Sindh is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the “Mehran” and “Bab-ul-Islam”. The Door to Islam, because Islam in the Indian subcontinent was first introduced from Sindh. Different cultural and ethnic groups also reside in Sindh including Urdu-speaking Muslim refugees who migrated to Pakistan from India upon independence as well as the people migrated from other provinces after independence. The neighbouring regions of Sindh are Balochistan to the west and north, Punjab to the north, Gujarat and Rajasthan to the southeast and east, and the Arabian Sea to the south. The main language is Sindhi. The name is derived from Sanskrit, and was known to the Assyrians (as early as the seventh century BCE) as Sinda, to the Greeks as Sinthus, to the Romans as Sindus, to the Persians as Abisind, to the Arabs as Al-Sind, and to the Chinese as Sintow. To the Javanese the Sindhis have long been known as the Santri
|Government Type:||Sindh Government|
|Population (2011) Total :||55,245,497|
|Density:||390/km2 (1,000/sq mi)|
|Area Total :||140,914 km2 (54,407 sq mi)|
|High Court:||Sindh High Court|
|Legislature :||Provincial Assembly|
|Established :||14 August 1947 1 July 1970|
|Type:||Type Self-governing Province subject to the Federal government|
|Governor:||Muhammad Zubair Umar|
|Chief Minister :||Murad Ali Shah|
|Seats in Provincial Assembly :||168|
|Seats in National Assembly:||75|
|Sports Team:||Karachi Dolphins|
|Main Language(s) Sindhi (provincial) English (official) Urdu (national) Other languages:||Sindhi (provincial) English (official) Urdu (national) Other languages Brahui, Pashto, Baluchi, Saraiki ,Panjabi|
|ISO 3166 code :||PK-SD|
|Time zone :||PKT (UTC+5)|
|Chief Secretary:||Rizwan Memon|
|Chief Minister:||Syed Murad Ali Shah|
|Governor Sindh :||Mohammad Zubair|
|Fax:||(021) 99203221,(021) 99203224|
|Postal Address:||Near Passport Office Saddar & Sindh Secretariat, Karachi, Pakistan.|
|Website of High court sindh:||www.sindhhighcourt.gov.pk|
Origin of the name
The province of Sindh and the people inhabiting the region had been designated after the river known in Ancient times as the Sindhus River, now also known by Indus River. In Sanskrit síndhu means “river, stream”. However, the importance of the river and close phonetical resemblance in nomenclature would make one consider síndhu as the probable origin of the name of Sindh. The Greeks who conquered Sindh in 325 BC under the command of Alexander the Great rendered it as Indós, hence the modern Indus, when the British conquered South Asia, they expanded the term and applied the name to the entire region of South Asia and called it India
The Indus Valley civilization is the farthest visible outpost of archaeology in the abyss of prehistoric times. The prehistoric site of Kot Diji in Sindh has furnished information of high significance for the reconstruction of a connected story which pushes back the history of South Asia by at least another 300 years, from about 2500 BC. Evidence of a new element of pre-Harappan culture has been traced here. When the primitive village communities in Balochistan were still struggling against a difficult highland environment, a highly cultured people were trying to assert themselves at Kot Diji one of the most developed urban civilization of the ancient world that flourished between the year 25th century BC and 1500 BC in the Indus valley sites of Moenjodaro and Harappa. The people were endowed with a high standard of art and craftsmanship and well-developed system of quasi-pictographic writing which despite ceaseless efforts still remains un-deciphered. The remarkable ruins of the beautifully planned Moenjodaro and Harappa towns, the brick buildings of the common people, roads, public-baths and the covered drainage system envisage the life of a community living happily in an organized manner.
This civilisation is now identified as a possible pre-Aryan civilisation and most probably an indigenous civilization which was met its downfall around the year 1700BC. The downfall of the Indus Valley Civilization is still a hotly debated topic, and was probably caused by a massive earthquake, which dried up the Ghaggar River.
Geography and climate
Sindh is located on the western corner of South Asia Pakistan, stretching about 579 km from north to south and 442 km (extreme) or 281 km (average) from east to west, with an area of 140,915 square kilometres (54,408 sq mi) of Pakistani territory. Sindh is bounded by the Thar Desert to the east, the Kirthar Mountains to the west, and the Arabian Sea in the south. In the centre is a fertile plain around the Indus river.
Sindh is situated in a subtropical region; it is hot in the summer and cold in winter. Temperatures frequently rise above 46°C (115°F) between May and August, and the minimum average temperature of 2 C (36 F) occurs during December and January. The annual rainfall averages about seven inches, falling mainly during July and August. The southwest monsoon wind begins to blow in mid-February and continues until the end of September, whereas the cool northerly wind blows during the winter months from October to January.
Sindh lies between the two monsoons — the southwest monsoon from the Indian Ocean and the northeast or retreating monsoon, deflected towards it by the Himalayan mountains — and escapes the influence of both. The average rainfall in Sindh is only 6–7 in (15–18 cm) per year. The region’s scarcity of rainfall is compensated by the inundation of the Indus twice a year, caused by the spring and summer melting of Himalayan snow and by rainfall in the monsoon season. These natural patterns have recently changed somewhat with the construction of dams and barrages on the Indus River
Sindh is divided into three climatic regions: Siro (the upper region, centred on Jacobabad) Wicholo (the middle region, centred on Hyderabad) and Lar (the lower region, centred on Karachi). The thermal equator passes through upper Sindh, where the air is generally very dry. Central Sindh’s temperatures are generally lower than those of upper Sindh but higher than those of lower Sindh. Dry hot days and cool nights are typical during the summer. Central Sindh’s maximum temperature typically reaches 43–44 °C (109–111°F). Lower Sindh has a damper and humid maritime climate affected by the southwestern winds in summer and northeastern winds in winter, with lower rainfall than Central Sindh. Lower Sindh’s maximum temperature reaches about 35–38 °C (95–100°F). In the Kirthar range at 1,800 m (5,900 ft) and higher at Gorakh Hill and other peaks in Dadu District, temperatures near freezing have been recorded and brief snowfall is received in the winters
Highest and lowest temperatures
The highest temperature throughout Pakistan are usually recorded in – Shaheed Benazeerabad District (Previously called Nawabshah District) and Sibbi from May to August each year which rises to above 48 degree centigrade. The climate is dry and hot but sometimes falls to 0 degrees Celsius and falls to lower than minus seven in December or January once in a quarter of the century.
Sindh lies between the two monsoons – the southwest monsoon from the Indian Ocean and the northeast or retreating monsoon, deflected towards it by Himalayan mountains and escapes the influence of both. The average rainfall in Sindh is only 15 to 18 cm per year, but the loss during the two seasons is compensated by the Indus, in the form of inundation, caused twice a year by the spring and summer melting of Himalayan snow and by rainfall in the monsoon season. These natural patterns have changed somewhat with the construction of dams and barrages on the Indus.
Climatically, Sindh is divided in three sections – Siro (upper section centred on Jacobabad), Wicholo (middle section centred on Hyderabad), and Lar (lower section centred on Karachi). In Upper Sindh, the thermal equator passes through Sindh. The highest temperature ever recorded was 53 BC (127 F) in 1919. The air is generally very dry. In winter frost is common.
In Central Sindh, average monsoon wind speed is 18 km/hour in June. The temperature is lower than Upper Sindh but higher than Lower Sindh. Dry hot days and cool nights are summer characteristics. Maximum temperature reaches 43-44 BC (110-112 F). Lower Sindh has a damper and humid maritime climate affected by the south-western winds in summer and north-eastern winds in winter and with lower rainfall than Central Sindh. The maximum temperature reaches about 35-38 BC (95-100 F). In the Kirthar range at 1,800 m7 and higher on the Gorakh Hill and other peaks in Dadu District, temperatures near freezing have been recorded and brief snow fall is received in winters.
The 1998 Census of Pakistan indicated a population 30.4 million, the current population can be estimated to be in the range of 48 to 52 million using a compound growth in the range of 2% to 2.8% since then. With just under half being urban dwellers, mainly found in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazeerabad District, previously called as Nawabshah District, Umerkot and Larkana. Sindhi is the sole official language of Sindh since the 19th century. Going just by language, Sindhi speakers make up 59.38%; Urdu speakers make up 21.04%; Pashto (4.19%); Punjabi (6.99)%; Gujarati/Memon (3.0%); Baluchi (2.09%); Seraiki (1.00%) and others (2.31%). Other languages include Kutchi (both dialects of Sindhi), Khowar, Thari, Persian/Dari and Brahui
Sindh’s population is mainly Muslim (91.32%), but Sindh is also home to nearly all (93%) of Pakistan’s Hindus forming 7.5% of the province’s population. A large number of the Sindhi Hindus migrated to India at the time of the independence. Smaller groups of Christians (0.97%), Ahmadi (0.14%); Parsis or Zoroastrians, Sikh and a tiny Jewish community (of around 500) can also be found in the province.
The Sindhis as a whole are composed of original descendants of an ancient population known as Sammaat, various sub-groups related to the Seraiki or Baloch origin are found in interior Sindh. Sindhis of Balochi origin make up about 30% of the total population of Sindh, while Urdu-speaking Muhajirs make up 20% of the total population of the province. Also found in the province is a small group claiming descent from early Muslim settlers including Arabs, Turks, Pashtuns and Persian.
The first known village settlements date as far back as 7000 BCE. Permanent settlements at Mehrgarh to the west expanded into Sindh. This culture blossomed over several millennia and gave r the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BCE. The Indus Valley Civilization rivalled the contemporary civilizations of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in both size and scope numbering nearly half a million inhabitants at its height with well-planned grid cities and sewer systems. It is known that the Indus Valley Civilization traded with ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt via established shipping lanes. In ancient Egypt, the word for cotton was Sindh suggesting that the bulk of that civilisation’s cotton was imported from the Indus Valley Civilization. A branch of the Indo-Iranian tribes, called the Indo-Aryans are believed to have founded the Vedic Civilization that existed between Sarasvati River and Ganges River around 1500 BCE and also influenced Indus Valley Civilization. This civilization helped shape subsequent cultures in the South Asia.
Sindh was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE, and became part of the Persian satrapy (province) of Hindush centred in the Punjab to the north. Persian speech had a tendency to replace ‘S’ with an ‘H’ resulting in ‘Sindhu’ being pronounced and written as ‘Hindu’. They introduced the Kharoshti script in the region and established links to the west.
In the late 300s BCE, Sindh was conquered by a mixed army led by Macedonian Greeks under Alexander the Great. The region remained under control of Greek satraps only for a few decades. After Alexander’s death, there was a brief period of Seleucid rule, before Sindh was traded to the Mauryan Empire led by Chandragupta in 305 BCE. During the rule of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, the Buddhist religion spread to Sindh.
Mauryan rule ended in 185 BCE with the overthrow of the last king by the Sunga Dynasty. In the disorders that followed, Greek rule returned when Demetrius I of Bactria led a Greco-Bactrian invasion of India and annexed most of northwestern lands, including Sindh. Demetrius was later defeated and killed by a usurper, but his descendants continued to rule Sindh and other lands as the Indo-Greek Kingdom. Under the reign of Menander I many Indo-Greeks followed his example and converted to Buddhism.
In the late 100s BCE, Scythian tribes shattered the Greco-Bactrian empire and invaded the Indo-Greek lands. Unable to take the Punjab region, they seized Sistan and invaded India by coming through Sindh, where they became known as Indo-Scythians (later Western Satraps). Subsequently, the Tocharian Kushan Empire annexed Sindh by the 1st century CE. Though the Kushans were Zoroastrian, they were tolerant of the local Buddhist tradition and sponsored many building projects for local beliefs.
The Kushan Empire were defeated in the mid 200s CE by the Sassanid Empire of Persia, who installed vassals known as the Kushans. These rulers were defeated by the Kidarites in the late 300s. By the late 400s, attacks by Hephthalite tribes known as the Indo-Hephthalites or Hunas (Huns) broke through the Gupta Empire’s North-Western borders and overran much of Northern and Western India. During these upheavals, Sindh became independent under the Rai Dynasty around 478 AD. The Rais were overthrown by Chachar of Alor around 632 CE.
Arrival of Islam
Sindh in 700 AD, under the Brahmin dynasty.During the reign of Rashidun Caliph Umar, an expedition was sent to conquer Makran. This was the first time that Muslim armies had entered Sindh. The Islamic army defeated the Hindu king of Sindh, Raja Rasil, on the western bank of the Indus. The armies of the Raja accordingly retreated to interior Sindh. Caliph Umar, on getting the information about the miserable conditions of Sindh, stopped his armies from crossing the Indus and, instead, ordered them to consolidate their position in Makran and Baluchistan. Umar’s successor Caliph Uthman also sent his agent to investigate the matters of Sindh. Upon getting the same information of unfavourable geographical conditions and the miserable lives of the people, he forbade his armies to enter Sindh. During the Rashidun Caliphate only the southwestern part of Sindh around the western bank of the Indus, and some northern parts near the frontiers of Baluchistan remained under the rule of the Islamic empire.
In the year 711 Sindh was finally conquered by Umayyad Arabs from Damascus, led by the young Muhammad bin Qasim with the aid of local leaders such as the Thakore of Bhatta, Mokah Basayah, Ibn Wasayo, Jat and Mid tribes. His alliance defeated Raja Dahir and his Hindu followers, the fall of the Brahman dynasty was made easier by the tensions between the Buddhist majority and the repressive ruling Hindu’ weak base of control.
Sindh became the easternmost province of the Umayyad Caliphate and among the wealthiest due to its vibrant Sindhi ports. Referred to as Al-Sindh on Arab maps with lands further east known as Hind”. These maps resemble the current border between the nations of Pakistan and India.
The Arabs redefined the region and adopted words and terms such as Budd to refer to the numerous Buddhist idols they encountered, a word that remains in use today. The city of Mansura (near present Sukkur) was established by the Umayyads as a regional Misr or capital.
Sindhi Muslims like other converts were known as the Mawali and were discriminated by the Umayyad authorities and thus actively supported the general Abu Muslim Khorasani leader of the Abbasid Revolution in the year 750 and still associate themselves with Abbasid rule.
During the Abbasid era Sindhis introduced medicinal plants known in Sindh as Bhang a plant native to the Indus Valley widely used by medieval Muslim Surgeons who used the word Hindiba drug also known as Cannibis. The introduction of starcharts (Zij) such as the Zij al-Sindhind was studied by Muhammad ibn Mia Al-Khwarzimi (in thd year 820). The introduction of Arabic numeral system and a book about basic Mathematics were introduced by Sind Ibn Ali (in the year 840). The Historian and Anthropologist Abu Mashar al-Sindi (in the year 930) studied and wrote about the early Muslim society of Medina. Important figures such as Sindbad the Sailor (in the year 780) made seven famous voyages, his origins were from the Sindhi port city of Debal . Sindhis also introduced shipbuilding and navigation techniques used by the Bawarij and later the Arabian Dhows.
Arab rule lasted for nearly three centuries. They introduced clans such as the Abbasi, Seyids and Sheikhs. During their rule prominent locals, fishermen, yogis and sailors from the port city of Debal converted to Islam many of them maintained trade links and migrated to Basra after it became the official port during the rule of the Abbasid Harun ar-Rashid. A fusion of cultures produced much of what is today modern Sindhi society.
Muslim geographers, historians and travellers such as al-Masudi, al-Tabari, Baladhuri, al-Biruni and Ibn Battutah wrote about or visited the region and also sometimes used the name “Sindh” for the entire area from the Arabian Sea to the Hindu Kush.
Direct Arab rule ended with the ascension of the Soomro dynasty, they were the first local Sindhi Muslims to translate the Quran and into the Sindhi language. They also introduced Sufis the most famous was Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and his Char Yar (four companions) and their Sufi Murids spread Islam in Punjab and Kashmir. The Soomros controlled Sindh directly as vassals the Abbasids from 1058 to 1249.
Turkic invaders such as Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered the area by the year 977 since then the region loosely became part of the Ghaznavid Empire, which was then succseded by the legendary Qutb-ud-din Aybak founder of the Delhi Sultanate.
Sindh was also ruled by Muhammad Ibn Tughluq, his descendants and various other figures until the year 1524.
Though a part of larger empires Sindh enjoyed a certain autonomy as a Muslim domain.
In 1339 Jam Unar founded a Sindhi Muslim Samma Dynasty, which reached its peak during the reign of Jam Nizamuddin II Nindo (reigned 1461-1509) he greatly expanded the new capitol Thatta and its Makli hills which replaced Debal he patronized Sindhi art, arcitecture and culture. Important court figures such as Sardar Darya Khan, Moltus Khan, Makhdoom Bilwal and Kazi Kazan. But the capitol Thatta was a port city, unlike garrisons it could not mobilize large armies against the Arghun Mongol invaders who killed many regional Sindhi Mirs and Amirs loyal to the Samma.
The ruthless Arghuns and the Tarkhans sacked Thatta during the rule of Jam Feroz and established their own dynasties in the year 1519.
In the year 1524 the few remaining Sindhi Amirs welcomed the Mughal Empire and helped Babur defeat his Arghun enemies, since then Sindh had become a region loyal to the Mughals.
In 1540 a deadly mutiny by Sher Shah Suri forced the Mughal Emperor Humayun to withdraw to Sindh where he joined the Sindhi Amir Hussein and in 1541 Humayun married Hamida Bano Begum a Sindhi woman, she gave birth to the infant Akbar at Umarkot a Mughal garrison at Sindh, in the year 1542.
In 1556 the Ottoman Admiral Seydi Ali Reis visited Humayun and mentions various regions of the subcontinent including Sindh (Makran coast and the Mehran delta) in his adventurious book Mirat ul Memalik.
During the reign of Akbar the Mughal chronicler Abu’l-Fazl (1551-1602) was a descendant of a Sindhi Shaikh family from Rel, Siwistan in Sindh. He was the author of the famous Akbarnama and the Ain-i-Akbari.
In the year 1603 Shah Jahan visited the provence of Sindh and at Thatta he was generously welcomed by the locals after the death of his father Jahangir. Shah Jahan felt a close kinship with the Sindhis, he ordered the construction of the Shahjahan Mosque, which completed during the early years of his rule the unique mosque containes 101 domes and numerous arches.
It was during the rule of Shah Jahan many Sindhi: Shaikhs and Seyids served as Mansabdar for the Mughal Empire they introduced muskets and cannons in Sindh. Others like the metallurgist, astronomer Muhammad Salih Tahtawi created a seamless celestial globe also known as the Armillary Sphere by using a secret wax-casting technique in 1660 it contains inscriptions in Arabic and Persian.After the death of Aurangzeb the Mughal Empire and its institutions began to decline various hostile warring Nawabs had taken hold of vast territories and ruled independantly from the Mughal Emperor.The legendary Mughals ruled for more than three centuries and rebuild the vibrant region.
Amirs of Sindh
The Mughals streingthened various Sindhi Amirs such as the Kalhoras and Talpurs both were loyal to each other and the provence. They patronized Sufi Poets, literature and the Sindhi language throughout the provence.The Sindhi Sufis played a pivotal role in converting the millions of native people to Islam. Rohri – Sukkur, by James Atkinson, 1842The among most famous Sindhi Sufis is the Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai through his poems he expresses love of God, The Prophet Muhammad, history, folklore and adventures such as that of Sindhi sailors who brought back: Gold, Pearls, Sapphires and Diamonds through their voyages to Malabar, Sri Lanka and in Java where Sindhis were known as the Santri.Others Sindhi Sufis like Sachal Sarmast a master poet of seven different languges gained thousands of devoted followers from Sindh and near by provences.Theologens such as Makhdoom Moinuddin Thatawi wrote many books about Islam and History, his student Abul Hassan Thatawi converted the Memons and others to Islam, expanding the frontiers of Sindh.But Sindh faced many threats, Mian Yar Mouhammed Kalhoro (Khudabad) challenged the invader Nadir Shah but failed according to legend: to avenge the massacre of his allies he sent a small force to assasinate Nadir Shah and turn events in favour of the Mughal Emperor during the Battle of Karnal in 1739 but failed again.The trajedy that Nadir Shah famous Mughal valubles such as the Peacock Throne and the Koh-i-Noor, the Aftermath of the battle caused the Mughal Empire to became fully disable and restricted only to a few cities.Sindh faced even greater threats from Sikh and Rajput raiders. Their brutal attacks forced the Kalhoras to build the Kot Diji Fort and the Talpurs to build the fortress of Imamgarh in responce to the defiling incurisions.Within the following decades because of the serious threats from the Sikhs led by Ranjit Singh. The Sardars of Baluchistan and Amirs of Sindh became allies and vassal-states in 1747, of the Afghan Khans of the Durrani Empire.
The British East India Company made its first contacts in the Sindhi port city of Thatta which according to a report was: “a city as large as London containing 50,000 houses which were made of stone and mortar with large varandahs some three or four stories high the the textiles of Sind were the flower of the whole produce of the East, the international commerce of Sind gave it a place among that of Nations, Thatta has 400 schools and 4000 ships at its docks, the city is guarded by well armed Sepoys… ”
Flag House, colonial styled building built during the British Raj.
Map of “Sind” in 1880.British and Bengal Presidency forces under General Charles James Napier arrived in Sindh in the 19th century and conquered Sindh in 1843.
After defeating the Sindhi coaltion led by Talpurs and Kalhoras under command of the Sindhi general Mir Nasir Khan Talpur in the fierce Battle of Miani during which 50,000 Sindhis were martryed. Shortly after the defeat Mir Sher Muhammad Talpur comanded another army which fought at the Battle of Dubbo where the young Sindhi general Hoshu Sheedi and 5,000 Sindhis were martryed. The first Agha Khan I, helped the British in their conquest of Sindh and as result he was granted a lifetime pension.
Within weeks Charles Napier and his forces occupied Sindh. It is said that he reported the conquest by sending back to the Governor General a one-word message, “Peccavi” Latin for “I have sinned” (a pun on “I have Sindh”), these words later appearing as a cartoon in Punch magazine.
After 1853, the British divided Sindh into districts, in each district the they assigned a ruthless Wadera to collect taxes for the British authorities. Wealthy buisnesses owned by Sindhi Muslim merchants were handed over to the minority Hindu Brahmans leading the provence to further unrest and a severe economic depression.
In a highly controversial move, Sindh was later made part of British India’s Bombay Presidency much to the surprise of the local population, who found the decision offensive and a powerful unrest followed after which Twelve Martial Laws were imposed by the British authorities. Shortly afterwards, the decision was reversed and Sindh became a separate province in 1935.
The British ruled the area for a century. According to Richard Burton Sindh was one of the most restive provences during the British Raj and was home to many prominent Muslim leaders such as Muhammad Ali Jinnah who strove for greater Muslim autonomy.
Modern History after independence of Pakistan
On August 14 1947 Pakistan gained independence from colonial British colonial rule. The province Sindh attained self rule, the first time since the defeat of Sindhi Talpur Amirs in the Battle of Miani on February 17, 1843.
The first challenge faced by the Government of Sindh was the settlement of Muslim refugees. Nearly 7 million Muslims from India migrated to Pakistan while nearly equal number of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan migrated to India. The Muslim refugees known as Muhajirs from India settled in most urban areas of Sindh. Sindh at the time of partition was home to a large number of Hindus who accounted for 27% of the total population of the province. They were more concentrated in the urban centres of the province and had a strong hold on the province’s economy and business. Although the relations between the local Muslims and Hindus were good but with the arrival of Muslim refugees in the urban centres of the province, Hindus started to feel unsafe. This along with unstable future in a Muslim country and better opportunities in India made a large number of Sindhi Hindus to leave the province.
Sindh did not witness any massive level genocide as other parts of the Subcontinent (especially Punjab region) did, comparatively there were few incidents of riots in Karachi and Hyderabad but over all situation remained peaceful mainly due to the efforts of the Chief Minister of Sindh Mr. Ayub Khuhro. At present there are roughly 2.9 million Hindus in Sindh forming 7.5% of the total population of the province. Sindhi Hindus in Pakistan (i.e caste Hindus accounting for 86% of the total Hindu population of Pakistan as of 1998 census) are mainly into small to medium sized businesses. They are mainly traders, retailer/wholesalers, builders as well as into the fields of medical, engineering, law and financial services. However the scheduled caste Hindus (Dalits) are in a poorer state with most of them as bonded labour in the rural areas of the province. Most of the Muslim refugees are settled in urban areas of Sindh especially in Karachi and Hyderabad.
Since Pakistan’s Independence in 1947, Sindh has been the destination of a continuous stream of migration from South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Burma, and Afghanistan as well as Pashtun and Punjabi immigrants from the North West Frontier Province and the Punjab Province of Pakistan to Karachi. This is due to the fact that Karachi is the economic magnet of Pakistan attracting people from all over Pakistan. Many native Sindhis resent this influx. Nonetheless, traditional Sindhi families remain prominent in Pakistani politics, especially the Bhutto, Zardari and Soomro dynasties. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan, was from Karachi, Sindh but was a Gujarati.
Pakistan Resolution in the Sindh Assembly
The Sindh assembly was the first British Indian legislature to pass the resolution in favour of Pakistan. G. M. Syed, an influential Sindhi activist, revolutionary and Sufi and one of the important leaders to the forefront of the provincial autonomy movement joined the Muslim League in 1938 and presented the Pakistan resolution in the Sindh Assembly. G. M. Syed can rightly be considered as the founder of Sindhi nationalism.
Geographically speaking the word “Sindh” denotes the lower half of he Indus Valley from Bhakkar down to the sea and from the Kirthar in the west to the desert of Thar in the east. These geographical boundaries loosely form the basis of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and political frontiers of Sindh. Generally speaking the above-mentioned frontiers agree with the geographical boundaries but in some cases they over-step them. This is particularly noticeable in respect of the languages. In the north Landha and in the east Rajhastani co-mingle with Sindhi. Ethnically the Sindhi society has been cosmopolitan in its composition. Its ethnic groups range from the descendants of the ancient Aryans, the Secthians, the Arabs, the Turks, the Persians, the Rajputs and the Baluchis.
Politically speaking it is difficult to draw exact frontiers of Sindh as they have suffered constant changes in the course of history. However, references made by the Greeks and the Arab historians enable one to determine with some measure of precision the frontiers of Sindh which existed at the time when these records were written. The Greek accounts of Alexander’s expedition show Sindh divided into several states. The northern most was Alor, while Kachh-Gandava and the Arabi (the Purali) formed the boundary on the west. The description of Oritoe shows Mukran as a separate kingdom. Later Hiue Tsiang mentioned Cutch as a part of Sindh and described Multan as part of a separate kingdom. In the reign of Chach (last half of 7 century AD) the frontiers of Sindh extended upto Kashmir.
Present Day Boundareis
Sindh is bounded on north by Baluchistan and the Punjab, on the east by Rajisthan (India), on the south by the Runn of Kutch and the Arabian Sea and on the West by Lasbela and Kalat districts of the province of Baluchistan.
Culture and Literature
Sindh is a repository of varied cultural values and has remained the seat of civilization and meeting point of diverse cultures from times immemorial. After Independence on August 14, 1947 with the influx of Muslims from India, its culture has progressively assumed a new complexion. Sindh’s cultural life has been shaped, to a large extent, by its comparative isolation in the past from the rest of the subcontinent. A long stretch of desert to its east and a mountainous terrain to the west served as barriers, while the Arabian Sea in the south and the Indus in the north prevented easy access. As a result, the people of Sindh developed their own exclusive artistic tradition. Their arts and craft, music and literature, games and sports have retained their original flavor. Sindh is rich in exquisite pottery, variegated glazed tiles, lacquer-work, leather and straw products, needlework, quilts, embroidery, hand print making and textile design. According to renowned European historian H.T. Sorelay, Sindhis had not only contributed to literature but also to astronomy, medicine, philosophy, dialectics and similar subjects.
Melas (fairs) and malakharas (wrestling festivals) are popular. Falconry, horse and camel breeding and racing are characteristic pastimes. Sindhi fishermen float earthen pots to catch the palla fish in the Indus, bullock cart racing and cockfighting are also typical of the province.
Genuine love for fellow beings, large heartedness and hospitality constitute the very spirit of Sindhi culture and it is the association of the cultural elements that elevate it and keep aloft its banner among the contemporary cultures of South-Asia. Having lived for centuries under the changing sway of various dynasties i.e. the Arabs, Mughals, Arghuns, Turkhans and Soomras, Sammahs, Kalhoras and Talpurs, Sindhi culture is a fusion of multiple culture patterns. These splendor and enrichment are reflected in Sindhi art and architecture, habits and customs. The old tombs and buildings in Thatta, Sehwan, Hyderabad, Sukkur and the excavations at Bhambore, Brahmanabad and Debal bear ample evidence in support of the above statement. These places fostered in their environment, some of the best cultural values which were handed down to the inhabitants of the adjoining areas. Today, these values form the very foundation of Sindhi culture.
The Sindhi language has pure Sanskrit basis and is closely related to the ancient Prakrit. Its alphabet contains fifty-two letters. The Rev. Mr.G. Shirt of Hyderabad, one of the first Sindhi scholars, considered that the language is probably, so far as its grammatical construction is concerned, the purest daughter of Sanskrit. It has small sprinkling of Dravidian words, and has in later times received large accessions to its vocabulary from Arabic and Persian. After the advent of Islam, a number of Sindhi scholars not only wrote books in Arabic on various aspects of Islam, but also composed poetry of a high order in that language. During the rule of Soomras and Sammas, Sindhis produced excellent poetry, and amongst the earliest and best-known poets we find the name of Syed Ali and Qazi Qadan both of Thatta and their younger contemporary, Shah Abdul Karim of Bulrhi, the great-grandfather of
Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.Qazi Qadan (870-985 A.H.) introduced Philosophy into Sindhi poetry. He has in his poetry laid great emphasis on purity of mind and the study of the self. In one of his verses he says, “Even if you master thoroughly the great Arabic works Qudoori and Kafia you will only be like an ant sitting within a well in a limited environment knowing nothing of the world outside”.Then comes Shah Abdul Karim of Bulrhi. In 98 couplets he has explained the intricacies of human philosophy. In one of his couplets, he says “The best way of Living in the world is to give your heart to the beloved and be bodily connected with fellow human beings”.Shah Latif and his contemporaries, Shah Inayat, Muhammad Moeen Thattvi lsso Mian and Misri Shah, were also pioneers in the field of the well-known Sindhi Kafi Lyric. Others who contributed to kafi were Qasim, Hyder Shah, Fazil Shah, Pir Mohammad Ashraf, Assooran and Qaleech Beg. Misri Shah is considered to be the undisputed monarch in the domain of Kafi. The term Kafi was originally taken from Shah Abdul Latif’s waie, which correspond to Ghazal. Sachal Sarmast added glory to Kafi in his lyrics.
After the advent of Islam, a number of Sindhi scholars not only wrote books in Arabic on various aspects of Islam, but also composed poetry of high order in that languages. It is presumed that these scholars also wrote in their own language. During the rule of Sumras and Sammas, Sindhis produces excellent poetry, and amongst the earliest and best-known poets, we find the name of Syed Ali and Qazi Qadan both of Thatta and their younger contemporary, Shah Abdul Karim of Bulrhi, the great-grand father of Shah Abul Latif Bhitai.
Long before the British rule, under the influence of Persian poetry, the Sindhi poets borrowed many ideas from Persian poets. There were, however, some poets such as Mohammad Qasim, Murtaza Thattavi, Gul Mohammad Gul, Syed Gada, Hafiz Hamid, Mir Abdul Hussain Sangi, Zaman Shash and others who, in spite of having adopted Persian forms, derived their inspiration from the classical Sindhi poets. Theirs works have, therefore been popular among the masses, as well as people of more sophisticated tastes. Others, who continued to compose in indigenous styles, using the Sindhi language in its purest from, include Misree Shah, Mahdi Shah, and Hafiz Shah. Sahibdion Shah, Wali Mohammad Leghari and Hammal Faqir.
Qazi Qadan (870-985 A.H.) of Sehwan was the Sindhi poet who introduced philosophy and mysticism into Sindhi poetry. He has in his poetry laid prate emphasis on purity of mind and the study of self. In one of his verses he says: ” Even if you master thoroughly the great Arabic works Qudoor and Qafa you will only be like an ant sitting within a well in a limited environment, knowing nothing of the world outside.
Kafi the Shah and his contemporaries, Shah Inayat, Muhammad Moeen Thattvi, Isso Mian and Misri Shah, were also pioneers in the field of the well-known Sindhi Kafi Lyric. Others who contribute to Kafi were Qasim, Hyder Shah, Fazil Shah, Pir Mohammad Ashraf, Assooram and Qaleech Beg. Misri Shah is considered to the undisputed monarch in the domain of Kafi. The term Kafi was originally taken from Shah Abdul Latif’s waie, which corresponds to ghazal. Sachal added glory to kafi in his lyrics. After Khalifo Gul Mohammad a host Sindhi poets contributed to the development of the ghazal. The following poets deserve special mention: Qasim Shamsuddin Bulbul, Mir Abdul Hussain Saangi, Bewas Lekhraj Kishanchand Aziz, Zia Fani, Farid, Fakir Abdul Rahim of Groroh and Hafiz Mohammad Hayat.
Humour Shamsuddin Bulbul was the first poet to introduce humor in Sindhi poetry. He can very well be compared to Akbar Allahabadi.
In this field Mohammad Hashim Mukhlis and more particularly Mirza Qaleech Beg, the father of modern Sindhi poetry and prose have left an indelible mark. The latter’s humor is much more polished and constructive. ” Saudai Khan” is a modest collection of his poetry dealing wit the experiences of life and the ravages of time. The book is in two volumes, and each column consists of homage paid to his ancestors and guide. He composed only 14 ghazals in Urdu.
Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai
Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (1689-1752) perfected Sindhi poetry both in from and in content and is reckoned as the peerless master of Sindhi verses. The most salient feature of his poetry is Sufism, which he had presented with dexterity in his famous work, Shah Jo Risalo. The main characteristics of Shah Leif’s poetry is that it is a ‘remarkable record of God-intoxicated man’s longing to rise above his level of life in order to meet his Maker”. He had a command to express and interpret the joys and sorrows, hopes and aspirations of the people of Sindh. Shah Latif’s poetry depicts nature and its manifestations in a most vivid and vivacious manner. He had composed beautiful verses on the river Indus, the shining surface of lakes and the barren ranges of hills. He had also versified on the behavior of the sea and the boats and boatsmen living on the shore of the sea. He was the most prolific writer and poet of his age. His poetry is deeply rooted in the soil of Sindh, yet it has a universal appeal.
So great is the impact of his immortal work on Sindhi literature that one hears its distinct echo in all the poetry produced by later generations. From the time of shah Latif to the British conquest of Sindh, there were a large number of Sindhi poets, such as Mohammad Zaman of Luwar, Abdul Grohari, Sachal Sarmast, Bedil, Bekas, Sami, Pir Ali Gohar Asghar (Pir Pagaro), Roohal Faqir, Pir Asghar Ali, Pir Ghulam Shah Rashidi and Sabit Ali Shah Sabit, whose works a still to be found. During the days of the Sumras, the Sammas and later on during the Kalhora and the Talpur period, Sindh was the court languag.
Sachal Sarmast (Abdul Wahab) is another Sufi poet of distinction who composed verses on philosophy and Sufism. He was at home in a number of languages and composed poetical pieces in Arabic, Sindhi, Saraiki or Multani, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Persian. His poetry is replete with Divine Love. It is on Monotheism, the Glorious Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon him). He also composed poems of high order in Urdu and Persian. The great Sufi poets-Attar, Jami and Roomi influenced him.
Hiis Sindhi poetry encompasses a wide range of subjects and possesses its own individuality. He perfected a great deal of old style i.e. Abyat and Dohas greatly in vogue before hi, While Shah Latif enhanced the standard of Sindhi to the highest level of excellence in style, diction and subject matter, Sachal Sarmast took the lead in raising the standard and level of kafi, ghazal and marsia in /Sindhi poetry. Unlike Shah Latif, whose compositions are woven around local and folk themes, Sachal has touched on all Great Sufi saints, fountains of knowledge and learning, besides the most popular folktales of the Indus valley. The images, similes, metaphors and allegories employed by Sachal give him a prominent place in Sindhi literature after Shah Latif.
It was in the British period that really good prose began to be produced. Syed Miran Mohammad Shah-I of Tikhar, Diwan Kewal Ram, Ghulam Hussain and Akhund Latifullah are among the early prose writers. But Shamsul Ulema Mirza Qaleech Beg can rightly be called the father of modern Sindhi prose. He is said to have written or translated from other languages about 400 books of poetry, novel short stories, essays etc.
“Diwan-e-Qaleech” is a collection in alphabetical order of his poetry in Sindhi. In contains about 433 verses. Another work of importance is his translation of Rubaiyat-e-Omar Khayyam in which he has followed the same meter as employed in the original Persian work. This translation has filled an important gap in Sindhi literature.
Music the patronage of music in Sindh started wit the advent of Muslims. In 72AD; when the famous Arab General Muhammad Bin Qasim was engaged in his conquest of Sindh, the Sammas of Central Sindh gave him a rousing reception. Headed by musicians, playing the Dhol-and-Shahnai, “Orchestra”, and skilled dancers giving their performances, they came to greet Muhammad Bin Qasim, who echoed the whole show. The grandeur of the musical performance and the big crowd impressed a lieutenant of Muhammad to such an extent that he suggested to the General that their army should pray to God that such a powerful tribe had been subjugated so easily. Muhammad who had a good sense of humor”. The Dhol-and-Shahnai performance whish has been the traditional ” Orchestra” of Sindh, before and since 8th century AD. Is most popular throughout the province even today.
Interest in the classical ‘Hindustani’ as well as the indigenous music in Sindh reached its height in 16th century during the reign of the Turkhan rulers, Mirza Jani Beg and his son Mirza Ghazi Beg. Both the father and the son were great patrons of poets like the famous Talib Amuli and others, and of numerous musicians who invented new musical forms, naghams, and a variety of tunes. Both the rulers were accomplished musicians themselves. Their capital Thatta was the rendezvous.