Partition of India in 1947 was literally a bolt from the blue for Sindhi Hindus. They became aliens in their motherland and had to endure an arduous journey to unknown destinations in various corners of truncated India.
At the age of twenty four, he took the plunge and the other members of his family joined him later and he has been devoted in his efforts to preserve the Sindhi language despite all odds.
You are the only Professor of Sindhi literature in the country. How has been the journey so far?
When I joined the Department of Sindhi at University of Bombay in 1994, I began doing what was not done earlier and saw to the appointment of one Lecturer in 1996. I also tried my best to ensure that our department had at least one Professor, one Reader and two Lecturers. As far as my appointment to the Professor’s post is concerned, the recommendations of 5th Pay Commission in 1996 paved the way for time-bound Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) for my promotion from Reader to the Professor.
Are you interested in pursuing literature too or your duties don’t leave you with any spare time to think about it?
My interest in Sindhi literature led me to do Masters in Sindhi teaching the same as my profession. I always wanted more and never get satisfied easily and this compelled me to begin publishing my books through our Department of Sindhi, University of Mumbai. Two of them, namely ‘Sachal Joon Vadyun’ and ‘Fun-e-Tehqeeq Ain Un Ja Usool’ have been re-published in Sindh. It is also a matter of pride
Where were you born and please throw some light on your childhood?
I was born at Larkana, Sindh on December 24, 1952. I had my school education from Larkana. I have done Bachlors in Arts from Government College Larkana. I did masters and then M. Phil. in Sindhi in Larkana, However, I had to leave the shores of Sindh without completing it there.
Did work hard in India to make both ends meet and get a rightful place in Indian polity?
Considerably! During Partition everyone was prepared to work hard whereas in 1977 all the others were well settled and I had to start afresh. Even one of my relatives tried to dissuade me, from choosing India, my permanent home as otherwise he would have to shell out the money which my mother had trusted him with and given him long ago for safekeeping, till someone from our family came to India. When my brother left Pakistan, he was Zonal Manager in Rice Milling Corporation of Pakistan in Sindh and that post was equivalent to the post of Commissioner of Revenue Department. He had to work in India to fulfill the basic needs of our home as my salary was too meager.
What did you achieve during your stint at Jai Hind College, Mumbai?
Being an educational institution where students would ordinarily converse in English language, were unlikely to opt for Sindhi subject, but my persistence resulted in introduction of all the three papers of Sindhi subject in Bachlors examination. I completed M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Jai Hind College.
Hosting the show has been your forte. How did it begin? Is it your passion or financial need?
Life is a mixture of varied experiences. From childhood, I had interest in performing arts and I along with my brother Prem, used to take part in drama Ram Lila which was staged in Larkana on an annual basis on the eve of Diwali. I also used to work for All India Radio Mumbai when I was working as a Lecturer at Jai Hind College. Initially, I used to work in various dramas at A.I.R. Mumbai, but real credit goes to Mr. Manohar Chugh who introduced me as an Announcer at the Radio. As far as compering is concerned, it has been my passion.
Tell us something about your artistic aspirations and achievements?
I have done still photography for ‘Zee Horror Show’ produced by famous Tulsi Ramsay. In one of its episodes ‘Madhumati’, I have also worked as an Associate Director to Madan Jumani in ‘Jhulelal’ and played the part of Maulana in it.
After listening to you, Ram Jethmalani had once said that, this is the language of a scholar! But, let us know whether ordinary folks can understand it?
As regards to my language, you may be correct in saying so, that the masses may not understand my language but you must realise that these fora are attended by literary people and they are expected to comprehend it. However, when I myself teach students of junior college, I even make use of the English language to put across my point of view. As regards complaints from literary circle about my language, I have myself noticed that they themselves try to emulate me, though they fail in their attempts as their knowledge of Persian or Arabic is limited.
You invite writers from Sindh, how did this idea come to your mind?
You must realise that real Sindhi literature is created in Sindh only and if we really want to promote Sindhi language in India, we must collaborate with them.
When it became impossible to invite people from Sindh, I invited such people who are presently settled in U.S.A., Canada, U.K. and France.
At what stage do you see Sindhi language and literature in present day India?
Presently, Sindhi language in India is passing through hard phase. We must realise that language is not just a combination of words but it carries a history and particular culture, with it. It is Sindhi culture which makes it mandatory for Sindhi children to respect their elders. In Sindh, children offer same degree of obeisance to the elders of even their neighborhood. it is not just language which they are losing but they are losing a complete culture and traditions.