Volume - 10 : Issue - 3

Published : Jul. - Sep 2011

Group : Culture


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Amity,  Love  &  Tolerance  in  Sindh

By Prem Matlani

Thousands of years are required for a language, culture & civilization to take shape and grow, giving rise to a particular community or nation. History of Sindhi culture is witness to a unique Indus valley civilization and its people, having a unique culture and values. The values which differentiate   a Sindhi from others are collectively termed as 'Sindhiat'. The philosophy of a Sindhi's life is to pray for the good of two and half homes (Adhai gharan jo khair) whereby a Sindhi always prays for every other human being along with prosperity for his own self.

               Sain sadain kareen mathe Sindh sukar,
                Dost mitha dildar – alam sabh abad kareen
- Shah

Which means “O' God, may you bestow your blessings on Sindh, And along with it ensure prosperity for one and all

Today the world is engulfed with internal as well as external disturbances and dissatisfaction due to the division into various religions, language, colour, race and local groups and self created notions of superiority of one group over the other. To cap it all, mankind presumes to be on a mission ordained by God Himself to reform others even if others are unwilling to go his way. His theory hinges on the premise that for the greater good some sacrifices are necessary to be made, even if it leads to the complete annihilation of a group of people belonging to different religions and race. This type of mindset leads to the emergence of terrorism. Terrorism does not limit itself only to the victim but also harms people related to the victim. Whenever a terrorist despises anybody or a group, he tries to reap rich dividends by gaining as much publicity from his heinous act as he possibly can. Terrorists gauge the enormity of their acts not by their magnitude but by the coverage it gets in world media and the reaction from government and people in general. A case in point is the serial blasts carried out on the western corridor of Mumbai's local suburban railway on July 11, 2006 where the intent of the terrorists was to harm maximum number of Gujarati Hindus in order to convey their hatred for Gujaratis and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The timing of the explosions – evening, coincided with the returning home of maximum number of people from South Mumbai to North Mumbai via the suburban railway network.

If we consider the example of the November 26, 2008 massacre, in Mumbai  by Fidayeen (suicide squad), it was not aimed only at Hindus but also Jews and people belonging to western countries i.e. U.S.A or Europe  who were specifically  selected and killed at point blank. Chabbad House, a dharamshala sort of dwelling for Jews witnessed the killing all of its inmates who were Jews. This way the Fidayeen wanted to exhibit their macabre hatred for all the non-Muslims of the world. In fact Fidayeen not only mercilessly killed innocent people but also put out a chilling message for the rest of the world that they are not going to spare anyone who does not subscribe to  their point of view.

The terrorists have absolutely no faith in the sanctity of human life and therefore feel no remorse for the loss of human life due to their terrorist acts. Lives of even women and children are expendable for them. Their society also supports them in their unholy actions as they sing paeans for killing people from other religions/school of thought. The support of their society is essential for their survival as they need a cause to commit terrorist acts. They are not considered dangerous in their society. Often they declare that they are equal to thousands of non-believers. As Islam prohibits suicide, the Fidayeen underline the notion that giving life for Islam ensures martyrdom for them and it is just a matter of time, that is, the moment they press the button of the explosives they directly enter heaven. Fidayeen are more dangerous than other terrorists as they are mentally prepared to lay down their lives for their cause.

Sometimes sovereign nations also help them by providing training, funding and logistical support. In 1990s Pakistan created Taliban in Afghanistan to have a foothold in the say of matters of Afghanistan. Its spy agency ISI created and supported Lashkar-e-tayyaba and Jaish Mohammed to bleed India in the oft repeated aim of snatching Kashmir. Jaish-e-Mohammed was involved in the December 24, 1999 hijack of the Indian Airlines plane from Khatmandu which resulted in the  exchange of terrorist Masood Azhar against release of hostages. The Mumbai carnage of November 26, 2008 was the handiwork of Lashkar-e-tayyaba which has been un-equivocally proved by the testimony of David Coleman Headly in a Chicago court. When Navy seals of USA killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, the Pakistan government denied knowledge of terrorist existence in Abbotabad, Pakistan, on which CIA director Leone Panetta commented, “Either Pakistan is telling lies or it is simply the most inefficient nation in the whole world”.

Hatred can never be treated with hatred. It needs love to end the hatred. To extinguish fire, one needs water. A man is known as a  social animal. Animal instinct and human instinct, are both simultaneously active in a man. The animal instinct makes him selfish and he sheds the blood of others while human instinct impresses upon him to see reason and show compassion towards not only fellow humans but even animals. His animal instinct has created so- called divisions in human society and leads him to kill anyone who does not subscribe to his point of view. The difference may be in religion, community, race, colour or language. We have to raise the level of human instinct and show love, compassion and tolerance towards others. Only amity, love and tolerance can cure the malady of hatred. Herein comes the role of Sindhiat as others can learn a lesson or two from the lives of Sindhis. At the time of partition of India in 1947, India was engulfed in communal violence all over but even during those days, Sindh was the only province of India devoid of communal hatred. It was only the handiwork of the then Pakistani Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan who engineered communal riots in Sindh to create a fear psychosis so that Sindhi Hindus migrate, leaving behind their homes and businesses for the incoming Indian Muslim population.

It is Sindhiat which is responsible for love and tolerance in Sindhis. Sindhis have been and are different from other communities and when we talk about Sindhis we don't differentiate between Hindu Sindhis and Muslim Sindhis. A Sindhi shows love and tolerance not just for fellow Sindhi s, but for every human being living on this planet. Since time immemorial our poets, dervishes and thinkers have been giving out the message to tread the path of love, unity and humanity.

A Sindhi is defined as a calm and non-aggressive person. His faith in Sufism makes him tolerant towards other religions. He believes in humanity. He is hospitable, cares for others and prefers human values than commercial ones. A guest is considered a good omen in a Sindhi household. Not only a host but even neighbours take it upon themselves to make the guest at home and provide whatever he needs. Another aspect of a Sindhi is his respect for womenfolk. Sindhi Hindus celebrate many days where they worship a daughter. There is a famous saying that a hundred Brahmans are equal to one daughter. Muslims equate a daughter to seven Qurans (Holy book). Sindhis never allow their daughter to touch the feet of her father as is prevalent in other communities in India.

There are many instances of aggressors like Darius, Alexander, Asoka, Changez Khan, Mughals, Japanese and Europeans attacking and subjugating various nations of the world but you will never find a single act of aggression by a Sindhi against any country or nation.

The world needs to learn a lesson from Sindhis. Even if Sindhis have been humiliated time and again by various nations in the course of history they have never displayed any hatred or aggression against anybody. On the contrary with the passage of time the very same aggressors have made Sindh their home.