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16th Annual Convention 2000 16th Annual Convention 2000 / Annual Conventions / Conventions / Home  
 
Annual Convention 2000 St. Louis, MO
Sindhi Association of North America, SANA, held its 16th annual convention in St. Louis, MO on the 4th July weekend this year. It was participated by a large number of Sindhi families and individuals from all over USA and Canada. It was a grand gala, spread over three days, filled with fun and music. Some guests from Sindh also attended the convention. They included the former Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Abdullah Shah, Eminent Scholar, Dr. Hamida Khuhro, Prominent Sindhi intellectual, poet and writer, Mr Shamsher-ul-Haidri, Qazi Fazal ul Haq and Director, Shah Latif Chair, Karachi University, Dr. Fahmida Memon.

The three day convention included speeches by guests from Sindh as well as President SANA, Dr Mazhar Lakho, reports by the General Secretary SANA, Mr Irshad Kazi, Vice President, Syed Mehar Hussain Shah and FAME Fund Chairman, Syed Manzoor Hussain Shah, general body meeting, deliberations on the current political, economic and cultural situation in Pakistan with special emphasis on Sindh, some presentations, musical programs, cultural events, ladies and youth wing meetings and exhibitions. Sindhis being denied their rights

Speakers at the convention unanimously emphasized that Sindhis were being denied their rights provided in the Pakistan resolution of 1940. They stressed upon the democratic rights of the people and said they were being continuously violated by the successive governments in Pakistan.

Eminent scholar, Dr. Hamida Khuhro, giving an over view of the history of Sindh since the British Raj, said the Government started the denial of the rights of the people of Sindh by prohibiting them from any proprietory rights. The hopes of the people of Sindh were dashed from the beginning and they have been made to suffer since. She said that it is continuing during the present regime as all the avenues of progress, prosperity, economic development and employment are being blocked for them.

She foresaw a bleak future if immediate remedial steps were not taken to reverse the situation by empowering the people and giving them their basic rights.

Former Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Abdullah Shah said democracy has never been allowed to function in Pakistan. He said the situation can only be improved if the mandate of the people is respected and the people are allowed to make decisions instead of few elitists who have grabbed all the powers of the state.

He also said Pakistan did not come into being for forcible Islamization of the society. He said Sindh has always been a peaceful and tolerant society where sectarian and religious terrorism has never been part of life until recently.He criticized the disrespect to the constitution. He said if the sanctity of the constitution is not observed, no good can be done to the country. He was also of the view that Sindh and Pakistan are one entity and Sindhis want their due rights under the framework of Pakistan.

Other guests who spoke on the occasion, included prominent poet and writer Mr Shamsher-ul-Haidri, Qazi Fazal ul Haq and Director of Shah Latif Chair, Dr. Fahmida Memon.
Convention Details - by Mohammad Ali Mahar
Saturday – July 1, 2000
  • 5:30 pm: I arrive in St. Louis.
  • It is hot and humid. No trace of clouds. I feel clammy.
  • In the shuttle to hotel, I am accompanied by three more persons. Two girls and a boy. They talk to each other in English but they look Sindhis. Well, they may not be.
  • At the hotel, I walk to the front desk with the three people in tow. Room No. 649 is allotted to me. To another front desk clerk, the boy introduces himself. Trying to snoop, I catch his name. They are Sindhis.
  • I saunter to the registration desk diligently manned by a young man with his team. His name is Dr. Anwar Shaikh, I am told. I introduce myself. Dr. Mazhar Lakho gives me a very cordial bear hug. This is our first face-to-face rendezvous. Dr. Lakho introduces me to Dr. Ashok Kumar, Nausherwan and others. We greet each other and hands are shook.
  • At the bridge, I spot standing Saeen Shaukat Ansari. I scurry to him and touch his knees. Saeen had taught me at Mehran. Initially, he has difficulty recognizing me. Since I last met Saeen years ago, I have put on weight, become bespectacled and shed hair, and have trimmed my moustaches to give myself some pretense of a gentleman (which, alas, doesn’t seem to have worked much, though). I meet Saeen Altaf Memon, from Mehran, too, and Saeen Manzoor Shah, who informs me that he has been reading my postings and knows me by name.
  • After dropping my stuff in the room, I join Saeen Ansari in the lobby again. We reminisce good old days at Mehran. My classmates. Their education. Their marriages. Their breakups.
  • Most of the participants have arrived by now.
  • My eyes have been glued to the entrance. I am waiting for someone who I was told would be here by the evening. No signs whatsoever.
  • 9:00 pm, everybody who is anybody has left for a meeting. Being nobody, I give up and decide to retire.
  • Back in the room, I struggle to sleep even though it is too early for me. Twisting and turning in my bed, I am sleepless in St. Louis.
  • 10:30 pm, the phone bell rings. It is he. “I have just arrived”, says Khalid Channa, “do you want to meet now?” “No way, Jose”, I reply, “we shall meet tomorrow morning”. Finally, he has arrived. Now I can sleep a happy man.
  • I turn off lights and start counting sheep once again. One, two, three…three thousand eight…ZZZzzzzz…

Sunday – July 2, 2000
  • Breakfast has been arranged in the lobby and on the bridge in a huge quantity. All you can eat. Among other items, I eye croissants and steal a couple of them to be washed down, later, with a hot cup of tea. Croissants were first produced by the French to commemorate the repulse of an attack by Ottoman Turks. Interestingly, I find young Turks (I mean, our Turks) enjoying Croissants most.
  • Khalid gets out of the elevator and spots me. We hug each other.
  • We meet Sani Panhwar, after twelve long years. We studied together at Mehran. Hugs.
  • Organizers herd us to the convention hall.
  • Resolutions distributed. Objections invited.
  • The podium is occupied by Dr Lakho, Mehr Ali Shah, Irshad Qazi, Manzoor Shah, Zia Memon, Nausherwan Memon and Faheem Baloch (all Saaeens).
  • Proceedings are delayed a little bit for none of the ‘Honorable’ guests has showed up yet. Finally, they start arriving one by one and are called to take their seats on the platform.
  • Dr. Ashok Kumar (the CWC head honcho), in his usual haste, mumbles a few words of thanks and invites Dr. Lakho for his speech. This marks the opening of the convention. Saeen Naranjan Doodani is invited to recite from Shah’s kalaam, before Dr Lakho’s speech. He starts with Sami’s Ashloks, then Sachal and finally, Shah Latif’s baits.
  • All the organizers take their turns to present their achievements during the last year.
  • Irshad Qazi sprinkles the proceedings with his beautiful and timely verses from Shaikh Ayaz, and other poets.
  • When he invites Abdullah Shah, Irshad Qazi recites “Jehro maanrhoo tehrro narno - her ko penhenjey agh aghaarno…” (coincidentally, I believe).
  • Now it is guests’ turn who will be presenting their papers.
  • Madam Hamida Khuhro, Organizer in Sindh of Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League, and indeed a heavy weight politician, very intelligently avoids politics. Her lecture is about the history of Sindh.
  • Saeen Abdullah Shah speaks about Sindh, its plight, mutual love, and respect for each other. Saeen is a great soul who had been as close to General Zia as he has been to Bhuttos. He was an active member of Zia Himayat Tehreek (Zia Support Movement) during the MRD days, and even among the blessed few who had the honor to welcome Zia in Dadu when he visited Sindh. When PPP came to power, Saeen rightfully became the Speaker of assembly and later the Chief Minister of the unfortunate province. After his speech, I successfully overwhelm my urge to ask a few questions.
  • Shamsherul Haidri. I like this guy. A literary giant, he is very unassuming. His paper is very well prepared and full of valuable suggestions (SANA - are you listening?). He goes through the chronicles of Sindhi literature and poetry and floats the idea of a Sindhi television channel. He volunteers to do the homework, if ‘ordered’.
  • Dr Fahmida Memon, who is in the USA on a personal visit, speaks generally of the problems of common Sindhi people and especially writers and students. She laments that Sindhis living abroad speak with their children in English, thus depriving them of their culture and harming Sindhi language. I feel ashamed. Later, in the lobby, Aijaz Memon, introduces me to Dr Fahmida who is standing there with her kids. We chat for few moments. As I excuse myself and start to leave, Adi resumes her conversation with her kids – in Urdu!
  • Next session by the convention sponsors begins. A representative from Pfizer delivers a lecture with the help of slides and projector. Most of the participants mysteriously disappear from the hall.
  • Lunch break (to be arranged by the participants themselves) – Jack in the Box – Fish & Chips.
  • Dinner time – My designs to sneak in fail. The door is guarded by an African American security guard. I have to present my entry ticket to be let in. Food is in abundance. Each variety is very deliciously cooked.
  • The hall is packed to capacity. There are more people here than I have seen during any session before.
  • Ustaad Mazhar Ali Khan occupies the center stage. Ustaad Manzoor Ali Khan’s nephew, he has achieved masterly command over his voice in his young age. He sings to the mood of the audience.
  • People start dancing, led by Dr Aijaz Turk. Saeen Iqbal Tareen has been dragged in, too.
  • Mahesh Melwani is invited who sings along with his wife. He has got a very soft voice. A planning mistake, though – he shouldn’t have been called after Mazhar.
  • Quency, the man on the harmonium, sings two ghazals. Vow Vow Vow! The man has got the talent. I enjoy him thoroughly.
  • Dr. Lakho makes rounds of the hall to make sure everyone is having fun.
  • Mazhar is called to sing again. Another couple of hours of merriment.
  • 1:30am, the mehfil is adjourned till tomorrow.
  • Back in my room, sheep count begins.

Monday –July 3, 2000
  • Destination: Arch - I occupy the last of the four buses. It is very warm and the buses are not air-conditioned.
  • Arch - I am not at all impressed by the Arch. Even Satiyun-jo-Aaastaan in Rohri is a better-looking place. Why does this place remind me of Rohri all of a sudden? A River bank, a huge bridge, an extremely warm weather, My mind has flown back to Rohri for a moment. What is missing here only is the island of Saadhu Bbello.
  • I take a bench under a tree, later joined by Nausherwan, Jan Memon, Ashfaque Memon, Saqib Shah and others. Jan Memon starts telling jokes about Matiari Sharif (sorry not repeatable). We have fun.
  • Journeys to Forest Park – Two buses have disappeared so we have to make do with only two buses.
  • After the departure of the first batch we have to wait one hour to be transported to the Forest Park.
  • We arrive at the Forest Park. There is nothing forest about the park. St. Louis – exaggeration is your second name.
  • Organizers are waiting for us at the mountain of lunch boxes arranged in a tent. Immaculate arrangements have been made for the lunch. Food is more than the need - sponsored by the Pfizer.
  • We take our food and occupy a corner under a tree.
  • People are scattered into groups and are having fun and chit chat.
  • It is getting warmer and more humid. We want to get back to the hotel as soon as possible.
  • Afternoon - Light snacks comprising of a paraatho and a kabab, have been arranged on the 8th floor .
  • Another night of festivities. Saeen Aijaz Turk sings a vaaee. Alo miaan…
  • Mazhar sings again (need I say more?).
  • Proceedings broken. Donation bids invited. Aijaz Turk runs the show. Aijaz calls everyone by name and asks for donations. Ashfaque Turk objects to this style. Over-ruled. People give away their hard earned dollars for the good cause.
  • Mazhar again. People are dancing and curling. Mazhar has the tendency to turn very sane people into crazy.
  • 1:00am. Mazhar tries to seek leave. Not allowed. He sings for one more hour.
  • 2:15am. Sheep count begins….

Tuesday – July 4, 2000.
  • Sindhis’ reign on St. Louis ends. Participants have started to leave.
  • I occupy a seat in the lobby with Saeen Mehr Shah, Nausherwan, Suhail Ansari, Khalid Channa, and Saqib Shah. Mehr Shah briefs us about his meeting with the BB.
  • Khalid’s family descends from their room at 7th floor. He asks for leave. He has to drive to New Jersey. I see him off at his van.
  • 12:10pm. I have a last look at everyone’s face and bid farewell. I shall see them after one year in Chicago.

“What a delightful sorrow departing is!”

Pledges made at Convention
Following is the list of the pledges made at the SANA convention 2000
1  

Dr. Aftab Shaikh 

 

 $1,000.00

2

 

Sani Panhwar 

 

 $   300.00

3

 

Muneer Umrani       

 

 $   100.00

4

 

Sarfraz Abbasi

 

 $   100.00

5

 

Iqbal Tareen 

 

 $   100.00

6

 

Sakina Abro 

 

 $   100.00

7

 

Irshad Ansari 

 

 $   100.00

8

 

Javed Shaikh 

 

 $    50.00

9

 

Manzoor Shah 

 

 $   100.00

10

 

Dr. Badar Afghan

 

 $   150.00

11

 

Dr. Mazhar Lakho 

 

 $   500.00

12

 

Zia Memon 

 

 $   100.00

13

 

Basheer Shahani 

 

 $   400.00

14

 

Munwar Soomro

 

 $    50.00

15

 

Tufail Memon 

 

 $    50.00

16

 

Diwan Qalbani 

 

 $   100.00

17

 

Dr. Shiam Lal 

 

 $   200.00

18

 

Dr. Shabir Shaikh   

 

 $   500.00

19

 

Asleah Qalbani 

 

 $    50.00

20

 

Saeed Hafiz 

 

 $   100.00

21

 

Dr. Ashfaq Turk 

 

 $   250.00

22

 

Dr. Aijaz Turk 

 

 $   500.00

23

 

Dr. Ashok 

 

 $    50.00

24

 

Dr. Valeed Shaikh  

 

 $   500.00

25

 

Ali Shaikh 

 

 $   250.00

26

 

Mumtaz Ansari 

 

 $   100.00

27

 

Mohamad A. Mahar

 

 $   100.00

28

 

Khalid Channa

 

 $   500.00


Please remit your pledge to:
Mr. Aijaz Memon
19765 Drake Drive
Cupertino, CA 95014

Please make your check to: SANA

Outstanding Students Awards Presented at SANA Convention .
The following students received awards for their academic excellence and extracurricular activities during the Convention.

  1. Ms. Sadia W. Memon

  2. Mr. Omar S. Memon
  3. Mr. Shahzad B. Shaikh
  4. Ms. Faryal Umrani
  5. Ms. Sanober B. Shaikh
  6. Ms. Muzna Ahmed
  7. Ms. Shumaila Panhwar
  8. Mr. Shahbaz Qalbani
  9. Mr. Ayaz A. Memon
  10. Mr. Hussain Turk
  11. Ms. Marvee Turk
  12. Mr. Omad Shaikh
 
Annual Conventions 2000
Local Chapter Meetings
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