DOWN THE MEMORY LANE
By Dial V Gidwani
Partition of India created a situation for Sindhi Hindus to flee from Sindh. In India, slowly but surely, these Sindhi Hindus brought their professions, expertise, acumen, ability with hard, persistent and dedicated work. . Soon enough, they were able to hold their own and even be highly successful in practically all the fields of activity such as, trade, commerce, industry, law, education, medicine, communications, finance, literature and social spheres.
One particular field however remained sorely neglected. For all the years from 1947 to 2000, there was not a single magazine or a periodical of which Sindhis could be justifiably proud. This vacuum was filled as late as on CHETI CHAND 2001, when Sindhishaan made its appearance. In these five years, Sindhishaan has been going from strength to strength , supporting Sindhi culture, Sindhi values and Sindhi ethos. Over this short period of five years, both qualitatively and quantitatively, Sindhishaan's support of Sindhi cause and Sindhi interests has been phenomenal and I , for one, feel grateful that Sindhishaan is amongst us. Its chief, Ranjit Butani, is a known businessman, journalist, community leader and a fervent believer in 'Sindhyat' who, with his dedicated team, provides an intellectual, informative, entertaining and even exciting Sindhi panorama not only for all of us who retain deep-rooted love for the land that we were compelled leave, but also for our generations unborn. Thus the flame continues to remain live - shining and bright.
Fate has decreed that I too should follow, to an extent, a similar path. Always, the call of Sindhu River has been fresh in my mind ever since our family, like other Sindhi Hindus, had to leave Sindh when India was partitioned. Away from the land of our roots and heritage, it became a dream with me to establish an organization so that we and our coming generations continue to remember our culture and the glory and greatness of the ancient Sindhu and Saraswati civilizations. Friends encouraged me; the dream became a reality, and we were able to establish in USA, the American Institute of Sindhulogy – AIS (website at www.sindhulogy.org. The Institute was inaugurated on August, 06,2001 at Chicago, by Ram Jethmalani, formerly, India's Cabinet Minister of Law and Justice, who is affectionately known as Sindhi Ratan. Since then AIS has earned renown throughout the world and a chapter has also been established in India.
To my mind, the success of Sindhishaan and AIS and their fascinating appeal to the Sindhi Diaspora, scattered in every part of the globe, arises from the realization of the basic fact that Sindhis, like people all over the world, wish to reach out, to touch their roots, to discover how and where their ancestors resided, and what their dreams, hopes and aspirations were. They are all seeking an identity with their ancient ancestry, and be a part of its cultural continuity. Obviously, Sindhis cannot contemplate moving into the sunset of nothingness as a community, and be individually assimilated into new and diverse cultures and communities?
In a way, I have to admit that while search and research into the ancient roots and heritage has always appealed to people throughout the world – be they Chinese, Egyptians, Japanese, Indonesians, Italians, Greeks, Iraqis, Russians, Iranians, Turks, Germans, Israelis or whatever- the urge to the Sindhis to rediscover their ancient roots came much later. An iron wall - inflexible and blinding - was kept against them to blank out the knowledge of their heritage and roots. The version of history that was presented to them was simply a caricature, based on the early British propaganda, designed to deny the Hindu, his antiquity. There were perhaps understandable motives behind this false foreign propaganda.
A conquering people always have a complex to justify themselves – and the British, through a historical process, had this complex more than any other nation. It became necessary for the British to create what Lord Curzon later characterized as “The furniture and furnishings of the Empire”. The British colonizers were keen to explain to Indians that they had always been slaves, and thus the British created through their writers, the myth of foreign Aryan invasion of India from the West, in an effort to show that India was in darkness and decadence prior to the onslaught of Aryans. The British, through its writers, wished to show that only through the intervention of foreigners could India get the civilizing influence. For these and other complicated reasons they sought to instill a difference and distinction between the Hindu and the Aryan, and between the Aryan of the North and the Dravidian of the South - and an offshoot of this doctrine also was to deny antiquity to Hinduism. Many Doctorates were earned in India by Indian teachers and professors and in England to progress that very fictitious thesis, and many academic reputations were earned to uphold such frivolous ideas, and their only evidence was a simple reiteration and quotation of what others had written - and indeed there were so many who were so writing.
In the earlier Arab period after the defeat and death of Raja Dahir, the last Sindhi Hindu ruler of Sindh, there is no evidence to hold a view that the Arab colonizers of Sindh, like the British, suffered from the need to so justify their conquest, by casting reflection on the antiquity of the religion of the people of Sindh. But the fact still remains that any open display by a Hindu of his religion or drawing attention to his roots and heritage during the Arab period and to some extent in the subsequent Muslim period, was fraught with the danger of immediate forced conversion or beheading of the ‘culprit’, his wife, children and parents. Roots had to be remembered in silence or not at all, and it is not surprising that this curtain of silence led even to an era of forgetfulness by the Sindhi Hindu of his ancient roots and heritage.
Fortunately, many writers have come to the forefront in recent times. Among them, I must mention David Frawley, Georg Feuerstein, Subhash Kak, Navaratna Rajaram, and a large number of other writers, archeologists and historians. Above all, I must mention my old friend Bhagwan S. Gidwani, who, with his monumental research, has put a searchlight on the ancient roots and heritage of Sindh and Bharat Varsha (Indian Subcontinent). Gidwani's best-seller 'Return of the Aryans' (published by Penguin Books in India and Canada) which is presented in novel form, updates much of the research from scholarly and historical sources, archeological records, oral traditions and memory songs to present the drama of the birth and beginnings of the roots of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) in Sindh and Bharat Varsha prior to 8,000 BCE. Other main themes in the book are:
1. Aryans originated from Sindh and Bharat Varsha. They were born, grew up, and died as citizens of Bharat Varsha, anchored in the timeless foundation of Sanatana Dharma.
2. The theory of Aryan invasion of India from the West is false and frivolous.
3. Equally false and frivolous is the theory of the North-South Divide, as the book clearly shows how people of the Ganga, Madhya, Sindhu, Bangla and other regions were together with the Dravidian regions, in a spirit of equality and mutual respect, as parts of Bharat Varsha
4. A generation that remains unaware of its roots is truly orphaned - and our generation, as also the coming generations, must be made aware of our cultural roots, and the glory and greatness of the ideals and values of the ageless Sindhi and Indian civilization — along with the presentation of art, culture, music, dance, yoga, abstract thought, philosophical leanings, and spiritual leanings of pre-history Sindh and India.
5. A clear message in RETURN OF THE ARYANS, is for national integration, national self-respect and national identity in India. While the book deals with the history of Hinduism affectionately, it also re-emphasizes our age-old spirit of tolerance for all faiths including recognition of spiritual nature of man wherever he is from; and acceptance of every culture and faith as expressions of eternal values.
It has been our privilege, on behalf of AIS, to produce a CD , in English –Hindi – Sindhi on the Song of the Sindhu Hindu composed by Karkarta Bharat, 7,000 years back, which Bhagwan Gidwani has brought to light and presented in his book, 'Return of the Aryans' in modern version.
The CD is presented with English narration and melodious songs in Hindi and Sindhi together with chanting of “OM” & mantras, and musical accompaniment.
The CD is introduced by a message recorded by Sindhi Ratan Ram Jethmalani. In his recorded message on the CD, Ram Jethmalani pays respectful homage to the sacred earth of Sindh, which nurtured the breathtakingly advanced Indus Valley civilization, which is the common inheritance and the priceless treasure of both India and Pakistan and in fact of the whole world.
Following are the excerpts from Ram Jethmalani's recorded introduction of the CD on the Song of the Sindhu Hindu:
With both pride and pleasure, I introduce the Song of the Sindhu Civilization which has remained unsung for long centuries until my friend, Bhagwan S. Gidwani, brought it to light in his famous book, "The Return of the Aryans".
The song was composed 7,000 years ago by Bharat, the 19th Karkarta or the elected Supreme Chief of the inhabitants on both the banks of the mighty Indus , now our beloved Sindh. Gidwani presents the song in his book in modern version by clarifying terms which now appear obscure.
The song celebrates the principle of ancient Indian culture of all inclusiveness, excluding none from God's grace whatever their faith. Clearly it says, God's gracious purpose includes all human beings and all creation, for God is the Creator and God is the Creation, that all are blessed and whatever God you choose he is that God and Dharma, righteousness or good conduct is His will. The Song stresses need for continuing search of truth and knowledge, for we can not be hostage to dogma or custom or present learning, but must strive to enlarge the heritage of mankind, for ours is a growing tradition and not a fixed Revelation. To the present day Indian, whatever his spiritual beliefs, conception of the Divine and his Cosmos, afflicted by misconceived ideas of pacifism and non-violence, the song's message is clear. That he must remain strong and united for he must know that no external outside force can ever crush him, except when he is divided and betrays his own.
I am glad that Karkarta Bharat of Sindh, who composed this song, became so honored that our subcontinent came to be known, from 5000 years BC, as Bharat Varsha. But more about Bharat and his song can be read in the story in Gidwani's book, as now I wish to stand no more between you and the presentation of this Song.
By recalling and singing this Song, today we'll pay respectful homage to the sacred earth of Sindh, which nurtured this breathtakingly advanced civilization. It is the common inheritance and the priceless treasure of both India and Pakistan; in fact, the whole world.
In a separate addressRam Jethmalani is emphatically of the view that this CD on the Song of the Sindhu Hindu must be in each Sindhi home and with every Sindhi association and institution. We in the American Institute of Sindhulogy –AIaS - shall try our best to achieve that end though I doubt that we can reach the goal that Ram Jethmalani has in view of this CD reaching all Sindhi homes and every Sindhi association and institution.
There is much more that needs to be said for spreading the message of Sindhyat. All I can say is that Sindhishaan – with Ranjit Butani at the helm - is doing a remarkable job and achieving worthwhile results in having a profound and abiding impact on the present generation of Sindhis which hopefully will be transmitted as a legacy to our coming generations. Much more remains to be done as forgetfulness of centuries cannot be wiped out in the endeavor of half a decade. Yet I have to acknowledge thankfully of the great strides which Sindhishaan has made in spreading the message. With the knowledge of this trend, I am confident of success and I assure Ranjit Butani of our total commitment to his cause and our fullest cooperation both personally and on behalf of AIS.
My thanks to Sindhishaan for its mighty contribution