Saaen to saeen, let the Mohajir also be saeen!

Published: July 25, 2012

Maybe the fact that “Waderai ka Beta” is a catchy tune, or that my best friend happens to be a Sindhi, but for the first time in my life I don’t want to be a boring, confused, Mohajir. DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ/ANAM ALVI

A bunch of the loudest possible 15-year-olds had crowded a tiny fro-yo eatery. As one of them cracked a Pathan joke, on a table next to them, my four friends and I immediately turned our heads to gauge the reaction of our own Pathan friend.

“Dude, he just cracked a Pathan joke!” she yelled.

“Mashal, you’ve never even been up North and you know like five Pushto words. So calm down,” commented my Sindhi friend Noor.

But two minutes later, the same bunch cracked a Sindhi joke and suddenly, she stood up and all hell broke loose:

“Say that to my face jaahil!”

We couldn’t stop laughing at both girls’ hypersensitivity.

Ethnicity usually has no part to play in our lives, though we are quite a diverse group of friends: a Sindhi, a Pathan, a Memon, and a half-Mohajir-quarter-Punjabi-quarter-Pathan.  Rounding up this “Karachi only” mix of 18-year-olds’ is me – completely, boringly Urdu-speaking, or a Mohajir. That was when I realised I was not a part of what happened in the fro-yo place.

No one cracked a Mohajir joke (do those exist?), and even if they had, my reaction wouldn’t have been that strong. If someone asks me if I’m Mohajir, I immediately respond with ‘yes, my grandparents migrated from India’.

Strictly speaking, I am not a Mohajir and to call me “Urdu-speaking” is even weirder, considering everyone around me is technically speaking Urdu; or for that matter my friends may qualify as “English speaking”. I don’t have a place to go to “up north” or rural Sindh. My roots lie across the border, limited to sporadic bouts of nostalgia from my grandmother. The sense of place is missing.

Maybe the fact that “Waderai ka Beta” is a catchy tune, or that my best friend happens to be a hardcore Sindhi, but for the first time in my life I don’t want to be a boring, confused, Mohajir: I want to be a saeen. Forget saeen, I want to have something: an ethnicity, a province to call my own, some patch of land that existed before Pakistan.

I want to know an Ali Gul Pir, I want to correctly sing Punjabi songs, I want to understand what Pushto TV is saying, and I want to scream “Jeay Baloch” for no reason at all. I want to be an ethnicity, not as my Pathan friend put it, “a member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s voting bank”.

But to be part of an ethnicity, you need to figure out what that means to you. And the 18-year-olds in this country, even the hypersensitive ones, have no idea. Maybe I’m just imagining this great pull towards ‘who we are’.

Is it because we’re urban, as we live in Karachi you know, melting pot and other big city clichés? Or maybe it’s because I’m talking to the wrong people? The more I read about Karachi being divided along ethnic lines, the more I realise how sheltered my friends and I are from our own ethnicity.

Growing up, we’re told it doesn’t matter – even if in some parts of the country it really does. And I realise that my own culture is simply mainstream Pakistani culture, Urdu and English and everything in between. Until I visit my Sindhi friend’s house and her younger sister comes running to me. “Ma char saal ji aayan!” she squeals, showing me four fingers.

For you kiddo,

saeen toh saeen, saeen kay mohajir dost bhi saeen.

 Read more by Meiryam here.

Meiryum Ali

Meiryum Ali

A freshman at an ivy league school who writes a weekly national column in The Express Tribune called "Khayaban-e-Nowhere".

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • sunflower

    very interesting, i must say u just wrote my thinking which i had once wen called as mohajir, i hav read almost every article of dis writer and she never disaapoint me, good luck keep writing my friend:)Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Gaad

    lol! saen tu saen, let the Mohajir also be saen ? doesn’t matter wether one is belonging to any caste or what ever else. Recommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    Certainly a nice read. By the way, what does the Sindhi phrase mentioned in the last paragraph mean?Recommend

  • Munis

    As I Mohajir myself, I feel myself like this sometimes. Interesting write-up MeriyumRecommend

  • Raja Islam

    The whole point has to be with belonging. As an individual who was born and raised in Karachi, I had a number of friends from various ethnicities. The biggest problem with Mohajirs is that they have not yet fitted into the ethnic makeup of Pakistan. For someone whose last two generations were born in parts of Pakistan, to still call themselves a refugee makes no sense. How can someone who was born in Sindh or Punjab call themselves as a Delhiwala or a Bihari, especially when they have never even seen these places?

    By definition a Mohajir or refugee is a person who seeks shelter overseas in order to escape persecution at home. Once the problems at home are resolved, the refugee returns home. In some cases the refugees adopt the local culture and customs and stay on in their adopted country. At that time they cease to be refugees.

    If the Mohajir does not stop calling themselves Mohajir, they will never come out of the identity crisis that they are facing and will never be accepted by the Ansar who sheltered them. Recommend

  • the sUltan!

    nice …… its really intresting ! Recommend

  • Zeeshan

    Shame on Pathan, Punjabi, Sindhi and Baloch chauvinists (and Muhajir chauvinists too) who spoke ill of their own compatriots. The identity “Muhajir” found its inspiration from the Muslim’s past and spoke of a community who did a great sacrifice for our religion. So be proud to call yourself a Muhajir. Your identity is deeply entrenched within the faith you profess and the sacrifice you forefathers did for this land.

    However, if you still looking for a “cool” identity: just call yourself a Pakistani or better yet, a Muslim (I know it’s kind of “uncool” to identify solely as Muslim in your “English-speaking” group). You can also follow some Indians by calling yourself a humanist who believes in humanity without borders. (Indians love to call themselves that that except when Bangladeshis show up on “their side of border” and all of sudden, Indians love their border).Recommend

  • Sami Malik

    For a person like me living in Punjab the term muhajir is not much comprehensible. I have failed to understand that why people in Karachi identify themselves with Muhajir identity and why integration failed in Karachi overtime and why they dont call themselves pure Sindhi?. I was raised in Lahore and my three neighbors came from UP and i remember their kids were as Punjabis as I was as they speak like us and live like us and neither they nor anyone else called them Muhajir afterwards. In my view more than 95 percent migrants have been integrated. I have even met Bengali families whose second generation identify themselves as Punjabis. So in my view the place where you are born and raised is a place from where you belong to. A Muhajir identity should be ended with time and ways and means must be developed for proper integration.Recommend

  • This is very thoughtful and interesting. But I’d like to think this represents more curiosity about your developing sense of identity than a genuine feeling of dislocation- and you seem to affirm that in the last paragraph. Just to throw it out there, ethnicity is a very tricky concept for anthropologists and there is no good way of defining it, except to say that it represents “stuff” about one’s sense of identity which is deployed at the “boundary”- the interface with those perceived as the ‘other’- and that is always a matter of choice. Hence, the way to feel like you belong is to stress that which minimizes the other-izing. In your case that will be your mainstream Pakistani identity which binds you with your Pathan, Sindhi, Punjabi, etc, friends. Recommend

  • MNK

    Same here , I never missed her any piece of writing.Recommend

  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,IBA Karachi

    what crap? Saeen and muhajir can never go together.Recommend

  • bilal

    Im a sindhi teenager raised and still living in karachi :P
    Awesome article . loved it <3 !!
    So true article.
    we karachites either sindhi,muhajir or paktun can still live in peace in karachi.
    lol btw i also call my urdu speaking friend(s) “a member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s voting bank”. .
    But there are alot of ethnic problems and ethnic misconceptions in Sindh . that should be wiped out . Recommend

  • Sane

    Good piece of writing. This renders a vista of thinking….. How to be above ethnicity. What to do to be above ethnicity. When we will say we are Pakistani instead of Pakhtun, Sindhi, Punjabi, Hazara, Baloch, Kashmiri, Makrani or Mohajir.Recommend

  • Shahrukh kazmi

    You just divide Pakistan into Ethnic group, I use to call my sirf Mahajir but now i call my self a Pakistani because i live in Karachi and i can see the ethnic violence every day with my own eyes, i do not care who is saaien aur bhaiyye aur paindu is, i now know only one thing that i am a Pakistani.Recommend

  • Shadytr33

    Your NIC doesn’t state which ethnicity you’re from. It states you’re pakistani. Stop calling your self Mohajir because you’re not the 1st generation migrant. You are a Pakistani, then you’re a non speaking Sindhi. Learn Sindhi.Recommend

  • Raza

    Really good article. Thoroughly enjoyed it. As an Urdu-speaker myself (I refuse to call myself Muhajir), I can sympathize with your situation, but well, there’s not all that much we’re missing out on :).Recommend

  • sidjeen

    finding your ethnic roots is not that difficult with a little research you can find who your ancestors were and what caste or area they belonged to in India. however i dont think the findings will be up to your liking and you may not accept them, or if you do the people around you in this country may have trouble accepting you as their own. we have trouble accepting anything indian in this country even if that rich cultural heritage is part of our history.Recommend

  • Noreen SHams

    saeen toh saeen, saeen kay mohajir dost bhi saeen.

    thats what I say to My Sindhi friend :)Recommend

  • Asjad Khan

    Saaen is a mentality :)!Recommend

  • Kinzah

    So true…I belong to a Urdu-speaking family – Muhajir is simply a term coined to identify immigrants..while there is no shame in the term after 60 odds years i refuse to believe we are still “muhajirs”..Karachi is my home and Pakistan my country.Recommend

  • shaista

    I wonder why ‘Muhajir’ is only native to Karachi only as my elder also migrated from indian punjab to Pakistani Punjab , and settled there , get married among locals and never mouned over that they are immigrants and didn’t get their ‘rights’. They arrived bare handed and made their buisnesses from scratch, and never ever thought of diffrentiating themselves from others though they still have nostalgia of roots across border…. And never ever thought of creating an ethnic political party to start killing local and other Pakistanis !Recommend

  • Noor

    Muhajir is not an ethnicity, so the people tagged under this category have neither a historical memory of the term, nor any organic link to it. It is more of a political position.

    Sindhis, Pakhtuns, Baloch, Hazaras, Gilgiti, Chitralis and Punjabis, on the other hand, are ethnic groups, which have thousands of years of history and collective memory.

    It is not surprising to see Jaun Elia and Raees Amrohi’s longing for their ancestral land. They had historical connections and memories, which are part of our identity.

    The generation born and raised in Pakistan, however, will not have the same feelings for Amroha, Dilli, Gujrat, Lakhnaw or Aagra.

    They, the so-called Muhajirs, are Karachiwalas; a non-ethnic identity, which they should be proud of! Recommend

  • Nostalgic Impressionist

    May be MQM now wants CM seat as well with Governorship and sole claimer of Karachi’s Bhatta thats why brain washing its new generation with such crap ideological confusion. Why all of sudden peoples of Khi started feeling crave for identity when nothing was needed in 60yrs? Com’on, we all are equally Pakistani, only united can we stand, ethinicity has rooten our rootsRecommend

  • Summi

    thats a great piece meiryum. keep up the good one. i can totally understand what you wrote about, being from an urdu speaking family myself with roots hovering at the other side of the border, i too felt as the odd one out when everyone had a gaon to go to and i was left with good ole karachi. but after 60 plus years of independence, we, as the off – off springs of the muhajirs – we are the true karachiites – cuz this is where we belong. this is home.Recommend

  • Nostalgic Impressionist

    A/c to title, Saaen to saeen, let the
    Mohajir also be saeen!… If Saeen is label for Sindhi then Mohajirs has to be Saeen, nobody is stopping them from thisRecommend

  • Hamood ur Rahman

    truth is..

    Be it Sindhi,Pathan,Baloch,wotever;they have a superiority complex.
    Although they themselves might just be a slave to the higher-up wadera or nawab or sardar,but yet even jaali degrees or the fact that everyone owns an ak-47 out there,is a PROUD thing. This mentality has not ‘evolved’; it’s inherited.

    Am a Mohajir and i never would have called myself one if there wasn’t a need. If MERIT would have been supreme,not quota. If being a Pakistani would have been enough to get you a post in sindh secretriat, if being Pakistani would have been enough to get you an admission in Karachi university,if being Pakistani would have been enough to land you a job in KPT or KESC,etc.

    So ‘Muhajir’ has now evolved into an ethncity and the above-mentioned superiority complex acted as a catalyst.

    My reply to ‘saeen to saeen’ is..

    saeen to saeen hai..but phir ‘bhai’ bhi ‘bhai’ hay..Recommend

  • Atif Yousufzai

    Being Pakistani is a better option, which i know most of the mohajirs are than any other ethnicity in Pakistan.Recommend

  • saqib

    Very Nice Article and true, while Sindh has rich culture People who migrated from India brought more vibrant culture, Many of us don’t know that Muhajir don’t represent any cast its general term they consist of Bihari, UP Pathan, Hyderabadi, Memon, Rajhistani, and so on even they are different from each other, there is a Universal formula to the culture specially when group of people migrate from one place and bring superior culture than the place of Migration than they penetrate and get more influence, if inferior than they merge in the culture of place of migration, In our case it equivalent it can never be Merged the key to live in Harmony give respect and embrace each other with love. Recommend

  • Rabia

    Proud to be muhajir! Proud to be from community which has been educated and liberal for many, many generations. The lack of ‘Muhajirness’ you feel highlights how you are from a community free of feudal bias. Recommend

  • Rabia

    Also try being accepted as a Sindhi, Punjabi etc. You wont no matter what you do because of the ‘feudal bias’ that exists among these previously, predominantly rural communities. It will take many generations for the feudal bias to dissapear. So be proud of your roots, culture, refinement. You arent a ‘boring’ muhajjid. You belong to a very sophisticated community which was among the first to be educated, treats its women well, made many sacrifices for this country etc. Do you really not want to be the product of so much history and refinement?Recommend

  • Jahaz

    No one cracked a Mohajir joke (do those exist?),
    Shhh..don’t you remember the consequences of Sajjad Ali’s Chief Saab ???
    Its not easy to accept a joke when it means something and it needs a lot of ethnic character to accept and enjoy it with others and sorry to say Mohajir is a sad moment in the history of humans when they are oppressed to move. Its not an ethnicity so naturally all the then mohajirs of Sindh are now Saeens and they need no certificates for that. :)Recommend

  • Hardesh Kumar Hira

    A pakistani, please don’t judge me with my name.

    What the hell was this article. A desperate attempt of being part of any ethnicity ? Why ? Why would you want to be a part of a small group ? You are already a part of a big Mohajir group/sect whatever…

    Come on… it doesnt even matter in the long run…. Sindhi’s are jealous of the mohajir’s and punjabi’s these people envy each other and now the Mohajir want to step in too….

    No !!!! forget all this …. just be an educated unbiased Pakistani !!! SimpleRecommend

  • Hassan S Hakeem

    My dear I am a Punjabi, of 5 waters.
    My dad’s father was a Qurashi but his forefathers about 125 years migrated from Kashmir. So in the revenue record of British Indian Punjab we were classified as Semite and therefore allowed to own agri land unlike other Kashmiries who were not. My dads mom was half Butt half Rathore i.e. Rajpoot.
    My paternal grand dad was a Persian speaking Afghan who came from Afghanistan as a teenager while the grand mother was of Kashmiri origin settled in Abbotabad. Maternal Grandfather’s ancestors came from Balkh while grand mother was a Pushto speaker from Attock.

    I have friends who are Gujjar an Arian tribe mostly nomadic doing cattle herding but many settled and doing agriculture. Approx 30% of Swat population in Gujjar same is the case with my home Distt Gujrat. In KPK they call themselves Pustoon in Punjab they are Punjabi. Our 2 famous Chaudries of Gujrat Ch Shujat & Ahtazaz Ahsan are Warach Jat. Warach is a corruption of Bahraich ( ) since they migrated during probably Akbar’s time from that area.

    So to me you are Saaen Meiryum Ali :) Recommend

  • Karachite Living in Punjab

    Well i am certainly a Pakistani and then a pakka karachiite who is living in Punjab. and for all those who live in Punjab they need to first understand that dynamics of Karachi, which is way way different from any other part in Pakistan. Its not like 2+2=4 that u start saying from today onwards, that we are not Muhajirs…..I also support that we all shoud be pakistanis and not shoud be known by our ethinicites…….I think this bigotry can only be fininshed if you provide justice to every human being living on this earth which is not provided in this case.Recommend

  • Hassan S Hakeem

    I have a question as I am from Punjab where we consistently elect a Kashmari Mughal as CM & PM. Why you guys have this conflict in Urban & Rural Sindh. What is the difference between a Sindhi speaking Mirza & an Urdu speaking Mirza.Recommend

  • Asad

    I am a sindhi lawyer born in Karachi, educated in the UK and proudly count urdu/gujrati/memons as some of my most loyal friends, having spent my entire life in Karachi. Karachi is the capital of sindh and everyone living in karachi on that account alone is termed as a sindhi. mohajir is a erstwhile/defunct term which is used for political convenience for flaring up the ethnic divisions. Urdu speaking is more apt however SINDHI is the valid phrase used to describe all those who live in sindh and invariably that includes karachi. this writer has a mature mind way beyond her years. keep writing

    p.s (polish/irish/italian 2nd 3rd generation immigrants living in the new york area refuse to call themselves anything but NEW YORKERS based on the geography of the state they live in. same universal principle is applied in sindh, punjab etc.)Recommend

  • Ali S

    Shouldn’t you and your friend should call themselves Karachiites instead of Pathan, Sindhi, Punjabi, Mohajir considering that you all seem to be born and raised in Karachi. Recommend

  • Awans

    @Karachite Living in Punjab: Well if you are a Karachite living in Punjab then your second generation should become a Punjabi rather than a Karachite or else it is better to leave for Karachi because in Punjab we emphasize on Integration that anyone who is living here should identify themselves with local people so they could progress together and inter communal harmony could prevail. So now you have come to Punjab i hope you will not try to divide the communities like many of you did in Karachi and will not try to make anothe ethnicity which dont exist in Punjab as everyone integrate overtime and I hope you will try to integrate among locals. Problems arises when you reach some other place and then say you are living in another soil but you belong from a different land. Your consecutive generations will have to transform according to local traditions and that is what the modern Ethnicity is evolved. Recommend

  • Awans

    @Hassan S Hakeem: I absolutely agree with you. The modern Definition of Ethnicity is different of what it was used to be in the past. Well I am Awan and half of My Family lives in KPK and they are Pakhtoons and I meant to say very much Pakhtoon and they are living there for Centuries. My other half of the family lives in Potohar upto Mianwali regions and they are Pure Punjabis as they adopted the local customs and cultures overtime. Ironically my two family members living in Hazara identify themselves as Pure Hazaras. So in my view the place where your second and third generation live is the place from where you belong to and that is actually your ethnicity. Now in North Punjab the big tribes are Awans, Abbasis Butts, Mirs, Sardars and Niazis and interestingly all of these tribes came from Elsewhere over the centuries and settled in Punjab overtime. Nawaz family is a Kashmiri and it is like 20 percent of Lahore came from Kashmir but now look at them Haleem shops are incomplete without a Butt sitting there and Nawaz family who was Kashmiri in the past are as Punjabi as any other person in Punjab could be..Recommend

  • A.

    WOW. I am Urdu-speaking born and raised in Punjab never been to Karachi but I still understand what you mean. I went through a similar thinking process growing up.

    And to say that people from Punjab are not prejudiced towards Urdu-speaking people is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. They are prejudiced and probably will always be. Thats why a lot of Mohajirs do not put their last name like Siddiqui, Burni, Zaidi at the end of their names and use their fathers name instead.
    BUT I learnt to be proud of who I am and what I am and all the sacrifices we have made for this country. I am Urdu-speaking and I have a different culture to other Pakistanis and I still love Pakistan and have as much rights over this land as any other and no one can say so otherwise.Recommend

  • Hanif Shah

    Well any person brought up in Sindh has to be a Sindhi essentially, he/she doesn’t have to have a root of interior Sindh. You are as much Sindhi as I am dear because though I have my roots with interior Sindh but I also was born and brought up here in Karachi.Recommend

  • Khurram

    @A.: You are absolutely lying that there is any Prejudice in Punjab against anyone. You are small minority of the people who failed to integrate and also who failed to assimilate in local cultures because of your own shortsightedness. When you are born and raised in Punjab and when you say i am not like you as I dont want to assimilate with local people and identify yourself as different then tell me you will be welcomed or not.???. It is just like you are in UK and you will say you are a Polish speaker and people of UK have a prejudice against you because you are born and raised in UK but you dont want to be a UK citizen citizen and wants to be different person and even Owe UK. The people like you actually create problems as you claim you have every right to claim this land but you dont want to be like locals . Natural prejudice will arise when people from other regions will come and will not assimilate overtime. You have no right to any land unless you owe that land. If you want to be different then expect prejudice. When you will be like locals then naturally prejudice will automatically rot away.Recommend

  • Adnan

    “I’m Mohajir, I immediately respond with ‘yes, my grandparents migrated from India’.” this is not fair line … my grand parent migrated too …but I never call myself Muhajir .. since I didnt I am paka pure Pakistani … we should shun this notion of Muhajir ……Recommend

  • Hassan S Hakeem

    @A.: Have you seen the prejudice between a Jatt & Gujjar in Punjab? Ask a fauji about the Gujrat (3 Nishan-e-Haider) Sialkot & Potohati net in Army. Both regions in North Punjab.
    Find out about the prejudice between English & Scottish people or between the French Italian & German speakers of Switzerland.
    But all of above do not kill each other or make political parties based on this difference.Recommend

  • The beagle boy

    @ Awans , my ancestors didnot migrate from India to a promised land to get integrated into a somewhat different culture or to become Punjabi or Sindhi .No Sir .

    They did ,obviously for a somethng greater to be a Paksitani .

    All those who are preaching us to let go our identity and mingle to some culture which are very difficult for us evern to savvy , they are just missing the TRUE point of carving out Pakistan .

    Proud to be called a Muhajir .Recommend

  • Awans

    @The beagle boy: The people like you are real nutcase and as long as the people like you exist Ethnic tensions will always rise and you want to make whole of Pakistan as a Karachi. Your comment is the height of Ignorance and it seems from your comment that Quade Azam actually was the owner of Pakistan and he told you that now you owe that land and local indigenous people can go to hell…No my friend that was not the case. There is no such thing as a Pakistani culture apart from Corruption that is a true Pakistani Culture. Pakistan have four dominant cultures and if you dont want to be a part of it and you want to curve out your own identity then always expect prejudice. When you came in another land and started making slogans that you are proud that you dont belong from that land then dont expect that Indigenous people will love you. The purpose of Carving out Pakistan was not make another Muhajir identity and also Pakistan is not a property of anyone. Many people are wise than you and they have no problem to get a local identity but some people like you are a crux of huge problems of Communal Harmony in pakistan. How come you are not a Sindhi when your second generation is eating from the land of Sindh and Sindh gave you everything and likewise a very small nonintegrated minority in Punjab. ??????. Pakistan is a Federation and just search your dictionary what is meant by Federal States and what is the purpose of Federal States.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Mainstream Pakistani culture is not Urdu, English and everything in between. A very minute percentage of Pakistanis can even understand English.. how can it be mainstream?Recommend

  • ali sindhi

    well as a proud Sindhi and a son of soil i pray to god if i been given 2nd chance to live ill be born in sindh that my motherland (not as arab not in makkah nor in madina) because this motherland give me identity, the culture i am proud of, so all peoples who are so pathetic who were raised in this land(sindh) and still they shelter them self behind the umbrella of Pakistan rather call them-self Sindhi, keep your fake identity with you and look around new muhajirs are also comming from FATA if you disown the mother land the motherland disown you Recommend

  • M

    No one cracked a Mohajir joke (do those exist?)

    Yes they do, they’re called Tora jokes =P

    I do feel your pain though. I’m a Pathan, but only by name.Recommend

  • Parvez

    You have a natural writing ability that forces the reader to think of what you’ve said and the best part is that you don’t thrust your opinion onto the reader. Great read this.
    On the ethnic issue, although important, I wish this were played-down and the fact that we are all Pakistanis first and everything else follows, be projected because Lord alone knows how badly this is needed. Recommend

  • yasir

    Saaen to saeen,
    saaen ka blog bhi SaaenRecommend

  • shahzeb

    na sindhi, na balochi, na punjabi, na pathan. hum sub hai PakistanRecommend

  • MohammadAli Ghanghro

    @Zeeshan: Muhajir is not an identity. Stop calling your self what your not. Your not seeking shelter and are not going to return to India. High time you realise your identity and start calling your self Sindhi.
    If at all you have an issue with this, please state that. Recommend

  • Hiba

    This is a nice article and I often feel the same. But we really need to stop calling ourselves mohajirs because we never migrated from anywhere. We need to at least own Pakistan, if not a certain province. We are Pakistanis!Recommend

  • umer

    Really nice… a treat to read ! Recommend

  • nylakhan

    Hmm, i wonder when all this cast system will end
    as its very degradable , and things get worse especially if something is planned against any cast, we should learn to accept that we all are one as a nation. and we should let everyone free in whatever they are.Recommend

  • M.Ayyaz Sheikh

    :) its’s a nice one :)Recommend

  • SAJ!

    Beautifully written, well addressed! Enjoyed it. I hope people get the message out there.Recommend

  • Asif Ali

    Muhajir means someone who migrated from one place to another, your ancestors migrated that’s why they have been called muhajir, today’s generation is not muhajir, because they born and brought here in sindh, pakistan. so it is better to be sindhi, and pakistani, you cant deny this fact that after your death you will be buried in the land of karachi, sindh. so sindh is your second mother. try to love your land and their people, i am sindhi i brought up this mentality that muhajirs are our muslim brothers, i hope people understand what i mean..Recommend

  • Capt Farhan

    Commendable approach my sister. I wish all the Settlers (Muhajirs) have the same thinking and sentiments for this motherland. I am Sindhi and this Dharti will certainly own you if you show this attitude. Adde indeed u are saeeen.Recommend

  • Maria

    @M: No one cracked a Mohajir joke ;do those exist?
    Sadly they do among certain Pakistanis. In the Punjab they also make Muhajir jokes too which can sometimes be very hurtful – it invariably refers to people coming from India as looking short and dark. It is not too different from the Tor jokes you hear in KPK.Recommend

  • Shafi

    Good one!Recommend

  • amjad

    @A.: If you are in the Punjab, you are right to point out that there are lots of bigots and racists there too among Punjabis; Otherwise why do they sometimes use terms like “makar” and “choora” when they refer to migrants from India. Why do they make fun of their looks and say that they are influenced by Hindus or call them “Hindu da aulad” or “Hindustorray”. It is fair to say that migrants have integrated well in Lahore and Punjabi cities because they do not bring up their Indian origins and because they are not present in large numbers like in Karachi but we should not say that Punjabis are all loving and accepting of migrants from other places. After all both the Punjabis and the Pashtuns are the ones who would belittle the looks and culture of Bengalis and Biharis causing the problems there.Recommend

  • The beagle boy


    emphasized text“How come you are not a Sindhi when your second generation is eating from the land of Sindh and Sindh gave you everything and likewise a very small nonintegrated minority in Punjab. ??????. Pakistan is a Federation and just search your dictionary what is meant by Federal States and what is the purpose of Federal States”

    Mr.Awan , go get yurself abreast of history .Eating from the land of Sindh or Punjab ????
    Guess who developed Karachi from a peice of barren land and ,still generaing 70% revenue and feeding Sindh and Punjab .Every other person in Punjab or KPK who fails to get any means of livelihood ,comes to Karachi .See……..?? who has helped who in ‘feeding “?

    Now they are trying to brood over us . Atleast have some gratitude .Recommend

  • The beagle boy


    And then there are certain “not-so-funny” jokes about Lahore , being in vogue among the Muhajirs .Surely you wont want to hear a few of them .Recommend

  • Pakistani Agnostic

    Muhajirs do not own any village, town or city or region but they do own PAKISTAN because we left everything in India (Lucknow in my case).. their mansions, friends everything for Jinnah and his dream.Recommend

  • Shenaniganman

    Judging by the comments I can see the reader’s are missing the point of this article. But I can’t blame them cuz’ there isn’t one.

    This belongs in a pink diary somewhere.Recommend

  • Stenson

    @Capt Farhan and Amjad : I think that people in Punjab are more tolerant than other ethnic groups in Punjab – I never heard Muhajirs complain about treatment they get from native Pakistanis in Lahore. By nature Punjabis are open hearted people and it’s only a small number that use bad names such as Bhayya or Makar or Choora to describe Indian Muhajirs.So it’s unfair to label Punjabis as racist or intolerant to other ethnicities.Recommend

  • PAL

    see when its about asking someone, who’re you??? and finding him/her repugnant to reply k am sindhi, pathan . memon or whatever
    and covering it by saying proudly i’m a PAKISTANI … is like a real loser
    cu’mmon GET A LIFE !
    its just like every other question we ask like .. what’s your name ?do you’ve sibling?what your paa do?Its just our TALKIES… really !
    and we don’t really mind who the other person ‘s if frequency matches !Recommend

  • Intelektual

    The problem is not that we cant find a point to connect and belong the issue happens to be we never fail to find a point to disconnect ! The Us and them divide is not only fueling our political divide & Rule mantra but its also the source of cheap laughs to our casual discourse..
    Stereo typing and racist behaviour is not what cultural roots are about !
    Its actually about celebrating the diversity and having a place to go to for your holidays ;)Recommend

  • faheem

    @ The Writer: Quotes “I want to know an Ali Gul Pir, I want to correctly sing Punjabi songs, I want to understand what Pushto TV is saying, and I want to scream “Jeay Baloch” for no reason at all.”

    I wish you had mentioned somewhere in your post of being a pakistani as well :( so sad Recommend

  • Yuuuuu

    proud to be a muhajjir?/ i m a muhajir too but i will never say that i m proud to b one. why cant everyone in pak accept themselves as just pakistani and declare themselves proud to be one? or more importantly why cant muslim pakistanis just declare themselves muslims? will this balochi, punjabi, sindhi, pushto, sunni , shia nonsense ever end?Recommend

  • A.

    So it’s ok to be called Potohari, Punjabi, Sindhi but it’s not OK to be a Urdu-speaking? I have met many Balochi and Sindhi’s in Punjab who are proud of their heritage and call themselves Balochi and Sindhi and everyone is ok with that but as soon as someone mentions that they are Urdu-Speaking everyone starts remembering Islam and Pakistan and frowns over that word?

    I don’t ask people for anything except some respect and recognition that I am a Pakistani who’s parents migrated and I am not a Punjabi. Why is that so bad ? why should we have to adopt a different culture to prove that we are as patriotic as other people? How in a multicultural country with so many different languages and people one small group create any problem?

    Oh and I am not the only one who thinks like that. Recommend

  • AK

    I don’t call myself muhajir either but very simplistic and biased point by you. Read about what Gauhar Ayu’bs goons did to Liaquatabad in 1964 and also read about Pakka qila in 1989 and aligarh colony in 1986 incidents… you’ll realize that all sides have committed atrocities against others in this unfortunate country of ours. Blaming one community or one party is not fair. Recommend

  • A.


  • Shazia

    The writer Spoke my mind!! This is exactly how i feel, i always end up defending myself as a pathan coz my surname is Khan. I cant find myself being associated with Mohajir. I always want to be a pathan and speak pushto.Recommend

  • Concerned

    With all due respect, your elders faced little hostility because they spoke the same language and were familiar with the Punjabi culture, I mean they came from Indian Punjab, is there really much of a difference (aside from religion and the script used to write the language)?
    Meanwhile the Muhajirs of Karachi moved into an alien land with a different culture and tradition to there own. India is a massive country, and the culture of Delhi and Bihar (where many Muhajirs came from) are different to that of Sindh. It is a shame that assimilation hasn’t been easy, but Pakistan is a very young country and it will take a few generations to iron out the prevailing ethnic differences. Recommend

  • Seema

    @ Zeeshan: I think you are wrong calling yourself Muhajir on this pretext that bcoz muslims migrated to madina, and called them muhajir… but remember Our Prophet Hazrat Mohammad S.A.W.. called himself Madani, so dont prove yourself right with wrong example.Recommend

  • Ishaa

    A person from an ethnically Punjabi family is born and raised in Karachi. Will he ETHNICALLY call himself a Punjabi or a Sindhi? There’s your identity by ethnicity and then there’s your identity by your birthplace/hometown. Screw ethnicity, leave it in the last century please.Recommend

  • Dr Ilmana Fasih

    Lovely read !Recommend

  • Mohammad Jibran Nasir

    You very casually managed to successfully drive the point home. By the way, the most beautiful gift of the Mohajir Culture is the Urdu language. It is ironic who the mohajirs are referred to as Urdu Speaking by the Sindhis, Pathans, Punjabis and Baloch as they are speaking Urdu :)Recommend

  • PAL

    @Mohammad Jibran Nasir: COULD N’T BELIEVE YOU READ IT ON EID DAYRecommend

  • papoo piplia

    btw, its the urdu speaking culture (one from UP/Northern india) that is followed in Karachi not to mention Muhajir food, language, clothes, manners dominate urban Pakistan in fact Punjabis try their best to imitate it.Recommend

  • Bilawal Tunio

    When you go into real life and see the discriminatory attitude and the institutionalized discrimination against your own ethnicity (Urdu Speaking), you will then understand.Recommend

  • Bilawal Tunio

    Sami Malik
    /So in my view the place where you are born and raised is a place from where you belong to. A Muhajir identity should be ended with time and ways and means must be developed for proper integration/

    What a hilarious POV! Proper integration? Urdu Speakers are the extremely well integrated in Karachi, heck they are the majority. Its the Sindhis, Balochis and Pathans who live in peripheral ghettos and need integration into the cosmopolitan urban society of Karachi.

    And why would Urdu speakers adapt Sindhi culture btw, when Karachi historically, ethnically, linguistically and culturally has never been a Sindhi city but always an Anglo-indian one. Karachi has always been more closer to Bombay rather than rural Sindh.Recommend

  • Momo Jackson

    I have never faced any prejudice by Punjabis even though i am an urdu speaking living in Lahore. Punjabis are outspoken yes, but that don’t count as prejudice when u see them talk about their own people. Thats their style. Karachiites are prejudiced! Calling Lahoris or Islamabadians as PUNJABIS? WTH!? Its like a mini India down in Karachi.

    I ask the writer and everyone else, stop moaning and get out of this mind frame. We are Pakistanis We have to learn to be tolerant. We need to respect cultures within our borders. Lame article, just a way to vent out prejudicial trash at the rest of Pakistan. Recommend