THE Culture Department, Sindh, has decided to commemorate Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro’s day on Aug 2 every year as reported in Dawn (‘Tribute paid to 18th century ruler of Sindh’, Aug 7). The announcement was made by the minister for culture at a function arranged by the Ittehad-i-Abbasia at Hyderabad.

According to the minister, tombs and forts of the Kalhoro dynasty would be looked after by the department concerned. She also promised to encourage research and publication of rare books on the history of Sindh.

Here I would like to admire the efforts of the Sindhi Adabi Board to foster the language and literature of Sindh. Immediately after its establishment in 1951, the Board launched a programme to publish history of Sindh, simultaneously in three languages: Sindhi, Urdu and English.

The history was divided into nine parts and for each a renowned scholar was engaged to undertake research and produce authenticated work on Sindh. The first period -- comprising geography and ancient history -- and the second period -- before the Arab conquest of Sindh – were assigned to H.T. Lambrick. He had completed the task by producing six volumes on the two periods.

The Arab period was originally assigned to Syed Sulieman Nadvi, an eminent religious scholar, who died before completing the task. The work on this period was later accomplished by Dr Mumtaz Husain Pathan and its English version in two volumes was published.

No work seems to have been taken up on three periods, i.e. Ghaznavi/Ghori/Soomra, Sama and Arguns. The period Sindh was under Turkans and Mughals also did not see the light. However, the period Sindh was under Kalhoras was allocated to Ghulam Rasool Mahar, who finished his work. Its Urdu and Sindhi versions (translated by Ibne Hayat Panhwar) in volume 1 and 2 were published by the Board and the Culture Deparment.

These volumes are available in the market. Books on Talpur and the English period are yet to be written.

I would request the minister for culture to revive the Board’s ‘history project’ and make sure that books on the remaining period of history are written and, thereafter, all volumes are published in three languages, as originally envisaged by the author of this unique scheme.

The revival of the above project has acquired added urgency as scholars like the late Dr Nabi Bax Baloch are fast fading away, which obviously does not augur well for the young generation of Sindh who are oblivious of their history because of non-availability of authentic material.

MANZOOR H. KURESHI Karachi

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