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History of SANA 1984-1990 History of SANA / About Us / Home  
 
SANA is a non-profit organization the objectives of which are to unite Sindhis in North America and everywhere; to defend the historic national rights of Sindhi people; to foster friendship and understanding between Sindhis and other nationalities; to educate people about Sindhi Civilization, philosophy, values, language, literature, history and heritage; to harness and bring under one umbrella of SANA, the potential energy, resources, and knowledge in Sindhis living in North America. In light of the above objectives, SANALIST is created for the Sindhi community in North America to discuss and analyze the Sindh situation, to form a bond between Sindhis in North America and to enrich from the information flow.

Desperation and Urge to Organize

It was early 1984, when the clouds of cruelty and discrimination in the form of General Zia’s regime overpowered Sindh and its people. The news of killing of scores innocent villagers demanding restoration of democracy and political rights had become unbearable for few Sindhis, who then lived in the vast continent of North America. Often they shared their pain and sorrows and mourned the inability of Sindhis back home to secure their rights.

The legend is that during some of those yearning sessions, a talk about forming an organized group gained traction. The key impetus for creating SANA was to organize Sindhi community in North America in order to help Sindhis back home to secure their economic and political rights and preserve their identity, culture and language.

The very fact that the Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) is celebrating its 25th anniversary is in itself a great achievement. Many similar organizations that aspired similar goals for preserving and promoting cultural, economic, and political rights of their people came and faded away. It is to the credit of North American Sindhi community that SANA has survived all obstacles and barriers that came its way. Granted it is not the exactly same organization that its creators and pioneers had dreamed. Never the less, it survives and is one of the important voices of North American Sindhis.
Initial Organization Efforts and Formation of SANA
A group consisting of Dr. Altaf Memon (Pennsylvania), Dr. Javaid Laghari (New York), Mr. Shankar Lakhvani (Pennsylvania), Dr. Aftab Kazi (Washington DC) and Mr. Anwar Memon (Toronto, Canada) became the organizing committee for exploring the feasibility of creating an organization of North American Sindhis. Soon thereafter, Dr. Aftab Kazi left for an overseas assignment and the remaining members of the organizing committee conducted an initial survey by sending a questionnaire to several Sindhi families in the USA and Canada. The response was reasonable which encouraged the Organizing Committee to begin the process of preparing an association charter and bylaws.
SANA Charter and Bylaws
This scribe was approached around August 1984 to help in the organizing efforts. As a result of these discussions, a formal proposal including the charter and by-laws and as well membership form was sent to about 80 families in North America. These packages were mailed from Toronto, Canada. Several positive responses and signed membership forms were received. Following these efforts, an interim Executive Committee consisting of Khalid Hashmani (President - Ontario, Canada), Naranjan Dudani (Vice President – Massachusetts, USA), Nazir Mughal (General Secretary – Pennsylvania, USA), Israr Ansari (Treasurer – Ontario, Canada), and Safia Mohammadlly (Information Secretary – Maryland, USA) was formed. Soon after initial formation, Dr. Nazir Mughal indicated that he had some time constraints and would not be able to fulfill his responsibilities as the General Secretary so Dr. Altaf Memon was persuaded to assume the role of General Secretary.
First 25 Members of SANA
By March 31, 1985, the FIRST 25 CHARTER MEMBERS OF SANA were Gul Agha, Altaf Memon, Israr Ansari, Naranjan Dudani, and Khalid Hashmani. Askar Qalbani, Mushtaq Kalwar, Shahzad Kazi, Nasreen Kazi, Inyatullah Kathio, Javaid Laghari, Shankar Lakvani, Razzak Memon, Bashir Memon, Safia Mohammadally, Aftab Mufti, Meerchand Oad, Nisar Ali Shah, Aftab Shaikh, Badar Shaikh (NY), Sajida Shaikh, Iqbal Tareen, and Saleem Wafai.
First General Body Meeting (Washington DC, August 1985
The first Annual General Body meeting (Later the annual meetings started to be called SANA annual conventions) was held in Rockville, Maryland in August 1985. This event was simply a dinner at a local restaurant (organizers: Sajid Akhund and Safia Mohammadally). The General Body formally approved the SANA charter and bylaws. It also added a clause on the disposition of any remaining funds to educational institutions in the event the association was dissolved. A heated discussion about the association goals and objectives took place in the meeting. In the end, the objectives as stated in the SANA charter were reaffirmed by the General Body.

The meeting approved the interim Executive Council for the full-term of two years beginning January 1, 1985. The body also appointed Agha Gul to investigate the process of securing a tax-exempt status and formed various committees – Membership Committee (Irshad Kazi, Zahoor Siddiqui, and Roshan Shaikh), Social and Cultural Committee (Latif Lighari, Karim Memon, and Razzak Memon), Publication Committee (Altaf Memon, Roshan Shaikh, and Razzak Memon), and Fund Raising Committee (Ali Nawaz Memon, Latif Lighari, and Inayat Kathio). A resolution in support of the formation of SANA by the Boston Area Sindhi Association was read at the meeting. The SANA members greatly appreciated this gesture and passed a “thank you” resolution.

After dinner, a “Sindhi Sham” was celebrated at the residence of Ali Nawaz Memon. A report in “SANGAT” (a quarterly newsletter of SANA) describes the Sindhi Sham as “It was an evening of Sindhi, songs, dances and great katchahry. The sham was started with a slide show showing historical and cultural sites in Sindh. The show was put together by Dr. Gul Agha. The scholarly narrative of Dr. Gul Agha was thought provoking and very much appreciated by the audience. Dr. Naranjan Dudani and Miss Lata Chainanni stole the show with their rendering of ‘Nangra Nimani da Jewewen teewen Palna’, “ho Jamalo’, and many other songs.”
Nourishing SANA in its Early Years
Every one realized that to nourish SANA, whose membership was disbursed over the vast continent, had to be based on extensive consultation and democratic principles for decision making. The practice of conducting regular membership surveys lasted for more than a decade. The first membership survey conducted in November 1985 asked members to vote for the venue, timing, and organizer names for General Body meetings from among a list of four-five cities. In addition, the survey contained a “Change of Address” area. By November 1985, SANA had become a formidable organization of 50 family and individual memberships.
Building SANA as an institution
The Second General Body meeting was held in the Niagara Falls/Buffalo area on July 4 and 5, 1986. The keynote speaker at this meeting was Dr. Feroz Ahmed, who spoke on how North American Sindhis can help their brothers and sisters back home. The key take-away from his presentation titled “Light the Torch” was that only Sindhis who live in Sindh can regain the ground they have lost, overseas Sindhis can only help them in these efforts. The SANA EC thanked Abdul Fateh Halepoto, who designed beautiful logo of SANA, Anwar Memon for contacting Mr. Halepoto and getting SANA pads printed, and Mrs. Parveen Laghari for bringing the pads with new logo to the USA. The SANA Treasurer issued financial statement for 1985 showing total receipts (membership fees, donations, etc.) of $ 1,1517.59 and total expenses of $409.75. With a small amount carried from 1984, the surplus stood at $1,221.09.
Strategy to Unify Sindhis, form an Alliance and win Rights
During these early years, strategy to form a strong alliance of Sindhi intellectuals, political minds, and affluent proved to be successful. With each year, not only amount of donations increased so did the breadth of SANA activities and planning of more ambitious plans. The most cherished and ambitious plan was to form a world congress of all Sindhi organizations. The key objective was to create a single platform for all Sindhis to interact with each other and work together for protection of Sindhi heritage and Sindhi rights. Proposals to engage in intensive advocacy campaign with the US Executive and legislative branches on behalf of Sindhi hit a strong approval from SANA members. SANA encouraged academicians such as Dr. Javaid Laghari, Dr. Gul Agha, Dr. Altaf Memon, Dr. Naveed Qamar, Dr. Aftab Mufti, and Dr.. Niranjan Dudani, and Dr. Aftab Kazi to undertake innovative activities such as creating Sindhi word processing software, and collaborate with universities and colleges in Sindh. After military firings on several demonstrators in Sindh, SANA vigorously campaigned for the condemnation of such attacks; wrote letters to key members of the US Congress and senior State Department official; and sent telegrams to President and Prime Minister of Pakistan and leaders of countries to stop bloodshed of Sindhis.

The December 1986 issue of SANGAT contained a thought-provoking article on exploitation of Sindh’s energy resources with much of the benefit going to Punjab at the expense of Sindh’s poor people. The elections of the SANA Executive Council (EC) for the new term (1987-88) were amicably conducted in December 1986. The elected officers included Khalid Hashmani (President), Naranjan Dudani (Vice President), Javaid Laghari (General Secretary), Nadeem Qamar (Information Secretary), and Israr Ansari (Treasurer). The 1986 Financial report (published in March 1987 issue of SANGAT) listed total revenue of $ 2,119.44 and Expenses of $ 1,364.42 with overall cumulative surplus of $ 1,871.86.

The third annual General Body meeting of SANA was held in Pittsburgh on the weekend of July 4, 1987. The coordinator of the meeting was Shankar Lakhvani. In addition to keynote presentation by Dr. Aftab Kazi, Gope Chandar and his family made it a memorable musical evening with delightful Sindhi songs and dances. An impressive amount of $ 2,300 was pledged in donations at this meeting with the highest amount ($ 500) pledged by Mr. Saleem Ursani.
 
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