KARACHI: Abdul Sattar Edhi was born in 1928 in a small village of Bantva near Joona Garh, Gujrat (India). At the age of eleven, Edhi’s mother became paralysed and later got mentally ill. Edhi devoted himself for looking after all her needs; cleaning, bathing, changing clothes and feeding. This proved to be a loosing battle against the disease, and her helplessness increased over the years. Her persistent woeful condition left a lasting impression on young Edhi. The course of his life took a different turn from other persons of his age. His studies were also seriously affected and he could not complete his high school level.
Edhi and his family migrated to Pakistan in 1947. In order to earn his living, Abdul Sattar Edhi initially started as a peddler, later became a commission agent selling cloth in the wholesale market in Karachi. After a couple of years, he left this occupation and with the support of some members of his community decided to establish a free dispensary. He became involved in this charity work. However, soon his personal vision of a growing and developing system of multifarious services made him decide to establish a welfare trust of his own and named it as “Edhi Trust”.
An appeal was made to the public for funds. The response was good, and Rs.200,000/- were raised. The range and scope of work of Edhi Trust expanded with remarkable speed under the driving spirit of the man behind it. A maternity home was established and emergency ambulance service was started in the sprawling metropolis of Karachi with a population of over 10 million.
More donations were received as people’s confidence in the activities of the Trust grew. With the passage of time, masses gave him the title of the” Angel of Mercy.” Abdul Sattar Edhi was married in 1965 to Bilquis, a nurse who worked at the Edhi dispensary. The couple have four children, two daughters and two sons. Bilquis runs the free maternity home at the headquarter in Karachi and organises the adoption of illegitimate and abandoned babies. The husband-wife team has come to share the common vision of single minded devotion to the cause of alleviation of human sufferings and a sense of personal responsibility to respond to each call for help, regardless of race, creed or status.
Edhi involves himself in every activity at Edhi Foundation from raising funds to bathing corpses. Round the clock he keeps with him an ambulance which he drives himself and makes rounds of the city regularly. On finding a destitute or an injured person any where on the way, he escorts him to the Relief Centre where immediate attention is given to the needy person. Inspite of his busy work schedule with the Foundation, Edhi finds enough time to spare with the residents of the orphanages called “Edhi Homes”. He is very found of playing and laughing with the children. A short strongly built man in his early seventies with a flowing beard and a ready smile, Edhi is popularly called “Nana” (Grandfather) by the residents of “Edhi Homes”.
Despite his enormous fame and the vast sums of money that passes through his hands, Edhi adheres to a very simple and modest life style. He and his family live in a two room apartment adjacent to the premises of Foundation’s headquarter. Neither Edhi nor Bilquis receives any salary. They live on the income from government securities that Edhi bought many years ago to take care of their personal needs for the rest of their lives, thereby freeing them to devote single mindedly to their missionary work.
He shuns publicity for the fear of becoming haughty. As the credibility and fame grew and the name of Edhi became a house-hold word, people started approaching him for becoming chief guest on special occasions.
In an interview given to a journalist in Lahore in 1991, Edhi said,”I want to request the people not to invite me to social gatherings and inaugural ceremonies. This only wastes my time which is wholly devoted to the well being of our people.”
Although Edhi has a traditional Islamic background, he has an open and progressive mind on a number of sensitive social issues. He strongly supports the notion of working women. Of the 2,000 paid workers of the Edhi Foundation around 500 are women. They work in various capacities in-charges of Edhi centres, heads of maternity homes and dispensaries and office workers. More-over, several women volunteers help Edhi Foundation in fund raising. Edhi encourages women to do all sorts of work without differentiation.
Courtesy: Edhi Foundation
Hemu Kalani – A true martyr of Sindh
KARACHI: Sindh has always been blessed with thousands of heroic characters at the time of independence and the sons of soil preferred death for the sake of safety and security of their motherland. One such heroic character is Hemu Kalami.
Hemu Kalani son of Pesumal Kalani and Jethi Bai was born in a Jain family of Sukkur, Sindh on March 23, 1923. His father Pesumal was a doctor by profession. Hemu completed his initial education from Tilak High School, Sukkur from where he passed his matriculation in 1942. Hemu was a nationalist since early age.
Hemu Kalani was greatly admired by the struggle and engagements of his uncle late Dr Mangh Ram Kalani who was a prominent congress leader. Hemu became member of ‘Swaraj Sena’ (a student organization) which was affiliated with the All-India Students Federation (AISF).
As a young boy, Hemu Kalani led the youth of his town and campaigned for boycott of foreign good and convinced people to use Swadeshi goods. Later, he started revolutionary activities and took part in protests aimed at kicking out the British. He started joining political gatherings, demonstrations, strikes, raising slogan of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.
In October 1942, the revolutionary group Swaraj Sena received secret information that a train was carrying weapons that would be used against freedom fighters in Sindh. Hemu and his friends decided not to allow/derail the train near Sukkur however, according to historians, Hemu was held by the British.
Later, the British authorities subjected Hemu Kalani to third degree torture to reveal names of his other companions but he never opened up his mouth and bravely bore the torture. He took the blame upon himself citing what he did was justified in retaliation what British were doing in crushing the freedom struggle with arms and ammunitions.
Sindh was under Martial Law and Hemu Kalani’s case was referred to Martial Law Court at Hyderabad/Sukkur where he was sentenced life imprisonment for treason against the British Empire.
Hemu’s lawyer Sattar Pirzada made an offer to Kalani’s uncle Dr Manga Ram “If Hemu could sign a written apology, the British would relax his death and he simply refused”. The people of Sindh filed a petition before Viceroy for Hemu Kalani’s mercy however the condition of mercy was to tell names of other co-conspirators which he refused to shared. Hence, Hemu Kalani was hanged on January 21, 1943.
Jalal Chandio – King of Yaktara, Chapri, Sindhi music
KARACHI: There are only few people especially those associated with the music industry who became so famous that their posters, art and songs are played even after their death. Jalal Chandio, king of yaktara, chapri (musical instruments) is one of them who is still alive in the hearts and minds of people of Pakistan particularly Sindh.
Jalal Chandio son of Haji Faiz Muhammad Chandio was born in 1944 in a small village namely Phul, Moro, district Naushehro Feroz. His father owned a cattle farm and wanted his son Jalal to get education.
With no interest towards education, Jalal Chandio was sent to New Jatoi (Nawan Jatoi), the hometown of former premier Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, to learn tailoring. However, he quit tailoring and started shepherding his cattle and croons.
With his interest in singing, Jalal’s parents sent him to Ghotki district to learn music under the supervision of Ustad Ali Gul Mahar where he learnt basics of music and started performing at shrines of various Sufis of the area. He had a loud voice which needed no loudspeakers to perform while his unique style of playing Yaktara and Chapri was liked very much.
Jalal Chandio also introduced the trend of Farmaish, a unique style of pronouncing names of his listeners in his singing that also gained too much fame.
In 1970, a private company – Paras Audio Cassette – released his first cassette album which included his song هل نه مٺو ايڏي لوڏ ڪري . The song gained popularity and made him singer of the Sindh province. After that he also made his entry in Radio Pakistan and Television and started performing live in the shows.
Before Jalal Chandio, the population of rural areas used to listen to Indian old songs and Pakistani Punjabi songs however Jalal Chandio’s songs replaced the music and made his way to almost every house, tractors and trucks. The love of his listeners reached at the extreme level that his posters could be seen on trucks and tractors till today.
In 1985, a famous film producer Shah Asad made a film – Jalal Chandio – on life of Mr Jalal Chandio in which he played a leading role. The film touched the highest peak of popularity and earned extraordinary revenue boosting Sindhi film industry.
Mr Jalal Chandio also influenced many singers following his unique style of singing that included Rubina Hyderi, Taj Mastani. He also has a number of music students (shagirds) in Siraiki districts of Punjab and Balochistan districts. He had released thousands of audio cassettes in his life.
Being the spiritual follower of Mahdi Shah, Jalal Chandio performed on Urs of almost all the Sufi saints including Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Sachal Sarmat etc. He received many awards among which the prominent was Latif Award from Sindh’s culture department. Jalal Chadio died on January 10, 2001 following kidney failure. He is buried in his native town Phul, Naushehro Feroz.
Hoshu Sheedi – ‘Marsoon, Marsoon Sindh Na Deson
KARACHI: Pakistan has been blessed with hundreds of brave people who sacrificed their precious lives to ensure safety of the motherland. One such character is General Hosh Muhammad Sheedi commonly known as Hoshu Sheedi who raised the world-famous slogan and laid down his life while fighting with British.
The people of Sindh attaches emotional attachment with General Hosh Muhammad Sheedi Qambrani who chanted slogan ‘Marsoon, Marsoon Sindh Na Deson’ [We would die before giving up Sindh].
Even these days, if anyone talks against division of Sindh, the people get emotionally charged and become ready for any kind of sacrifice for their motherland.
Hosh Muhammad was born in 1801. He belonged to Sheedi family of African-origin while his father was an employee at the house of then ruler of Sindh – Mir Fateh Mohammad Talpur -. Before joining the army, Hosho also worked at the residence of Talpurs.
General Hosh Muhammad Sheedi, then, made supreme commander of Sindh’s Talpur army led by Mir Sher Muhammad Khan Talpur.
As the British army conquered the Khairpur Mirs fort, a number of people wanted to surrender before the British ruler however Hosh Muhammad Sheedi was the only one who refused to do and decided to fight.
With smaller number of troops, Hoshu Sheedi vigorously fought with the British army with bravery during Talpur rule in Sindh in the battle of Miyani or Dubbo in 1843. In between the fighting, Hoshu Sheedi said that “Marsoon, Marsoon Sindh Na Deson” “Even though we will die but we won’t give you Sindh”. Hosho lost his life while fighting for Sindh on March 24, 1843.
British commanding offier Sir Charles James Napier was inspired by the bravery and his love for his motherland and buried him with full military honours in Dubee near Tando Jam Road, Hyderabad, Pakistan. Hosho is considered a Sindhi hero. The historical mausoleum of Hosho Sheedi is located in Dubee, a small village which is some 10 kilometers far from Hyderabad. The purpose of the mausoleum is to pay tribute to the war martyrs and it was declared as heritage site by the Sindh government.
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