In the beginning, email address was mostly available to university folks. I remember following members on the very first SANA-list (besides me of course)
- Dr. Saghir Shaikh
- Dr. Gul Agha
- Dr. Nadeem Jamali
- Muhammad Ali Mahar
- Fida Hussain Samo
- Dr. AbdulRazak Memon
- AbdulWahab Soomro
- Dr. Manzoor Unar
- Dr. Attaullah Solangi
- Dr. Zubair Shaikh
This email group of my Sindhi friends grew after I attended SANA Convention in St. Louis in 1989. Many requested and many were invited to join the list.
I used to manage this list. The list was very simple, it did not have moderator capability, anybody could write to the list, but in order to receive, one has to be listed on the list. I remember Ada Kohsher Ahmed used to write to the list as an intruder; with help available technology then we tracked him down at IBM New Jersey. We believed he was a non-Sindhi trying to trespass—but he would not introduce himself.
September 1995, I was leaving for Pakistan to join Ghulam Ishaq Institute on a two year contract offered by then project director Dr. AbudQadeer Khan. Before leaving I passed this list on to Dr. Saghir Shaikh to manage, as I recall there were about 50 some list members. I managed the list from 1989 to 1995 (7 years). List grew significantly during that time.
When I returned back to the US in September 1997, I joined the list; it was good to see a fat list with many list features.
During that time email had started becoming available to households. At that time, America Online (AOL) was a boom, Yahoo was the king like Google today. Both AOL and Yahoo were selling email accounts left and right. HotMail.com established in 1995, it offered free emails. It took a while for people to get used to with Personal Computers using DoS (Disk Operating System). At that time Web Browsers were not free either. Emails were read via mail tools, kind of a web browser. AOL and Yahoo had had their own eMail User Interfaces. In order to beat Yahoo, Microsoft created Internet Explorer and distributed free with its operating system and stand alone. That crippled Netscape Internet browser widely used on UNIX machines in universities.
Many general business people and households started getting email accounts (out of universities) that significantly increased SANA-list membership. A whole household used to share one account, up to 5 users accounts were allowed to setup.
Since the inception of SANA-list whether at Case Western Reserve University or on eGroup/Yahoo Groups, it has always been the bulletin board for SANA; public forum for Sindhis, lost and found friends, matrimonial, discussion, dungals – mal-ha jo medan, search for Sindhis in a town, who can sponsor a visitor from Sindh, literary exchanges, tragedies, obituaries, ridiculing, exchanges harsh opinions, personal vendetta, SANA classified secretes disclosed, charity fund raising, disasters in Sindh, help me help, what not. The good thing is that it has never become a political party platform—and I hope it never will.
SANA-list has flowed like Indus, many have come on the list and gone out of it, the mighty list has been always been stronger and prominent.
There has been rise and fall on the list. As usual there were hot and spicy debates something starting from any topic, which would then be dragged to Islam. Dr. Nadeem Jamali, Dr. Gul Agha, and Dr. Saghir Shaikh, et al. enjoyed talking about religion, which created discussion participated by Saeen Muhammad Umar Chand, Ada Irshad Kazi, et el. After lots of HOT debates and crossfire, long time ago, Dr. Nadeem Jamil literally quit SANA-list, and started a new list for like-minded people. I don’t recall the name of that list; but that list then evaporated with time.
Whenever those who did not like the heat, have left the kitchen. On the contrary, some people don’t leave the list, however they may disappear, stay away from participating, some just read the list periodically, some leave the list unannounced and come back, because they miss the fun of it. Although one can quit quietly, but they would rather announce to be removed from the list, many times their friends insist them to stay in the herd; some have vanished from the face of the list for good. It gives a feeling of a town.
Sometimes, moderators (policing) have been all alert and vigilant, any unpleasant activity they would notice, and would take action with harsh announcement for the lawbreaker; sometime there have been sleeping guards – like some parent let their children fight – not because they enjoy the fight, but they are too lazy to take action. Current moderators are like that; they will yell, hey nobody talk loudly be nice to each other, and then they pull the reading glasses down and start playing crossword, until next episode of noise happens; or someone literally complains about an activity.
For last few years, the list has been sailing a rough ride, like without a captain (or a drunk one). It is kind of on auto pilot. Many times field captains pull yellow card out of pocket only if someone complains, but without any intention of showing it to the violators. They cannot even notice any violation. During SANA Convention many guests made a hue and cry about activities on SANA-list, but all activities on the list fall shorter than the EC’s violation yardstick. This type management makes the list DULL and USELESS – a fish market in Hyderabad.
As I said since the birth of SANA-list in 1989, current situation is not the first time occurrence.
Same atmosphere is around these days, a new list-crescent is emerging on the horizon. Nothing is wrong with new lists, new lists have never divided SANA-list community, and it shall never divide. A point to ponder is that why there a need of a new list has occurred. Why someone would like to leave the kitchen. Have you noticed, there is absolutely ZERO attendance from our youth; because many parents don’t want them to watch grownups (uncles) quarrel for useless matter, ridicule each other, and what not!!!
Interesting thing is that a discussion is enjoyed when there are differences of opinion, camps are created when matching mentalities meet. If there is only one mentality, then there is no fun discussing on any topic and no learning.
No matter whether the new list surfaces or not, the need for it should not have transpired.
Once again, I am sure this time also regardless of many signs to take action these are going to fall on deaf ears and on blind eyes.
And the mighty SANA-list shall flow with its might – pushing some away and pulling some in.
Rahman A. Soomro, Ph.D.
Silicon Valley, CA