Sindh Day Celebrations in Sindh Louis (ST. LOUIS) March 11, 2006
Report by Dr. Feroz Ursani.
It was a glorious Saturday afternoon in the city known as the gateway to the West, and it turned out to be the gateway towards a rejuvenation of ST. Louis SANA Chapter in the Midwest, and the resurgence of the once robust and vital Sindhi Medical Association of North America. The ever gracious Qalbani couple, Shireen and Mahmood Qalbani, had given ample opportunity to Sindhis of the Greater St Louis area in particular, and those of the Midwest in general, to gather at their residence, and they responded well.
Dr. Mahmood Qalbani with Ajrak in the picture.
From out of the area, came the bespectacled, quiet and thoughtful SANA president Aziz Narejo. Aijaz Turk and Valeed Sheikh came from Michigan and Minnesota respectively, and Fahima and Askar Qalbani from Sioux City. Mr. and Mrs. Saleem Ursani, were visiting here, and joined in to meet and greet old friends, along with their hosts the Dr and Mrs. Mithal Vakassi. From across the Mississippi from the Land of Lincoln, came Amanullah Pathan, Abdul Wahab Kazi, Rukhsana and Anwer Bhutto, Fozia and Shabbir Shaikh, Asma and Mazhar Lakho, and this scribe and his wife Nasreen. Missouri itself was strongly represented: Qalbanis et al* (the families of Roshan and Dewan, Zarina and Siraj, Neelam and Aslah), Ashok came with his spouse Dhuru, Adi Neeta came with the Sham Tekwani, and Nand and his brother came with their better halves. Adi Mehrunissa and Aijaz Memon his sister Adi Anees from Pakistan and Adi Sarla were with us too.
As usual all families brought their children with them and they had great time too. We walked into the glow of the Qalbani home, enjoying the warmth of their hospitality, and quickly settled down to the business of the day, the purpose being to bring out some concrete and feasible ideas to strengthen SANA.
Mahmood asked this scribe to pen down a report of this meeting, and I am doing so, entirely from memory (which gives me a trying time nowadays), thus all lapses are inadvertent and pardonable!
Feroze Ursani listening thoughtfully to some points.
Mahmood convened the session with a formal tenor to the all-around informality, and requested Aziz to chair the session, who did so with great alacrity, underlying three aspects to be discussed here:
1) How to strengthen SANA, make it more vibrant and increase its membership;
2) Formation of Greater St. Louis Area SANA Chapter and
3) Propose some feasible project(s) from this moot to be taken as model project(s) by SANA in Sindh.
He briefly spoke on the importance of â€˜Sindh Dayâ€™ - the celebration of the famous student movement of 4th March 1967. He also briefed the gathering on SANA Sindh Convention.
..Aijaz Turk delivering his thoughts in his usual style. Valeed Shaikh
sitting on his left.
Aijaz Turk first took the floor and espoused the need of projects in Sindh from the platform of SANA, which can be proudly owned by Sindhis abroad. He propounded the idea of adopting one of the district level high schools being envisaged by SZABIST, and said he and Valeed Shaikh plan to give $50,000 each as seed money for that. Dara Bhajan had his ideas. Dr. Ashok Kumar was concerned with the most important aspect of management and control of such projects. Dr. Anwer Bhutto, thought the proposal noble, but opined whether we could help modernize existing educational facilities in Sindh.
Askar Qalbani explained to us the ideas of macro and micro indulgences in problems in Sindh, and there attempted resolutions from us abroad, and thought it more feasible to interact with state-run schools. I for one leaned towards helping out the existing schools in the private sector.
Shabbir wanted us to think of an idea of opening one model institution, funded and operated by SANA itself, and exhorted us to look at this type of an idea already practiced by the Abbasis* in Kot Deji, ISRA University in Hyderabad, and more lately by Saleem Ursani, who has established and is running a school in Hyderabad. Kazi Abdul Wahab, Dewan Qalbani, who gave the example of such a school in Badin, and Aijaz Memon, agreed with Shabbir. It was therefore decided with unanimous consent to explore the idea for the establishment of a model educational institution in Sindh by SANA, by creating an Education Foundation under SANA, and present it to the SANA moot in July this year. Aijaz Turk was requested to compile such a proposal in the given time frame.
Dr. Mazhar Lakho working on his PDA.
The question of increasing the membership of SANA was taken up next. Mazhar Lakho opined that out of some 5000 Sindhis here only a few are members of SANA. A healthy discussion ensued as to how to bring them into the folds of SANA. Askar Qalbanisâ€™ suggestion that all regular membership dues be waived created a healthy interest. Most of the members termed it a brilliant idea while some others raised some questions to its practicality. Some participants said that voting rights should be given only to the paying members.
A unanimous opinion emerged that the question should be addressed through an amendment in the bylaws and Aslah Qalbani volunteered to make a draft and present it to EC, the general body and to post it on Sanalist for further discussion.
To generate permanent funds it was proposed to make new life members. To maintain vibrancy of the association Askarâ€™s suggestion that the SANA president write to every Sindhi here welcoming him/her to SANA, and enclosing a card for a suggested donation of $2 to $25, was enthusiastically accepted. To provide the president names and addresses of Sindhis here everyone was encouraged and entrusted with the task of increasing/updating SANAâ€™s membership database.
The SANA president said that the Sindhis of the greater St Louis area have always been in the forefront of SANA activities, and suggested the formation of a Greater St Louis/ MO SANA chapter. It was unanimously agreed upon, and Aijaz Memon by consensus was nominated to be its first president, and Anwer Bhutto agreed to hold the first convention of this chapter at his residence in the near future.
By and large this gathering was very productive, and as far as SANA goes the following suggestions were agreed upon for further action:
1. Aijaz Turk will work on a concrete proposal for the establishment of a model educational institution in Sindh, by creating a Education Foundation under SANA, and present it to the SANA President, in a timely manner.
2. An amendment to incorporate changes in the regular membership dues will be presented by Aslah Qalbani, in a timely manner.
3. A Greater St Louis Chapter of SANA was established with Aijaz Memon as its first president and Anwer Bhutto as its convenor. Both were authorized to proceed with the process.
At this juncture, physicians who were founder members of Sindhi Medical Association of North America (SMANA), requested discussion on how to revive this August body. Everybody agreed, and it was unanimously decided to revive SMANA and Dr Mahmood Qalbani and Dr Shabbir Shaikh requested to co-chair this noble venture, and $20 each was collected as donations for this project.
At the end of this gathering a vote of thanks was exuberantly passed to thank Adi Shireen and Mahmood Qalbani for their great hospitality.