Sanjay Wadvani and Saaz Aggarwal release Sindh: Stories from a Vanished Homeland at ICCR. Picture by Sayantan Ghosh
It is believed that Sindhis prefer to stay tight-lipped about personal matters. On Wednesday, members of the community gathered in full strength at the ICCR to attend the launch of Sindh: Stories from a Vanished Homeland and speak about their loss during Partition.
The book by Pune-based writer Saaz Aggarwal — a collection of true stories of life in Sindh before and after Partition — was inspired by accounts of her mother, after years of silence.
“She had never told us her story till I asked her after my father’s death, yet she vividly remembered every detail of the home and life she had left behind in Pakistan. I wonder why Sindhis don’t tell their story,” said the author at the launch, which was presented by Oxford Bookstore.
Sanjay Wadvani, the British High Commissioner-Eastern India, and a Sindhi from his father’s side, released the book.
“My dad died very young. Though I spent my growing up years in England, brought up by an English mother, I would keep coming back to India. My Sindhi family resembles a lot of what is written in this book,” he said.
The conversation veered to how Sindhis are often unfairly typecast as being loud-mouthed, overweight and mercenary, but few talk about their adaptability and tolerance.
Shamlu Dudeja, a kantha revivalist and a Sindhi, shared her memories of Karachi just before Partition and how her family coped in India, being forced to start from scratch.
“I visited Sindh six years ago. Almost every page in this book has something from my past life in it. It was a most soul-searching and riveting experience,” she said.
It was DJ Sind College in Karachi, where her father taught, that kindled in Shamlu a love for kantha and Tagore. “I remember my father acting in Tagore’s Dakghar there. “I started kantha as a stitch art after I saw Sindh accept Tagore.”
“Saaz’s book also has lovely Sindhi recipes. My mother’s recipes are all mentioned there,” Shamlu smiled.
Swayam Ganguly flanked by Jisshu Sengupta (left) and Anindya Chatterjee at Oxford Bookstore. (Arnab Mondal)
The author narrated her heart-warming experience at the Karachi Literature Festival, where her book was launched recently.
At the end of the evening, everybody agreed that Sindhis had to put everything behind them so thoroughly that they forgot to tell their story.
Love and its choices
It is the story of three young men who meet on a train from Jamshedpur to Calcutta. Creative consultant-turned author Swayam Ganguly’s debut novel Love, Films and Rock ’n’ Roll, was launched recently at Oxford Bookstore in the presence of actor Jisshu Sengupta, Latin jazz percussionist Monojit Datta and composer-singer Anindya Chatterjee.
“The book is about the choices you make in life,” said the author. He also spoke of his personal experiences and how anything related to art demands a sacrifice.
“I love the younger generation. They are very focused. It took me quite a while to realise what my true calling was,” added the 38-year-old author.
“I hope this will be the first book that I read. I have never been able to read an entire book,” quipped Jisshu. So, what was he doing at a book launch? “Some day I would want to direct a film based on this story,” smiled the actor. Published by Alchemy, Love, Films and Rock ’n’ Roll is priced Rs 250.
Values in verse
Emami co-founded R.S. Agarwal has penned a book of Hindi poems on his reflections on life and human values, which was published a few weeks back. Titled Bhavdhara, the book delves into his philosophical insights, interspersed with photographs and drawings. Written over three years, it covers a wide range of subjects, from spiritual pursuits and enlightenment, the impermanence of existence, peace, our inner turmoil to everyday issues like generational conflicts.