KARACHI: Sindh Culture Day was celebrated in the metropolis and other major towns of the province with jubilant crowds wearing Sindhi caps and Ajraks and singing and dancing to music and songs sung by popular vocalists.
The main event was held at the Karachi Press Club, but this time the venue was spread to Fawara Chowk on Abdullah Haroon, to the YMCA Ground near the Arts Council Chowrangi as mostly media houses organised the events that were supported by activists and leaders of different political parties. Some of the organisers demanded that the Fawara Chowk roundabout be renamed ‘Culture Chowrangi’.
In their speeches, political activists vowed that they would resist Centre’s move to take over the islands of Sindh and quarry stones from the Karoonjhar Hills in Thar apart from making other political demands.
The main event began in front of the KPC at 12noon, which continued till late into the evening. It was attended by a large number of people, including women and children.
Some of the participants came riding horses from Gulshan-i-Hadeed led by a female, who were welcomed by the organisers.
Nationalist leaders pledge to resist Centre’s ‘takeover’ of Sindh’s islands
Speaking to the participants on this occasion, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz leader Asif Baladi said that the people of Sindh had today joined together and that the “flow of people” was equal to the flow of the Indus River when it flows from the Himalayas. He said that the people of Sindh had proved that they were united to resist Centre’s move to control Sindh’s islands. He said culture was also part of politics and economy and vowed to continue a peaceful struggle “for achieving rights of the people of Sindh”.
Mr Baladi said: “We are fortunate that today we are receiving greetings from all over the world.”
He asked the powers that be to read Shah Latif Bhitai’s ‘Sur Samoondi’ to understand the longing of the people of Sindh for the sea.
Another nationalist leader, Nawaz Zaur, asked the federal government to stop “illegal” occupation of islands of Sindh and vowed to resist it. He also announced that the people of Sindh would resist quarrying of stones from the Karoonjhar Hills in Thar.
Another nationalist leader, Illahi Bux Bikak, recalled that Sindh Culture Day was started in December 2009 when a TV anchor criticised then president Asif Ali Zardari for wearing a Sindhi cap during his visit abroad. He said it was the Sindhi-language media which started observing the culture day.
Barring these political speeches, it was a mostly culture event, where people danced and sang songs in jubilation.
Some of the popular singers, including Shaman Ali Mirali, Tufail Sanjrani, Asif Siyal and Ali Murad Jatoi, sang folk songs and Sufi poetry and received applause from the audience. Social media star Asghar Khoso also entertained the participants.
Some small events were also held at different places in Malir and other parts of the city.
Meanwhile, police claimed to have arrested one of the participants of Sindh Culture Day at Bhains Colony who allegedly resorted to aerial firing and whose video went viral on social media. A police spokesperson in a statement said that the Sukhan police had registered a case against the held suspect and seized arms and ammunition from him and started an investigation into the case.
Separately, Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that the Indus Civilisation is the crown of Pakistan and Sindh’s culture is in fact a message of unity and harmony.
In his message for Sindh Culture Day, the PPP chairman said that this was the ‘Day of youth’, who are the real heir to this rich heritage.
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that rich music or cultural dance of Mehran valley had given the arts a new colour and there was a need to learn how to make our cultural activities a platform for the promotion of our social as well as economic activities.
The PPP chairman said that Sindh Culture Day may be celebrated every year with a new theme as the United Nations commemorates various days.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that diversity of cultures, religions, ethnicities and creeds was the new nomenclature of modern peace and harmony.
He extended “heartiest congratulations” to all those celebrating Sindh Culture Day in the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2020