KARACHI, March 2: Years of neglect and backwardness has created a sense of national identity among the Baloch populace of Karachi. Many of them think that it can only be maintained by preserving their culture and language.
Of late, it is witnessed that a slow cultural revolution is taking place in Lyari, Malir, Golimar and other Baloch-dominated localities as the area residents link their destiny with the revival of their culture and language.
Moreover, the Balochistan military operation has changed their psyche and they have started talking about Baloch nationalism, Balochistan and its history.
Several educational organisations, musical clubs and video academies have cropped up in Lyari, Malir and Golimar areas in the informal sector, which are playing a crucial role in the promotion of the Balochi language.
Besides, some non-governmental organisations have established several coaching centres where Balochi as well as English language classes are being conducted. In Lyari, these institutions are being run in Singoolane and Nawalane by youths, who have been striving hard for the promotion of the Balochi language.
Several women activists have been actively participating in the language classes. They regularly contact Baloch women and motivate them to learn the Balochi language.
Most textbooks in Balochi language have also been translated into English. Besides, some monthly and daily publications are also being distributed in the Baloch-dominated areas of the city. One such monthly is “Labzank”, which is being published and distributed in Lyari on a regular basis. “Tawar”, a daily published both in the Urdu and English languages, is also available in the local markets.
An activist who did not want to disclose his identity said, “We have of course lit a candle in a huge, dark ditch. I wish this candle may continue to provide light forever.
“We believe we can make a difference if we keep on working and do not get despaired. I want every Baloch to learn, read, write, listen to and speak the Balochi language worldwide. And I hope the success is in the offing.”
Most teachers in the informal educational centres are spending their time and efforts to help children in their studies and to keep them away from drugs.
According to Majeed Baloch, a private school teacher who also works for a street school “ARM” in Baghdadi area, coaching classes have become essential for children because they learn so little in the public schools where teachers seldom take classes and expect students to work on their own.
“They ask children to buy guidebooks and study their notes,” confided a volunteer, saying that how government school teachers expected the poor children or their families would manage to pay for the costly guides.
Seeing the progress made by street schools in Lyari, youths in Malir and Golimar have now taken up the task and started sponsoring street schools in their respective localities. “They really need help. I hope other social organisations will come forward and lend a helping hand,” a senior social worker observed.
Meanwhile, a social worker told Dawn that a street school in Baghdadi which was abandoned some time ago due to gang warfare would be reopened very soon. The wall of the Bombassa Street has been repainted. In the same locality, a new NGO has emerged with the support of a Balochistan-based nationalist party.