New Delhi: Pakistanis are accusing Bollywood of ignorance and its Naseeruddin Shah who is drawing flack this time about his claim that ‘nobody speaks Sindhi in Pakistan.’ Now Pakistanis have taken to social media in droves to correct the Indian actor and are aghast at his uninformed claim.
In an interview released on 5 June on the YouTube Channel Tried&Refused Productions, Shah, while talking about his new series Taj: Divided by Blood, commented on the importance and origins of Urdu language and made the erroneous claim that nobody in Pakistan speaks Sindhi anymore. While answering a question about the “negative rhetoric” around Urdu, Shah said, “Can you name another country in the world where Urdu is spoken? Apart from Pakistan? Where there are hundreds of other languages. In fact, Punjabi is spoken more widely than Urdu. Then they have Balochi, they have Dari, they have Seraiki, and they have Pashto. Sindhi, of course, is no longer spoken in Pakistan.”
A Pakistani account that posted the clip from the interview even turned abusive towards Shah’s comment, saying “WTF, Shah Ji?”
“Sindhi, of course, is no longer spoken in Pakistan..”
WTF, Shah Ji? pic.twitter.com/kp4tYlmykG
— Umar Aziz Khan (@UmarAzizKhan9) June 5, 2023
Those from the Sindhi community, such as Pakistani actress Mansha Pasha, have also rebutted the statement, emphasizing their pride in their language.
As a proud Sindhi who speaks the language within her household, I beg to differ. https://t.co/6XXWaUXRtv
— Mansha Pasha (@manshapasha) June 6, 2023
Even non-Sindhi Pakistanis weighed in on the controversy, some expressing their love for the language while others penning anecdotes of Sindhi-speaking friends and family.
I am not sindhi by birth but i love speaking sindhi & you know what i am learning this language because i want to talk to everyone in sindh.
I prefer to sindhi to urdu & english https://t.co/xYoI5eiOTV
— RoomaMushtaq (@RoomaMatto) June 7, 2023
Some Pakistanis went as far to express their annoyance at Bollywood for speaking about Pakistan without knowing much about the issue at hand.
If nothing else, Bollywood folks deserve full marks for the “confidence” with which they speak about Pakistan having absolutely no clue!Kids in Sindh can’t pass matriculation without writing a Sindhi exam.We have Sindhi TV, poetry, music,dramas, newspapers but no he knows more! https://t.co/IW2h7jNWn8
— W.H (@waj_huss) June 6, 2023
A Twitter user brought up Shah’s less-than-perfect Punjabi in the movie Zinda Bhag (2013).
— Sabahat Zakariya (@sabizak) June 6, 2023
“I was shocked to learn this. I didn’t expect Naseeruddin Saab to make this uninformed comment,” said Pakistani designer Mohsin Sayeed, pointing out that Sindhi is the official language of the second largest province of the country. Children mandatorily learn the language in schools from 4th to 10th grade.
He also mentioned how two of his Sindhi employees discussed the controversy in their mother tongue before him. Sayeed too blamed Indians for their ignorance towards Pakistani culture and society due to a “lack of interest.” Mentioning poets like Ayaz Gul, he emphasized on the vibrant culture and contribution of the Sindhi language to art, philosophy, poetry, entertainment, politics, etc. on both a national and international level.
However, not everyone was ready to put Shah on trial. “Sindhi is spoken, read and written by many in Sindh and, unlike in India, the language is flourishing there. The Sindhis of Sindh are passionate about their language and culture. It’s ludicrous to accuse Naseeruddin Shah for a verbal slip; his focus was on Urdu in India, he knows that Sindhi is spoken in Sindh,” said Saaz Aggarwal, Sindhi scholar and writer-translator.
Source: The Print