Love of Hyderabad
Dear Ms Shakun,
I'm Masood Ahmad from Hyderabad. My article was published in "the news" a leading newspaper of Pakistan on Hyderabad. I' m sending the contents of the article for your reading. Keep in touch and take care.
Masood Ahmad, a resident of Hyderabad, speaks of the circumstances which led his family to set up home besides the Indus.
When I look back at the memories of my childhood in Hyderabad, Sindh I recall my friend in Class III asking me "Who are you"?
I counter questioned. "Who are you"? His reply was; "I'm a Sindhi." My reply was "I am Urdu". I was just seven years old and it was the first time such a question had been put to me. At that time I had no idea that my parents had migrated to this city from India at the time of partition and my friend's parents had been living in Sindh for centuries. My existence in the city located on the banks of Sindhu or Indus river was a direct result of the events in the history of sub-continent.
While working in Delhi in 1947, my father could have not thought in his wildest imagination that just within a year he would find himself starting a life from scratch in Hyderabad, Sindh, whose exact location or even name might not be known to him.
He would leave behind his ancestral home, his roots and the right to be called a native.
Fate brought him to the land of Indus Valley civilization from the land of Kurukshetra. Hyderabad was the ultimate choice of my father's family to settle down in the newly created Pakistan. It was the beginning of altogether a new life.
The city of Hyderabad had its new dwellers. The residential areas of Hirabad, Siroy Ghat, Gari Khata had many beautiful and magnificent houses left behind by Sindhi Hindus who had migrated to India. Most of the houses were newly built particularly in Hirabad which was considered a posh locality. By looking at the abandoned homes of Hindus one can easily say that these homes were constructed with love. They were not built to be left for good. The Kimatrais, Malkanis, Advanis and several other Hindu families had left their land for ever and migrated to India.
The new residents were full of hope, determined to build a new world. They were optimistic and forward looking. Independence had given them their own country. After the horror of migration it was a time of happiness and gratitude.
On the other hand those who were leaving Hyderabad were full of grief. They were filled with regret as Sindh became a part of Muslim Pakistan. What went wrong, they questioned themselves? Was it Sukkur's Masjid Manzil Gah and Sadhu Bela Temple issue which alienated the Sindhi Muslims, or was it the overall failure of the Congress to address the Mulims' grievances which had led to this painful partition.
They were at loss to find the answers. The journey to India took them away from their land of love and their last look at Sindh was no different from the last look of the Moors on the shores of Andalusia. Hyderabad lost many of its residents. A chapter was closed in the Hindu history of Hyderabad and a new chapter started with the arrival of the migrants from India.
With the increase in population new residential areas of Latifabad, named after great Sindhi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, and Qasimabad named after the Arab General Muhamamad Ibne Qasim who established Arab rule over Sindh were built. All the residential areas of the city were ethnically of a mixed population. Political differences aside there were no clashes on the basis of language and race. Then came 1980s and the city witnessed its worst riots -- divided forever on ethnic bases.
The downfall of Hyderabad started. The economic activities were halted, educational institutions were closed down. The residents were shell shocked and depressed. The spell of uncertainty continued till mid 90s then Hyderabad slowly and gradually came out of worst period of its history.
The residents of Hyderabad started to re-establish the broken links and restore the bonds of friendships. The love of Hyderabad, once a grand city, prevailed over hatred.
The Sindhi Hindus who left Sindh are now scattered all over India. The Ulhas Nagar in Bombay is a Sindhi residential area where many of the old Hyderabadi Sindhis have set up home. I contacted one of the Sindhi Hindu families from Hyderabad through email and told them that the new dwellers of Hyderabad love the city as much as they used to. The love of Hyderabad is a common bond between us, across the border, although we could come in only once you left. The story of Hyderabad continues and I find myself lucky to be born in this city and be a part of its present.
Dal Sabzi for the Aatman
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