Volume 11 : Issue 1

Published : Jan. - Mar. 2012

Group : And Life Goes On

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By Arun Babani

I met a Sindhi journalist today. Just to make him feel good, I told him I do read his articles in Sindhi magazines. “But,” he said “I have already stopped writing a long time ago, in fact it is almost two years now that I have hardly published anything. There is absolutely no value, respect and use for a Sindhi journalist in our community.” I wholeheartedly agreed with the senior gent of 70.He continued “you know I was present at the function where the then newspaper of Sindhis, THE HINDU, was being renamed as HINDUSTAN DAILY. It was back in Sindh and I was a child of 7 years, passionate about Sindhiyat, even then” Taking a deep breath and perhaps realizing my presence his attention came back to me and he asked, “what do you do…I believe you also write for our community magazines?” I nodded hesitantly and he continued his sharp gaze on me, asking, “Why? Why do you write? Do you get paid?” Again I nodded and mumbled “well, some peanuts…!” As if he knew the answer beforehand, he asked, “Then why? Why do you get into such a sorry situation? I have written four books and countless articles in last 60 years…, what do you think…why do we go on doing this strange thing?” I said, laughing “We write ourselves, we read what we write ourselves, and we feel happy ourselves…”He cut me short asking “Why, why do we do such a strange thing…that's what I'm asking you…”I laughed and said, “You can call it Junoon…passion or simply a madness…”That shocked him, “madness? oh my God…! Do you think we are mad? Insane?” I smiled politely and began to fumble for words because I noticed that my answer had genuinely hurt the gentleman and he was going into some deep thought realizing the validity of that fact. “You mean to say that it has all along been a nonsense thing to do, to think and feel for the community?”

His voice now trembled as if asking me for support to stand up and walk. I quickly gave that support, saying “No no Dada, not at all, you have done what you believed in. The fact that our work and our passion has not been recognized and valued is an unfortunate fact of history and of our culture. Today priorities have changed, people's perceptions have narrowed down to superficial stuff, but that doesn't mean that your vision and values have gone waste, not at all. Every age gets a vision that it deserves and this age seems to be happy with the trivial and the twitter, so be it!!” His face lit up a little but not quite and he said, “You know I filled a sack of Sindhi books, hundreds of them, carried the sack all the way to Chembur, to a Sindhi institute and right at the door the officer told me to take it away, 'we have not yet opened many sacks of books sent by others…' and then I took the sack back and brought it to Sita Sindhu Bhavan where also they told me that they don't need this garbage…”Picking a tear from his eyes and then smiling a toothless smile he continued, “I'm over 70 now, weak, fragile…how old is Kirat?” “90”, I said, “his library, we donated to the department of Sindhi, Mumbai University..” “What would they do with all that?” he asked, surprised at my revelation. “They'll make a library..” And he immediately retorted “that's because they get paid for it…. The staff there gets money to do all that work…!!” I saw a strange vengeful look in the old man's eyes, a look of rejection by his own brothers and sisters and family members. He feels a little foolish I thought, but looks Godly…

A foolish God or a Godly fool…!!