"Sindh Straight from the Heart”
By Mahesh Vaswani
Sindhis are humble, rich, cultured, docile, tolerant, secular and ever ready to succeed against all odds, wherever on the earth they may live. But when someone challenges your culture, your birthright, your sacrifices, your patriotism, your sentiments, your community……you do not remain silent. And Sindhis also won’t remain silent spectators. An intellectually bankrupt and mentally sick lawyer, Sanjeev Bhatnagar humiliates our community, questions our culture, our identity, our patriotism and calls it a matter of Public Interest! And he files the Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court.
On 3rd January 2005, the Chief Justice R C Lahoti and Justice G P Mathur of the Supreme Court issues notice to the government of India following a Public Interest Litigation seeking deletion of word ‘Sindh’ in the national anthem. The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed a similar petition by the same Advocate Sanjeev Bhatnagar on the 20th of September 2004 and he was directed to approach the Government of India. However, he seemed dissatisfied from only the government learning of his foolish and antinational intentions! Bhatnagar then once again moved the Supreme Court unmindful of the fact that he was likely to cause hurt, insult, injury and shock not only to the Sindhi community, but also the sentiments of all patriotic Indians, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or the state they belong.
We, the great inheritors of the culture of Sindh, must unite and rise to the occasion. We have spontaneously united. We have reacted, protested, objected, and if need be we shall also revolt and be prepared to battle till victory is achieved. In democratic India, Sindhis have risen and proved to the world that they are united even though stateless. SINDHISHAAN was the first to unite thousands of Sindhis and lodge a protest when newspapers and websites across the globe flashed the news item on the 4th of January 2005 about the petition filed seeking to delete the word SINDH from the National Anthem. A prompt signature campaign signed by leading Sindhis from all over India, uniting organizations, and already a blue print has been charted to intervene in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Sindhi community worldwide.
It is a tragedy that the Congress Government at the Centre did not see this demand of Advocate Sanjeev Bhatnagar as an antinational act. Should he not be arrested, prosecuted and jailed for being a traitor, an antinational person who could be in all possibilities a pawn in the hands of some enemies of India. The lawyer who was described as an ‘idiot’ by none other than our finest legal legend Ram Jethmalani and also by community leader Niranjan Hiranandani at a Press meet in Mumbai, has said on a sworn affidavit that all the Sindhis are merely Indians and not Sindhis anymore. This is an insult to the worshippers of Sant Jhulelal, Bhagat Kanwaram, Saeen Laal Shahbaaz Kalandar, Saeen Jethmal Parsram, desh bhakt Hemu Kalani, great Sindhis souls like Dada T.L.Vaswani, poetess and singer Bhagwanti Navani, folklore singer and Behrana specialist Ram Panjwani, freedom fighter K.R. Malkani, and many others who have blitzed global history with their unparalleled sacrifices, preaching and concern for humankind.
Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore had authored this wonderful song in the year 1911, and that time there was no Sindh state. The British for easy administration had merged Sindh along with Punjab and Gujarat in the Bombay Presidency, much before Tagore penned his song. Patriotism, sacrifices and unity in cultural diversity motivated the birth of “Jana Gana Mana….”. Then we, the people of Sindh in united India migrated to the partitioned India since we wanted to retain our traditions, culture and identity as Sindhis. We left crores of rupees worth of wealth, gold, jewellery, diamonds, rubies, properties, and huge palatial mansions back in Pakistan to avoid forced conversions. We had been the community who suffered the pangs of partition and its immediate repercussions. In our own homeland we were rendered refugees. However due to the circumstances and then political winds, we were denied any territory as our state or homeland.
The first time that the Sindhis felt that their existence was recognized in independent India was in the year 1950, when Jana Gana Mana came to be adopted as the national anthem by the Constitution authored by the great Dr. Baba Ambedkar. Then in 1966, the iron lady Indira Gandhi during her Prime Ministership included Sindhi in the VIIIth Schedule of the Parliament, and then on any MP can write, speak or ask questions in Sindhi language. Barring this the microscopic population Sindhis have not got anything by the successive Indian governments. There should have been reservations for job allotments in the public sector as well as reservations in the fields of higher education for the members of the Sindhi community. Ulhasnagar could have been renamed Sindhunagar, but even this could not be achieved by our community. It is sad to say that despite having produced some of the most powerful politicians and Jurists, our community remained directionless and rewardless.
Today, there may not be a concrete threat to the community, as the Hon’ble Supreme Court cannot allow deletion of ‘SINDH’ from the national anthem. To alter the national anthem, the Indian Constitution needs to be amended. Only the Parliament of India is empowered to effect such a change. But should the mischief-maker Bhatnagar be allowed to go scot-free? We hope that the respected Supreme Court Judges when they hear everyone concerned on the issue in April or so, they will deliver a landmark Judgement and set a deterrent example for the others. Time will show that the current proposal by the Delhi based lawyer to get the word ‘SINDH’ deleted from the national anthem will get buried once and forever by the Supreme Court of one of the world’s most respected democracy.