How celebrations of Sindhi Culture Day started?
By Shahnilla Fayaz
Sindhi Culture Day celebrated was originally named Sindhi Topi (cap) Day. In December 2009, for the first time Sindhi Topi Day was celebrated in Pakistan’s Sindh province to celebrate the Sindhi cap, and Sindhi culture in general, where the following year the day was renamed to Sindhi Cultural Day.
Shahid Masood criticized Asif Ali Zardari for wearing Sindhi cap in foreign tour. The Sindhi Topi Day has been observed following calls from a Sindhi television channel and the PPP in response to uncalled for remarks about the Sindhi Topi by an anchorperson of a private television channel.
A large number of people wearing traditional Sindhi Topis and Ajraks participate in a rally which started from the Karachi Press Club, near the Sindh Assembly building.
Cultural day is observed to display solidarity among the Sindhi-speaking masses; the event is celebrated throughout Sindh and all over the world. The culture and heritage day was celebrated for the first time on 6 December 2009 (as the Sindhi Topi Day) as a backlash to the comments of anchorperson Dr. Shahid Masood who had criticized President Asif Ali Zardari for wearing a Sindhi cap on his foreign tours.
People across the Sindh province condemned Masood’s comments via SMS, which ultimately resulted in the announcement of celebrating the Sindhi Topi Day. Ever since, Sindhi media groups have also started to celebrate the day as ‘Sindhi Cultural Day’.
The Sindhi language TV channels including Time News, Sindh TV, Awaz TV and Mehran TV broadcast live and special programmes on the culture of Sindh, besides these media outlets separately arrange the mega musical events, which also attract large audience to celebrate the Culture Day every year.
How it started?
The first cultural day celebrations were held on 6 December 2009. Ali Kazi head of a Sindhi news channel KTN was the first to announce the celebration of the cultural day and all Sindhis endorsed his decision.
Call receives an enthusiastic response
The call for the Sindhi Topi Day received an enthusiastic response everywhere as tens of thousands of people of all languages sporting Sindhi Topis and Ajraks took to the streets to express their sentiments and love with the Sindhi culture.
The call mobilized people of all languages who started purchasing Sindhi Topis all over Sindh. Such enthusiasm from the masses has made history as people purchased the Sindhi Topi in large numbers on premium prices resulting in stock-outs of the cap in the market.
The day gave the look of a mass celebration as people were found dancing on the famous song by Ahmed Mughal called ‘Sindhi Topi ain Ajrak Wara jian,’ since the morning.
Large rallies were organised in various cities including Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Nawabshah and Larkana.
A big rally of Pakistan Peoples Party took out from Qasimabad, Hyderabad, which passed through various roads and culminated in front of the Hyderabad Press Club.
Political parties joined the celebrations
Another motorcade rally of the Awami National Party (ANP), taken out under the leadership of Asadullah Mehsud culminated in front of the Hyderabad Press Club where the participants of the rally expressed their affections with traditional Sindhi culture.
A ceremony was also arranged at the office of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Hyderabad Zone, where Sindhi Topis and Ajraks were presented to journalists.
Other parties and social welfare organizations including Jeay Sindh National Party, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), Mehran Falahi Sangat and Marvi Association also brought out rallies showing their affection with the Sindhi Topi.
Hand-woven Sindhi Topis are a product of hard labour and made in almost every district of the province. However, the Sindhi Topi produced in Tharparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar and other districts of the Mirpurkhas division are rated better and fetch a better price.
Sindh government announces public holiday
Next year that is in 2010, the Sindh government and the then PPP Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah announced it a public holiday
Media and Sindh govt collaboration
As the day and celebrations got popularity, Government of Sindh in collaboration with media centers sponsored this event in 2011.
In 2012 Sindhi culture day was celebrated in December and a major gathering was held outside Karachi Press Club.
US Consulate celebrates cultural day
Coming year that is 2013 Sindhi culture day was celebrated accosted Sindh. The US Consulate in Karachi arranged a Qawali program on the occasion.
In 2014 the main event of Sindhi cultural day was arranged at Karachi Press Club.
In 2015 Sindhi culture day was celebrated in December. The US Consulate again arranged a musical program at the Consul General’s residence.
Next year (2016) this year all Sindhi media including KTN and Sindh TV mutually celebrated cultural day on 4 December. Many people gathered at the Karachi Press Club, where a large stage was decorated with Pana-flexes.
The US Consulate General, Karachi celebrated the Sindhi culture day. PPP Chiarman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also celebrated in Lahore during his political program.
2017 Sindhi culture day was celebrated across Sindh and worldwide. As Karachi is capital of the Sindh province, the main event was held at Karachi Press Club where people from around the city gathered.
Culture Day as Aekta (unity) Day
Sindhi cultural day was celebrated on Sunday, 2 December 2018 this time with a theme. The theme this year as suggested by Ali Kazi was Aekta (unity). People all across the province celebrated the day by arranging Ajrak stalls, cultural gatherings and rallies. The main event in Hyderabad was arranged at Sindh Museum.
2019 “Our Unity Day”
In 2019, Sindhi Cultural Day was celebrated on 1 December, the theme was “Our Unity Day”. This day was celebrated by Sindhi communities all over the globe even people from different communities participate on this celebration.
Sindhis celebrate this day as National Eid. In Sindh province people celebrate this day by leading rally, dancing and singing Sindhi songs. From school to universities, students, teachers & parents celebrate by performing skits, studying Sindhi history, art & culture.
On other hand Sindhi media in association with Sindhi Culture Department broadcast Sindhi Cultural Shows and shows school’s & college’s functions live on television.
Largest and longest Sindhi Ajrak in the world was exhibited in Sukkur, Sindh and 130 meters and 20 feet Sindhi Ajrak was displayed in Hyderabad, on the eve of Sindhi cultural Day in 1 December 2019.