Today, Shahzad Roy, along with his spouse, Salma Alam, visited my district, Benazirabad, along with the team of RSU and Department of Education & Literacy, Government of Sindh. Benazirabad is a district in the center of Sindh province, at a traveling distance of three and half hours from Karachi–the metropolis of the country. I am working as Deputy Commissioner of the district; hence the arrangement on my part, but overall visit arrangement was initiated by Fazallulah Pechuho, the Secretary Education & Literacy Department, Government of Sindh.
Shahzad Roy is a national and international celebrity ( http://www.shehzad-roy.com/ ). He has sung a number of songs and released several albums. His recent hit song is: Chal Parrha (Translation: Let’s Educate). Following is the wallpaper, picked from Roy’s website, showing the demo of his song, Chal Parrha:
Apart from being a singer, Roy is a social worker, known primarily through his Zindagi Trust ( http://www.zindagitrust.org/ ). Zindagi Trust is a charitable organization that seeks to educate the underprivileged children in Pakistan. He is also running a school in Karachi (I don’t precisely know if he has taken over some other schools), which I visited with Kamran Lashari, the erstwhile Chief Secretary of Sindh in 2010 when I was his Staff Officer. The school was really a model school from various angles (construction, arrangement of classes, equipment, participation of students, particularly girls, teaching methodology, management…). Applause for Roy!
Today’s visit was mainly an idea of cyberspace interconnectivity sought by Fazlullah Pechuho, current Secretary Education & Literacy Department, Government of Sindh to strengthen Education Department’s modern-style management for amelioration of education quality in the district schools. We visited a few places to identify the room-space for installing a dozen of computers in our district offices. Salma Alam being an employee of the World Bank had devised this program, while Shahzad Roy had accompanied her “as a driver” (so he said in a humorous manner).
We had an excursion trip to Jam Sahib and beyond, near the boundary of Sanghar district. It was a farm house, which sprawled over hundreds of acres (farm house structured over an area of not less than twenty acres, and the rest was the expanse of several crops, like sugarcane, cotton, lady’s finger, lime trees, and some paddy fields. It was a sprinkler-based irrigation system that was employed for watering the crops, barring sugarcane and rice fields, which spread over a huge area; thereby irrigated through canal water. We were invited in the farm house, which is locally named as a Chaunra (a structure made of mud in lieu of walls, while it is thatched at the roof). This Chaunra was a mix of local and western construction styles. The walls were bricked (which is never the case with real Chaunras), while the roof was thatched with high quality wooden stuff. A Chaunra is usually a one-roomed house used by people of Thar in the south-west of Sindh province. One example of a usual Chaunra found in Sindh:
But the one we visited was huge enough to provide space for several rooms. The modern furniture had embellished the Chaunra house. (Pictures next time)
We were told there were several dangerous animals and insects found in the area: for instance, smaller but venomous snakes, wild boars and crocodiles. But fortunately or unfortunately we could not come across any. However, we were able to witness several cows–local, mixed-breed–at a spot and were astonished to see their variety and beauty.
The trip of around six hours ended with sharing, learning, and above all, hope in the education of the province.
© M. Syre