‘आपली मराठी, आपले विश्व: Shri Maharashtra Punchayat of Karachi (श्री महाराष्ट्र पंचायत, कराची)’
International boundaries have odd contexts. Some seem redundant, whereas some receive the highest relevance in the national mindset. On one hand, initiatives like Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal of North America (BMM) are trying to melt the boundary between Canada and America. On the other hand, the slightest hint of cross border association between India and Pakistan for culture, entertainment, sports and politics seems to raise eyebrows.
Gladly, when it comes to Marathi, there truly are no borders! Many of our readers will be surprised to know that there is an active Marathi community in Karachi, Pakistan that is thriving for the past 40 years! The 800 patrons of the “Shri Maharashtra Punchayat of Karachi” (श्री महाराष्ट्र पंचायत, कराची) have kept our Marathi thread alive and abuzz in Pakistan!
The Shri Maharashtra Punchayat had its humble beginnings under the assumed name of “Shri Sham Shamu Vansh Maharashtra Punchayat” (श्री शाम शामू वंश महाराष्ट्र पंचायत) at the Bori Compound area near the Race Course campus in Karachi. 40 years since, the legacy continues to live strongly among our Marathi patrons who come together to celebrate festivals with candor and exuberance. Ganesh Chaturthi, Gudi Padwa, Shri Krishna Janamashtami, Dahi Handi, Satyanarayan Katha Pooja, Holi, Navratri Pooja, Deepawali and practically all Hindu festivals are celebrated with enthusiasm by the small but lively community of our Marathi Punchayat.
Legend goes that Rana Liaqat Ali Khan, wife of first prime minister of Pakistan Liaqat Ali Khan had graced the Ganesh Chaturthi, which was an honor for our Marathi Punchayat.
The members of the Shri Maharashtra Punchayat of Karachi form a tightly knit community that shares its joys, festivities and sorrows with each other. We have managed to retain our Marathi strings despite being away from Maharashtra, and in true Marathi spirit we have adapted to the culture and context of our geography!
Over the past one year or so the BMM-2017 volunteers from the Maharashtra Mandal of Detroit have been closely interacting with the Shri Maharashtra Punchayat of Karachi in trying to get this feature published. It is heartwarming to see that a huge association like BMM of North America from a faraway continent is extending its warm acknowledgment to our little community in Pakistan, by virtue of our common Marathi origin.
Recognition like this makes us happy to be a part of the global Marathi family and thankful that we are not a forgotten community. Living in minority situation, this global acknowledgment of our community ties us in a stronger bond that truly traverses countries and cultures!
– “Shri Maharashtra Punchayat of Karachi” (श्री महाराष्ट्र पंचायत, कराची)
(Committee Members: Parmesh Hari Jadhav (President), Sham Raghunath Sathpal (Vice President), Raju Mahadu Jagtap, Kishor Kishanlal Jogeshwar, Nanji Kashiram Dalmolkar, Harichand Dhondiram Kharat, Prakash Mohan Gaikwad, Ramesh Chamanlal Rajput, Manohar Kanwar, Pandit Muktakesh Maharaj, Vishal Partab Rajput, Raju Salukhdas Kharat, Ravi Hari Jagtap, Ramesh Dagroo Kamblay)