Short Stories >> Atam Vishwas >> Where are my ancestors? (Muhinja Maanhu kithe?)
Written By: Smt.Sundri Uttamchandani
Sindhunagar is the pilgrim centre for the Sindhis...
The voice of the bhajans (Bhagat) could be heard at dawn like the call of a homeless bird -
"Where are my ancestors,
Where is my Maleer...?
Alas, where has destiny brought us..."
Barracks spread on the hills - the elders have woken up in make-shift houses...
"Amma, why are you sobbing?"
"My son, these bhajan (Bhagat) singers are reminding me so much of Sindh...Where are my ancestors..."
"Oh, my mother, what are you doing...Consider this place as your Sindh...As if the bhajans are being sung in Doman Wah in Sindh...You are listening to Maruee's calls..."
"Yes son, I know that Sindh is wherever there are Sindhis...But what can I do? My mind does not agree..."
"Arey, again you are longing...Come, have this water..."
"Papa, why is big mummy clying (crying)?"
"Oh, my little flower, you have woken up. You don't talk to mama in Sindhi, that is why she is crying..."
"No big Mama, Now I will talk to you in Sindhi" she said in a childish manner.
"Yes, my dear, why will you not talk in Sindhi? After all you a Sindhi child".
"Amma, you have some water".
"Dear child speak this way not that way" the father corrects the child.
"Thank you, God...How pure is the water of Sindhunagar. Just like the Sindhu ocean!"
"Look Amma, the Sindhu river was the same, but at Gidunagar it was called the Sindhu ocean..."
"Yes, my son, but many ladoos cannot taste like a malpuha".
"Arey, my ladoo daughter, why have you woken up so early?"
"Papa can I hear a story from Amma?"in a childish language
"Oh, you fat one! Come here and I shall protect you in a blanket and tell you a story. But you are so forgetful. Listen to the story and try to remember it. When I ask you about the story the next day, you say you have forgotten it".
No Mama, tomorrow I shall surely tell you" in a childish language.
"Pronounce the word correctly. Again, you are saying it incorrect".
"Amma, it is not Gulli's fault. She is playing the whole day with children in the neighbourhood who speak in Hindi".
"My sweet child, they are neighbours but if our Gulli daughter doesn't learn Sindhi at home then where will she learn?"
"That is right but many alphabets and pronunciations in Sindhi are not found in other languages at all. For example, Baar Muchh jo Waar..."
"Big Mama, Kutti, Kutti. I am Kutti with Papa".
"My dear, why are you Kutti with him?"
"Papa is calling me Muchh jo Waar? In a childish language.
"No dear, you are my Ladoo...my Boondi...my honey...How will you be a hair in the moustache?"
"No dear, you are a grandma of the world...How can you be a hair in the moustache...Forgive me dear.... Now make peace with me" the father put his two fingers forward...
"Leave the sulking girl alone. See how much she is sulking. First tell me if the people who are going to holy places Sindh have agreed to take me along?"
"Amma, what has happened to you? You are born and brought up in Sindh, where you went and prayed to Sachal Sai in holy places. You went to Bhitt Shah to pray so many times and yet you are not satisfied? It is better that you consider this Sindhunagar, the land of saints and sages as Sindh itself. Are you not listening to the voices singing Bhajans (Bhagat)...?"
The bhajan (Bhagat) too is truly saying...
"To make relationships with strangers,
leaving aside one's own friends,
leaving one's motherland is worse than death".
"I am telling you to consider Sindhunagar as your Sindh".
"Just see. The government is still not agreeing to consider the name
Sindhunagar. They refer to it as Kalyan and Ulhasnagar...The same songs of Sindh are making me cry today".
"You also used to sing those sad songs".
"My eyes are crying,
The paths of traveling to and fro are closed,
So how will not the eyes shed tears".
"Amma, you start crying while laughing".
"Let it be. You were too small when we left Sindh. I am troubled by memories of my relatives and neighbourhood..."
"Amma, now it is only Sindhunagar. It is also you're your pilgrim centre. It is also your album of your memories of Sindh..."
"But my son, you too are looking sad...I am seeing that even at dawn you are yawning so much".
"Amma, I have a reason to be sad, isn't it? The Sindhi language which is the only link to relationships has been under a bad omen. The Sindhi schools in big cities are closing down. Even in smaller cities, convents are sought after. What can be done?"
"My Sindhi culture too is been bitten by a worm. Look, even your Rani is convent educated, isn't it?"
"But now we have left this baby with you. Teach her Sindhi".
"Oh Yes. The young madam is in service and roaming about. I, an old woman should be a servant to her daughter".
"This is the opportunity you have got. Teach your grand daughter Sindhi and make your life successful".
Okay. Okay! Son, do you think these convent - educated children will recognise each other as Sindhis? Sindhis actually remain strangers to each other".
"Amma, look, you are the forever young Sindhi mother of ours! You should not listen to your daughter-in-law like an ignorant old woman".
"My dear, you really joke too much. Now I am 'forever young'! My one leg is already in the grave...Now tell me, what ignorance have I done with the daughter-in-law?"
"Amma, she says that she was ashamed in front of other communities in college. She was not aware of the good behaviour, culture and rituals of Sindhis. That is why she has sent her daughter to you so that you will fill Sindhi life into this lifeless statue...But you say that the young madam is roaming about and you have to serve her..."
"Acha, she is too much. But my son, now I have understood. Just see how I make Gulli into a perfect Sindhi. See, she has gone off to sleep. This girl is very naughty. She is complaining that papa is calling her a hair in the moustache...I love this little Sindhi of mine. Listen, again the bhajan is heard"
What is the point of living
For those you have lost their land?
Where is the rest for the breath?
Where are my ancestors?
Where is my Maleer?"
- Translated by Arun Babani