It seems, the Sindhi society in its political character is not moving forward, as we love stagnancy and short-cuts for the success, whatever it might be.
I am eye witness to Sindh’s major political initiatives. I have found most of the leadership indulged in abstractive ideas, discussing issues with non-substantive arguments and possessing laymen’s political frame. A considerable number of such persons are attracted to political terms, which are nowadays obsolete and outdated. It seems, the Sindhi society in its political character is not moving forward, as we love stagnancy and short-cuts for the success, whatever it might be.
I have reproduced some notes from late educationist Sayid Ghulam Mustafa Shah’s book “Towards Understanding the Muslims of Sind.” Please go through these excerpts and decide, where we are heading or standing in present situation of Sindh.
“The Jagirdar who has been given land in view of the following considerations: that he is a member of some past ruling family; that he is tribal head; that he is a Government favorite who has been awarded this land as a compensation for his loyal services; or that he is the custodian of some shrine which has been granted lands for its upkeep and maintenance. At present these Jagirdars of Sindh possess about 19 lacs of acres of land.” (P. 38-39)
“It is worth noting that these men pay no land revenue to the Government. They do not pay 9/10 water-tax. The water-tax that they pay is half of the land-revenue paid by the non-Jagirdar lands. Some of the Jagirs are not even surveyed, and the Jagirdars cheat the Government by bribing the officials.” (P.38-39)
“Nowhere have I seen the use of intoxicants so profuse and widely spread as in Sindh. Sindh’s share in the total tobacco consumption of India is 12%. Sindh consumes about 20% of India’s Bhang, Charas and opium, and more than 50% out of this is consumed by the aristocracy (landlords). Sindh’s share in wines also cannot be minimized or under-estimated.” (P.41)
“This class (Middle Class) fears to starve and it is this danger of starvation that is forcing it to acquiesce in all the ignominies in which it has to live. The dangers of financial collapse and monetary embarrassment are the chief factors that govern the actions of this class. They do not displease the aristocracy because the influence of the latter will destroy lives of hundreds of poor souls. They would be incurring the displeasure of the aristocracy; and they have not the courage and consequently the power and the voice to drag the poor of the province of this abyss.” (P. 42-43)
“As a friend of mine said, ‘we (middle class) have degraded ourselves to the position of the licking dog.’ (P. 45)
“Sindh is satisfied with mediocrities and even third rate leadership.” (46)
“They do not study general literature and sciences. They know very little of political, historical and sociological subjects. They do not spend their time in the study of books at all, and their interest is confined to a few newspapers only.” (P.48)
What Shah Sahib has observed about Sindhi middle class, is still true and relevant to our emerged salaried class – majority of them are parasites, idealized by the feudal culture, and show disrespect for women and don’t value the rationality and argument. If you disagree to my observations – just look around, you would find lot of so-called Sindhi middle class clad into cotton, wearing Peshawari sandals and black glasses and neck ties – all artificial, decorative and trivialities. None of them thinks that they are promoting celebrity-cult-culture in poor Sindh. Perhaps, they don’t know, or it is being done consciously, in either case, Sindh has to pay the cost. Whenever, randomly I compare Sindhi middle classes’ social attire with the Bengali people, I think that we are promoting the brands rather than ideas – even our dresses don’t give a clue that we are non-conformist.
Zaffar Junejo is Research Scholar, Department of History, University of Malaya, Malaysia. Apart from scholarly contribution, he also writes for popular media. He could be accessed at Email <[email protected]