Sindhiyat and Role of Sindhology
What is Sindhyat, and why should we preserve it? This is the question uppermost in the minds of the young generation of Sindhi Community all over the world.
As per our understanding, ‘Sindhyat’ pertains to the distinct characteristics of Sindhi community which distinguish it from other communities, and give it a particular identity. Thus ‘Punjabiat’ and ‘Kashmiriat’ are the cultural identities of Punjabis and Kashmiris, who too are striving hard to preserve them. In fact, one can easily perceive this growing phenomenon of ethnic revival pervading all over the world. The colossal U.S.S.R. has recently fragmented into 15 parts,; and has thus yielded to the aspiration of many ethnic races belonging to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan etc. Overburdened by the ideology of one nation, one race, one language, one secular (non-religious) society, these ethnic groups were at the brink of losing their distinct identity and culture.
In Pakistan too, the five different groups-Sindhis, Punjabis, Pakhtoons, Balauchis and Mohajirs–are at war with the State to preserve their own distinct cultural identities. One common Islamic identity with one dominating Urdu language is not acceptable to them. Bangladesh ceded from Pakistan on this vital issue.
The Fathers of Indian Constitution however had visualized these separatist pulls and evolved a Federal Structure of nation with pluralistic pattern of society, where every minority group would have an equal right to preserve its language and culture, as well as maintain its separate identity. In India, there are 18 languages including Sindhi, recognized in the 8th Schedule of Constitution, enjoying equal status along with Hindi, (the national link language) and English (the international link language).
The Constitution of India has given Sindhi community full protection as well freedom to assert its right in maintaining cultural identity. It is now for us to feel the need and love for our culture our language. We should preserve our cultural heritage and disseminate its knowledge among the younger generation.
What are the distinct cultural traits which are to be maintained for the total development of Sindhi personality? The mind of a Sindhi has been molded by the Sufi Poetry of Shah-Sachal-Sami which contain the intrinsic essence of human wisdom. A Sindhi Firmly believes in Universal Brotherhood. He abhors violence, shirks the caste taboos, and possesses a sweet refined temperament. Possessing these cultural gifts in ample measure inherited from his forefathers, a Sindhi today finds himself equally at home in Hongkong and Honolulu.
Culture cannot be imposed from outside or learnt in schools and colleges. it grows within. The rich inheritance of Sindhi culture has taken thousands of years to evolve. It is the sacred duty of every generation to preserve and pass on to next generation Our customs and beliefs, faith and tradition, thinking and behavior which make us feel Sindhi and love Sindhi. It is to be understood very clearly that one cannot sustain for long, on a borrowed culture. The plants of tropical region cannot survive for long in snowy regions. They flourish only in their own congenial surroundings. To love meaningfully one has to develop all his mental potentialities. It is possible mainly in those environments where one is deeply rooted.
To preserve our own cultural heritage or “Sindhyat”, a group of writers, artists and scholars met at Pune on 10th October 1989, and decided to establish Indian institute of Sindhology at Adipur. This Institute which started functioning from December 1990 has now spread its wings far and wide. It is doing excellent work for preservation and promotion of Sindhi language, literature, art and culture. It is now being upgraded into a Sindhi Cultural University named “Bharati Sindhu Vidhyapeeth” on 30 acres of land acquired at Gandhidham in Kutch. It is hometown of Sindhis, who settled here after partition of the country. Maharaja of Kutch on advice of Gandhiji, gave 15000 acres of land to Bhai Pratab, who founded Sindhu Resettlement Corporation to rehabilitate Sindhi Hindus uprooted from their motherland. A modern township of Gandhidham along with major port Kandla was developed with the unmatched Sindhi enterprise.
Indian Institute of Sindhology established at Adipur, Gandhidham (Kutch) is a centre for advanced studies and research in the fields related to Sindhi language, literature, art and culture. To preserve cultural heritage, Sindhology has developed reference library, collecting thousands of books pertaining to Sindh & Sindhis. The Scholars are preparing dictionaries and encyclopedia to preserve the form of language and all information related to Sindh & Sindhi way of life.
Sindhology publishes books and periodical including quarterly literary magazines “Rachna” and bulletin “Sindhology”. It organizes seminars, Symposia, International Cultural festivals to bring all the like minded people on common platform, to ineract and share their views on the preservation and promotion of Sindhi Cultural heritage. Artists at Sindhology are promoting vocal culture through music, dance and drama. The cultural groups ‘Natya Kanwar’ and ‘Sangeet Kanwar’ present their programs all over india and abroad. Hundreds of audio and video cassettes of music, Sindhi films, and dramas are also preserved at Sindhology. The classes to train the budding artists are also being held. Many writers, scholars and artists from different parts of the country have settled here to lend their voluntary services Sindhology. A writers’ village named ‘Maleer’ has been set up on three acres of land to accommodate them.
Sindhology has also started a very ideal International Residential School named “Sadhu Hiranand Navalrai Academy”. It is an English medium school with Sindhi as a compulsory subject. This school is devoted to the academic, moral and cultural development of children. Sindhology Chapters have been opened at Bombay, Indore, Hongkong and London. Many distinguished NRIs impressed by the wonderful job being done by Sindhology to preserve our cultural heritage, have lent their full support.
I, as Chairman of Sindhology Trust, invite all the well-wishers of Sindhi Community around the World to visit Gandhidham and see for themselves the work of rejuvenation of Sindhi language and culture under the able guidance of Dr. Satish Rohra, an eminent scholar and his dedicated team of workers.
Author : Dr. Satish Rohra
- Bhai Murij as I know Him – Lakhmi Khilani