The new festival, being hosted by Sindhi Culture Foundation, will be held on September 4.
BY SHRADHA SHAHANI
“In August 1947, nearly 12, 00,000 Sindhis left their homes one fateful night, leaving their keys with their neighbors. They thought they would come back when things became quiet, but they left never to return,” says Aruna Madnani, founder of Sindhi Culture Foundation. “And when they left, they also left their culture behind.”
Doorway to Sindh, a new festival slated to be held on 4 September and organized by the Sindhi Culture Foundation, is now taking Sindhis back to their homeland through a series of talks hosted by scholars, historians, archaeologists and anthropologists. The event curated by Madnani, who has had the opportunity to visit Sindh in 2018, will revolve around oral history, art, craft, language and more over a series of six sessions.
The first session, titled ‘Sindh—Real and Imagined’ delves into the dissipation of the language and occupations of the Sindhi diaspora. The talk will be hosted by Sarah Ansari, a history professor with a focus on India’s Partition, and Rita Kothari, a multilingual scholar who holds a PhD in literary studies.
Another session will explore Marui, a folktale based on a girl who was born in a community of nomads in the Thar Desert in Sindh and whose legend is immortalized in the works of poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. This will be followed by a screening of a documentary on Marui directed by Shabnam Virmani and featuring Sufi scholar Abdullah Hussain Turk.
One of the talks will examines the third millennium B.C. civilizations of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa near the Indus River in Sindh (modern-day Pakistan). Dr. Michael Jansen, a German scholar, and Dr Kaleemullah Lashari, an archaeologist, historian and author, will talk about architecture, lesser-known facts, and trade, script and material remains of Mohenjo-Daro. Archaeologist Vasant Shinde, who is armed with extensive knowledge of the Harappan civilization, will share knowledge about the latest research on the Harappan DNA and craniofacial analysis.
The last talk hosted by Dr Jürgen Schaflechner, a researcher and filmmaker who has documented the lives of refugees in India, will discuss spaces sacred to the Sindhi community, including the Hindu pilgrimage site Hinglaj, along trading routes, from the coastal regions of Sindh all the way to Maharashtra.
“The fight for freedom and celebration of Independence was an exile for Sindhis to cities that are culturally and linguistically different. They lived homeless and penniless in the squalor of refugee camps. The festival aims to connect future generations to our lost homeland,” says Madnani.
Doorway to Sindh will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube on 4th September.
Courtesy: CN Traveller (Published on August 24, 2022)