Song of a Namesake Sindhi
By Arun Babani
On completing four years (16 issues) as a correspondent for Sindhishaan.
Mr. Ranjit Butani is a nice man with a nicer mission. He works hard, is always at his Edi-table, highly approachable, unassuming and above all totally without any airs of the usual run-of- the-mill busy editor and of course he heads a (the world’s best?) specialty magazine!
But, VECHARO CHHA KAREY….KETRO KAREY…
I mean there is an almost total blackout on the Sindhi journalistic scene. Yes, there are many teeny weeny interview takers, many poem writers, or even dozens of criticism throwers, but one serious journalist, with Real ideas, in depth thinking or an analytical bend of mind? Nobody has even heard of such things in our community so far!
In the past 55 years, Sindhi journalism consisted mostly of local news with a little poetry and drama thrown in, followed by loads of criticisms, literary or personal. But there has been an almost total blank as far as an attempt at understanding ourselves is concerned. We have one drab and unreadable study ‘The Sindh Story’ by K. R. Malkani, a couple of Doctorate Thesis around the community, Ms. Popati Hiranandani’s ‘Scattered Treasure’, and we have one ‘Chronicle of Sindhi Culture’ by T.U Thakur. That is it! In Sindhi the bulk of writing has been in the form of Arts and Criticism. Any psychological, philosophical, scientific treatment has not been found to exist.
Which brings us to Mr. Butani: He is a man with a mission but without an army, or even a commander to call his own in the vast battlefront that is the global Sindhiat. Anybody would empathize with the man who is ready with all his might to fight but no one is right enough to light the fire. ‘The-great-Sindhi-writer’ simply cannot conceive that here is a genre of writing which is
as important as poems, plays and abuses! Or maybe is he actually snobbish enough to believe investigative thinking/writing is below his artistic merit!?
In such darkened times, having a lot of free time and a feel for words, I remembered having read six words for success: SEE THE NEED AND FILL IT. A chance meeting with Mr. Butani, and a spontaneous mutual respect later, I partook his path somewhat hesitantly. In the beginning he cleared many of my doubts: “Who reads all this?”, “Will they understand?”, but soon I discovered my faith in him, the vision he had for the magazine, for the community, for the future…
From March 2002, when I wrote my first story to the current issue, we have, step by tiny step grown and have covered a lot of ground. We have tried to hold the mirror up to the community and made serious attempts at breaking all barriers by understanding the community and bringing it closer together.
It is just a beginning, much much more needs to be excavated for the complete picture to emerge. The community today is in the need of clear vision and direction… more intellectuals and thinkers would be joining the show …and in the coming months and years one would witness a shaandaar Sindhishaan getting better, thicker, and juicier…
For me, what began as a harmless curiosity has grown into an almost full time thinking pad, the Sindhishaan fever has got onto me and I continuously read, write, think and discuss with Sabita, my wife and mentor (who, incidentally is the first editor all my copy passes through!)About newer and newer vistas to explore, for which I both blame and thank it’s encouraging editor, who just tells me, “keep on writing, anything anytime” I was not a true Sindhi to begin with, I considered myself only a part Sindhi, a namesake Sindhi, but his trust in me propelled me to overreach myself to do better and wiser things…I had not even dreamt that roots contain so much energy, so much joy .In my 25 years of journalistic career where I wrote for a dozen periodicals, but it was Sindhishaan that made me visit my centre for the first time and I became the subject of my own study, which in turn made me a better Sindhi and a newer and a truer human being.
In the end I appeal to all you thinking beings to join and contribute to this cause in whatever way you can, you can only gain from such a contribution…that is my promise. because a tree can find fulfillment through flowering, an artist can find fulfillment through his art and a Sindhi can only find fulfillment through Sindhiat, through Sindhishaan…!