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My Sindh

Journey with me to the beloved homeland
we can never really go to

Shakuntala Bharvani

About My Sindh

Home is a place where your heart belongs. It’s a place where you find peace and comfort: your haven in the heartless world. When a home is lost – snatched away abruptly – wounds form, and those wounds are passed on down the generations, manifesting in different ways.

Read this book, and heal a little!

On this journey to a homeland that you can never really visit, you will encounter charming stories about historical facts that contributed to making you who you are. Through the author’s wit and insights, you will enjoy absorbing essential aspects of your lost culture. Some of what you read will surely be familiar. And, as things begin to fall in place, you will come a step closer to understanding who you are – a step closer to home.

About Shakuntala Bharvani

Shakuntala Bharvani was a Visiting Fulbright Teacher to the USA in 2001. Her novel Lost Directions (1996) was published by Orient Longman. The Law and Literature (Himalaya Publishers, 2002), edited by her, has been a prescribed text for students of Law of Bombay University for over a decade. Nissim Ezekiel, the Poet: A Monograph (2004) was commissioned by the Sahitya Akademi.

More Books on Sindh

My Sindh

Journey with me to the homeland
we can never really go to

Shakuntala Bharvani

Hiralal Bharvani - once revered, now forgotten

Hiralal was the nephew of Seth Harchandrai, eminent President of the Karachi Municipal Corporation and the first Hindu Member of the Legislative Assembly from Sindh. He was educated at the NJV High School and DJ Sind College, Karachi. His academic career was brilliant, and he was appointed Professor of English at Sindh National College, Hyderabad, in 1925 at the young age of twenty-one – probably the youngest professor in India.

While at Cambridge, he had been called to the Bar from Lincolns’ Inn and for a brief period after his return he joined his uncle’s legal firm, Harchandrai and Company, as an advocate in 1931. But his real calling was teaching, and he rejoined Sindh National College as senior Professor of English and French. In 1938 he was appointed Principal – it had been renamed Dayaram Gidumal National College in 1932 – and he continued in that position until Partition took place and the Sindhis were forced to leave.

It was always academia that attracted Hiralal, and teaching gave him the time and flexibility to indulge in his varied interests. He travelled extensively, mailing postcards to family members from various museums and art galleries he visited around the world.

I was curious to know why Hiralal never married. He was most eligible: wealthy, educated, highly-regarded, and belonging to the top rung of the Bhaiband landed gentry of Sindh.

Family members believe that Hiralal did fall madly in love. But there were differences in family background, and disapproval from Bharvani family elders. Parents of his heartthrob hastily married her off to someone else before a scandal erupted and her reputation lost its virgin sheen. And then Hiralal’s life followed the same style as the woe-begone lover Devdas.

During his tenure at DG National College, the number of students at the college rose from three hundred to more than six hundred. But when Partition took place with the exodus of Hindus, just a handful of students were left in the college.

Heartbroken as he was, Hiralal fell prey to a lingering illness soon after he left Sindh. He died in Delhi in 1949, when he was only forty-six. Suraj Prakash, son of Seth Harchandrai, cared for him in his last days, and performed his cremation on the banks of River Jamuna, later immersing his mortal remains in the River Ganga at Haridwar.

Principal Hiralal Srichand Bharvani (1905-1949)