REFLECTIONS ON BEING A SINDHI
by Manju Nichani
My association with the Sindhi language is like that of the child and the mother, the flower and the plant and the fruit and the tree. I am what I am because of my roots and the Sindhi language is an inherent part of my roots. Since the time I started lisping Sindhi as a child till today – it has been a long and fruitful association between me and my mother tongue.
Being born into the Sindhi fold gave me the opportunity to come in contact with so many great minds. How can I ever forget my first meeting with Dada J. P. Vaswani in 1969 ? The two years I spent at his ashram will be etched forever in my mind. Dadaji is the spiritual Guru of not just me but the entire Sindhi fraternity. His teachings, his discourses gave me lifelong values. I found that I could understand Dadaji better because he taught me in my mother tongue. I cleaved to his teachings because it was carried forward in Sindhi – the language I was born into. It makes me so proud that Sindh has produced such saints like Sadhu T. L. Vaswani and Dada J. P. Vaswani.
Stepping into K. C. College further cemented my bonds with the Sindhi community. I completed my graduation and post graduation under visionaries like Principal K. M. Kundnani. I later joined this college as a Junior College lecturer and interacted with so many luminaries of the Sindhi fraternity. Principal K. M. Kundnani and Mr. H. G. Advani have been my role models who taught me to aspire, to never say die. They had come here as refugees during partition, leaving behind everything that was theirs, but never despairing and starting life afresh. They were shining beacons of courage, vision and selfless service. They laid down the foundations of the Hyderabad Sind National Collegiate Board (HSNC Board), which soon established a number of colleges and institutions under its aegis.
The HSNC Board has provided shelter, value-based education and great opportunities to not just the youth of the Sindhi community but to youth all across the state. It has contributed immensely to many other educational institutions too, always believing totally in the maxim that educated individuals succeed in taking the nation forward.
When I look back upon India's progress from independence till today, I feel blessed to be a part of the Sindhi community and to see how an uprooted group of people have contributed so immensely towards the growth of the nation. A primarily business community has become a major force in all fields, propelling the nation forwards.
My own journey from a Junior College lecturer to the Principal of K. C. College and now to the Secretary of the HSNC Board, has only been due to the hard work, boldness and dynamism that typifies every Sindhi.
I have always felt deeply about carrying our traditions faorward. While the new and the innovative should be embraced, the old and the glorious should also not be forgotten. It thus falls upon each of us of the Sindhi family to teach our youth about the Sindhi ethos. I have, in my own small way, tried to instill our values in the youth by holding annual Sindhi festivals in K. C. College. In this festival, through our beautiful traditional garments, our songs and dances and through the lavish spread of the Sindhi cuisine, I have tried to foster the spirit of being a Sindhi amongst our youth. Our metropolitan youth should never forget their roots and the struggle of their forefathers in bestowing them with the gift of freedom -- freedom to live, to be educated and to prosper, in a free land.
Every other language of India is fortunate enough to survive and to thrive because it reposes in a linguistic state in the country. Sindhi, however, does not have any linguistic state. This is both a boon as well as a bane for the Sindhi fraternity. While the world is our oyster and we can spread, grow and thrive everywhere, it is a little sad that Sindhis lack the binding force of their own state. We do not have a linguistically demarcated state for us to come home to. It therefore becomes most imperative that all Sindhis keep the Sindhi ethos alive by speaking their language, by teaching their children to read, write and speak their language.
It is only when each Sindhi will take pride in his language that he will be rooted in the Sindhi ethos. Each of us of the Sindhi fold has a sacred duty towards keeping our traditions alive through our language.
I feel privileged to have been born a Sindhi and to have such a rich and wonderful language as my mother tongue and my inheritance.