Friday, January 1, 2016

Can Sindh Save Pakistan

Published on Brown Pundits - Feb 7, 2014

This piece was written just prior to a festival celebrating the culture of Sindh. The piece is really about the need for a reorientation in Pakistani society. Now, almost two years later, the jury is still out on whether positive change will eventually take root.


"Pakistan is a region rich in history. Unfortunately, most Pakistanis are only familiar with its cartoon version. They do not know of all the great civilizations – Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim – that rose and fell in the area over three thousand years. Of the even older Indus Valley civilization, they know only the words “Moenjodaro” and “Harappa”. They are not aware that Alexander’s armies sailed down the Indus; that Iranian kings ruled over Sindh; that Sialkot was the capital of King Menander; that major international trade routes ran through Sindh and Baluchistan two thousand years ago; that whole new schools of Hindu and Buddhist and Muslim thought developed in places where gas stations stand today. But history never truly dies; it lives in the traditions of the people, in their art, in their languages. If a leader should rise to reclaim all that history, to revive the arts of the people, to welcome people of all creeds, to celebrate the open-minded ethos of Sufi Islam and its poets, and to do it in a broad, national and inclusive way, he or she could truly begin to turn back the tide of obscurantism that is engulfing Pakistan. It will take years, perhaps decades. And it will be dangerous. It will require not only the use of the creative arts but also the exercise of military power, because people with guns cannot be defeated with just songs and Sufism. But the process will begin, and people will have something to stand for, not just against."

Read the full article here.

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