Dilemma of a Sindhi Muslim
By Prem Matlani
Sindh has always remained under alien occupation since 712 A.D., when hegemonious Muslim forces attacked it on a flimsy pretext and taking advantage of internal quarrels between ruling Hindus and Budhist subjects overwhelmed Sindh. Arab rule came to an end when Afghan forces attacked it and Arabs had to flee. The irony of Islamic history is such that the attack of forces of Mahmud Ghaznavi against Arab froces is also declared Islamic expedition by Muslim historians.
After that, one community or other from alien shores has ruled Sindh ruthlessly. Be it Arabs, Afghans, Arghons, Tarkhans, Moghuls etc. Even indigenous Sammas, Soomras, Kalhoras and Talpurs did not spare aboriginal Sindhis, who did not convert to Islam. Sindhis, not considered as one of the martial races, took it in their stride and accepted alien rule as ordained by the Heavens. There have been stray cases of rebellion against such atrocities for which some had to pay the price with their life and some were spared due to sheer luck or their proximity to the ruling class. Shah Inayat Sufi had to face the gallows, while Sachal Sarmast went scot-free as he was the spiritual head of the rulers themselves.
Even during present times Sindhis are subject to humiliation in Sindh and are even denied the basic need of life (water). They are made to believe that the usurpur Mohammad Bin Qasim had every right to attack and subjugate Sindh, while their own forefather, King Dahar was wrong to defend and lay down his life for his country Sindh, because he happened to be a Hindu.
It has always been like that and every ruler has been using religion to heap various cruelties on his subjects and perpetuate his unholy rule. Take the example of present day Pakistan. It has always been ruled by the Punjabi Junta since its independence and even a namesake democratic government of Zulifqar Ali Bhutto was not allowed to carry on with its job of governance and was not only un-ceremoniously booted out of power but even its democratically elected head was hanged unto death. History is replete with such instances. When emperor Aurangzeb wanted to kill his elder brother Dara Shikoh, he had to take the help of Islamic scholars and get him declared atheist and beheaded, as he used to adorn a small picture of Lord Shiva around his neck, while the son of Dara Shikoh was spared as he was son-in-law of Aurangzeb himself. Sarmad, a friend of Dara Shikoh was killed on the pretext that one of his quadruplets denies the authenticity of instance of ‘Mairaj’ and is thus a heretic. On top of it, Sarmad used to recite ‘Kalma-e-Tayyaba’ halfway and it was considered an added proof of his being atheist.
Present day Sindh depicts a terrible spectacle of a Sindhi Hindu. He is not just traumatized by Punjabi-Mohajir ruler, but is also terrorised by a Sindhi dacoit too. Though that dacoit himself (being a Sindhi) should realize the plight of fellow Sindhis too (including Sindhi Hindus), unfortunately he doesn’t hesitate to utilize all his might to unleash his terror unto the helpless Sindhi Hindu. He doesn’t realize that the opportunist ruling class is exploiting him to keep various sections of Sindhi community busy with internal fights and forget about agitating for their own basic rights. Sindh is kept bereft of water; its rivers are running dry resulting in lesser utilization of its agricultural lands and gradual erosion and salination of agricultural resources. If any one of them realizes it and raises his voice against the establishment, his voice is muffled with the arguments that voicing concern for Sindh is anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam.
Sindhi Muslim should understand it, that the religion by itself is limited to personal faith and it has never been an issue in Sindh. Generally all the Sindhis, whether Hindus or Muslims belong to the Sufi cult, where no-one interferes with the beliefs of another and all the religions are considered at par. Everyone is free to observe his own religious beliefs. But the ruling Punjabi class of Pakistan frightens Sindhi Muslims, that their Sindhi identity will make them anti-Islam and they should desist from it. In fact Sindhi Muslims should understand their folly and rather emphasize on their intellectual development. They can withstand the might of ruling Punjabis only through the power of education and technology. They can take lesson from the hard work of Israelis who despite being miniscule in number and encircled by enemies, have transformed themselves into an invincible force and even countries as big as China knock at their doors for transfer of technology. Sindhi Muslims should realize that the world sides with powerful and mighty people and no-one cares for fallen angels. They should also learn something from their Sindhi Hindu brethren, who being small in number and without bringing any capital from Sindh at the time of partition, have made themselves a force to reckon with. Just four million Sindhi Hindus stand tall amidst 1000 million subjects of whole of India. Likewise can’t 30 million Sindhi Muslims assert themselves against 140 million other Pakistanis?
A Sindhi writer should realize his prime duty of awakening other Sindhis from their deep slumber. Literature is not just limited to the praise of beloved’s beauty and instead should depict life. There are two types of writers. One who calls the spade a spade without worrying about the dire consequences he may have to face; and another, who specializes in the praise of the powers that be. What is the difference between the second type of writer and a prostitute? Both offer their services against payment of few coins.
It is commonly said that Islam and democracy never go together, but I don’t buy this hypothesis. Islam has got a concept of ‘Majlis-e-Shoora’, which is nothing but a ‘Parliament’. There is a difference between democracy and dictatorship. Even when very few Islamic countries practice real democracy, then too only non-violence and democracy can enable Sindhi Muslims get their rightful place in Pakistan.