Linguistic battle: SLA to fight for Sindhi’s official, educational use

The Sindhi Language Authority will petition the SC for protection of the language.

Our Correspondent October 15, 2015
The Sindhi Language Authority will petition the SC for protection of the language. PHOTO: AFP

HYDERABAD: The Supreme Court's order for the adoption of Urdu as the official language of Pakistan has stirred concern among the Sindhi literati who, for decades, have unsuccessfully struggled to win national status for Sindhi and to ensure its official and academic usage in the province.

The apex court's September 7 judgment asked the federal and provincial governments to implement Article 251 of the Constitution and submit a report within three months.

However, at a round-table conference organised by the Sindhi Language Authority (SLA) in Hyderabad on Thursday, Sindhi writers, intellectuals and legal experts mulled over initiating a legal battle for the protection and promotion of the Sindhi language.

While the pros and cons of the judgment were weighed, the event concluded with the formation of two committees, including a legal committee to ponder over either filing a review or a separate petition in the apex court. Another committee will prepare recommendations for the federal and Sindh governments for the official and educational use of Sindhi.

"Some friends argue that the order has no implications for Sindhi but the fact is that even the SLA [which is a statutory body of the Sindh government] will have to use Urdu in its official work," observed the former advocate-general of Sindh, Yousuf Laghari.

He contended that the judgment will directly affect the Sindhi language and, consequently, the autonomy of Sindh, economy of the province and Sindhi culture. "The Sindhi people will feel inclined to learn Urdu because of its promising prospects in education and career [prospects]."

"Instead of filing a review petition, we should request the court to comprehensively elaborate on its order," Laghari suggested, pointing out that the judgment also provides for the use of provincial languages as additional official and academic languages besides Urdu.

Prof Saleem Memon, Shah Abdul Latif chair director at Sindh University, stressed that the flourishing of a language is mainly a political decision, lamenting that the politicians of Sindh have failed on this front.

Many speakers reiterated that they are not opposed to the predominant position of Urdu but they only want the regional languages to be brought into similar use in the provinces.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2015.


Aqib Ali Shah | 7 years ago | Reply
I second pakistani sindhi thoughts, thumbs up dude.
Pakistani Sindhi | 7 years ago | Reply This is a bold step taken by the SLA and other concerned bodies from Sindh. This is not about the Sindhi language alone, but also about other beautiful languages; Punjabi, Balochi, Pashto, Hindko and Siraiki. Unfortunately, the native speakers of aforementioned indigenous languages, have long since given up on preserving of them. Indigenous languages have been brought to the poor-level that when some native-speaker of either of those indigenous languages; speaks, he / she is ridiculed or made fun of.. to the extent that the indigenous-speaker often feels shy and embarrassed of speaking in his / her centuries old indigenous language(s). "Urdu" is a beautiful language and we sure hold it dear but this an alien language imposed on 180 million Urdu non-speakers - it is not even historically rooted in any province of Pakistan (before the creation of the country). Urdu is being imposed on us (the same way it was imposed on then East Pakistanis; now Bangladesh). It is silly that millions of wealth should be spent on promotion of an alien language, while the centuries old indigenous languages are discarded in the trash-bin. Please join this, and let's protect and preserve our beautiful indigenous languages (Sindhi, Punjabi, Pahsto, Siraiki, Balochi, Hindko and so on).
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