Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sindhi literature

Sindhi language is not only very old but it is also very rich in literature. It is a living and thriving language. Its writers have contributed extensively in every field and in every form of literature. It has, therefore, never lagged behind any developed language of the subcontinent in the field of literature.The earliest reference to Sindhi literature is contained in the writings of Arab historians. It is established that Sindhi was the first and the earliest language of the East in which the Holy Quran was translated in the eighth or ninth century A.D. There is evidence of Sindhi poets reciting their verses before the Arab Caliphs at Baghdad. It is also recorded that treatises were written in Sindhi on astronomy, medicine and history during the eighth and ninth centuries. Shortly afterwards, Pir Nooruddin, an Ismaili Missionary, wrote Sufis tic poetry in Sindhi language. His verses, known as "ginans", can be taken as the specimen of early Sindhi poetry. He came to Sindh during the year 1079 A.D. His poetry is an interesting record of the language which was spoken commonly at that time. He was a sufi and a preacher of Islam. His verses are, therefore, full of mysticism and religion.After him, Pir Shams Sabzwari Multani, Pir Shahabuddin and Pir Sadruddin are recognized as poets of Sindhi language. We even find some verses composed by Baba Farid Ganj Shakar, in Sindhi language. Pir Sadruddin (1290-1409 A.D. ), was a great poet, saint and sufi of his time. He composed his verses (ginans) in Lari and Katchi dialects of Sindhi. He also composed the "ginans" in Punjabi, Seraiki, Hindi and Gujrati languages. He modified the old script of Sindhi language, which was commonly used by the luhana catse of Hindus of Sindh who embraced Islam under his teaching and were called by him 'Khuwajas' or 'Khojas'.During the same period (1010-1351 A.D.) who took over after Soomras, and afterwards in the days of Arghuns, Tarkhans, Mughal governors (1521-1700 A.D.), Sindh produced may scholars and poets of Sindhi, Arabic and Persian languages. Qazi Qadan, Shah Karim of Bhulri, Shah lutufullah Qadri, Shah Inyat Sufi Nasarpoori, Mir Masoom Shah, Makhdoom Nooh of Hala, lakho lutufullah, Mahamati Pirannath and many other are the renowned literary personalities of this period.Bhagu Bhan, Sumang Charan, Shah Abdul Karim, Shah Inayat and many other poets of this period have enriched the language with mystic, romantic and epic poetry. Many centers of learning (Madressahs) flourised during tenth to fifteenth centuries where celebrated scholars of Sindh used to teach religion, philosophy and rhetoric. The great scholars among them who earned high reputation even in the Muslim centres of Mecca and Madina were Makhdoom Abdul Hasan, Makhdoom Ziauddin, Makhdoom Muhammad Hashim Thattavi and Makhdoom Muhammad Muin Thattvi. Their works are mostly in Arabic, Persian and Sindhi languages.Shah Abdul Latif of Bhit (1690-1573 A.D.) is the greatest thinker and poet of all times, produced by Sindh. According to Dr. Sorely, who compared the poetry of the great poets of all major language of the world, including Greek, Latin and Arabic, in his book 'Musa Pravaganus', gives first place to Shah Latif on his language and thought.Shah Latif gave a new life, though and content to the language and literature of Sindh. He traveled far and wide in the remotest corners Sindh and saw for himself the simple and rustic people of his soil in love with life and its mysteries. He understood the ethos of the people and their deep attachment to the land, the culture, the music, the fine arts and crafts. He described Sindh and its people in the finest language, human mind can conceive of. Thought simple folk tales, Lateef has expressed profound ideas about universal brother-hood of mankind, patriotism, war against all kind of injustice and tyrannies, and above all the romance of human existence. He is in fact a pace maker and a catalyst for every generation and genre of Sindhi literature. He was a great musician also & he evolved fifteen new melodies (Surs). The great beauty of his poetry is that his every single line or verse is sung till this day with a specific note or melody. His shadow is ever-lasting and all pervading he is sung not by the literature alone but even by the common people in the villages and towns of Sindh.Sachal Sarmast, Sami and Khalifo Nabi Bux Laghari are celebrate poets of the Talpur period in Sindh (1783-1843 A.D.). Sachal Sarmast comes a galaxy of great names in literature. Khalifo Nabi Bux is by far the greatest epic poet of Sindh. His description of patriotic pathos and the art of war defies words. Rohal, Sami, Bedil, Bekas, Misri Shah, Hammal Faqir, Dalpat Sufi, Sabit Ali Shah,Khair Shah, Fateh Faqir and Manthar Faqir Rajar are some of the more note-worthy poets of pre & early British era.Like all language of the sub-continent, modern literature begin with the conquest of Sindh by the British in 1843 A.D. With them came the modern world to these shores. Printing press was introduced. Magazine and newspapers were brought about a revolution in Sindhi literature. Books were translated from various European languages and specially from English. People were hungry for knowledge and new forms of writing. The pace of literature can be judged from one single instance of Mirza Qaleech Beg who in the last two decades of the last century and the first two decades of the twentieth century, wrote more than 400 books---poetry, novels, short stories & essays etc. He also wrote on science, history, economics and politics. Thousands of books indeed were turned out at that time on all forms and facets of literature. Hakim Fateh Mohammad Sewhani, Kauromal Khilnani, Dayaram Gidumal, Parmanand Mewaram, Lalchand Amardinomal, Bheruamal Advani, Dr.Gurbuxani, Jhetmal Parsram, Sayaid Miran Mohammad Shah, Shamsuddin 'Bulbul' and Maulana Din Muhammad Wafai are some of the pioneers of modern literature in Sindhi language.After the first world war, the social and economic scene of the world underwent a tremendous change. The aftermath of the war and the socialist revolution of Russia affected the literature of every country. Sindhi literature too was influenced by these trends. Creating new awakening in the minds of the people working in the field of literature. They began to translate the new social consciousness into artistic forms of literature. They were now more objective and less Romanists. Progressive thoughts opened the door for new trends in Sindhi literature.Soon the struggle for freedom from the British also gathered momentum. This gave further momentum to literature. Consciousness about history and cultural heritage of Sindh served as a catalyst for research and intellectual upsurge. Great scholars like Allama I.I. Kazi, Dr. Daudpota, Pir Ali Muhammad Shah Rashidi, Pir Husamuddin Shah Rashidi, Maulana Din Mohammad Wafai, Chetan Mariwala, Jairamdas Daulatram, Bherumal, Mehar Chand Advani, Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo, Tirath Wasant and many others were producing learned treatises on various aspects of history, culture and other social subjects.Mir Hasan Ali and Mir Abdul Hussain sangi, Khalifo Gul, Fazil Shah, Kasim, Hafiz Hamid, Mohammad Hashim, Mukhlis, Abojho, Surat Singh, Khaki, Qaleech Beg, Zia & Aziz were the pioneers of poetry in persian meter.But the modern form and content of Sindhi poetry were given a new impetus by 'Bewas', Hyder Bux Jatoi and Dukhayal. There have been innumerable poets who have composed verses in the same vein.Novel and short story became the main forms for prose. Hundreds of novel and short stories were translated from the European and modern Indian languages. The second world war saw the emergence of novelists like Narain Das Bhambhani, Gobind 'Malhi', M: usman Deplai Khaliq Morai and many others.Through out the thirties and the forties, the young writers experimented with new forms of prose as well as poetry. Free verses, Sonnets & ballets have been written side with the classical forms of poetry like Kafi, Vaee, Bait, Geet and Dohira etc.

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