Many years ago, I had gone to the airport to receive my husband and I took my 4-year-old son with me. We were browsing in the bookshop when I noticed two gentlemen wearing the Pakistani salwar kurta, speaking in the Sindhi language. I recognised the dialect as belonging to Hyderabad, which is the place of my birth and from where my ancestors stem. I was fascinated as I heard them speak. Never had I heard such ‘shudh’ (pure) Sindhi spoken.
We do speak Sindhi grammatically, but we tend to mix English and/or Hindi words into our conversation. I went up to them and praised them for their diction and command over the Sindhi Language. I expected them to be pleased. Instead they started to criticize the fact that I was talking to my child in English and Hindi. Their tirade put me on the offensive. I told them that we were forced by circumstances beyond our control to leave our town in Sind; that ‘To Survive’ became our new language, religion and way of life. To survive we needed to mingle with the world. We had to imbibe the customs, mannerisms and language in return for the love and security that our new ‘home’ provided. Could they truly blame us for not speaking in only pure Sindhi with our children.
I think that the two gentlemen were taken aback by my passion, and they seemed to be learning about the point of view of a displaced Sindhi for the first time in their lives. I conduct classes on Hindu Philosophy and Culture. Much later, another gentleman asked me why I was not doing anything about reviving the Sindhi language. I decided to make a start by presenting to the Sindhis, ‘Sindhi proverbs’ as they project the way our ancestors thought and lived. Could I request friends who are reading these words to go through the proverbs, and then go through them with your children. Maybe we can still instill an interest in our children for the Sindhi language.
It is said that what is painful to remember, we simply don’t forget. The pain of having lost our birth land kept ‘us’…the past generation remembering…and we do not want the children of the future to forget. Below I present to you a proverb from the book: ‘Wisdom of Sind’
In matters of relationships, Sindhis made interesting observations. For a husband they believed that:
Murs ta phado, Na ta jado
Which literally means that unless a husband is hard to please, he is not good enough. Probably the macho image of a difficult man was attractive to a Sindhi woman. On the other hand, maybe the proverb was coined by the parents of the girl to make her life more satisfactory, by praising the negative traits of her husband.
Shakun Narain Kimatrai