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Let’s ensure learning is fun!

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Let’s ensure learning is fun!Nothing motivates learners as much as fun does because it comes from genuine interest from within instead of pressure from others. Students are much more likely to invest extra time in the learning process if they enjoy it.

By Nazarul Islam

Some years ago, I had observed in one rural tutorial center—that young children were gossiping in low voices among themselves sitting on the mat as their teacher prepared to teach them about the germination of seeds and growth of plants, equipped with pictures of life cycle of plants.

Outside the classroom, there was a garden harboring many flower and vegetable plants. Curious children pointed to this garden and tried to draw the attention of teacher. But the teacher drew their attention back to his lecture so that children would perform well in the examination.

Once, a student of Grade 8 had raised his hand to ask if there were any places in the world where there was no plant. The teacher stopped him bluntly, in his mid-sentence: “No questions now, please; it is time for learning”. This method of teaching forces children to miss how to sow seeds followed by the joy of their germination in the garden. It could be a scene in almost any school. Children, full of questions about things that interest them, are learning not to ask them at school. It is not the fault of teachers. They have so many targets to meet.

Against a background of tests and targets, unscripted queries go mainly unanswered and learning opportunities are lost. Children are born curious. The number of questions a toddler asks can seem infinite – it is one of the critical methods humans adopt to learn.

According to researchers, children ask an average of 107 questions an hour. One child is generally asking three questions a minute at his peak. Unfortunately during learning, teachers do not encourage questions being asked in the classroom and thereby a child’s creativity and conversational skills do not increase. But promoting curiosity is a foundation for early learning that we should be emphasizing when we look at academic achievement.

When teachers tell young children not to ask questions during their lecture, high-performing students are found to be less curious, because they see curiosity as a risk to their results whereas curious students who ask lots of questions get better results by understanding a topic more deeply.

But unfortunately, questioning drops like a stone once children start school. The youngest children hardly ask two or three questions in a two-hour period. Even worse, as they get older the children give up asking altogether. As soon as they are at primary school, they have to shut up and learn. It is true that children have inherent curiosity to ask questions at any time on any topic that interests them.

Ultimately it is our education system that kills curiosity. Many people in educational communities give emphasis on the behavior of the children while learning and their performance in the examination. Often educational bureaucracies have shunted curiosity to the side.

Many of us as guardians, educators, students or politicians forget that education does more than just impart literacy – it empowers students to take risks and face the world with confidence. One silver lining is that all efforts are expected to inspire a shift— from rote learning to in-depth understanding.

The curriculum content will be reduced to core essentials and create more space for critical thinking, discussion and analysis. Teaching and learning will be more interactive, exploratory, collaborative, and experiential. Age group of 3-6 years under the school curriculum has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for the development of mental faculties of a child.

Education is not just learning how to be a problem solver, but a blazer of trails, a setter of bars, and a raiser of stakes. Researchers gauged levels of curiosity when the children were babies, toddlers and preschoolers, using parent visits and questionnaires.

Reading, math and behavior were then checked in kindergarten (the first year of school), where they found that the most curious children performed best. In a finding critical to tackling the stubborn achievement gap between poorer and richer children, disadvantaged children had the strongest connection between curiosity and performance.

When I started to discuss the anomalies with a group of students, I realized that It would become increasingly difficult to hold their attention through a full day of learning. So the best possible option is to present the required curriculum to the students in an interesting and relatable way, because there was one thing in common among all the children – they did not like reading textbooks.

Students were found to be most receptive when I could make analogies that they could relate to their enjoyment. This applies to all subjects.

Now, every alternate day, I had made sure that at least one experiment would carried out to make them understand that science is fun. Gradually, students gained an interest in science and started consulting their text book on certain scientific topics and other events in their daily life. Even the quiet students who did not like to read have started to discuss the experiments with their guardians when they went back to the homes.

While teaching math at the elementary level, I once sat up late with the concerned teacher quite late in the night, to make up examples that would likely help students to understand better. Instead of asking them to divide 20 imaginary apples, I asked them to put their 20 friends in teams and they visualized the problem and understood what operation to use.

Most students enjoy hearing stories to which they can relate, and tend to remember the lessons associated with an experience. In biology, mutualism is an equal relationship while parasitism is like the friend who keeps eating your food but never brings any to share. This is why it is very important for us to make the process of learning as easy to absorb as possible.

Nothing motivates learners as much as fun does because it comes from genuine interest from within instead of pressure from others. Students are much more likely to invest extra time in the learning process if they enjoy it.

Let us help our children create their own structure or timetable for the day, combining their ideas and home learning. Now it is high time to encourage children to research something that is of interest to them and show their learning with a creative project. This could be making something with play-dough, junk modelling, papier-mache or a presentation.

Also positive constructive praise that targets effort, behavior and specific aspects of a child’s work is much more powerful than just saying “well done, for completing your monotonous home task”. Movement breaks – such as dancing to music, performing animal walks or playing Simon Says – provide children with sensory feedback and offers them a chance to “reset”. We must remember that learning should be fun.

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About the Author

Nazarul IslamThe Bengal-born writer is a senior educationist based in USA. He writes for Sindh Courier and the newspapers of Bangladesh, India and America.

Veteran Sindhi Scholar Dr. Satish Rohra Passes Away

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Veteran Sindhi Scholar Dr. Satish Rohra Passes Away - Sindh CourierDr. Satish Rohra was one of the founder directors of Indian Institute of Sindhology and author of several books. He was also the Chairman of Cultural University Development Board of Sindhology

Adipur, India: Dr. Satish Kumar Rohra, a veteran Sindhi scholar, short story writer, critic and linguist, passed away on February 24 in Adipur, Gandhidham Kutch India at the age of 92. He was former Director, Indian Institute of Sindhology, Adipur.

Dr. Satish Rohra was born on 15th August 1929 at Dadu Sindh. He was 18 years of age when his family had to migrate to India in 1948 due to situation developed after partition in 1947.

In an interview, Dr. Satish recalling an incident, told that a train carrying the ‘Muhajirs’ from Punjab stationed at Dadu and they started looting the shops. “My brother had a shop and the mob intended to attack, but a Muslim Sindhi named Salih saved the shop,” Dr. Satish said.

Watch interview of Dr. Satish Kumar Rohra   

He was one of the founder directors of Indian Institute of Sindhology and remained one for 12 years. He was also the Chairman of Cultural University Development Board of Sindhology.

Dr. Rohra was a distinguished Sindhi scholar, writer, critic, poet, a linguist and a good speaker. With his clear thinking and rational ideas he always put forth his arguments with full conviction. Dr. Rohra used to keep his audience spell bound for hours enumerating the qualities of Sindhi culture. He often narrated many episodes from Sindhi history which delighted the audience and brought awareness about Sindhi culture and its relevance to modern times. He was one of the most sought after speaker in Sindhi community with an excellent command over Sindhi, Hindi and English languages.

Dr. Rohra was very optimistic about the future of Sindhi community. According to him, Sindhis, scattered around the globe, can remain united through the bond of Sindhi culture. With his clear vision he played a pioneering role in establishing Indian Institute of Sindhology, a center of higher learning and research into Sindhi studies, which is being developed into Sindhi Cultural University. Institute of Sindhology was established in Sindh in 1964 and on the same pattern it was founded in Adipur, India.

Watch another interview of Dr. Satish Rohra

Dr. Rohra did Masters in Hindi and obtained his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Poona. He was professor of Hindi at Banaras Hindu University and also a visiting professor of Hindi at University of Guyana, West Indies. He retired from the central Institute of Hindi in 1990 as a professor of applied linguistics.

Here is another interview of Dr. Satish Rohra

Dr. Rohra has several books to his credit which include books in Sindhi, Hindi and English. He has done research on origin of Sindhi language. His philosophy of life was to pay back to the society with full interest the debt which he has incurred from it. Whatever he was today, he believed, was because of the gifts society had bestowed on him.

Some of his Sindhi books are: Rishto (Relationship) Short Stories, 1989; Chhand Chhan (Analysis), Critical essays, 1996; Undahi jo Sachhu (Truth of Darkness), Short Stories, 1997 and Bhasha Ain Bhasha Vigyan (Language & Linguistics). He also authored English books including ‘Cultural Bypass Surgery’.

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Source: Shindhi Shan and other websites

Bengali Language Issue: Tragic Happenings

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Bengali Language Issue - Tragic Happenings - language martyrs' monumentDhirendranath Dutta rose in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly on 25 February 1948 in defence of Bangla. He was shouted down by Liaquat Ali Khan.

By Syed Badrul Ahsan

Dhirendranath Dutta rose in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly on 25 February 1948 in defence of Bangla. He was shouted down by Liaquat Ali Khan. On 21 March 1948, speaking in Dhaka, Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, in clear disregard of Bengali sentiments, asserted that Urdu alone would be the state language of Pakistan.

The road to disaster was beginning to be paved.

Observe Ratan Lal Chakrabarty’s work, Bhasha Andoloner Dolilpotro (Documents of the Language Movement), a revealing record of the happenings leading to Ekushey 1952 and beyond.

Prior to the tragic happenings of February 1952, elements unwilling to acknowledge the primacy of the Bengali language in Pakistan went all the way voicing their determination to keep what they called the Pakistan ideology intact. The consequences were sometimes hilarious. There was the Aga Khan, with his bizarre suggestion that as a way of putting an end to the language controversy, Pakistan should adopt Arabic as its state language. In the process, he went for some defence of Urdu but had absolutely no sympathy for Bangla.

Note some editorial comments by newspapers at the time, February 1951 (a year before the tragedy occurred), as they appear in Chakrabarty’s work.

In its editorial on 13 February 1951, the Pakistan Observer had this to say:

‘We are glad that the Aga Khan has done some plain speaking, at the risk of being misunderstood, regarding the language controversy. Though we do not think that making Arabic the state language of Pakistan is a feasible proposition still he has done a service by boldly attacking some false notions about Urdu. . . The only wise course under the circumstances is to adopt both Bengali and Urdu as the state language(s) of Pakistan.’

The Morning News, on 14 February 1951, was tongue-in-cheek in its response to the Aga Khan’s suggestion:

‘All the three reasons that the Aga Khan has advanced for Arabic and against Urdu appear to be on the face of them fallacious. . . We mean no disrespect to the Aga Khan when we respectfully differ from (sic) him. Arabic has not been able to unite the Arabs themselves. How can it unite Pakistan with the Arab world?’

There was, however, the Azad, effusive in its appreciation of the Aga Khan’s views. On 13 February 1951, it wrote:

‘His proposal is not new. It has got many supporters both in eastern and western Pakistan . . . It therefore appears that the movement in support of Arabic is gaining ground. The leaders of the country should therefore go deeply into this matter.’

On 18 April 1951, the Pakistan Observer, reacting to pro-Urdu suggestions, was scathing in its comment:

‘Maulana Akram Khan is reported to have said at the Urdu Conference that those who oppose Urdu in East Bengal are the enemies of Islam. Presumably he includes among those ‘enemies’ those who like Dr. Mohd. Shahidullah have been advocating Arabic as our state language in preference to Urdu. Those who want to see Urdu and Urdu alone as our national language are bad psychologists.’

Notably, Dr. Shahidullah’s views on Arabic were mock-serious. He had actually argued for Bangla but had ventured to suggest that if it was a matter of an Islamic language for Pakistan, why not go for Arabic rather than Urdu?

Preparations for the general strike called for 21 February 1952 went on in full swing throughout the day on 20 February. A meeting of the All-Party State Language Committee of Action took place in the evening at the Nawabpur office of the Awami Muslim League. The deliberations focused on whether the strike would go ahead through violating Section 144 imposed by the East Bengal government. Badruddin Umar notes that a majority of those present at the meeting opposed a violation of Section 144. Only Oli Ahad, convenor of the Dhaka University State Language Committee of Action, and a few others, were for a defiance of Section 144.

Orders relating to the imposition of Section 144 for a period of 30 days under the Criminal Procedure Code were served on the same day by S.H. Qureshi, District Magistrate of Dhaka. Government officials were quick to justify the action. Aziz Ahmed, Chief Secretary to the government of East Bengal (he later became foreign secretary in the Ayub era and minister of state for foreign affairs under Z.A. Bhutto post-1971), pointed out that intelligence reports had warned of plans by the protestors to surround the assembly premises and enter the House forcibly. That was misleading. The protestors did plan to lay siege to the assembly but did not mean to enter it. The government was simply resorting to falsehood.

For the record, Chief Minister Nurul Amin noted subsequently that the decision on clamping Section 144 had been made at the bureaucratic level and he had not been consulted on the subject. Amin’s statement was a broad hint of how politicians in power at the time were hostage to officials who were supposed to take orders from them. Chief Secretary Aziz Ahmed ran the province with little respect for the authority of the chief minister.

History remains witness to the tragedy which struck Dhaka, indeed the whole of East Bengal, on 21 February 1952 when the police fired on the student protestors gathered on the campus of Dhaka University. The casualties were many. The shootings left the country stunned.

The next day, 22 February, a complete strike was observed in Dhaka in protest against the killings of the previous day. Railway workers stopped work in Dhaka and Narayanganj. The shootings of 21 February had ramifications, with the provincial and central governments taking flak from all quarters. The vice chancellor of Dhaka University loudly proclaimed that there had been no such provocation as to warrant such brutal action by the police. A meeting of the Dhaka High Court Bar Association, presided over by Sher-e-Bangla A.K. Fazlul Huq, severely condemned the police action. Devotees at mosques offered special prayers for those killed on 21 February. At the janaza of the martyrs, thousands of people, including Sher-e-Bangla and Abul Hashim, took part. Doctors and staff at Dhaka Medical College met in a session and roundly denounced the police action.

Angry citizens, furious at the motivated reporting of the students’ movement by the Morning News newspaper, burnt its office down. The newspaper had been trying to peddle the false news that the language agitation was the doing of Indians and communists. It even committed the outrage of reporting that a large number of dhotis had been found in the city, an unabashed instigation of communalism.

When the provincial legislative assembly met in session on 22 February, Abdur Rashid Tarkabagish and Khairat Hossain moved adjournment motions on the incidents of the previous day. Khairat Hossain and Ali Ahmed Khan demanded that the assembly adopt obituary notices on the killings by the police. However, Chief Minister Nurul Amin resolutely opposed the motions, which were defeated as they had been unable to obtain the required number of votes. Nurul Amin then tabled a resolution recommending that Bangla be adopted as the state language of Pakistan. He noted that the case for Bangla was supported by the government of Pakistan. Curiously, though, he added fuel to the fire when he stated that on 21 February, the students had provoked the shootings by violating Section 144.

On 22 February, students at educational institutions lowered the national flag to half-mast in memory of those killed in police firing and demonstrated at several places in Dhaka. Meanwhile, an unrepentant government remained busy trying to demonize citizens. As its press note reported:

‘On the Nawabpur Road another unruly crowd overpowered the police officers in charge of the forces … Since it would not disperse firing was resorted to in order to disperse it. A lathi charge was also made in the university area.’

The authorities went to every extent possible to paint the students in dark colors. It even reported, falsely, that Hasan Ali, the minister for communications, had been injured as a result of student violence.

The strike in the province went beyond 22 February and well into 23 February. Shops stayed closed and no vehicles were seen on the streets of Dhaka. Railway workers stayed away from work, which meant that trains did not leave Dhaka or enter it. Citizens clashed with police in various parts of the city. Women students of Dhaka University joined their male fellow students to condemn the barbaric act of the government. They demanded the resignation of the chief minister.

On 23 February, the Tamaddun Majlis issued a statement severely criticizing the action of the government. It resolved to continue the struggle for Bangla as the language of the state. Condemnations of the police firing also came from the Alia Madrasah, Islamic Brotherhood, Dhaka Traders Association and other organizations. Interestingly, a fairly good number of organizations in West Pakistan stepped into the scene with their criticism of the government action of 21 February.

On 23 February 1952, the Karachi-based newspaper Dawn had this editorial comment:

‘All Pakistan will grieve and our enemies will derive comfort and cheer from the tragic happenings at Dacca. First and foremost we offer homage to those who have paid the forfeit of their lives in the conflict between their convictions on the one hand, and the principle that law and order shall be maintained, on the other hand….

But every dark cloud has a silver lining and out of these grievous happenings has emerged the final knowledge of how deeply our people and our kith and kin in East Pakistan feel on the language issue. . . We can assure the people of East Pakistan that the people of West Pakistan will not grudge them the equality with Urdu which Bengali has at last won.’

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Syed Badrul Ahsan is a writer and columnist
Courtesy: Daily Sun Dhaka

America’s politics of disaster

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America’s politics of disaster-1In times of natural disasters, we try to put the politics aside and come together to rally around the flag. But when one studies the response to recent national disasters we have observed that politics has been turning, much more cutthroat.

By Nazarul Islam

United States may be grappling with crises rooted in nature, but it is politics underpinning the response to the health and safety problems affecting people of all political stripes. While in the past, a hurricane or other devastating event had brought communities and the nation together to help neighbors, the current crises are merely exposing America’s deep partisan divides.

In times of natural disasters, we try to put the politics aside and come together to rally around the flag. But when one studies the response to recent national disasters we have observed that politics has been turning, much more cutthroat.

Some US Presidents have been criticized in the past for their disaster responses, such as George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina or Donald Trump’s paper towel-throwing display in Puerto Rico that became a metaphor for his attitude toward the hurricane-ravaged U.S. territory. But the recent crises are dividing the populace, as well, along ideological lines, experts say.

Disaster politics provide a valuable insight into some really important transformations in our politics. In times of natural disasters, one endeavors to put politics aside and come together to rally around the flag.

It used to be that disasters were more bipartisan. No one would want to be seen as the person to politicize it. But the content-demanding 24/7 news cycle and a highly charged political environment, being the incentive is the opposite, to be the first hand to cast a stone.

Nowhere is that more evident right now than in the Lone Star State, where storms and unusual freezing temperatures overwhelmed Texas’ own power grid and left people without basic services.

This state’s famed go-it-alone approach has critics complaining that Texas’ grid – unconnected to the national grid – leaves the state vulnerable to storms, while others say that’s just part of what it means to be a proudly independent Texan.

Texas is very urban but identifies as rural, and the result is that so many things end up dividing Texans along ideological or party lines. Residents of the state are in this cycle where everything becomes intentionally created to divide. There is a clear distinction between what the Texas way is and what the outsiders’ way is.

Still, with the crisis – on top of the pandemic crippling much of Texas, the bootstraps argument is growing thin, and state officials are on the defense.

Gov. Greg Abbott had previously used the crisis to blast the – still very theoretical – Green New Deal, saying if America relied on renewable energy, such events would be more common. He later walked back his comments, saying it was gas and coal failures that led to the power outages.

Colorado City Mayor Tim Boyd resigned after posting comments to his Facebook page telling “lazy” residents they should fix their own power troubles.

“Only the strong will survive,” Boyd wrote in the now-deleted post.

Rick Perry – a former Texas governor and secretary of energy from 2017-19, has expressed his anger in an interview that a few days of powerlessness are worth it to Texans if it means avoiding Washington interference. Texas has its own power grid, losing both the federal regulation and the back-up that comes from being part of one of the two, linked national grids.

A disgusted Perry had further warned that Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business like others Perry was denounced as well, by Democrats and on social media for his fiery remarks.

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About the Author

Nazarul IslamThe Bengal-born writer is a senior educationist based in USA. He writes for Sindh Courier and the newspapers of Bangladesh, India and America.

Also read:

Texas Crisis Shows Disaster Politics Is Dividing America

 

Public School Hyderabad to be run on IBA Sukkur’s pattern

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Public School Hyderabad to be run on IBA Sukkur’s pattern - Commissioner Meeting- Sindh CourierThe Public School is already under the administrative control of IBA Sukkur

Commissioner Hyderabad holds meeting to sort out school’s financial and other problems; suggests increasing the fee  

Hyderabad: Divisional Commissioner Hyderabad Muhammad Abbas Baloch directed the concerned authorities on Wednesday to run the Public School Hyderabad on the pattern of IBA Sukkur’s Community Colleges.

“All the recommendations should be brought before the Board of Governors of Public School so that better decisions could be made for the improvement of the school,” he said while presiding over a meeting convened to sort out the financial and other problems of Public School Latifabad, Hyderabad.

Commissioner said that Public School Hyderabad was a historical and important educational institution and under a Memorandum of Understanding, its administrative control was given to IBA Sukkur for its betterment.

He said that the Public School was facing financial problems and bailout package was given by Sindh government.

The meeting discussed issues of increasing the salaries of teachers, recommendations of Human Resource Committee and recruitment of teachers in future.

Commissioner Hyderabad said that no compromise should be made on the improvement of education in the Public School. Reviewing the fee structure, he suggested increasing the fee as it was very low as compared to other schools. “This would help resolve the financial problems of school.”

The meeting decided to recruit teachers on merit basis through selection board.

Commissioner Hyderabad said that recommendations should be brought in the board of governors to make the salary structure of Public School employees equal to IBA community colleges.

Commissioner Baloch said that the image of the school should be improved which depends on imparting better education. “The grading system in the school should be changed and the teachers who are still working should be promoted on the recommendations of the promotion committee.”

Chairman HR Committee Muhammad Humayun Khan, Principal Public School Imran Ali Larik, Noor Sher and Assistant Commissioner Surhan Abro attended the meeting.

Public School Hyderabad to be run on IBA Sukkur’s pattern - Commissioner Meeting- Sindh Courier-1Chairing another meeting regarding rehabilitation of Rani Bagh, Shaheed-e-Milat Park and Hussainabad ParK, Commissioner Hyderabad directed the officers of the concerned departments to visit Hussainabad Park on daily basis to ensure the rehabilitation of park.

Deputy Commissioner Hyderabad Fuad Ghaffar Soomro, Assistant Commissioner Latifabad, Deputy Director P & D Sanaullah Rind, Administrator Hyderabad Safdar Bughio, MD WASA Muzaffar Memon and representatives of Parks Department, Forest, Agriculture University Tando Jam and Rangers attended the meeting.

Commissioner said that if the existing infrastructure of the park would initially be restored as well as planning would be done for further rehabilitation and renovation in the future.

He directed MD Wasa to provide water to Hussainabad Park in three days while the Administrator Hyderabad was directed to complete the construction of boundary wall of the park as soon as possible.

He further said that for last two years, Hyderabad has received heavy showers and considering these experiences, no one should be allowed to damage the drains and if any institution damages them for any reason, they must be responsible to repair it immediately.

Later, he held another meeting in connection with the establishment of a C-Arts (Autism) Center at Red Crescent Hospital for the mental training of autistic children.

Commissioner was informed about the problems related to the C-Arts Center. Assuring his full cooperation he said that the required infrastructure of the hospital would be provided soon so that the process of registration for mental training of children could be started as soon as possible. Deputy Director Planning and Development Sanaullah Rind, Assistant Director Planning and Development Amir Jatoi, Manager C-Arts Center, Farooq Sheikhani, Dr. Iqbal Haroon, Shakeel Ahmed and others attended the meeting. (PR)

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Thar Coal Block-II: Village Thahriyo Halepoto to be relocated

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Thar Coal Block-II - Village Thahriyo Halepoto to be relocated - Sindh Courier-1
A view of existing Thahriyo Halepoto Village

Planning and designing underway for New Thariyo Halepoto village situated at a distance of only 2 km of the existing village

Payment of annual compensation to the residents of New Senhri Dars completed

By GR Junejo

Islamkot: Under the Resettlement Action Plan of Thar Coal Block-II, the village Thahriyo Halepoto would be relocated to New Thariyo Halepoto which is situated at a distance of only two kilometers of the existing village.

Earlier, in the first phase, residents of village Senhri Dars were resettled at New Senhri Dars village.

“Planning and designing of the village New Thahryo Halepoto are underway,” Naseer Memon, General Manager, SECMC and Thar Foundation, disclosed while speaking at the second phase of payment of Annual Compensation to resettled households for the 2nd consecutive year, in a ceremony at the community center of New Senhri Dars Model Village on Wednesday.

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), a joint venture of Sindh government and Engro Corporation, under the policy is paying lifetime compensation to the resettled communities. A cheque of Rs.100000/- was handed to each of 172 households. The payment was started on Tuesday.

As per the policy of the Sindh government, 172 households of Village Senhri Dars, who had been shifted to newly constructed New Senhri Dars, will be paid non-transferable lifetime-compensation of Rs.100,000/ annually.

As per the Resettlement Action Plan of Thar Coal Block II, 172 households were amicably shifted to the village New Senhri Dars (NSD) Model Village from village Senhri Dars situated in Thar Coal Block II.

Thar Coal Block-II - Village Thahriyo Halepoto to be relocated - New Senhri Dars model Village House
A view of New Senhri Dars Model Village

The new village was built at 4 km from the old Senhri Dars. Under a policy, each married couple has been allotted 1100-yards bungalow with all the basic amenities. In the same model village, a primary and high school with a capacity of 1000 students, two RO Plants supplying clean drinking water, a public park, a playground, streetlights, two community centers, a mosque, a temple, a dispensary, a mini-market consisting of 10 shops have also been built. Moreover, every housing unit in the village has been supplied with a HESCO electricity connection and installed a solar power system. The community has also been allotted 850 acres of pasture/grazing land, making it a precedent in the development history of Pakistan.

Addressing the ceremony, Naseer Memon said that Sindh government and SECMC respect the sacrifice made by the residents of Senhri Dars village in the national interest in Thar Coal Block II who left their ancestral home two years ago and consider them partners for development.

Thar Coal Block-II - Village Thahriyo Halepoto to be relocated - New Senhri Dars model Village House-2He said that the Thar Coal Block II project does not consider NSD residents as affectees but beneficiaries and they will continue to get benefits.

”A person who is relocated from his or her ancestral places has a deep connection and memories, but the people of this village have contributed to the development of Thar and ultimate to the country,” he said.

He was of the view that the company has not left the villagers alone, as the relationship with them has been strengthened further since they shifted to new village. “They will continue to be partners and will be taken care of in all spheres and will be given priority in livelihood opportunities,” he added.

Muhammad Hingorjo, Irfan Ali Junejo, Ashraf Noon of Thar Foundation, Villagers Abbas Dars, Taj Muhammad Dars, Manzoor Dars, Ghulam Haider Dars, and others also participated in the cheque distribution ceremony.

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Vocational Training Center for Transgender Community established in Hyderabad

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Vocational Training Center for Transgender Community established in Hyderabad - Sindh Courier-1Transgender persons will be imparted training in various trades like computer, beautician, tailoring, cooking, music besides informal education and religious teaching

Center has been established by Sindh Social Welfare Department; enrollment would begin within a few days; Hyderabad has a population of about 700 transgender persons

Hyderabad: Sindh Social Welfare Department has established a Vocational Training Center named as ‘Community Development Center’ (CDC) for imparting training to the members of transgender community of Hyderabad.

The members of transgender community will be imparted training of different vocations like computer, beautician, tailoring, cooking, music along with informal education and religious teaching.

The Social Welfare Department had planned setting up three such centers – one each in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur following the Supreme Court orders in 2012.

Vocational Training Center for Transgender Community established in Hyderabad - Sindh Courier-2The Hyderabad Center, located in Qasimabad, was made functional recently when Director General, Social Welfare Department, Sindh Mr. Ghulam Abbas Detho formally inaugurated the CDC on February 18, 2021.

Click on Sindh Courier to watch inaugural ceremony video

The CDC has been established with a view to provide opportunity to the members of transgender community to develop their skills so that they can live a respectable life. Such trainings will make their life easy and save them from beggary and drugs.

Assistant Director, Social Welfare, Tasneem Ahmed Memon, who is the in-charge of CDC Hyderabad, told Sindh Courier that he has approached a number of members of transgender community in Hyderabad including their Guru Sana Khan, with the help of social activist Ms. Nazish Fatima. “We will start their enrollment within a few days,” he said.

Guru Sana Khan and some other transgender persons have visited the CDC and assured their cooperation. “According to Guru, they will hold meeting to decide the vocations for each community member as per their aptitude,” the official told.

The Guru has also provided a list containing the names of transgender persons along with their address and contact number. “Although the list is short but they have promised to share more names,” he said.

To a question, Tasneem Ahmed told that the transgender persons were reluctant at the outset and it took lot of time to convince them for taking benefit of the facility being provided to them by the government. “The government has even employed a music teacher – Ustad Aqeel Waris, to teach them music,” he told.

Vocational Training Center for Transgender Community established in Hyderabad - Sindh Courier-6As regards the total population of transgender community in Hyderabad, Tasneem Ahmed told that no any formal survey has so far been conducted, but as the Guru Sana Khan says, there are at least 700 transgender persons in the city. “They are concentrated in certain localities of the city.”

Social Activist Ms. Nazish Fatima, who is very actively working for the rights of transgender community in Hyderabad, also visited the CDC. She lauded the Social Welfare Department’s initiative however viewed that still so many hurdles and challenges are there for transgender community. “The transgender persons are generally known as sex workers. The society doesn’t look at them with any respect,” she said and underscored the need to change such perceptions. “We all must change our attitudes towards transgender persons.”

Nazish requested the Social Welfare Department officials to take more steps and make it easy for transgender community to live a respectable life.

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Sindh Courier Report

In the end, God wipes away the tears!

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In the end God wipes away the tearsWhenever exposed to traumas, let’s pray to our Creator, with a broken heart. He is not only the doctor who mends it, but also the father who wipes away the tears.

By Nazarul Islam

The consequences of a tragedy often endure long after a tragic mishap is over. Accidents happen. Our bones shatter, our skin splits, our hearts break. Some of us invite burn injuries, some drown, but Thanks God, we survive after serious mishaps.

There is something about trauma to the mind, body and soul. Sufferings continue…. one day, you are normal and the next you are different; you don’t know what changed but you know nothing’s the same and all of a sudden you are learning to adapt yourself to the same environment with a whole new outlook. I guess, we realize we are not invincible and every aching bone bleeds its sorrow through anguish in your movements.

One day it’ll get easier, because the injured keeps telling himself it will and that’s the difference between becoming a pioneer through this disaster when all thought the victim would be a slave to pity.

The findings of a study by the World Bank on road accidents: it has revealed that every death in the three major countries of the subcontinent caused by road accidents lead to the depletion of nearly seven months’ income in the households of poor families and pushes the victims’ kin into a vicious cycle of poverty and debt.

Predictably, low-income rural households are hit the hardest. They reported twice the number of deaths as a result of an accident than high-income households did; the risk of a survivor having to deal with a disability was also twice as likely among poor families.

Women, the report suggests, bear a disproportionate share of the burden as well, having to take on additional work alongside caregiving activities. While 50 per cent of women reported being severely affected by the decline in their household income, around 11 per cent said they had to take up more work to deal with the financial crisis.

A key takeaway from the study is that the long-term effects of road mishaps remain — deliberately or unaddressed in policy interventions. This is perhaps because road accidents are largely viewed through the lens of public safety and infrastructure, with interventions being designed accordingly.

This is not to say that such aspects need to be ignored given that our country witnesses 53 road crashes every hour, many of which are a result of the flagrant disregard commuters’ display towards road safety. This collective indifference is represented by the sightings of helmet-less children riding pillion on motorcycles, a common occurrence on India’s roads.

Recent data from the National Crime Records Bureau showed that 83 per cent of road fatalities were on account of speeding and rash driving. But the collateral damage — debt traps for families, depression and added burdens on women — cannot be disregarded. Accidents can be reduced but not completely prevented.

Some road accidents are caused by the ignorance or disbelief of the fact that a car driver’s or the motorbike rider’s eyes and mind can be thousands of miles apart.

There is thus a case for making road safety a matter of public responsibility in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. But this must be complemented by an administrative push to redress the accompanying financial challenges. One way of achieving this could be by broadening access to insurance.

Another casualty after the accident is the heartbreak and emotions that loved ones in the family and friends have to go through. Unlike other forms of psychological disorders, the core issue in trauma is reality. We often blame the other people, and factors for the trauma the victims and families go through, after the accident. However, we need to understand that our ‘blames’ are only a weak defense against powerlessness.

And then, the betrayal trauma changes you. You or a loved one may have endured a life-altering shock, and are likely to be living with PTSD symptoms— hypervigilance, flashbacks and bewilderment—with broken trust, with the inability to cope with many situations, and with the complete shutdown of parts of your mind, including the ability to focus and regulate your emotions.

Insurance policies need to be re-designed to make these affordable and easily accessible to survivors and their kin. But policies would be of little use — perhaps not even availed of — unless the government creates awareness campaigns encouraging citizens to insure themselves and their families, arranges for funds to be disbursed easily during emergencies and, crucially, ensures that insurance companies do not indulge in profiteering.

Whenever exposed to such traumas, let’s pray to our Creator, with a broken heart. He is not only the doctor who mends it, but also the father who wipes away the tears.

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About the Author

Nazarul IslamThe Bengal-born writer is a senior educationist based in USA. He writes for Sindh Courier and the newspapers of Bangladesh, India and America.

 

Contemporary World literature: Poetry from Syria

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Beautiful woman covering tears

Photo Courtesy: Thrive Global

Contemporary World literature

Poetry from Syria

Three Poems by Shurouk Hammoud

Shurouk Hammod, born in 1982, is a Syrian poetess, editor and literary translator. She did Bachler in Arts and a Masters in text translation from Damascus University. Shurouk is also the member of Palestinian Writers and Journalists Union. She has three published poetry collections in Arabic language and two published poetry collections in English titled: The night papers and blind time, which is translated and published in Serbian and Macedonian languages.

Contemporary World Literature - Syria- Shurouk Hammod - Sindh CourierHer poetry has been translated into 14 languages. And as a translator she has translated 16 books so far, in addition to poems by more than 40 poets from around the world.

She has also won many local and international creativity awards:

Charles Baudelaire first prize for poetry creativity, 2018

Sylvia Plath medal for writing poetry, 2017

Jack Kerouac prize for poetry, 2016, Italy

Arthur Rimbaud poetry prize, 2016, Italy

NAJI Naaman prize for poetry, 2015, Lebanon

Nazik al-Malaeka poetry prize, 2012, Iraq

Alexandria Library poetry prize, 2012, Egypt

I did not want to write

I am damaged, my dear!

I was not kidding when I said to you:

My heart is a matchbox that was wetted by tears.

My eyes are an hourglass

Time runs out in

Whenever shadows of love pass in front of them

I am damaged in an unfamiliar way,

So don’t try to be my Night’s Knight

Who comes on the Moon Horse?

I am tired of looking at the sky

As a sunflower

And I buried my compass

So that the directions would not stammer in my head like a time bomb

Then I recover from my ice

That keeps me alive

Like a corpse.

Fake life of a real person

I joined parties I knew nothing about

I attended the Communists Meetings

Just because my friends asked me to spend longer time with them,

I celebrated Nowruz with the Kurds

And danced around the fire

Like an Indian

Also just because I liked them

I attended discussion seminars about books I have not read

Because I like to sneak out silently to smoke a cigarette

Fate gifted me many nightmares that I used to tell to everyone

Under the pretext of interpretation

And the truth is, I don’t care about interpretation as I care for the pleasure I feel

 When all people turn to be the closest to my empty heart!

I flirt my sorrows

I flirt my nightmares

Pat their shoulders

Invite them to all my poetry-reading sessions

And let them sit in the first row as the closest friends.

Of course they did not hear of ingratitude,

So they share the same eagerness

Crown me as their first priority,

Telling me stories I thought I had forgotten,

Dancing with my past on the stairs of tomorrow,

And as they feel the pulse of frost in my body,

They sing to me

Their stubborn songs

In order not to sleep!

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Also read: Recreating Palestine in Literature: A Nation Crafted From Words

 

 

 

Thar Coal: Payment of Annual Compensation to Resettled Families Begins

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Thar Coal - Payment of Annual Compensation to Resettled Families BeginsRs.100000 to every family, every year as life-long support is paid to 172 families

By GR Junejo

Islamkot: Distribution of annual compensation cheques among the resettled families in Thar Coal Block-2 started in village New Senhri Dars on Tuesday.

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), on behalf of Government of Sindh provides an annual compensation of Rs.100000 to every family, every year as life-long support in recognition of their contribution of sacrificing their ancestral abodes for the project. This is second year compensation payment to the community.

Thar Coal - Payment of Annual Compensation to Resettled Families Begins - Sindh CourierVillage Senhri Dars was resettled under mining project of Thar coal Block-2. The resettlement village was completed and the 172 Households community was resettled two years in advance in a graceful way. Each family received a separate house constructed over 1100 sq. yards. The village has been provided a school to accommodate more than 900 students, two RO plants, a park/playground, street lights, two community centers, a mosque, a temple, a dispensary, gauchar (grazing) land of 800 acres, market of 10 shops, electricity connection as well as solar system in every house, well-built metaled roads and streets at doorstep.

The resettlement process of village Senhri Dars in Thar Coal Block – II, district Tharparkar had taken place in early 2019.

The first group of families moved to New Senhri Dars Resettlement Village in January 2019. The new model village set a new benchmark of a successful model of resettlement in the country.

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