Encyclopaedia Sindhiyana launched in Karachi -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Encyclopaedia Sindhiyana launched in Karachi

KARACHI: The Sindhi Language Authority has published Encyclopaedia Sindhiyana, the first encyclopaedia in Sindhi. The book launching was held in a hotel on Saturday.

Participants at the launch included various Sindh cabinet ministers. Officials stressed the need to grant Sindhi the status of a national language. Minister for Culture Sassui Palijo said that her party, including federal Law Minister Babar Awan and others, were in talks regarding legislation on this issue.

“If Sindhi can have national status in India then why can’t that happen in our country? Other languages should not be threatened by Sindhi,” said Palijo.

She said that in more than 27 Indian states Sindhi is taught and if a student wants to learn the language, the government is bound to hire a teacher. “We are an ancient nation but it is unfortunate that Sindhi history starts after the arrival of Muhammad Bin Qasim. There is a dire need to produce work before the Arab era,” the minister said.

Palijo remarked that earlier the authority had lacked funds to work on any project. “We released around Rs20 million to the authority so that they could complete the encyclopaedia,” she said.

The Sindh chief minister, who was the guest of honour at the launch, said that launching an encyclopaedia in Sindhi was a milestone and the credit went to the democratic government. He went on to say that the Sindh Assembly passed the first-ever language bill in 1972, making Sindhi an official language.

“I was the law minister when I tabled that bill. We were called by federal cabinet members who expressed their reservations as the bill passed. However, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto defended us,” he said. He added that the 1973 Constitution gave protection to regional languages for the first time.

The CM said that since Sindhi is an ancient and rich language, writers should not mix it with words from other languages. “No other language except Sindhi has 52 alphabets. Other languages should be using our words,” he said. The CM said he would support the authority. However, he added, “With more than Rs20 billion spent on the floods so far, we are going through a very critical time. Our main focus is the rehabilitation of flood survivors.”

Acting Governor Nisar Khuhro said that the encyclopaedia is another big success following on the heels of the publication of “Shah Jo Risalo.” He stressed the need for pictorial books to introduce Sindh’s history and culture.

Ghulam Ali Allana, former chairman of the authority, appreciated the work but recommended that the government develop the Sindh Gazeteer so there is a record of activities in the province.

Allana said that the government should organise a conference akin to the international conference, Sindh Through Centuries, organised by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Dr Fahmida Hussain, chairperson of the authority, said that work on the encyclopaedia had been pending for the last few years. She said that while the first two volumes were in the market, the third one was due by March 11 of next year. She said that initially the plan was to publish three volumes. However, now, she said, a proposal to publish ten volumes has been sent to the Sindh government.
Source: The Express Tribune
Date:12/5/2010