The eminent journalist, poet, teacher and calligrapher Prem Shivani was remembered on his fifth death anniversary which was observed by Sindh Adabi Sangat at Cafe Thar in Mithi town on Wednesday night. Speakers including a number of local literary figures, journalists and artists appreciated the relentless efforts by late Prem Shivani, who according to them tried his best to draw the world’s attention to Thar desert , a region chronically hit by droughts and famines for decades.
They observed that Shivani, who also served as correspondent of a leading English newspaper in Tharparkar district for over sixteen years, devoted his entire life to the cause of Tharis by highlighting the local population’s plight through his write-ups, painting, poetry as well as social welfare activities. The known writer and poet Professor Noor Ahmed Janjhi said that the write-ups and other works of Mr Prem reflected his sentimental attachment with the people of Thar and encompassed the issues and feelings of the families hit by unending miseries brought to them by droughts, poverty and unavailability of essentials of life, including education and health facilities and basic amenities within or even far away from their area of residence.
He said Shivani was a man of lofty principles, who always preached and practiced interfaith harmony and was respected by all and sundry for his great contribution in various fields . Syed Akbar Shah, the station director of Radio Pakistan Mithi said that the late poet and journalist remained at the forefront when the region faced droughts and dearth of basic amenities of life and authored every account of the worst tribulations of the people of Thar . ” The people of Thar are still debited to him for his great contribution especially in the field of journalism where he performed his professional duties without any fear of favor” he added and said that a wide void created with his death was yet to be filled.
The poet and educationalist Haji Mohammad Dal, speaking on the occasion said that he was proud that his student (Mr Shivani) made him proud by contributing in various fields and porayed various aspects of the desert region did justice with thar and residents as a true soil of the son. ” Mr Shivani will be remembered, loved and respected for his contributions” Mr Dal added. A Thari activist Krishan Sharma said that the late writer was among those few giants from Thar, who tried his best to poraty every aspect of the desert and got fame, name, respect during his lifetime. He,however, urged that there was the need to get his all works both prose and poetry published so that people evincing interest in the rich culture, traditions and unbounded tribulations of the region could better understand by reading his books.
Dr Ashok Bakhtani said that Shivani demonstrated unquestionable honesty and commitment in his life-long struggle for the well-being of Thar and its people. Newly elected president of Thar Bar Council and central leader of Awami Tehreek, Vasand Thai said people come and live and die but hardly few people leave behind a rich legacy and Mr Shivani was among those few people who would always live on the pages of history. Thari asked the journalists to emulate Mr Shivani and raise their voice for the voiceless people. Apa Kamla Ponam said that Prem despite living a hard life always preferred to remain neutral, honest and upright and left behind a rich legacy.
The known writer Asharraf Samoon, said that the contents of the books and write-ups by late Shivavi highlighted all genuine issues being faced by Thar and its population. He said that Shivani’s literary and journalistic works focused not only on Tharis’ miseries but also on their culture and lifestyle as well as the history and beauty of the desert region. He said the literary figures and journalists of Thar must accomplish the mission started by Shivani with his pen. The known activist Sajan Charo observed that the late writer was not only a simple soul but was also a person with God-gifted qualities.
“He was not the man to be enticed or coerced to compromise on his lofty principles and he will alway be a role model for us all ” added journalist Khatau Jani. Partan Shivani of Thar Education Alliance said that they were all proud to be the family of the great soul, who left behind indelible imprints on the sand of time for his honesty and simplicity. Piyaro Shivani,the elder son of the late writer said his father lived and died for the people of Thar and left a huge asset for his admirers in the shape of the books and unpublished works to remember him. Former journalist and known activist Kapvil Dev said that Prem was the person who was respected by all people for his great contribution and simplicity. ” He tried his best to depict the various aspects of Thar when the region desperately needed such people to highlight the trials of tribulations left behind the terrible droughts and famines” he added.
He said that he was a highly professional and committed journalist, who highlighted each and very issue and thought it a cardinal sin to sit silent over the deaths of infants, peacocks and the hunting of the rare species. Advocate Rain Singh Sodho said that he was also a great custodian of the rich culture of Thar and lived like a true ambassador of peace, interfaith harmony. Basni Malhi, Kelash Lodha, Doulat Ram Khatri, Subhan Samejo,Narsingh Sodho, Ghansham Malhi, Nanlal Lohono, Nizam Samoon, and others also spoke on the occasion and paid their rich tributes to the services of late Prem Shivani. A book compiled by late writer, Words of Thar and Thari Life was also launched whereas the participants also observed silence over the death of known Thari artist Abdul Latif Hajam, who died a few days back.