away and repulsed the non-Punjabi ethnicities. Syed disagreed. To him Bhutto was merely giving ‘Punjabi hegemony’ a constitutional sheen. In 1973 he finally called for an independent Sindh (Sindhudesh).

In April 1979 when, through a sham trial, the Ziaul Haq dictatorship sent Bhutto to the gallows, Syed termed Bhutto’s tragic demise as a great loss to the establishment. Mocking the establishment’s arrogance Syed remarked ‘today they (the establishment) have killed their own, best man.’

With Bhutto out of the way and a reactionary Punjabi general ruling the roost, did Syed finally make Sindhis rise for Sindhudesh?

No. Even though Sindhis did rise, especially during the 1983 MRD movement in which hundreds were killed and whole villages were razed to the ground by army tanks, Syed did not support the uprising.

This time another Bhutto had appeared, Benazir. To Syed here was another popular Sindhi who was willing to clean up yet another mess created by the establishment so the federation could be saved; a federation Syed had no hope in. Recently a young Sindhi (and PPP voter) told me that the ‘establishment’ has started playing a game in Sindh which even the PPP won’t be able to check.

On further inquiry he explained that some sections of the intelligence agencies believe that they can subdue Sindhi nationalism the way they did Pashtun nationalism and the way they are trying to suppress Baloch nationalism, i.e. by crudely injecting a puritanical strain of Islam into what are almost entirely secular nationalisms.

‘Look what has happened in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’, said the young Sindhi. ‘Look how sectarian organisations are roaming freely in Balochistan. They (the ‘agencies’) are now helping fanatics to build madressas in Sindh as well so that Syed Sain’s legacy and those of the Sufis in Sindh can be replaced by mullahs and extremists’. Or in other words, by those who are ideological and political ‘allies of the military-establishment’.

To the young Sindhi, Syed’s Sindhudesh Liberation Movement was a reaction to this.

Courtesy: DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/11/smokers-corner-back-to-g-m-syed.html

Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Married to a Muslim – Sad Story of Rinkle Kumari

A friend on Facebook had status which said (Translated from Sindhi): “Mian Mithoo can harass a helpless, poor girl to say whatever he likes! Let us give this Pir of Bharchundi (alone) to the men of Bal Thackeray and he would convert (to Hinduism) in no time! (sic)”

Sindh has been known for its Sufi culture which has kept pushing the extremism off its borders. It has in it several shrines, religious harmony, coexistence and tolerance, not to mention the centuries-old civilization, Mohen-jo-Darro. Sindhis have always claimed to have secularism and Sufism to be present as if in their gene and, thus, they wouldn’t ever side with religious intolerance and extremism.

Well, this is true to a great extent since we can see that where Pakistan has seen surge in extremism throughout the post-9/11 period, Sindh has remained comparatively more peaceful and, especially, incidents of extremist activities have been equal to none. There definitely was an incidence of burning NATO oil tankers in Shikarpur, Sindh, but the same was condemned by the Sindhi nationalist parties attributing the incidence to the agencies trying to tarnish the soft image of Sindh; in fact, there were massive protests against the blazing up of the oil tankers throughout the land.

Sindh has been home to many religions, all coexisting peacefully. However, there have been certain incidents which would reveal the nature of the ‘rare’.

One such event which took place on the unfortunate day of November 02, 1939, which blotted the humane face of Sindh, was when a saintly Sufi singer and poet of humble and peace-loving nature, Bhagat Kunwar Ram was murdered at Rukk Station, Sukkur (Sindh) in the name of religion – for being a Hindu.

The person booked as the major perpetrator in the murder was Mian Abdur-Rahim of Bharchundi Dargah, a religious center in a small village of the same name. Bhrarchundi Dargah is famous for spreading hatred against the Hindus, and converting them to Islam forcibly for years now.

Thus, to many in Sindh, this news did not come as a surprise, but it did disturb them to come out on roads and protest against the Pirs of Bharchundi — what happened was that Rinkle Kumari, a Hindu teenage girl, was kidnapped on February 24, 2012, forced to convert to Islam and, subsequently, marry a Muslim boy, Naveed Shah (a Punjabi settler). And the person involved is none else than a Pir of Bharchundi Dargah, Mian Abdul Haq (popularly known as Mian Mithoo), the son of Mian Abdur-Rehman, the major perpetrator in the case of Bhagat Kunwar Ram’s murder in the past. Mian Mithoo also happens to be an MNA of the Pakistan People’s Party, the ruling party.

Continue reading Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Married to a Muslim – Sad Story of Rinkle Kumari

Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) was recently informed about Rinkel’s case to members of Congress on Capitol Hill- State sponsored discrimination against Hindus in Pakistan

March 8, 2012 – Washington, DC – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) was recently informed about the urgent and alarming case of a Hindu girl, Rinkel Kumari, who was abducted by Muslim fanatics from her home in Mirpur Mathelo and forced to convert her religion to Islam. We are in the process of arranging appointments with members of Congress and their staff to discuss Rinkel’s case as well as the plight of minorities in Pakistan. We would like to invite you to join us as we meet with members of Congress.

Sadly, Rinkel Kumari’s is one of many cases of abduction and forced religious conversion in Pakistan. We have gathered some information about Rinkel’s case and the situation of Hindus in Pakistan below:

· Rinkel Kumari was forcibly abducted from her home in the early hours of February 24, 2012 by Naveed Shah who was accompanied by three other armed men.

· Rinkel was held in custody by Mian Mohammad Aslam, the son of Pakistan Peoples’ Party MNA Miya Mithoo in Bharchundi Shareef where she was forced to marry Naveed Shah and convert to Islam.

· On the morning of February 24, Daya Ram, Rinkel’s uncle registered an FIR against Naveed Shah.

· On February 25, Rinkel’s case was brought before a Ghotki civil judge. Rinkel testified that she had been kidnapped and forced to change her religion against her will. However, the judge ruled in favor of Naveed Shah and Rinkel was taken into police custody for two days at Sukkur police station.

· Rinkel was allegedly threatened while in police custody that if she did not change her statement, she and her family would be killed.

· On February 27, Rinkel appeared in court again. This time, her relatives were not allowed inside the court. Additionally, there were armed followers of the MNA surrounding the court.

· During this second hearing, Rinkel was under pressure and changed her statement in favor of Naveed Shah. She was given into his custody. Rinkel’s family is not aware of the whereabouts of their daughter.

· On March 2, the Hindu community protested in front of the Press Club against the abductions and forced conversions of Hindu girls to Islam. The family of Rinkel also participated in the protest.

· Hindus are a minority group in Pakistan, making up approximately 2% of the population.

· According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), around 20 to 25 forced kidnappings and conversions of Hindu girls take place every month in Sindh.

· The Hindu American Foundation states that “many Hindus in Pakistan are compelled to pay regular sums, as a type of ransom, to extortionists and local leaders in exchange for the physical security of their families and themselves.”

· As a result of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, minority groups in Pakistan are not free to express their own religions and ideologies without fear of persecution.

· State sponsored discrimination against minority groups in Pakistan is rampant. This state sponsored discrimination has caused several Hindus to migrate out of Pakistan. In March 2011, Hindu politician in Pakistan Jaipal Chabria, said that “every month a Hindu family leaves for neighboring India. Insecurity, killings, kidnappings and forcible conversion of women to Islam are the major causes.”

We humbly request that you contact us to join us in presenting Rinkel’s case to members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Please let us know as soon as possible if you plan to participate. We hope to work together to bring justice to Rinkel and her family and to bring an end to state sponsored discrimination in Pakistan.

Email: sapac.sindh@gmail.com

Why are they calling themselves Mohajirs (Refugees)?

By: Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia

A clique of hoodlums, urchins and loafers came out on streets of some wild gang-infested areas of Karachi, the bustling capital city and business-centre of Sindh. These nefarious and abominable elements gathered in groups, pasted and posted some slogans and posters on the walls of shops and houses and raised shrill slogans for the creation of a ‘Muhajir’ province. No Sir, it is not me who call them ‘Muhajirs,’ they themselves, call ‘Muhajirs,’ meaning ‘refugees’.

These belonged to a hitherto unknown wicked fraternity known as “Mohajir Sooba Tehrik (MST), which translated in simple English means, “Refugee Province Movement.” Is there any such parallel example anywhere in the world, where the ‘refugees,’conquer and demand a separate state within a state for themselves?

The numerous nations that formed a Federation of Pakistan were Bengali, Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi, Seraiki, Kashmiri, and Pashto. Each of these nations had their own language, culture, heritage, history, arts, music, norms, traditions and historical land.

Millions of innocent lives were lost during unfortunate partition of the sub-continent of south Asia and then the urdu Language was imposed as a national language on the Nations who had formed the federation of Pakistan. This created restlessness in Bengal and after sacrificing millions of innocent lives on the question of language, Bengal became Bangladesh, a Sovereign, Independent and Free nation – free from unfair  rule of the security establishment of the deep state . Today, Balochistan is on the same path which was taken by East Pakistan (Banglades) yesterday. The security establishment of the deep state continuously working on its policies with their subjugation of Sindh and Balochistan and trying to convert Sindhis and Balochs into minority in their historical lands.

Gullible Sindhis who gave them shelter on their historical land but unfortunately it seems that they had no respect whatsoever, Sindh gave them honour and dignity. Sindh accepted them as her own children! Sindh called them ‘Sindhis’ not ‘Muhajirs!’

65 years on – they still have not adopted the language of Sindh. They had never respected and appreciated the glorious and peace loving Sufi culture, norms and traditions of Sindh.  They are remain thankless, ungrateful, unappreciative towards Sindh and calling themselves ‘Muhajirs’ and asking for the division of the land of Sindh which is providing them shelter and living.

Now, let me give a piece of advice to them: “Go read the glorious History of Sindh!” Many  conquerors entered in Sindh and each time the valiant sons of Sindh fought and sacrifice their lives for their beloved Motherland Sindh and then those tyrannical invaders all left with their tails tucked. If any one doesn’t adopt Sindh and calling and think themselves as invaders then the Sindhis will really treat them and would play their historical role as sons of the soil and sacrifice their lives for the defense of their motherland.

The Indus civilisation is centuries old  and the borders of this glorious, illustrious and exalted land of Sindh are historical and inviolable! If any one tries to violate this sanctity of Sindh, or any other force including the conspirators of the deep state, then it will destabilize whole of the region! Therefore, the loyal and filial children of Motherland Sindh are reminding those individuals, “Don’t think about the division of Sindh because it is better for them not to do so.”

Continue reading Why are they calling themselves Mohajirs (Refugees)?

Rinkle chose or forced to be Faryal?

By Qazi Asif

Hindu protesters demand justice for 17-year-old girl, who they believe was forcefully converted to Islam, Blame PPP MNA Mian Abdul Haq alias Mian Mitho for her ‘abduction

KARACHI – A sizable crowd of Hindu protesters gathered outside the Karachi Press Club on Sunday, demanding justice for a 17-year-old Hindu girl from Mirpur Mathelo in Ghotki district, Rinkle Kumari, who was allegedly abducted forcefully converted to Islam and renamed Faryal.

The relatives of the girl, who were among the protesters, blame one man for her alleged predicament – Pakistan People’s Party MNA Mian Abdul Haq alias Mian Mitho, who is also the spiritual leader of Bharchundi Sharif in Daharki.

The girl’s relatives claimed that the girl fell in love with her neighbour Naveed Shah, whose friend Hussam Kalwar is a supporter of the MNA.

Kalwar, a criminal, has been arrested several times but always manages to get released due to his ties to the influential MNA.

Giving details about the night when Kumari was “abducted”, her uncle, Daya Ram, said in the early hours of February 24 this year, Kumari was supposed to meet Naveed Shah, believing that he would be alone. But Shah was not alone and accompanied by armed men, who abducted her and took her to Bharchundi Sharif, where she was forcefully converted to Islam.

“She did not leave home out of free will. If she had, why was one of her shoes at the home’s entrance and her dupatta outside? She was kidnapped by armed men, who barged into the home,” Ram told Pakistan Today.

He further said on the morning of February 24, he reached the Mirpur Mathelo police station and had an FIR registered against Naveed Shah.

On the same day at 1 pm, Kumari’s family received a phone call from MNA Haq’s son Mian Aslam Shah, who told them that if they wish to meet the girl, they should come to his residence.

However, Ram claimed, the family told him that they do not wish to meet her at his residence and would instead want her brought to the DSP’s office or the Hindu Panchayat Hall, where she can talk with them freely. However, both these options were rejected.

Ram said the next day, Kumari’s family was told that they can meet the girl at the Ghotki DSP’s office, but they would have to come along with Jeay Sindh Mahaz Chairman Riaz Chandio.

When Chandio and the girl’s family entered the office of the DSP, they saw that Mian Shaman, the brother of the PPP MNA, was seated on the chair of the DSP. The family again refused to talk with the girl in Shaman’s presence and was again given an option that they can meet her in the presence of Naveed Shah. The family did not accept the offer and went to the Ghotki civil judge.

The first time Kumari met her family after the “abduction” was in the court. She told her family in the presence of counsels from both sides that she was kidnapped. “Some people entered our home and kidnapped me. I did not want to leave with Naveed Shah,” Kumari’s uncle quoted her as saying.

At that moment, Ram said, Naveed Shah fainted and the judge, instead of letting the recording of her statement complete, remanded Kumari to police custody for two days.

“At the Sukkur police station, a policewoman handed her a cell phone on which she was threatened that if she did not change her statement, she and her relatives will be killed and the property of all Hindus in the area will be demolished,” Ram claimed.

“When Rinkle was brought to the court again, she was confused and upset and asked us to forgive her and allow her to sacrifice herself for our sake,” he added.

He said on February 26, President Asif Ali Zardari took notice of the incident and police again “kidnapped” Kumari and at 2 pm, she was shifted to Mirpur Mathelo from Sukkur.

On February 27, the day when Kumari had to appear in the court again, all routes to the court were blocked, but not for the “fanatic” followers of the MNA.

If Rinkle was acting out of her own will, then why was she surrounded by armed men at the court?” Daya Rama questioned.

During the second hearing, Kumari gave a statement in favour of Naveed Shah and the court ordered her to be given into his custody.

In response to the family’s allegations, MNA Haq’s son Mian Aslam Shah has claimed that the couple had come to him seeking help and the girl wanted to convert to Islam so she could marry Shah.

MPA Petamber Sehwani, during the Sindh Assembly session on February 29, said Hindus’ daughters are being kidnapped and boys killed. “They are being forced to leave Sindh. But I want to make it clear that the Hindus of Sindh will not leave their motherland. Do not push us to the wall,” he said.

The pirs or spiritual leaders of Bharchundi Sharif have a history of religious extremism. On November 2, 1939, a famous Hindu Sufi singer Bhagat Kanwar Ram was killed in a train while travelling to Sukkur. The FIR of the murder was registered against MNA Haq’s father, Mian Abdul Rahim and his two followers.

Courtesy: Pakistan Toady

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Courtesy: Geo Tv » YouTube

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BBC urdu Reporting What exactly happened » Click here

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

Message of Support sent by US Senator Kay Baily Hutchison

District Attorney Patrica Lykos was the Chief Guest

HOUSTON, TX, USA.  Sindhi-Americans gathered in Houston on Saturday, January 28, 2012 to commemorate the 108th birthday of Mr. G. M. Syed, a national leader of Sindh who waged a nonviolent struggle against religious fundamentalism and for freedom.

Sindh is home to the ancient Indus Valley civilization and is now a province in 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 and its fundo ideology.

Ms. Patricia Lykos, District Attorney of the Harris County of Texas, was the Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker of the evening. Other prominent speakers include Mr Albert Chang, Director of Regional Office of the US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Mr. Iqbal Detho, a human rights scholar affiliated with the University of Minnesota, Mr. Mohammed Khan Buriro, a human rights lawyer from Sindh, Mr Umed Ali Laghari, Sr. Vice Chairperson of the World Sindhi Congress, and Mansoor Samo of the G M Syed Memorial Committee and Several community leaders spoke at the event. An estimated 250 delegates from different parts of Texas, USA came to attend this event.

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

Sindh and Its Sindhiyat – By Geet Chainani, M.D.

Sindh, the land of Sufis, the hope and ultimate destination of my quest!

The time I’ve spent in Sindh, Pakistan over the last year and a half has been life changing. It’s taught me much about the history of South Asia, the cultural heritage of Sindh,  our Sindhi brothers and sisters, the dynamics of the Muhajir- Sindhi relationship among a few things. But I believe these to be the more obvious lessons that every second generation removed Sindhi Indian American would also search for when they visit.

There’s been a deeper and much more personal journey involved for me as well: a spiritual one. I came to the land of Sufis to find myself with the hope to find my God as the grand triumph and ultimate destination of my quest.

I’ve learnt that I’m still learning and still looking. On this journey I’ve found beautiful hidden messages that I’ve read in books or inscribed on the walls of temples and Sufi durgahs:

Vasudeva Kutumbakam”

“Ekam sat viprah bahuda vedanti.”

“Satyam amritasya putrah”

To give pleasure to a single heart by a single kind act is better than bowing your head in prayer a thousand times. -Shaykh Sa’di

*

I believe not in the outer religion,

I live ever in love.

Say Amen! When love comes to you.

Love is neither with the infidels nor with the faithful.

– Sachal Sarmast

*

If you are seeking Allah,

Then keep clear of religious formalities.

Those who have seen Allah

Are away from all religions!

Those who do not see Allah here,

How will they see Him beyond?

– Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai

My time in Sindh surrounded by Sindhi Muslims has shown me the other side of Sindh’s story and another side of Sufi Islam. The stories of the Sindhi who provided their Hindu counterparts their homes to hide out in during the violence that broke out, the Muslims that bid a final farewell to their Hindu friends with tears in their eyes, the Sindhis who still hold those memories close to their hearts and feel the loss of the Sindhi Hindus as something Sindh never recovered from.

On November 7, 2011 three Hindus were killed in Shikarpur district of Sindh, Pakistan. As many of you already know, I worked in Shikarpur at the start of my time in Sindh. I still maintain close contact with my co-workers. A member of my family also sits on the board of a Hindu association of Sindh. Here’s what I must say, as it is the other side of the truth that exists.

Immediately following the killings the religious (Hindu in this case) spokesperson jumped on the bandwagon to claim religious bias as a cause of the killing.  I turned to my personal network in Shikarpur for answers: there had been an election recently in which the Hindu community had supported the ruling party which won due to the large number of Hindu votes they received. The opposing party didn’t take their loss lightly and instead decided to teach a lesson to the opposite party. The end result of which was the death of the three Sindhi Hindu of whom only one was a doctor. Religious bias was not the reason for their death, politics was. Anyone who follows politics closely shouldnt be shocked to learn of the ways in which politicians use religion as a political strategy. As they say, ” The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

What followed next was an absolute uproar within the Sindhi community and an alternate backlash against the government for their inadequate response and towards Sindh warning all Sindhis that this type of violence and is anti Sindhiyat and will not be tolerated by the residents of Sindh. They further emphasized that Sindh is the land of Sufis and believes in living in a tolerant society. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as I was in Islamabad on official business. A young activist was kind enough to send me pictures.

Following the killings thousands of Pakistanis, both Hindu and Muslim, gathered publically across Pakistan to stand against the death of the three victims and the inaccurate message of intolerance it displayed. There was also a hunger strike that followed.

Sayings in books thousands of years old that we claim as ours aren’t good enough. It is far more necessary to put those words to action and there is no better time than now. Hate only breeds hate. History is meant to learn from not to regurgitate. It’s wrong to paint today’s canvas with yesterday’s paint. When you reach into the paint jar you may end up with dried out, useless paint. This is perhaps why they say one should not live today in the past of yesterday.

No one is saying that the sentiments of the Hindu Sindhis are wrong. Anger for being removed from motherland and from  sacred river Sindhu is justified. But another truth follows suit: there’s a time for anger and then there’s a time to let go, to change and to move on.

Tides must turn. Peace must prevail.

Only then will their be prosperity in South Asia again.

Praying for peace

Reference reading:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=76954&Cat=2

http://www.thehansindia.info/News/Article.asp?category=1&subCategory=4&ContentId=17528

http://www.demotix.com/news/924585/civil-society-protest-against-killing-hindu-doctors

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/11/protest-against-killing-of-hindus/

Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mohandas Gandhi

To find out more or to support our work in Sindh, Pakistan please visit our website at www.thelifebridge.us

The world needs to learn from Sindhis

By: Asim Riaz Kaghzi, Calgary

Now days Sindh is a part of the political boundaries of the state of Pakistan, if Sindh is not well and is suffering, then Pakistan is suffering as well or at least a considerable part of Pakistan. Sindh is predominantly inhabited by Muslim population and it is one of the few places where tolerance and religious harmony can be seen at its highest peak, such as, Sunnies take part in Moharram’s first ten days remembering Imam Hussain’s sacrifices with same respect as Shiites, you would hardly able to distinguish between two sects, another example is some saints are equally revered by Muslims and Hindus. Sindhis living in Sindh or any other part of the world, in essence they are very secular people and if any one wants to learn the spirit of secularism then he/she learns from Sindh and Sindhis.

Sindh and Sindhis as an entity are mature and they are fighting against all odds and still stands for universal peace and coexistence. Therefore, if Sindh looses its tolerant character then it will be a blow for the world, I believe Muslims around the world need to learn from Sindh and Sindhis, who value tolerance and mutual understanding.

Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 11 Feb, 2008.

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To see the religious harmony, tolerance and coexistence of Sindh, click hereBBC

BAAGHI: Sindh fights back in Shikarpur

BAAGHI: Pakistan fights back in Shikarpur —Marvi Sirmed

Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan saw yet another moment of national shame right on the day of Eid-ul-Azha when four Hindus, including three doctors, were brutally killed in broad daylight. Conflicting media messages and false claims about the motive are but an ugly attempt to justify the crime. According to the story given out to the media, the murders took place after a boy from the Hindu community sexually assaulted a girl from the Muslim Bhayo tribe. Bhayo is the third most influential tribes of Shikarpur after the Jatois and Mahars in Chak town of Shikarpur. Hindus make around 6,000 out of the total 40,000 people in Chak town and are the predominant contributors to Sindh’s economy through trade and other professions. In the local politics of the area, the Hindu community has never been as muted as it is now, after the advent of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), working openly through their unmarked offices and representatives since at least a decade.

One was appalled listening to the people of the town about the immunity with which the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) operates in Shikarpur in cahoots with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and with the support of local tribal chiefs and state machinery, especially the police. The accused Bhayo tribe has its members in not only the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (the main accused Babul Khan Bhayo is district head of the PPP), but also in pro-Taliban  Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) and proscribed militant extremist organisation, the SSP.

According to the details gathered from the local communities, a young girl from Bhayo community went to see her Hindu friend on Diwali night. The girl was seen entering the autaq (sitting area used by males), which was unusual in the local culture. Discovering the boy and the girl together, community elders (Hindus) reportedly beat the boy and sent the girl back to her home. The event triggered the ‘honour’ of the Bhayo tribe. What made things worse was the boy’s religion. The Bhayos felt doubly humiliated.

The Bhayo members of the  Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) started threatening the entire Hindu community since that day. The community requested the police for security after which the police established a small picket near the Hindu neighbourhood. But two hours before the incident, policemen vanished from the scene only to come back half an hour after the ambush. Just when the police pretended to start searching for the culprits, SSP and JUI-F workers gathered around the police station and amid the slogans of Allah-o-Akbar (God is Great) and Jihad Fi Sabilillah (war in the cause of God), they intimidated the police staff and asked to close the case. Resultantly, the FIR could only be registered around 36 hours after the crime. The victims’ family does not agree with the facts described in the state-registered complaint.

Noteworthy is the fact that the victims were not even remotely related to the Hindu boy accused by the Bhayo tribes of being ‘karo’ (accused boy). According to a much-criticised tradition, when an unmarried couple is caught together, they are murdered after the Panchayat is informed. The accused girl (kari) is usually murdered before or with the accused boy (karo). According to the tribal code, karo can only be the one directly involved in the ‘illicit’ relations with the kari. In this case, even the principles of this tradition (unapproved by educated Sindhis), karo-kari (honour killing), were not followed. It is a case of simple and direct targeting of the Hindu community, which remains an endangered one after the religious extremists were installed in the area for running the madrassas.

Madrassa tradition in Shikarpur is almost 40 years old, which is the age of the oldest madrassa here. According to the locals, Pashto speaking Niazis from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjabis from south Punjab were brought in over a decade ago. Totally alien to the local culture and traditions, they tried to impose strict Islamic code, which initially did not work. But after more than a decade, an entire generation has been out of these madrassas in the social life of Shikarpur. When I spoke to over a dozen people from the local Muslim community, I found them extremely opposed to and fearful of the Islamisation being brought to Sindh, which they saw as a part of the larger design of ruining the Sindhi culture.

The fact that the common people still value local pluralistic culture is evident from the fact that over the last few days, people — mainly Muslims — are coming out in the streets every day in almost 500-600 villages and towns of rural Sindh against this incident. It was heartening to know that not only thousands (6,000 according to a conservative estimate by a member of the local Press Club) of Muslims participated in the funeral of their four fellow citizens; hundreds of them have taken upon themselves to ensure the security of the frightened Hindu community. They stay day and night at the entrance of the Hindu neighbourhood. These common people, one Hindu resident of the area said, are not only from the influential Mahar and Jatoi communities but also some Bhayos are seen among them.

When asked how the pro-Taliban Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F) guys got such an influence in an otherwise sufi and secular culture of this city, the people proudly said that the fact that these extremists need political backing, support of the tribal influentials and police machinery, is enough evidence of their weakness. Had they had a popular support, they would not have needed any of these tactics. A local rights’ activist (Muslim), who is a key organiser of a protest rally today (Monday) at 12 noon in Hyderabad, wanted me to tell the world that Pakistanis would fight extremism till the last drop of their blood.

This is Pakistan! Those in the charge of things must realise that the people of Pakistan are committed to their pluralistic values ingrained in their sufi culture. Any effort to dismantle plural and secular social base would be met with fierce resistance. The ones who believe that we, the ‘liberal fascists’, are few in number and are irrelevant, should see how this battle is being fought by a common citizen in Sindh, original home to a wonderful Hindu community who made Shikarpur mercantile hub of Sindh before the Talpurs came in. Shikarpur was to the old Sindh what Karachi is today to Pakistan. Having trade links with Central Asia, from Qandahar to Uzbekistan to Moscow, Shikarpur was the gateway of Sindh to the world. And in Shikarpur, it was our Hindu trader community that started the system of payments through cheques. Home to poets like Sheikh Ayaz, this city has produced seers and litterateurs alongside professionals of the highest quality. Today Shikarpur is determined to fight extremism more than ever.

Continue reading BAAGHI: Sindh fights back in Shikarpur

Sindh’s Centuries Old Tolerances Under Pressure Amid State Inaction

Sindh: Old Tolerances Under Pressure Amid State Inaction

The multiculturalism and peaceful coexistence between ethnic and religious communities that is traditional to Sindh is being tested as never before. However moves at the national and local level are being counted on to defuse a tense situation. ….

Read more » UNPO

Something fishy going on: Human Rights in Sindh

“In January 1948—about four months after the creation of Pakistan—the federal government of Pakistan sponsored pogroms by refugees against Hindu Sindhis in Karachi, then the shared capital of Sindh and Pakistan. The pogroms resulted in the massacre of over 1200 Sindhis. When the Sindh government attempted to restore public order and return looted property, Pakistan removed the duly elected Sindh government from office. Today, exiled Hindu Sindhis are denied the Right of Return.”

“Of the approximately 30 million Sindhis living in Sindh today, approximately 3 million are Hindus and suffer particularly under Pakistan’s oppressive laws and dis-criminatory practices. Pakistan imposes the death penalty for blasphemy or apostasy.”

“With the connivance of the Pakistani authori-ties, tens of thousands of Sindhis, including a disproportionately large number of Hindu and Christian Sindhis, are held in virtual slavery as bonded laborers.”

“The last census systematically undercounted the number of Sindhis. The census forms in Sindhi were simply printed in insufficient quantities so data could not be collected in many remote villages. In addition, Hindu Sindhis were intimidated by Pakistani authorities who ac-companied the census takers in Sindh.”

“The Pakistani government has designated homes and businesses of Hindu Sindhis in this area as ‘Enemy Evacuee Property’ and seized the legal deeds to their properties.”

“Religious Studies has been made a compulsory subject for Muslims in all government and private schools. The officially mandated textbooks preach a fundamentalist and militant ideology, contravening the indigenous universalist Sufi beliefs of the Sindhis.”

“Pakistan controls all public and private advertising in newspapers through a government body called the Pakistan Information Board. In 2003, the government ordered a cut in Sindhi newspapers’ advertisement ‘quota’ by an additional 50%. Although Sindhi speakers account for about 20% of Pakistan’s population, Sindhi newspapers now receive less than 1% of the total advertising revenue.”

“In 1999, the largest circulation Sindhi monthly magazine Subhu Theendo (‘A New Day will Dawn’) was banned for spreading disaffection against the ‘ideology of Pakistan.’ The magazine focused on sustainable development and environmental protection.”

“A majority of the officials and government employees appointed in Sindh do not speak the Sindhi language. Pakistan refuses to allow the use of Sindhi in University entrance examinations or in job interviews for government employees in Sindh, and severely limits radio and television broadcasts in the language.”

“Pakistan has built several mega-dams and barrages up-stream that have impeded the flow of the Indus (Sindhu) River and its tributaries to Sindh. As a consequence, the floodplains that fed Sindh’s forests are gone, resulting in massive deforestation: less than 20% of the original 600,000 acres of forest land is now being regenerated. ”

“Water no longer flows to the sea; as a consequence, the mangrove forests have experienced a 90% decline—from 2400 square kilometers to 200 square kilometers. With-out protection from the mangrove forests, seawater has encroached—inundating 1.2 million acres of agricultural land and uprooting residents of 159 villages. The once plentiful seafood catch has been drastically reduced. The net result is that throughout Sindh, poverty levels, malnutrition and disease now match those in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

“The Sindhi national poet, Shaikh Ayaz (d. 1999) was charged with treason—a crime punishable by death—for advocating peace with India.”

Courtesy » Sonething fishy’s going on

Hey Sikhs: Happy 543rd Birthday!

By Tarek Fatah

Today, millions of Sikhs and their friends around the world are celebrating Gurpurab, but few outside India know the significance of this day or its history. It’s the 543rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith and one of the greatest symbols of pluralism and tolerance in the world.

The 5,000-year old Indian civilization, born on the banks of the Indus [Sindhu/ Sindh] and nurtured

Read more » The Huffington Post

MURDERS OF THREE SINDHI HINDU DOCTORS: CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

By Javed Qazi

Hardly a day of the great murder of the history of Sindh passed by, that 72 years back, Sindhi Sufi mystic singer, Bhaghat Kanwar Ram, was killed near Shikarpur, that we always remember him on his anniversary day, 1st Nov. We have got a blow due to another shock that three Hindu doctors have been killed by the Bhayo Tribe in Shikarpur. Prima Facie it is due to the fact that recently the persons of this tribe had kidnapped a Sindhi Hindu girl and wanted to convert her religion to escape from the crime of kidnapping. The Sindhi Hindu community, who was in majority in the area prior partition of India, is still living by about 50000 houses, in Shikarpur. They couldn’t let this happen and they got the girl back from the Bhayo tribe. In the tribal context it was shameful for Bhayos that the most weak community, forced Bhayos and got the girl back. In a ray of revenge on very Eid day, just to send a loud and clear message to the Sindhi Hindu community, three Hindu doctors in Shikarpur were killed while they were performing their routine professional work in their respective clinics.

This is same Shikarpur where the great leader of Sindh, Shaheed Allah Bux Soomro was murdered on same grounds, almost 68 years back. Shikarpur was Hub of trade and commerce, which even Karl Marx has acknowledged on his notes on India as colony of British Empire. Prior partition it was either Karachi or Shikarpur which had colleges and best education institutions and hospitals that even Hyderabad and Sukkur was far behind it. Shaheed Allah Bakhsh Soomro was the first premier of Sindh, who was against the formation of Pakistan, was from Shikarpur city. This was due to the fact that communal groups of Manzil Masjid Gah were spread. The symbol of religious harmony, Bhaghat Kanwar the great mystic singer was murdered at that time. Allah Bux soomro another symbol of religious harmony and secularism was murdered at that time.

Continue reading MURDERS OF THREE SINDHI HINDU DOCTORS: CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

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.

SINDHI BHAJAN – MUHINJE GURUA JE DAR TE KO BHGGAN WARO ACHE

About → H.H Sant Shri Asaram ji Bapu preaches the existence of One Supreme Universal Conscious in every human being; be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Sikh or anyone else.

YouTube

RAJASTHANI (THRI) SUFI SINGERS

Like Sindh, Rajasthan is also facing a demographic and linguistic challenges. Rajasthanis are now cut-off from their fellow Thari/ Sindhis in Sindh but they are trying to hang on to their dialect of Sindhi, culture and traditions. Kachare Khan who beautifully sang the Raarno at the University of Illinois, USA a couple of years ago, is singing a Sindhi Kalam Suorat Tuhanji in this video clip.

YouTube

Myths Monsters and Jihad

Myths and monsters – by Nadeem F. Paracha

In spite of the gradual infiltration of ubiquitous religious symbolism and mentality in the social spheres of everyday life, Pakistan has managed to remain afloat as a pluralistic society comprising various ethnicities, religions and Muslim sects.

However, starting in the late 1970s, an anti-pluralistic process was initiated by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship that soon spiralled beyond mere posturing and sloganeering.

With the ‘Afghan jihad’ raging against the former Soviet Union, Zia, his intelligence agencies and parties like the Jamat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam started embracing a narrow and highly politicised version of Islam. This was done to radicalise large sections of Pakistani Muslims who had historically been part of a more apolitical and tolerant strains of the faith.

Most Pakistanis related to the shrine culture and the sufi traditions of the subcontinent, and thus, were least suitable to fight a ‘jihad’ that Zia was planning to peddle in Afghanistan at the behest of the CIA. Pakistanis’ beliefs were not compatible at all with this new strain of a political Islam. To compensate this ideological ‘deficiency’, the Zia regime (with American and Arab money) helped start indoctrination centres in the shape of thousands of jihadist madrassas.

Almost all of them were run by radical puritans. These were preachers and ‘scholars’ who had become critical of the strains of the faith that most Pakistanis adhered to. Accusing these strains of being ‘adulterated’, they advocated the more assertive charms of ‘political Islam’, of the likes recommended by Abul Ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb and Khurram Murad. …

Read more : DAWN

Ambassador Munter & Dr. Wyatt Visit Bit Shah Shrine

Bhit Shah: Ambassador Cameron Munter and his wife, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt visited the land of Sufi saint Shah Abdul Latif and marveled at the beauty of Bit Shah shrine in Matiari district, along with U.S. Consul General William Martin and C.G. information officer, Ms. Andie, they laid a cloth at the tomb and listened to traditional music with mystic fragrance. They were so happy to experience the rich Sufi cultural  heritage and to see the history and the peaceful traditions of Sindh.

People of Bhit Shah feel so glad to see honorable guests in their town and they appreciated Ambassador Cameron Munter’s visit to Bhit Shah Shrine.

Source – News adopted from facebook.

Baluchs present their Case To US Policy Advisors

By: Khalid Hashmani

The Balochistan Society of North America (BSO-NA) organized a conference titled Balochistan Conference 2011 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Saturday, August 30, 2011. The conference focused on key issues faced Baluch including “Balochistan’s Case and Prospects”, “Human Rights Violations in Balochistan”, “Baloch Target Killings and Genocide”, and “Geo-strategic Importance of Balochistan for Peace and Security in South Asia”.

Continue reading Baluchs present their Case To US Policy Advisors

“Burqa got a befitting French kiss” – by Marvi Sirmed

Before reading this argument on recent Burqa-ban by France, you need to know who I am. Raised in an orthodox Muslim Deobandi family, I’ve been educated in Pakistan’s Punjab where urban middle class used to be too sensitive about purdah in 1980s and 90s – the decades when I went to school and then university. Being first generation migrated out of the village in a big city, my father was a part of purdah sensitive educated middle class professional class. But my mother, raised and educated in a secular and Sufist Sindh, fought against Burqa throughout her life in order to save me from this ‘curse’ as she would put it.

Mom succeeded in this battle to the best of my luck and now no one expects her or me in Burqa or purdah in general. …

Read more : Let Us Build Pakistan

Chetti Chand, Sindhi Nain Saal Joon Mubarkun Jai Jhulelal

CHETTI CHAND, SINDHI NEW YEAR!

It is a time of Sindhi New Year again when many of us to stop to take time out from our busy life and join in Chetti Chand celebrations. As we reunite with family and friends to honour the traditions of Chetti Chand and the memories, let’s: Remember the diversity of our Sufi secular values and beliefs at the time of Chetti Chand celebration. Let’s pledge to change the world to one that shares opportunities with everyone through fairness and justice. Let’s dare to create the peaceful world we want. Let’s make the world around us practice, access, equality and inclusion for all. This is just a small message of Sindhyat, peace, love, happiness and hope of Chetti Chand. Sindhi Nain Saal Joon Mubarkun/ Wadhayoon and Jai Jhulelal to those who want to make Sindhi Boli ain Sahit Sabha an inclusive reality of our World.

Jewish Namaaz – الصلاة اليهودية – כריעות בשמונה עשרה

The prayer/ Namaaz is same since Hazrat Adam, that is why the way of performing Namaaz is not described in the Holy Quran. Islam, Christinanity, and Judaism is one and the same religion.

Via Siasat.pkYou Tube

There are 5 places where one “bends-down” during this prayer (HT5:10). Each time one “bends-down,” he should arch his back bending over …

The content of this prayer were established by the Court established under Moses, at the time at which it was headed by Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Zechariah, etc…( HT5:2); It’s also called the Shemoneh Esreh …

When beginning … daily prayers, start from a standing position facing toward …, with feet side by side, eyes lowered, and ones right hand clasped over his left hand over his heart, with his heart turned to “Above” in fear, awe, and dread, as a servant before his master, (HT5:4).

NOTE: Not EVERYTHING done in the clip is obligatory. If someone is confused or mislead, it is not our fault because the belief/ opinion/ view is personal matter and it could be right or wrong. The opinions, beliefs, wishes, traditions etc expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy of editor.

Kunwar Mahindar Singh Bedi reciting his poetry about peace & love between India & Pakistan

Kunwar Mahendra Singh Bedi Sahar, Phir chaley baad’e bahaari. Guru Nanak Ji was a Sufi and he taught Sikhs to respect all, and love all with truthfulness, if someone disrespects any faith, he is disrespecting himself. Love and respects to all nations, all races and all creeds. Live and let live that’s the way, the future is peace, there is no other way.

Bedi Saheb is Extra ordinary and lajawaab person. His Hindi/ urdu poetry recitation is beautiful. Listen to him and think what are you fighting for. All the true Sufis are above the sectarianism. Like Baba Guru Nanak Ji, Shah Abdul Latif, Sachal Sarmast, Sami, Bulleh Shah, Rahman Baba and others. True Sufis are open minded people. They emphasised on love, peace and communal harmony with Allah/ Eshwar/ God within yourself and most of the times the religious scholars didn’t understand their way of thinking and love with God. Mazhab nahi sikhaata aapas mein bair rakhna.

Source – You Tube