Monday, December 7, 2009

Cultural Identity Of Sindh....History.A Sindh Tv Dialogue Initiated Some Ideas.

A good program was aired today on Sindh Tv about the cultural identity of Sindh. Part two will be aired next monday morning. The question was Is there a clash of civilisations as Sameul Huntington wrote in his book. Dr Chandio an eminent scholar told the audience that the economic and technological advancements will take any nation forward. Any language that has the base in this will move forward too. There was a query by a student as to who will be the next leader in civilisation and this was part answer to that. The idea of different civilisations occuring now and existing in a globally communicating world is debateable. Are we not all not part of one great civilisation now? In the historical sense ther were many civilisations, Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greco- Roman, but contemporary world has only one modern civilisation. Cultures, traditions and religions maybe different but there is no clash and no variety. Even the Roman views have amalgated into 'Western' thought and we in East have also absorbed and imbibed it. There is no homogenous 'Eastern ' civilisation.
The debate on Sindh Tv was the kind of knowledgeable programs that should be given to Pakistani public. If translation in both English and Urdu is run with the program , this will be helpful to a wider audience.
The other very important point that the enlightened Dr. Chandio made was that the promotion of Sindhi language should be seen in the context of how much it fulfils the needs to access modern technological and competitive knowledge like mathematics, science and technology in order to develop and make the students or people using Sindhi as a medium of education in order to enter the mainstream.He discouraged the use of demands to make Sindhi as medium of instruction only because it is spoken by a people and said that there is real need to work  to make this language  as a language to build human resource. This point is very valid for any language , however regional , to develop and survive in the modern world. It has been seen that the languages which have more data in technology and other fields of human development are increasingly bieng adopted by any people to gain economic advantage. English is one such language as the UK and US have used this language and they have been in the forefront of education and technology in the modern world.
There is a dire need in Pakistan for educationists , policy planners, other leaders to understand that there is urgent need to develop more information base in all regional languages as the child first learns the mother tongue and his development is based on good , healthy use of language. He will then additionally learn a second language where the needs for his further education will increase.
In present day Pakistan the people are at a disadvantage in that they have no proper educational institutions and their curricula are not geared to cope with the challenges  of modern educational requirements which are becoming highly competitive and specialised day by day.
It is high time that all stakeholders in Pakistan's education took a proactive role and started a strategic approach to develop data and content in regional languages and integrate this with the national education program.All schools should offer matriculation board curricula with any mother tongue and English and Urdu as compulsory other languages. If a large content base is build in regional laanguages, the problem of lack of teachers and illiteracy and school drop out will be squarely addressed and resolved.
Right now the children drop out also because they find it difficult to study non mother tongue languages earlier. We really need this mother tongue language education dvelopment approach for Pakistan.
The 'O' and 'A' level board exams are a burden in our meager educational and economic resources. I have seen that almost all students in these schools are suffering because neither good trained teachers are available, nor the educational system is geared towards this kind of education. It is high time that the government improve the matric educational system and offer students more variety and choice and made government run schools more competitive all over Pakistan. We have done matric and are at par with any foreign college university eduacted person, why? Because our educational syllabus and teachers were good at that time. This was 1972 when I did my matric. My husband is also a leading writer, engineer, scholar. He also did matric from a Karachi school. So only by making matric syllabus more stronger, training more teachers and bringing a uniform, universal education system with strong use of mother tongue and regional languages will we be able to offer a future to the young ones in Pakistan. This kind of approach will also bring the people together as they will feel more  empowered, more recognised, more fulfilled. It will definitely bring more social cohesion and economic prosperity.
A very important point another distinguished speaker made was that  all peoples like Baluch,others from Iran and even Turkey etc., when they came to Sindh, integrated especially in the use of language and all culture but the only peoples who have not are the 'Urdu' speaking from India. He is right to some extent in that these 'Urdu' speaking largely settled in 'Urban'  Sindh . Here they particularly did not feel the need to use Sindhi as medium to communicate. As in those days the burauecracy and other office people were mostly fron India, some English was also used. Over the years due to lack of use of Sindhi as medium in any government department and documentation really lessened the need for it's use by the Urdu speaking population.
Meanwhile as Dr Chandio pointed out  , no development approach to Sindhi language was taken in order for it to become the 'Lingua Franca'. I find that in my 51 years in Sindh, the only learning I had of Sindhi language and culture and literature was becuase of my own interest and fascination with culture and peoples.I bieng born, bred and raised in Karachi of a mother , a lady educationist who is a poet in Urdu but teaches English and a father who because of bieng a Madras/ Bangalore birth combination could speak English and Tamil. The little conversational Urdu he learned was from my mother.I saw my mother recite her Urdu language poems in Karachi with big contemporary poets and masters like Himayet Ali Shaer , Faiz Ahmed Faiz and John Aliya.During years of English teaching at the PACC, she faced and tried to educate the youth especially from Sindh and Baluchistan, who had special 'hatred' for Urdu, to learn and communicate in all languages that one may come accross.This distinguished guest said that it is nationalists sentiments that define and make culture flourish. I do not know , but practically in Sindh and Baluchistan I have seen that the so -called 'Nationalists' have damaged the promotion of their culture and languages due to a kind of 'Ghettoising' their identity and using it as a legitimising tool for the realisation of their demands whether political or even economic. This has damaged the integrity and cohesional existence both in Sindh and Baluchistan to the detriment and cost of development and economic progress also. See what is this 'Urban' /'Rural' divide in Sindh?. In terms of Pakistan Peoples Party perspective it expresses as nationalist sentiment and face.Recently some Sindhi speaking MPAs question vociferously as to why is rest of Sindh other than Karachi bieng called 'Interior'?  The question is valid upto a point. It is high time that the PPP took a clear stand on it;s policy of promoting the Sindhi culture. Just by wearing the Ajrak and Sindhi topi will not solve the problems that I have pointed out in my post. Just by using the Sindh card in times of need will not make anyone a better Sindhi.
It is the need of the times that we integrated all regional languages  in a mainstraem, matriculation based educational board all over Pakistan. Long live the beuatiful, tolerant , sweet Sufi culture of Sindh, Long live our beloved Pakistan and it's multilingual, beautiful people of all faiths and religions!

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