Worldwide it became an article of faith in every Jewish family to learn Hebrew. It became the most lucrative profession in the world to become a teacher of Hebrew. Today you will find every Jew, speaking Hebrew, whether he stays in Europe or USA – Dada Bhagwan Gidwani
During my time in Mumbai earlier this month, on one of the days, a senior colleague of mine walked up to me and queried about the language I was speaking in during a telephonic conversation a day earlier. I mentioned that I was speaking with my mother in “Sindhi”. He nodded his head and said that he thought so as the language seemed familiar but didn’t think it was Gujarati. He then expressed surprise that I spoke Sindhi as he had a number of Sindhi friends but all of them spoke in Hindi/English. He thought that the language is no longer spoken other than maybe in Sindh, Pakistan. I smiled and said (rather sarcastically) that whilst the language’s native user base has shrunk dramatically over the past five decades; however, there is still some time to go before it finally becomes extinct. (Late) Dada Dewan Motihar’s rendition of “”Allah hiye na the jo kitaaban mein padhje t hui sindh aen sindhwarane ji boli………. “Played in my head. This then started a conversation about the hardships that Sindhis faced at the time of partition and how they have successfully overcome most challenges and have emerged as one of the more prosperous community in Independent India. In a recent article about wealthy Indians, there were a number of Sindhi businessmen in the top 50 list which is a testimony to the success of the community. I was pleasantly surprised at my colleague’s deep knowledge about the community.
Sindhi language has always been close to me. My earliest childhood memories include reciting “Bedo t Muhinje Lal Jo padein tarando aendo” song at the cultural day in primary school. Over the years, during the various business related travels, I have always observed people taking pride in speaking in their mother tongue. However, I never find the same within our community .I have met so many (Indian) Sindhis who almost sound apologetic when asked about their background. I often wonder why? One of the reasons may be that after coming from Pakistan, we have easily amalgamated within the local communities in different states; perhaps so much so that we now only identify with our new surroundings conveniently forgetting that one of the very reason for our ability to amalgamate has been our ancestry: the liberal, all-encompassing “Sindhu” heritage. It is perhaps not without a reason that in one of the interviews, Dada Ram Jethmalani speaks about why he thinks that Sindhi civilization will eventually become extinct as have many others in the course of history. I sincerely hope that things are different in Sindh, Pakistan.
I am also reminded of a satsang by (Late) Dada J P Vaswani where he eloquently explains about how Jews have been able to keep their culture alive only by ensuring that the indigenous language / mother tongue continues to be spoken by people irrespective of where they live. It is something that all of us should pay heed to. Something similar is echoed by Dada Bhagwan Gidwani in his interview with Sindhishaan magazine in 2006:
“You are right in saying that the Sindhi language is life and blood of ‘Sindhyat’ and others would also agree with you, but what is the ground reality? Our children have very little opportunities for Sindhi language. It is the age of fierce competition. People may not like to lose just because they want to learn Sindhi. But I very much agree with you that if we want to preserve our ‘Sindhyat’, Sindhi identity, Sindhi culture, and Sindhi affiliations, then Sindhi language must survive. I tell you the example of Jews, when Israel came into existence, by then Jews had practically forgotten their language Hebrew. The leaders of Israel suggested the revival of Hebrew to connect all the Jews coming from various parts of the world into one thread. Even worldwide it became an article of faith in every Jewish family to learn Hebrew. It was not because they intended to go back to Israel or they didn’t intend to migrate, but it became an article of faith. The teachers of Hebrew became rich overnight. It became the most lucrative profession in the world to become a teacher of Hebrew. Today you will find every Jew, speaking Hebrew, whether he stays in Europe or USA.”
Usually most complex problems have simple solutions available only if we were to act upon them.
Courtesy: Sindhi Chokro Blogs