History of SANA
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SANA is registered as 501c 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.
SANA Dr. Feroz Ahmed Memorial Educational (FAME) Fund Scholarship Program
Student Progress In the shape of SANA FAME Scholarships, the SANA Community in North America
Sindh have historic landmarks and archeological sites.
Sindhis living in different parts of the world are organizing themselves and realizing the importance of their culture.
Land of Opportunity
Our religious tolerance, chivalry and love for land and language are the cornerstones of our heritage.
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. At the meeting, Dr Javaid Laghari made a presentation and distributed free copies of the first Sindhi Word Processing Software that he had developed at SUNY Buffalo. 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, Dr. Niranjan Dudani, and Dr. Aftab Kazi to undertake innovative activities such as creating Sindhi word processing software, and collaborating 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
Hectic Pace of Activities in 1987-88
SANA conducted a survey of membership to solicit concerns and preferred programs that members would like the EC to focus on. SANA sent a small donation towards the organization of a Shah Abdul Latif seminar to be held in New Delhi, India. After being briefed by SANA on the worsening law-and-order situation and attacks on Sindhis in Karachi and Hyderabad, The International Sindhi Samellan organization passed a resolution condemning such actions and appealing the heads of non-aligned countries to pressure Pakistan Government to put a stop to the genocide. The popularity of SANA’s newsletter SANGAT (Chief Editor: Dr. Altaf Memon) attracted a huge interest from Sindh and Sindhi community in India. Some offers have been received seeking permission to publish SANGAT in Pakistan and India
A SANA “Needs and Priorities survey” was conducted to solicit member input to ensure that SANA continued to meet the member needs. 80% of membership selected SANA’s newsletter SANGAT as the most valuable program and indicated that 20% of the SANA budget should be allocated to it. General Body meeting and inviting Sindhi artists and intellectuals to North America followed this. The SANA Membership Directory was voted as the third-most popular activity.56% members expressed satisfaction with the type of press statements that were issued by the EC; 24% wanted more press statements of similar type and 12% wanted fewer press statements. In response to a question, several names were suggested for inducting as EC and AC (Advisory Committee) members. Also 67% expressed full satisfaction with the by-laws and 14% felt that some changes were desired
The fourth annual General Body meeting was held in New York on the weekend of June 25-26, 1988. The coordinator of the meeting was Badar Shaikh with support from Sarfraz Abbasi, and others. In addition to the annual meeting of members, an Adabi Mehfil moderated by Dr. Aijaz Turk, a musical program, and a picnic was organized in conjunction with the conference. Several delegates from Sindh (Pakistan), UK, and India also attended the conferences. The key decisions made the meeting included authorizing Dr. Aijaz Turk to pursue discussion of the Sindhi Language project with officials of Sindh University and the Institute of Sindhology. SANA provided an initial grant of $ 500 to Dr. Aftab Kazi to start a quality publication called “The Sindh Journal of Asian and African Affairs”. SANA also provided a donation of $ 500 to Mr. Aijaz Sindhi to start a Sindh magazine “SANEH” from New York. The meeting approved a moderate increase in SANA membership fees; and Dr. Aijaz Turk announced the formation of a SANA Medical Chapter. Total donation pledges made the meeting exceeded $ 5,000. The speakers at the New York meeting included Professor Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Hafeez Pirzado, Makhdoom Khaliquzaman, and Dr. Khalid Laghari. Mr. Hafeez Pirzado in a moving speech talked about the systematic colonization of Sindh. He said that the 1973 constitution had failed and there was a need of a new constitution with equal rights for all four provinces. The emotion and resolve of North American Sindhis was apparent when almost every one joined and sang “Sindhri te sar ker na deendo e yar, sahando ker e mayar oh yar
The SANA Executive Council proposed and won approval of SANA members to expand the role SANA Advisory Committee. The new Advisory Committee consisting of Shoukat Ansari, Shankar Lakhvani, Razzak Memon, Badar Shaikh (New York), Amanullah Turk, Asif Wafai, Aftab Kazi, Mohammad Ali Mahar, Mahmood Qalbani, Dr. Badar Shaikh (Maryland), Aijaz Turk, Adam Khan Laghari, and Aijaz Abro was formed. The composition of the Executive Council (EC) was also expanded to 11 members and the new elections for the next two-year term were held in December 1988. Those elected for the next term included Khalid Hashmani (President), Naranjan Dudani (Senior Vice President), Mahmood Qalbani (Vice President North America), Aftab Kazi (Vice President Overseas), Javaid Laghari (General Secretary), Aijaz Turk (Joint Secretary), Razzak Memon (Information Secretary), Israr Ansari (Treasurer), Badar Shaikh (Regional Secretary – East), Shabbir Shaikh (Regional Secretary – Mid-West), and Adam Laghari (Regional Secretary – West
The SANA President wrote letters to prominent Sindhis in Europe, Far East and Middle East to form Sindhi organizations and to launch a campaign for Sindhi Rights. In October 1988, a group of Sindhis in Europe had several get-together meetings that eventually led to the formation of the Sindhi Association of United Kingdom and Europe (SAKUE). A proposal to hold a joint meeting sponsored by both SANA and SAUKE in second quarter of 1989 was tabled for consideration of both organizations. Around the same time, the SANA chapter of medical doctors named itself as Sindhi Medical Association of North America (SMNA). The Toronto Metropolitan library reported that about 200 books in Sindhi and/or about Sindh were received from North American Sindhis
A large group of Sindhis including several members of SANA EC had an emergency meeting in St. Louis to consider the situation created by violent attacks against Sindhis in Karachi and Hyderabad. Mithal Vakassi hosted the meeting. Hafeez Pirzado and Dr. Suleman Shaikh also attended the meeting from Sindh. The moot pledged $ 20,000 for purchase of two ambulances to help Sindhi victims who were not receiving help from Eidhi Foundation in Karachi. In addition, Dr. Askar Qalbani announced annual donation of $ 3,600 for 110 freeships in the Roshan Tara schools to help Sindhi poor students Further, 14 SANA members pledged 14 SANA life memberships each at $ 500 (SANGAT issue of December 1988
Years of Consolidation
In 1989 with assistance from fellow Sindhi attorney and a prominent SANA member Mr. Anwar Shaikh, SANA was incorporated as a “Not for Profit” organization in the State of New York. SANA Executive Council appointed Irshad Kazi and Husna Shaikh to the SANA Advisory Committee and thanked Irshad Kazi for introducing 16 new SANA members. SANA West Coast chapter published an impressive newsletter titled INDUS. The editorial Board comprised of Irshad Kazi, Sani Panhwar, Saleem Ursani, and Ashraf Memon. Aftab Kazi and Dr. Naranjan Dudani represented SANA at 25th Silver Jubilee meeting of Sindhi Association of Metropolitan Chicago. Aftab Kazi made a comprehensive presentation on historic ties between Sindhis in Sindh and Sindhi Diaspora and suggested venues for interactions between the two Sindhi communities. The meeting was dubbed as the initiation of first ever form of interaction between Sindh-based and Hind-based Sindhis since the Sindhi Diaspora began after August 1947. The convention also discussed the possibility of holding a world Sindhi convention of all Sindhis irrespective of their religious orientation
The month of July 1989 was one of the most important in the context of SANA achievements. Not only, SANA Convention in St. Louis attracted the largest number of attendees, but also a magazine called SANGAT WORLD started its publication in Sindh. Altaf Memon and Adam Laghari edited the SANGAT WORLD and its Editorial Board consisted of Mehtab Mahboob, Hafiz Qureshi, and Imran Laghari. It had representatives in Middle East, and India
The 1989 SANA General Body Meeting was held in St. Louis, Missouri on July 1 and (Coordinators: Mahmood Qalbani). According to editorial in the October 1989 issue of SANGAT, “The St. Louis meeting was successful in many ways, but the most profound manner in which our womenfolk participated was really the highlight of the meeting”. The editorial went on to caution that “As SANA has gained respect and stature, there are individuals who wish to either gain control of it or use if for self-grandizement”. In a column in the same issue of SANGAT, Dr. Feroz Ahmed wrote “Amidst a festive atmosphere, enlivened by Abida Parveen and joyous performance by the local amateur artists, the pain and agony of Sindh was clearly heard through many speeches, interventions, questions, and answers”. More than $ 25,000 was pledged at the moot. Dr. Amanullah pledged $ 4,000, followed by twelve $ 1,000 pledges, six $ 500 pledges, and thirty-two other donations from $ 300 to $ 50
Mr. Anwar Memon and Mr. Iqbal Tareen graciously accepted to become members of the SANA Advisory Committee. A publication committee consisting of Dr. Feroz Ahmed, Dr. Altaf Memon, and Dr. Razzak Memon was formed and entrusted the responsibility to bring a new revamped SANGAT to become an effective voice of Sindhis in the USA and abroad. The committee appealed North American Sindhis to sponsor upcoming issues with financial pledges
Sindhi Medical Association of North America (SMNA)Although, SMNA with its own Executive Council largely operated independent of SANA, its contributions and help to Sindhi causes were quite important. Its leadership consisting of Dr. Mithal Vakassi, Dr. Rafaat Ansari, Dr. Aijaz Turk, and Dr. Mahmood Qalbani initiated many important projects. These projects included initiating work on making of a video on the history of Sindh and other to provide VCRs, Televisions, and educational tapes to 12 schools in Sindh. The Sindh Graduate Association (SGA) Medical Center at Qasimabad in collaboration with SMNA was started on December 14, 1990 SMNA made donation of $ 5,000
legal purposes for SANA
CONSTITUTION & BYLAWS
The Constitution and its bye-laws are intended to regulate the activities of the Association. It defines clearly the specific purpose of the Association, duties and responsibilities of its members and office holders.The name of this secular, nonprofit association shall be SINDHI ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA.
For legal purposes, the association may be registered as per the law of the land. However, for general communications it will be referred to as SANA. Membership eligibility criteria.
a) has roots in SINDH, or has roots in an area where Sindhi or its dialect is spoken, or speaks Sindhi or one of its dialects.
b) supports the preservation and growth of The Sindhi civilization, culture and language.
c) supports the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Sindhi people.