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Sindh Bombay Presidency

Sindh Bombay Presidency

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Published by: MOULA BUX on Jan 16, 2010
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05/27/2010

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Asia Online Journal ( iaoj )
14 03 2008
Speech by: Aziz Narejo, Mumbai, India
 The president, distinguished guests, scholars andLadies and Gentlemen:Peace be unto you:It is good to be here in the great city of Mumbai , which is very familiar to thepeople in South Asia and is a major world metropolis.
 
Let me start with a poem that is actually a prayer by the Poet Laureate of Sindh, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai:“saaneen-m sadaaeen kareen mathey Sindh sukarDost mitha dildar aalam sabh aabad kareen”‘Oh my Lord, shower thy blessings over SindhOh my Friend, bestow abundance all over the world’.I bring greetings to you from the North American Sindhi community,especially the members of our organization, Sindhi Association of NorthAmerica (SANA). I wish the organizers of this seminar a great success in theirendeavor. I would like to see many more avenues like this to open in futurefor the betterment of our people and the preservation and promotion of ourlanguage and culture.I am personally grateful to Dr Baldev Matlani, head of the Department of Sindhi, University of Mumbai to have invited me to be here and speak to youon this very important subject: “Bombay Presidency, Sindh & Sindhis –political implications” . Sindh’s merger with Bombay Presidency and an epicstruggle by Sindhis to gain eventual separation or “freedom”, “aazaadi”, as itwas called at that time, were truly the most significant chapters in thehistory of the Indian sub-continent. They had very important and momentousimpact on the future of British India .Before I say anything on the subject, I would like to make a few submissions:First I would request you not to consider this as a research paper. As I live inUSA , far away from my land, and didn’t have the research material availableto me, I couldn’t possibly write a fully researched paper. Hence, this shouldbe treated as my observations on the subject:We have to ask one question here: Why do we go back to history? It couldsometimes be a very difficult task that might re-open the wounds that need
 
to be healed. At other times it could create dangerous situations that maydestabilize societies.Also as most of us believe, history happens to be very subjective. Manypeople write it with biased minds and many more see it through taintedlenses. It is very rare to find objective accounts of history. Even those couldbe questionable for some. There are also two views of history: one is by and for the scholars and thehistorians. That is mostly technical and too academic. The other view is thatof the common folks. That view may not be authentic and could have morepropaganda in it than carrying hard and verifiable facts. It could be used todevastating effect – to fabricate myths, cloud some realities and create newones.So why do we go back to history? Do we do it to study it as a science andascertain facts or do we go to it to learn from it with a clear purpose to avoidany past mistakes to help build a better and more peaceful future?Again the scholars, academia and historians would be best suited to go forthe first choice.Common folks could go for the second choice. That’s how I would like to dealwith this subject.I would also like to mention here two major forces, religion and economics,which have drawn lines on many controversial subjects as the present oneunder discussion.I am of the view that the religion is one of the most powerful elements inpeople’s lives. It has great influence and plays very important role. It has thepotential to cause devastating wars and shaping the destinies of the peopleand the countries. It is capable of inciting great commotion, crises andupheaval but at the same time it also helps people attain inner peace and apurpose in life.No one should underestimate the power of religion. It becomes lethalweapon especially in the hands of the politicians. They could use it for theirpurpose to the detriment of the peace and progress. That’s one reason, it is advocated that religion should not be mixed withpolitics and statecraft. It should not have any role in public affairs,governance and civic matters. That is how secularism has grown to be anaccepted norm in many societies. The economics is the other important factor that affects the lives of thepeople and helps them make far-reaching decisions. The economic interestsof a group, a people or a nation either bind them together or separate themfrom others. That is not to diminish the role of the social, cultural, linguistic, ethnic andother factors in a society.
 
Ladies and Gentlemen: Sindh has had its identity from the time immemorial– since the pre-historic age. It gets the name from Indus River , which is oneof the world’s largest rivers providing sustenance to the people in the townsand villages on its banks and in its valleys. The inhabitants of Sindh made upone of the world’s oldest civilizations. It was on the banks of Indus River thatgreat Vedas were written. The people in Sindh had been considered well-to-do and self-sufficient. Theyhad been engaged in agriculture, trade and entrepreneurship. They didn’tneed much outside help to survive. Hence they were one of the only fewnations around the world that didn’t invade other countries to bring riches totheir land.In the known history, Sindh has been a peaceful land believing in the pacifistphilosophy that didn’t need or practice any violence. They have had respectfor all the religions and faiths of the world. In Sindh, followers of differentreligions had co-existed peacefully without feeling any insecurities or threats.One can safely say that the most peaceful period in Sindh’s history has beenthe time when it had been ruled by its indigenous rulers. In recent history, ithad been the period under Soomra and Samma rule. Soomra rule began inthe eleventh century and the Samma rule in the fourteenth century A.D. Thatperiod is called ‘the golden period’ for Sindh, which saw peace and progressand an unmatched religious tolerance with no room for discrimination on thebasis of faith or belief.At the end of Samma period in the sixteenth century, Arghus establishedtheir rule in Sindh and since then Sindh, although maintaining its identity,has virtually been ruled by non-indigenous groups with only brief intervals.During that period rulers created divisions on the basis of religion anddiscriminated against the minorities giving birth to ill-feelings amongcitizens.British were no different an occupying force when they invaded andconquered Sindh in 1843. They followed the age-old policy of divide and ruleand favored one over the other and provided more opportunities of development and progress to one than the other. They committed another sin when they revoked the identity of Sindh andmade it a part of the Bombay Presidency in 1847. That was somethingunnatural and unfair. Sindhis suddenly ceased to be Sindhis. They becamesubjects of an alien entity. They did never have any such relationship withBombay in the history. Nor did the two have much in common.Hamida Khuhro in her article ‘British administrative policy in Sind and therole of Sir Bartle Frere’ says that the two certainly had markedly differentphysical features, a totally dissimilar population make up and entirelydifferent historical background. Sindh was also difficult of access fromBombay . She adds that it could be said with confidence that little benefitcame to Sindh from the connection.

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