Voices of Sindh

WASHINGTON DIARY: Excerpts from SANA - Dr Manzur Ejaz
Daily Times, July 14, 2010

I visited Thar a few years back and have seen Thardeep’s innovative approaches from finding spring water in the middle of the desert to providing electricity using solar energy techniques. If I had to get involved with development work in my area in Punjab, I would adopt many models developed by Thardeep

The Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) maintained its unique distinction of being the only secular organisation of expatriates by inviting the most prominent Sindhi from India, Mr Ram Jethmalani, member of Rajya Sabha and president of the Indian Supreme Court Bar, to its annual convention, held on July 2-5, 2010 in Houston. At 87, Mr Jethmalani, vibrant and kicking, delivered one of the most enticing speeches I have heard in the last few years. In addition to Mr Jethmalani, development star from Thar, Dr Sono Khangharani, nationalist leader Dr Qadir Magsi, notable analysts Mr Zulfiqar Halepota and Jami Chandio made very enlightening presentations in various seminars.

Mr Jethmalani was prophetic when he said, “Democracy without education is hypocrisy without limitations,” and that politicians have a direct conflict with education because they do not want well-informed constituents who can question them. He may have added some spice to his speech if he had seen the circus of the Punjab Assembly passing a resolution against the media for exposing their fake degrees.

Mr Jethmalani, a successful lawyer and partner of A K Brohi before partition in Karachi, had to restart his life from immigrant camps in India. “I never thought of revenge while going through the miseries of partition and I am still the best friend Pakistan has in India,” he asserted. He was very disappointed with the political lot in India as well as in Pakistan. In a light-hearted mood he commented, “Politicians should be changed like diapers and for the same reason.”

Speaking on religion he said, “I am not a religious person because so much blood has been shed in the name of religion that navies of the entire world can easily swim in it. Mohammad (PBUH) was the greatest prophet of all times because he assigned more strength to the ink of a pen as compared to the sword. Consequently, Muslim cities became centres of scholarship and Muslims pulled Europe out from the Dark Ages. However, when Muslims became book burners and destroyers of civilisations they were enslaved.”

In addition to Mr Jethmalani, another Hindu from Thar, Sindh, Dr Sono Khangharani, shared the development ideas he is implementing to provide housing, water, electricity and education. I visited Thar a few years back and have seen their organisation’s — Thardeep — innovative approaches from finding spring water in the middle of the desert to providing electricity using solar energy techniques. If I had to get involved with development work in my area in Punjab, I would adopt many models developed by Thardeep. Dr Khangharani was very modest in presenting his achievements. I wish he had talked more about the innovations he has made in changing conditions in Thar.

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