Dr. Geet: Yankee doc, speaking Sindhi, in the flood zone

Dr. Geet Chainani at medical camp in a village near Dadu, Sindh [Photo via Beena Sarwar]

Click to listen to Chris’ conversation with Dr. Geet Chainani (18 minutes, 9 mb mp3)

KARACHI — Dr. Geet Chainani is the young American dream I hadn’t counted on meeting in Pakistan this summer. She’s a Yank born in India, raised in New York City, trained as a medical doctor in the Caribbean. And for most of a year now she’s been treating families, especially children, in the tent cities of the flood waters of the Indus River, upstream from Karachi. When we met, almost by chance, my first thought was: this is an American vision to be shared — of the trans-nation at its best, at home in the world, our useful hands-on gifts being shared, as if it came naturally.

Geet Chainani grew up on Staten Island with a grandmother who told her “we were Sindhis first.” Meaning: master the Sindhi language early; think of yourself as a child of the world’s first big-city culture, at Mohenjo-daro, from 2600 B.C. Her grandparents were part of the vast Hindu migration out of Sindh to India in 1947, at the partition that created Pakistan. But Sindh was where Geet came looking for her roots a year ago — for the tombs of the Sufi saints and the world’s oldest plumbing. The first big shock was Pakistan’s devastation by immersion. The second, when she pitched herself into the emergency, was discovering, with mothers in distress, that knowing their language was as valuable as her medical training.

All that in a woman who sounds to us, as I said, so New York. “I am very New York!” she laughed. “Being American is the ground for the work I do — the fundamental belief that all men are created equal. In the Preamble, you know… People say to me now: so you picked Sindh, and you’re saving these people. I’m, like: No. It picked me. And they’re saving me.”

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  • Agha Inam ullah Khan

    Well done Geet, loved it completely all the way, specially when you said your friend a pakistani woman from Sindh during your visit to a tent city hosted by her NGO, was unable to understand what her fellow gender from the same province, and here comes an american lady to help just because of language tool how you can do wonders and feel the need to be here. Well bravo! you got a great career oppertunities back there in states, and you know how pakistanis are ready to fly the earliest the best once they get that visa, and you have left all your life behind and helping the affected women and children of Sindh. I greately admire and respect you for that. And above all I am proud of you as Sindhi. J Jhoolay Laal Bera Paar

  • Sangram Advani

    Dr. Geet’s Endeavour is highly appreciable; in fact, she is a true lover of humanity and has proved herself a true patriot.

  • A great effort by Dr. Geet and a great interview by the interviewer. Job well done both by the good doc and the radio open source. Bravo!
    Keep it up.
    We have planned an interview with her. And this time, it will be in Sindhi. The translation will be posted in Urdu and English on our web while the audio will run on our Sindh stations.

  • Fareed Bhutto

    Dr. Geet -well done, I do appreciate your courage and love with Sindh, and people of Sindh. Every one living ouside Sindh should follow your foot steps. We belong to one of the very ancient civilization of world. Just for your information, there are thousandsof hindu families still living in Sindh.

  • Syed A. Shah

    Thanks for taking care of the poor & needy in Sindh Province.All must follow your example.

  • Potter

    This is the kind of foreign affairs that we need most; Dr. Geet is an ambassador and an inspiration as these comments prove.

    We do what we can where we happen to be and also from the place our desires take us. Saving the eye of this child, helps save the world and saves oneself (as Dr. Geet says) as much as any grander act could accomplish (is this not grand enough?). An infected eye 75% open shortly after simple treatment, just before being lost. And a common problem. This is so personal and touching a story but in the interview, the teling, this hits here as well. Thank you.

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  • Ahmed waseem

    well done this is thy way to helps humanity and make good human God always helps u.

  • Thank you all for your wonderful comments and for appreciating our tiny efforts. There is yet great amounts of work to be done.

    Everyone does not have the liberty to leave their homes to go off to foreign lands. However, all of us can do something: promote peace not hate, advocate for the causes you believe in, help spread the word, host fundraisers. We just have to find a niche like I’ve found mine.

    I’d love to continue hearing from you.

    Once again, thank you for your encouraging words and support.

    Cheers!! 😀

  • Tejal Toprani

    It was amazing listening to all the work you have done Geet. Listening to you this morning brought back old memories of our time in New York and restored a bit of my faith in humanity. I hope you are well Geet.

  • Gul

    Really proud of Dr Geet. Wish to join hands with her.

  • Jana shah

    We salute u dr Geet
    Sindhi nation z lucky to have u.