- A Brief History of Sindh
We Sindhis hail from Sindh - a province, now
in Pakistan , but previously a part of undivided India. It was in Sindh that
flourished the great Indus valley civilization, a marvel in social set-up and
communal living, millennia before
the birth of Christ. It was Sindh that was
famous for ship-building, and that it carried on commerce with far-off lands such as Rome, Greece, Asia Minor, Babylon and
Egypt. The Sumerians derived their culture from Sindh and it was on
this soil that Gautam Budha and Guru Nanak preached their doctrine. India stands
for the land of the Indus (river
that flowed through Sindh) and the word Hindu is derived from
the word Sindhu. Sindh dates back to the reign of Bharat, the
brother of Ram, who ruled in Sindh and then handed over the reigns to Luv, the
twin son of Ram and Mother Sita.
Sindhi Hindus faced centuries of trials and
tribulations for they were conquered by invaders who not only conquered their
land but remained to rule with a barbaric hand. All the rulers that came
to rule over Sindh had one thing in common. They sought to spread Islam
converting Hindus at the point of sword. Most were forced to abandon Hinduism
and accept the shift in religion to save their lives and those of their dear
ones held captive. The ancestors of Indian Muslims of today were those Hindus
who were converted. History is full of stories of Aurangzeb, the Moghul emperor
who forcibly converted Hindus to Islam. Many of these Hindus reached the shores
of Sindh to only continue to be persecuted by Taalpurs, Kalhoras and Mirs.
A common saying in Sindh stated:
meer, Bhaga peer
means that when the Meer (rulers)
came, the wise ones fled.
Sindhi Hindus, the English writer Dr James
Burns wrote: “Even for the slightest error committed by a hapless Hindu, The
Mirs got hold of him, made him read the ‘kalma’ and forcibly converted him
to Islam. Logic fails to get an answer as to why Hindus continue to live in such
a place. The only possible explanation is the deep love that Hindus bear for
their birth place.”
To safe guard the
women folk from the onslaught of the persecutors, they were made to observe
Purdah, i.e. the women were covered from head to toe, except for one eye. This
mode of attire, the Sindhis called “Akhri”
It was the British
rule that brought to an end the relationship of the oppressor Muslim and the
oppressed Hindu. A new era began. British rule brought safety, progress and
reforms, not only to the Sindhi Hindus in general, but for Sindhi Hindu women in
particular. The “Akhri” was discarded. She was no longer confined to the
four walls and her formal education commenced.
The Sindhu Hindu
had arrived. The Amil Sindhi excelled in services and the Bhaibunds in commerce.
Both reached foreign lands. The Amils generally to pursue a higher education and
the Bhaibunds to spread their business. In 1844 the capital of Sindh was shifted
from Hyderabad, which was originally called Nerankot, to Karachi. After roughly
a century of peace and progress came the Freedom Movement in which participated
all Hindu Sindhis, actively or passively little imagining that the so called
Freedom would mean sacrificing
their culture, home and birthplace.
administration that had favored the Sindhi Hindu, stopped patronizing them as it
was they, who had initiated for self-government in Sindh as part of an all India
Freedom Movement. Instead of helping, the British started to ignore the
atrocities that the Muslim started to once again inflict upon the Hindus. These
tyrannical incidents reached a zenith during the partition of India. Their
leaders had failed them. On January 6, 1948, Genocide of Hindus took place in
Sindh. Though, in many cases helped by Muslim neighbors, the terror in their
heart is indescribable. The trials that each and every Hindu went through in
those dark bleak days would fill volumes and make even the gods weep.
The Sindhi Hindus had only one option left. They had to flee and they found
shelter wherever available in Hindustan.
They started once
again from sub-human conditions. In many cases they had nothing left but their
intelligence and pride. It is believed that at that time there were more refugees in
India than there were Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Sindhis became an
uprooted race. Yet they managed to build, brick by brick their new life and once
again learned to live with honor and human dignity.
Because of their need to survive, they spread their wings
through the length and breadth of the globe. They set new roots in the land
that showed promise for a new and probably bright future. They imbibed
the customs, mannerisms and language of their new domicile in return for the
love and security that their new abode promised and provided.
am proud of the fact that Sindhis, due to their perseverance and hard-work,
survived. They succeeded by
accommodating themselves to the way of life and customs of those who welcomed
them. But in life, just as joy comes with sorrow, death comes with life and
tears come with laughter; the triumphant Sindhis lost touch with their
own culture, religion and language. As time passed by,
it became increasingly difficult for International Sindhis to cling to
however, the west is moving towards the east where spiritual knowledge is
concerned. Hence there is a renewed interest amongst our youngsters in Hindu
philosophy, yoga and occult matters.
Proverbs project a way of thinking and of living. “Pahaakaas” as
proverbs are known in Sindhi, were obviously coined by a thinker and readily
accepted by the masses. Therefore my aim in compiling these Sindhi proverbs is
an attempt to keep some contact with our roots, i.e. with Sindhi beliefs, with
Sindhi wisdom and with a Sindhi way of life.
Putting together and presenting Sindhi
proverbs is a difficult task for me to undertake considering that I left Sindh
as a mere child, but as Sindhis’ say:
Andhan bi Multan ladhee
Which means that even the ‘blind’ could
find the city of Multan. The above proverb implies that nothing is impossible if
one sets ones heart and mind to accomplish a certain task.
Some proverbs are funny, some are nasty, some
are educational. But all give us an insight into a Sindhi way of life.
It is said that that what is painful to remember, we simply don’t
forget. This pain kept ‘us’… the past generation remembering…and we do
not want the children of the future to forget...where they came from...