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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Encyclopaedia of Sindhi Launched


The Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah launched the first ever comprehensive encyclopaedia of the Sindhi language, 'Encyclopaedia Sindhiana' on Saturday, Dec 4, 2010 at a ceremony at Karachi's Regent Plaza hotel.

The ceremony was also attended by Ms Sassui Palijo, the Sindh Culture Minister, Ms Sharmila Farooqi, Information Advisor to the Chief Minister, Mr Abdul Salaam Thaheem, Minister for Technical Education and a large number of Sindhi scholars and intellectuals including Dr GA Allana, Mr Mazhar Siddiqui, Sirajul Haque Memon and others.

The Chief Minister termed the launch of the publication a major achievement and lauded the efforts of the Sindhi Language Authority, the department behind the project, headed by Dr Fahmida Hussain. Ms Sassui Palijo, Dr GA Allana, Dr Fahmida Hussain and others also spoke on the occasion.

Two volumes of the Encyclopaedia Sindhiana have been published so far. The first volume contains about 3,500 entries comprising 650 pages and is based on the first three letters of the Sindhi alphabet. The second volume of 728 pages, out now, consists of 2,571 entries based on the next six letters of the Sindhi alphabet, and also include about 323 entries as addenda for the first volume.

About 80 percent entries are related to Sindh, such as personalities, places, flora, fauna, archaeological sites, other life forms, tribes, castes, beliefs, rituals and rites, culture, civilisation, language, dialects, literature, fine arts etc.

The encyclopaedia is dedicated to late Dr Tanveer Abbasi, who conceived the original project idea. Dr Fahmida Hussain is the editor-in-chief while Mr Taj Joyo is its editor. Consultation and guidance on the project are being provided by Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo and Dr Ghulam Ali Allana.

The third volume of Encyclopaedia Sindhiana is also in its final stages and will be published soon.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Support Flood Relief Campaign in Southern Sindh

The earthquake’s  that hit Pakistan in 2005 and 2008  were regarded as the worst tragedy for the nation. Few have realized that the recent floods have in fact caused more damage then those earthquake’s did. As per latest reports official figures stand at 1600 dead and 12 million left homeless.
The Monsoon rains began  two weeks ago and have washed away roads, bridges and communications lines, hampering rescue efforts by aid organizations and the government. The downpours have grounded many aircraft trying to rescue people and ferry aid, including six helicopters manned by US troops on secondment from Afghanistan. Continue reading ...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Father sells infant of Rs. 100 (US $1.30) in Badin, Sindh, Pakistan


BADIN: By being sick of poverty in Golarchi area of Badin district, a father sold out his infant of Rs. 100, who was born two hours ago on Friday.

Police raided the alleged buyer’s home on complaint of infant’s mother and recovered the baby.

Police recovered the baby having raided the home of alleged buyer on complaint of infant’s poor mother after five hours of the incident and arrested the seller (father) and buyer, police sources said.

Alleged buyer told the police that the infant’s father was unable to bring up his child that made him sell the infant. He then paid hundred rupees to the alleged father in return to buy sweets and guaranteed to bear the infant’s living expenditures in future. [GEO NEWS]

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lal meri Pat Rakhiyo

This song, one of the most famous qawwali, is written and sung in the honor of Sufi mystic saint 'Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar' (Usman Marvandhi) - may God sanctify his station. Every word of his name used in the qawwali has a meaning - he was known as Hazrat (holiness), Lal (he wore red robes, also mothers fondly call their kids as Lal in Punjab and nearby region), Shahbaz (Shah - King and Baz - Falcon, king of falcons and in Iranian mythology represent godly figure who led them to victory, divine spirit), and finally Qalandar (a qalandari - a sufi saint, poet, mystic, noble man). He settled in Serwan (Sindh, now in Pakistan) and tried bringing peace between Hindus and Muslims. Hindus regard him as divine reincarnate, avatar as well. Still today many Punjabi singers, singing in his praise. He is also fondly called as Jhulelal.

To whomever can help, please kindly provide a better translation by posting it as a comment to this post. Thank you for your support and patronage of Sindhiyat.


O Laal Meri Pat Rakhiyo Bala Jhulelal Laalan
Sindri Da Sehvan Da Sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar
Shahbaz Qalandar, Sakhi Shahbaz Qalandar
Duma Dum Mast Kalandar, Duma Dum Mast Kalandar
Ali Dum Dum De Andar, Ali Dum Dum De Andar
O Laal Meri Pat Rakhiyo Bala Jhulelal Laalan
Sindri Da Sehvan Da Sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar



O the red robed, may I always have your benign protection, Jhulelal (as he was affectionately called). O master, friend and Sire of Sindh and Sehwan (or Serwan), The red robed God-intoxicated Qalandar, The Lord in every breath of mine, glory unto to you.
Chaar Charaag Tere Baran Hamesha
Panjwa Baaran Aayi Bala Jhulelal Laalan
O Panjwa Mein Baaran Aayi Bala Jhulelal Laalan
Sindri Da, Sehvan Da Sakhi Shabaaz Kalandar
Shahbaz Qalandar, Sakhi Shahbaz Qalandar
Duma Dum Mast Kalandar, Duma Dum Mast Kalandar
Ali Dum Dum De Andar, Ali Dum Dum De Ander
O Laal Meri Pat Rakhiyo Bala Jhulelal Laalan
Sindri Da Sehvan Da Sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar

Your shrine is always lighted with four lamps, And here I come to light a fifth lamp in your honor. Here I come with fifth O master, friend and Sire of Sindh and Sehwan (or Serwan), The red robed God-intoxicated Qalandar, The Lord in every breath of mine, glory unto to you.
Uchra Roza Peera Tera, Uchra Roza Peera Tera
Gaith Wage Gharyaal Bala Jhulelal Laalan
Sindri Da Sehvan Da Sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar
Shahbaz Qalandar, Sakhi Shahbaz Qalandar
Dama Dum Must Qalandar, Duma Dum Mast Kalandar
Ali Dum Dum De Andar, Ali Dum Dum De Ander
O Laal Meri Pat Rakhiyo Bala Jhulelal Laalan
Sindri Da Sehvan Da Sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar

Let your heroic name ring out in Hind & Sindh (or lets the gongs bell loud), Let the gong ring loud for your glory day and night by the people (ghadiyaal - watchman, symbolism of night).


Ghanan Ghanan Teri Nobat Waagay
...(Dhol Beats)
Ghanan Ghanan Teri Nobat Waagay
Naal Vajay Gharyaal Bala Jhulelal Laalan
Sindri Da Sehvan Da Sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar
Shahbaz Qalandar, Sakhi Shahbaz Qalandar
Duma Dum Mast Kalandar, Duma Dum Mast Kalandar
Ali Dum Dum De Andar Ali Dum Dum De Ander
Ali Dum Dum De Ander Ho
O Lord, may you prevail everytime, everywhere, I pray of your well being, In the name of Ali, I pray to you to help my boat cross in safety (in the river of life). 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pallu Machi

Pala (Sindhi: پلو مڇي, Pallu Machi) is found in the delta region of southern Pakistan, in the province of Sindh. It's a similar to Hilsa (Bengali:  ইিলশ Ilish) fish found in present-day Bangladesh.  The fish was usually found in abundant quantities in the district of Thatta. Recently, however, the lower reaches of the Indus have dried up as water is stored upstream, and the Palla cannot make its journey into the river anymore. Continue reading

Note: Apparently there isn't much information on the Web about Pallu Machi. Readers if you have additional information or anecdotes please tell us by stating it as a comment to this post. We would love to hear your personal accounts and any family folk lore relating to this ancient delicacy from Sindh.


Friday, February 26, 2010

A Tribute to Allan Fakir


I came across a tribute to Allan Fakir today, by a band from Jamshoro called Sketches. How it made me feel is the only reason I am writing this post.

I grew up in Sindh, and Sindhi is my second language (very rusty, to say the least). Over the last decade I feel that I have lost my identity as a Pakistani, and as a Sindhi. Listening to this song today made me remember everything I had forgotten, the places, the friends, the life I lived in Sukkur in just 6 minutes.

In sharing this song below, I hope it does the same for another lost soul.

"Moujood" is a sufi poem by Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Landless Harees Project in Sindh


Benazir Bhutto, and her trailblazer of a political party, has always been a source of simultaneous intrigue and irritation for me; I’ve never quite been able to reconcile myself with her heroic popularity and what I perceive to be her gross ineptitude. On one hand, I grew up in a typical working class Sindhi family that adored her and had nothing short of awe for her father. On the other hand, living in Karachi meant a private school education where there were hardly any Sindhis around, and everyone I got to know in the city was far removed from the villages and people that were a formative part of my childhood. My very identity as Sindhi, in the upper middle class echelons of the capital city of Sindh, was a rarity. My friends, more often than not from business class or army backgrounds, always asked me to teach them a phrase or two in Sindhi or to tell them more about what the villages were like. While this was indulging as a kid, it was sometimes downright confusing especially when all of these friends became adults who were pro-army or pro MQM and almost always anti-People’s Party. This hatred juxtaposed with a poster of Benazir Bhutto that has always adorned our kitchen, I never quite figured out my place in this melting pot of political affinities.

Back then, I had no idea that being Sindhi would become the prime signifier of my identity today. Recently I joined the Sindh Rural Support Programme for monitoring, evaluation and research for the Landless Harees Project. I was hired because I was fluent at my mother tongue, which was apparently quite unexpected. Last week on my first field visit to Umerkot, Thar and Mirpur Khas, I interviewed many women farmers who had been allotted land under the programme initiated by the current government last year. Some of them had been provided with seeds, fertilizer, pesticide, health insurance, food nutrition and cash grants to prepare the unused land for cultivation. Moreover, they had received some rudimentary trainings on farming, book-keeping, cooperative formation and uses of health insurance. This is part of a large scale project started in 17 districts of Sindh with the objective of empowering women farmers by making them land-owners of hitherto government-owned land for free. “Marx would be proud,” I sputtered almost inaudibly to the District Manager sitting across from me in Umerkot. His eyes lit up with a childlike glee with the M word! He then went into a detailed account of his politically active days during the Zia era when he was part of the Sindh Haree Movement in its infancy. He jovially admitted to their mistakes and shortcomings as a socialist movement back in the eighties. Comrade Nizamani convinced me why this initiative today would be brilliant if we emphasized more on the cooperative model of development. In my head, I was just relieved to be far, far away from the ‘corporation model of development’ that so many of those same friends of mine in Karachi advocated from their privileged positions in Barclays, JS Investments and Unilever.

I’ve had a lot to chew on with the People’s Party being in power again and having to encounter a million jokes and insults everyday that being in power entail for anybody. To these farmers who have benefited from this project (admittedly few and far between), Benazir and her cronies have been a god-send. I do know that if this government goes bust tomorrow, this project would be discontinued and these women would lose ownership of the land to some newly empowered landlord. Like most initiatives in Pakistan, it is not going to be a sustainable project unless there is political continuity. Here I am two decades later and I still don’t know how to reconcile myself with the ubiquitous popularity in rural Sindh and the oft-articulated failures of Benazir Bhutto in urban Pakistan.