The first death anniversary of Prof. Dr Nabi Bux Baloch, a literary genius and historian, was marked by a seminar organised by Sindh ministry of antiquities on Friday.
A number of scholars, historians, intellectuals, writers, Baloch’s contemporaries and students turned up to honour the scholar.
Baloch was born on December 16, 1917, in Sanghar and died at the age of 93 in Hyderabad.
He wrote more than 150 books in English, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Sindhi and Seraiki on history, education, music, folklore, lexicography, ethnology, archaeology and anthropology.
“Sindh gave birth to at least two polymaths, Baloch and M H Panhwar, in the 20th century,” said Prof. Dr Riaz Ahmed of Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. “They dug deep into history, researched, translated and edited works from the Arabic, Persian and European languages to compile a comprehensive history of Sindh.”
Baloch received his masters in Arabic from the Aligarh Muslim University in 1945 and also completed his law degree in the same year. He received his second master degree in 1946, followed by a PhD in Teachers Education from the Columbia University in 1949.
“The concept of training school teachers to skillfully impart education was introduced a long time ago in Pakistan by Prof. Baloch,” said the Sindh University faculty of education dean. “Unfortunately, it was not implemented.”
Dr Mumtaz Bhutto, the Preston University Islamic Studies Centre chairperson, also lauded Baloch’s contributions to translating important works of history from Persian to Sindhi. For Dr Khizar Naushahi, who has authored 20 books on history and literature in Persian, emphasised that Baloch’s collection needs to be researched upon and explored.
Out of the 150 books written by Baloch, around 100 were published during his life time, including Chachnama, The Advent of Islam in Indonesia, History of Taxila, and a six-volume work on the architectural monuments in Thatta, Makli, Uch, Multan, Lahore and the northern areas.
During the time since his death, the Sindh Culture Department, Sindhi Adabi Board and Sindhi Langauge Authority (SLA) have published over a dozen of his unpublished work.
Baloch has also been credited for introducing the Sindhi and Urdu languages as a part of the course in schools. “Baloch wanted the people of Sindh, including the immigrants from India, to live in harmony and introduced a syllabus which offered both the languages in schools,” said the SLA secretary, Taj Joyo.
Dr N A Baloch Institute of Research and Heritage was established in August 2009 with the purpose to conduct research on oriental subjects. Although it has produced two research scholars, the library is poorly kept. Dr Habibullah Siddiqui told The Express Tribune that the library has less than a dozen of Baloch’s published work. “Even the ones in the library are those which were contributed by some friends and publishers.”
The antiquities minister Makhdoom Jameel Zaman also acknowledged the lack of attention paid to the institute and said that a procurement budget will be allocated to it soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2012.