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Dr. Nabi Buxh Khan Baloch, an scholar par excellence

By: Kazim Lakyaree

Back in late nineties, on a summer afternoon, there was a lot of excitement at my home. Me, being in my early teens, didn’t actually know, why my father was so excited, overwhelmed and nervous. It was first time I had seen the man, in his fifties to be so thrilled, confused, energetic and active at the same time, he was moving from one corner of the house to another, and almost running up and down to our Outaq (guest room), which spread to almost an acre. I had always seen my father very calm, in fact that was the first and last time I had seen him so hyperactive. It was not only my father, everyone in the family seemed to be busy in some preparation. My brothers were busy in cleaning our outaq, one of disciple of ours, was sprinkling water in the patio. Amidst all these activities, probably I was the only calm person in the family! I was being asked to do some chores, without being told why. I have always had a habit of asking the reason for doing things, I did get scolded by my brothers that day a few times ‘do what you are asked to do, there is no time to explain to you’. Well, I knew the exact person who will tell me what is going on, so I went to ask my mom, from her, I came to know, some “Big Man” is coming at our outaq. I presumed a politician, or may be some very rich man.
The ground was set, only one chair was placed in the patio other seating arrangement was made on an open ground. Well, the time came, at 7:00pm sharp a small car came to our outaq, an old man wearing glasses and holding a stick stepped out of the car. My father, who himself is a well-known scholar and a Tamgha-e-Imtyaz awardee for his service in literature, received the old man, literally sitting down to his feet and touching his feet. This was kind of an awkward moment for me, I being born in family with large number of disciples, had always seen many people leaning down and touching my grandfather’s feet. This was really a strange moment for me, I didn’t grasp this at all.
Shortly, I came to know that this old man was Dr. Nabi Buxh Khan Baloch, who eventually became a great inspiration for me. Later that evening I asked my father, why did you touch feet of that Baloch guy, we are Syed we don’t touch peoples’ feet. My father smiled, without breaking my superiority complex, he very politely answered, “there is no harm in it, he has something greater than us, I didn’t lean down and touch the feet of Dr. Baloch, I leaned down to his knowledge and his wisdom, because I know how much more he knows and how little I know” I learnt, it’s not your caste, creed or race that makes you superior, it’s your knowledge!!!
With growing age, I learnt more about the great Baloch. Dr. Baloch was a scholar in the true sense of the word, a very humble man with colossal amount of knowledge. I remember, once I went to his house to invite him for an event, I hardly waited 10 minutes for him in his guest room, when he arrived, he greeted me with a smile and said, “Son please forgive me to keep you waiting, I am old, I cannot walk fast enough, please forgive me”. This made my eyes wet, this really made me think how humble and great he was. As once Mr. Mazharulhaq Sidiqqui, former vice chancellor University of Sindh, Jamshoro said “The more you know, the more you grow humble”.
Dr. Baloch was born in village Jaffar Khan Leghari of district Sanghar, he had immense thirst for knowledge. As a child, he would walk several kilometers to go to his school. As young man he travelled to Nosharoferoz to study further. In his 20s he went to Alighar University of India to get his bachelors degree, there he drank deep from the fountains of knowledge. There he met with several intellectuals of subcontinent and decided to study further. He set forth to USA and acquired his PhD from Colombia University. This was the same time subcontinent was divided into two. He returned home and got a job in foreign services of Pakistan and started serving at a Pakistan embassy abroad, where he received a letter from Alama I I Kazi, asking him for his support in establishing Sindh University, where Alama Kazi was gathering a galaxy of scholars from all over the country. Dr. Baloch knew, that the newly established country will need massive amount of intellectual investment, so he decided to quit his job in foreign services and returned home to work with Mr. Kazi, where he established the first ever Department of Education in Pakistan. This was just a beginning, he devoted his whole life to the preservation of Sindhi folk literature, culture, Music, History, education and what not!!
Dr. Baloch has written and compiled more than 150 books, some of which have up to 10 Volumes! He prepared Jamay Sindhi Lughat (comprehensive Sindhi Dictionary) to preserve Sindhi language. He collected thousands of manuscripts written in Sindhi. for several years, he researched the poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and furnished a Shah jo Risalo using scientific research methods.
This one man has single handedly, probably contributed more than many combined scholars of Sindh. As once Prof. Qalander shah said, “Dr. Baloch has written more books than majority of educated people have read”.
To his credit, its not only books and written works, but he also played a massive role in the establishment of Sindhi Language Authority and many other institutions
Dr. Baloch’s work has been recognized and researched all over the world. Just to mention one of his work ‘Amir Khusraw and his accomplishments in music’ was translated into Russian and Turkish languages.
Dr.Baloch left this world at the age of 93, on 6th April 2011 in Hyderabad. On his death someone said “Knowledge departs from Sindh today”.

 

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