Remembering Mangharam Sipahimalani

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The demise of ManghaRam Sipahimalani brings an end to the leftist freedom fighters in Sindhi community. A friend of my father from student days, IN PRE-PARTITION SINDH both courted arrest in protests for India’s freedom little realizing that their efforts would deprive them of their homeland and they would be driven out by moslem neighbours and get refugee status in free India.

Both reconciled and worked to get an honourable deal for the refugees. Mr Sipahimalani soon joined hands with his step mother Dadi Sipahimalani and together they built affordable housing for middle class sindhi families in Matunga, Mahim, Chembur, Bombay Central, Koliwada-Kings Circle. All of them huge sprawling colonies comprising hundreds of apartments. My grand mother [Nani] got a two bedroom flat in Navjivan Chembur on easy monthly instalments,and she relocated with family from the shack in Koliwada.

Mr Sipahimalani a law graduate easily found an alternate profession from builder to journalist. In the last twenty five years published and edited a sindhi language weekly ‘HINDWASI’. His writings were a pain for RSS and BJP types, they could do little as he was hugely popular in the community which is largely supportive of BJP. His last wish was to gift his body to Grant Medical College,mumbai and it was fulfilled. In fact jeevan mein bhi aur jeevan ke baad bhi sabkuch tyag diya. I do not know what happens to the considerable wealth and bank balance he has left behind, but that is for the relatives to decide, he was a widower but had no children from Vishni. Its my loss but also the community is poorer. a fearless journalist is gone.God bless his soul. A freedom fighter finally ends his almost 90 years exciting,eventful journey. VIJAY PANJWANI, a friend of Dada ‘Harinaam’.

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