History of Sindh
- 1 Palaeolithic and Mesolithic era
- 2 Copper to the Bronze Age
- 3 Ancient era
- 4 References in ancient literature
- 5 Rajput dynasties
- 6 Islamic era
- 7 Colonial era
- 8 Independence
- 9 Education
- 10 Economy
- 11 Politics
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Palaeolithic and Mesolithic era
Ongar is one of the most important Paleolithic site discovered in southern Sindh, few kilometers south of Hyderabad, on the right side of the Indus River. According to the aspect and surface patina of the tools, the flint assemblages can be attributed to the Early, Middle and Late (Upper) Paleolithic periods.
At Rehri, along the coast east of Karachi, Karachi University team has discovered a few Mesolithic and Late Palaeolithic sites. Most of these sites have vanished during the last twenty years. Nevertheless their discovery shed new light on the prehistory of the coastal area of Lower Sindh. Scatters of flint were found in different spots, some of which were associated with Terebralia palustris mangrove shells.
The Late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic sites found by Karachi University team on the Mulri Hills, in front of Karachi University Campus, constitute one of the most important archaeological discoveries made in Sindh during the last fifty years. The last hunter-gatherers, who left abundant traces of their passage, repeatedly inhabited the Hills. Some twenty different spots of flint tools were discovered during the surface surveys.
Copper to the Bronze Age
The mound of Amri is located along the right bank of the Indus River, south of Dadu. The excavations carried out by the French Archaeological Mission at the beginning of the sixties revealed a long sequence of subsequent habitation phases datable from the Copper to the Bronze Age. The typical Amri layers have been radiocarbon-dated to the second half of the fourth millennium BC and are attributed by some authors to the beginning of the Early Harappan Civilization. At least 160 settlements attributed to the Amri Culture, among them the Tharro Hills, near the village of Gujo, is one of the most famous of lower Sindh. .. The site of Kot Diji, near Rohri, consists of a small mound composed of a sequence of overimposed structures and anthropogenic layers. They have been subdivided into two main complexes, the first of which belongs to the Early Harappan, Kot Diji Culture, and the second to the Mature Harappan Civilization.
The site of Lakhueen-jo-daro, near Sukkur, belongs to the Mature Harappan Civilization as indicated by the characteristics of the structural remains, material culture finds and one radiocarbon date, covers a wide area, from which a few mounds emerge. The site indicates that the origins of Sukkur are to be referred to a much older period than previously suspected.
The metropolis of Mohenjo-daro, near Larkana, is largest Indus city so far discovered in Sindh. The large-scale excavations carried out in the 1920s brought to light most of the architectural remains that are still currently visible. They are mainly of backed bricks with very well preserved buildings aligned along streets and lanes. Mohen-jo-daro is the largest Bronze Age city of the world.
Pir Shah Jurio is a Mature Indus Civilization village along the left bank of the Hub River. It consists of a small mound, which is nowadays partly covered by a cemetery. From its surface, typical potsherds and other finds were collected. This site is strictly connected with the sea, which is a few kilometers south of it. It was radiocarbon-dated to the third millennium BP, from a sample of Terebralia palustris shells.
The Indus Civilization site of Kot Bala is located in the interior of the Sonmiani Bay, along the coast of Lasbela District, Balochistan. It was partly excavated by Professor G. Dales of Berkeley University in the Seventies and never published in detail. This site is of great importance for its location close to the Arabian Sea. It is supposed to be one of the main harbors from which the Indus traders sailed their ships to the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula.
Sindh has been known by various names in the past, the name Sindh comes from the Indo-Aryans. In Sanskrit, the province was called Sindhu meaning the river Sindh and the people living on its banks. The Assyrians (as early as the 7th century BCE) knew the region as Sinda, the Persians Hindush, the Greeks Indos, the Romans Sindus or Indus, the Chinese Sintu, while the Arabs dubbed it Sind. A legend claims that the Indus River flowed from the mouth of a lion or Sinh-ka-bab.
In ancient times, the territory of the modern Sindh province was sometimes known as Sovira (or Souveera, Sauvīra) and also as Sindhudesha, Sindhu being the original name for Indus river and the suffix 'desh' roughly corresponding to country or territory.
The first known village settlements date as far back as 7000 BCE. Permanent settlements at Mehrgarh to the west expanded into Sindh. One of the original inhabitants of ancient Sindh were the Austro-Asiatic speaking peoples who spoke the Munda languages. This culture blossomed over several millennia and gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BCE. The Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of what is today Pakistan, but went into decline a few centuries prior to the invasion of the Indo-Aryans which is still a hotly debated subject, a branch of the Indo-Iranians, who are considered to have founded the Vedic Civilization, that existed between the Kabul River, the Sarasvati River and the upper Ganges river after 1500 BCE. The Vedic civilization - with much in-fighting and fighting with the locals as well as interaction with them - ultimately helped shape subsequent cultures in South Asia.
Another group of academia, claims that the original inhabitants of Sindh, who gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BCE, were native Aryans, as Vedic literature speaks of no reference to an Aryan race outside of the South Asia. This topic is considered still unresolved.
The Indus Valley Civilization rivaled 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 denoting that the bulk of that civilization's cotton was predominantly imported from the Indus Valley Civilization. Speculation remains as to how and why the civilization declined and may have been a combination of natural disasters such as deterioration in climate, flooding as well as breakdown of international trade and internecine conflicts.
Sindh was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the late 6th century BCE, and became the Persian satrapy (province) of Hindush in addition to that of Gandhara (Gandāra) centered in the Punjab to the north. Iranian and thus also Persian speech replaces 'S' with 'H' in many Sanskritic words, resulting in 'Sindhu' being pronounced and written as 'Hindu'. They introduced the Kharosthi script and links to the west in the region.
Conquered by Macedonian Greek armies led by Alexander the Great, after 326 BCE the region came under loose Greek control for a few decades. After Alexander's death, there was a brief period of Seleucid rule. Sindh was conquered by the Maurya Empire of Chandragupta after a peace treaty ended the Seleucid–Mauryan war in 303 BCE.
Later, during the reign of the emperor Ashoka the region would solidly become a Buddhist domain. Following a century of Mauryan rule which ended by 232 BCE, the region came under the Greco-Bactrians based in what is today northern Afghanistan. Some of their rulers also converted to Buddhism and spread it in the region.
The Scythians (Saka) shattered the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. Subsequently, the Tocharian Kushan Empire annexed Sindh by the 1st century CE. Though the Kushans followed their own religion, they were tolerant of the local Buddhist tradition and sponsored many building projects for local beliefs.
The Buddhist city of Siraj-ji-Takri is located along the western limestone terraces of the Rohri Hills in the Khairpur district of Upper Sindh, along the road that leads to Sorah. Its ruins are still visible on the top of three different mesas, in the form of stone and mud-brick walls and small mounds, whilst other architectural remains were observed along the slopes of the hills in the 1980s. This city is not mentioned from any text dealing with the history of the Buddhist period of Sindh.
References in ancient literature
The Vedas (Rigveda) praises the Sindhu, the cradle of civilization. "Sindhu in might surpasses all the streams that flow.... His roar is lifted up to heaven above the earth; he puts forth endless vigour with a flash of light .... Even as cows with milk rush to their calves, so other rivers roar into the Sindhu. As a warrior-king leads other warriors, so does Sindhu lead other rivers.... Rich in good steeds is Sindhu, rich in gold, nobly fashioned, rich in ample wealth." In this hymn Sindhu, unlike other rivers, is considered masculine. Other references are, when the Vedic seer invokes heaven and earth, he also invokes the Sindhu. The Veda refers to the Ganges only twice; but it makes as many as thirty references to the Sindhu. This is the Great Sindhu that gave Sindh its name.
In Ramayana, Sindh was part of Dasharatha's empire. When Kekayi goes into a sulk, Dasaratha tells her: "The sun does not set on my empire. Sindh, Sauvira, Saurashtra, Anga, Vanga, Magadha, Kashi, Koshal --- they are all mine. They produce an infinite variety of valuable articles. You can ask whatever you like." Of course Kekayi wants nothing short of the throne for her son, Bharata. The rest is epic history. When Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, Rama sent the vanaras (monkeys) to look for her, among other places, in Sindh with its "remarkable swimming horses." Later, when all ended well, Rama gave Sindhu-Sauvira (the Sindh and Multan areas) to Bharata, who duly extended his rule farther north to Gandhara, the home town of Gandhari of Mahabharata fame, which is the modern-day Afghan city Kandahar. His sons founded the cities of Peshawar (Pushkalavati) and Taxila (Takshasila).
Sindh is also mentioned in the Mahabharata. King Jayadratha of Sindh was married to Kaurava prince Duryodhan's sister, Dushhala. He was, therefore, all along on the side of the Kauravas and against the Pandavas. However, be it said to the credit of Jayadratha that he, like Dhritarashtra and Bhishma, opposed the disastrous game of dice between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Gaandhari( gAMdhArI), as her name indicates, was a princess of Sindh.
In the titanic battle of Mahabharata, when Abhimanyu, Subhadra's son, was killed, Jayadratha "pushed his body with his foot. Arjuna was furious. He vowed to kill "Sindhu-Pati" Jayadratha that very day, before the sun set. Jayadratha wanted to flee the field, but it was too late. He died an inglorious death. Jayadratha's other love was milk and condensed hot milk (the Sindhi khirni). When announcing his determination to kill Jayadratha, Arjuna said: "Jayadratha is a relation, but he is evil; he has been brought up on kshir and kshirni, but now I'll cut him to pieces with my arrows."
In the Bhisma Parva of the Mahabharata, the Sindhu is referred to as the great protector which must be remembered day and night. Obviously the mighty river was a mighty defence line of the country. The Anushasana Parva of the Mahabharata prescribes bathing in Sindhu river to go to heaven after death, signifying its purity.
The Bhagvad Gita is based on an earlier sermon involving Sindh. Once upon a time, the king of Sindh had defeated young prince Sanjay of Sauvira. Sanjay had lost heart and wanted to forget all about his kingdom. But his brave mother Vidula had shamed him into action. She had told him to remember his ancestry, remember his responsibilities to his people, uphold dharma, and live nobly or die nobly. At a time when the Pandavas were dispirited and did not want to fight, their mother Kunti reminded Krishna of the story of Vidula and asked him to repeat it to her sons—to move them to action. The result was the immortal sermon of the Gita.
Dushhala also did a great good turn to Sindh. Since the movement of the centre of Indian civilization from the Sindhu to the Ganges, the former had obviously become a rough frontier tract subject to frequent invasions. Dushhala was pained to find the tribes of Jats and Medes in Sindh quarrelling endlessly. She therefore requested Duryodhana to send some Brahmins to tone up the socio-cultural life of Sindh. Duryodhana was good enough to send 30,000 Brahmins to Sindh. It was these Brahmins who later formed the backbone of resistance to Alexander. But of that, later.
Kalidasa says in the Raghuvamsha that on the advice of his maternal uncle Yudhajat, Rama conferred Sindh on Bharata. Rama's ancestor Raghu's triumphant horses had relaxed on the banks of the Sindhu. Another great Sanskrit poet, Bhasa, had created a play titled Avimarka based on the romance of prince Avimarka with princess Kurangadi of Sindhu-Sauvira. The Bhavishya Purana says that Shalivahana, the grandson of Maharaja Vikramaditya of Ujjain, established law and order in "Sindhusthana" and fixed his frontier on the Sindhu.
Anshnath, the eleventh Jain Tirthankara, was a Sindhi. He died in Bengal. The Jaina Dakshinyachihna (8th century) speaks of the Sindhis as "elegant, with a lovely, soft and slow gait. They are fond of songs, music and dance and feel affection for their country."
There is a legend that the great Buddha had graced Sindh with his visit. Finding the climate extreme, and the area dry and dusty, he had permitted the bhikshus to wear shoes here. He had also permitted the use of padded clothing, forbidden elsewhere. Here Sthavirtis, the prince of Rorik or Roruka (Aror or Alor near modern Rohri) became his disciple. When the Buddha went round his native Kapilavastu in a chariot, it was mentioned that the "four auspicious horses, of lotus colour, had come from Sindhudesha." To this day, historic Buddhist stupas are found in Sindh. No wonder when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had become head of Pakistan, even he adorned his office with a statue of the Buddha.
The Divyavadana (Tibetan version) reports: "The Buddha is in Rajagriha. At this time there were two great cities in Jambudvipa (India): Pataliputra and Roruka. When Roruka rises, Pataliputra declines; when Pataliputra rises, Roruka declines." Here was Roruka of Sindh competing with the capital of the Magadha empire. When Bimbisara was king of Magadha, he sent Rudrayana, king of Sindhu-Sauvira, a rare portrait of the Buddha. The two powerful ministers of Sindh at the time were Hiroo and Bheru, their names still common among the Sindhis. Chandragupta Maurya first won Sindh and the Punjab. It was from this base that he displaced the Nandas, occupied Pataliputra and established the great Maurya Empire.
Kashmir's ancient royal history Rajatarangini has many references to Sindh. Kuya's son Sindhu rose to lead the elephant brigade of Kashmir and became an adviser to Queen Didda. A top honour in Kashmir was "Sindhu Gaja", Elephant of Sindh. sinduesh is before 20000 years
Sindh was ruled by Rai Dynasty during c. 489–632. Rai Diwaji (Devaditya) was the greatest ruler of this dynasty, who stands out as a great patron of Buddhism, comparable to Ashoka in this regard. The capital of his vast empire was Al-ror. The empire was usurped later by Brahman dynasties, whose unpopularitiy was a contributing factor to later Arab conquest.
Rai Dynasty of Rajputs was the ruling dynasty of Sindh from c. 489 – 632. The Rais were one of the Middle kingdoms of India and patrons of Buddhism even though they also established a huge temple of Shiva in present-day Sukkur, derived from original Shankar, close to their capital in Al-ror. This is consistent with the historical accounts from the times of Emperor Ashoka and Harsha because Indian monarchs never sponsored a state religion and usually patronized more than one faith. The influence of the Rai state to Kannauj in the east, Makran and Debal (Karachi) port in the west, Surat port in south, Kandahar, Sistan, Suleyman, Ferdan and Kikanan hills in the north.
In 632 a former Chamberlain and Secretary to the king Rai Sahasi II, Chach of Alor ascended to the throne by marrying the king's widow. Chach expanded the kingdom of Sindh, and his successful efforts to subjugate surrounding monarchies and ethnic groups into an empire covering the entire Indus valley and beyond were recorded in the Chach Nama.
The Dynasty lasted till 712 AD.
During the Rashidun Caliphate
The province of Sistan was the largest province of Persian Empire; its frontiers extended from Sindh in east to Balkh (Afghanistan) in northeast. During the Rashidun Caliphate, the Islamic conquest of some parts of Sindh was extension of the campaigns to conquer the Persian Empire in 643 AD, by sending seven armies from seven different routs to different parts of empire. Islamic forces first entered Sindh during the reign of Caliph Umar, in 644 AD. It was not a full scale arrival in Sindh, but was merely as extension of the conquests of the largest province of Persia - Sistan and Makran region. In 644 AD, the columns of Hakam ibn Amr, Shahab ibn Makharaq and Abdullah ibn Utban concentrated near the west bank of Indus River and defeated the army of Raja Sahasi Rai II a Hindu king of Rai kingdom of Sind, in Battle of Rasil, his armies retreated to the eastern bank of river Indus. In response of Caliph Umar's question about the Makran region, the messenger from Makran answered:
- 'O Commander of the faithful!
- It's a land where the plains are stony;
- Where water is scanty;
- Where the fruits are unsavory;
- Where men are known for treachery;
- Where plenty is unknown;
- Where virtue is held of little account;
- And where evil is dominant;
- A large army is less for there;
- And a less army is use-less there;
- The land beyond it, is even worst. [referring to Sind]
Caliph Umar looked at the messenger and said: "Are you a messenger or a poet?" He replied, "Messenger". Thereupon Umar, after listening to the unfavorable situations for sending an army, instructed Hakim bin Amr al Taghlabi that, for the time being, Makran should be the easternmost frontier of the Islamic empire, and that no further attempt should be made to extend the conquests.
After the death of Caliph Umar the areas—like other regions of Persian Empire—broke into revolt and Caliph Uthman sent forces to re-conquer them. Caliph Uthman also sent his agent Haheem ibn Jabla Abdi to investigate the matters of Hind. On his return, he told Caliph Uthma about the cities and, listening to the miserable conditions of the region, he avoided campaigning in Sindh and, like Caliph Umar, he ordered his armies not to cross Indus River.
Under the Umayyads, Abbasids and later dynasties
Sindh was finally conquered by Syrian Arabs led by Muhammad bin Qasim in the early eighth century; it became the easternmost province of the Umayyad Caliphate. The defeat of the Hindu ruler Dahir was made easier due to the tension between the Buddhist majority and the ruling Hindus' fragile base of control. The Arabs redefined the region and adopted the term budd to refer to the numerous Buddhist idols they encountered, a word that remains in use today. The city of Mansura was established as a regional capital and Arab rule lasted for nearly three centuries and a fusion of cultures produced much of what is today modern Sindhi society. Arab geographers, historians and travellers also sometimes called the entire area from the Arabian Sea to the Hindu Kush as Sindh. The meaning of the word Sindhu being water (or ocean) appears to refer to the Indus River.
Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered the area by 977 CE by defeating the Habbari dynasty which was the Umayyad Caliphate's entity in the region ruling semi-independently. The Umayyad rule ended with the ascension of the Soomra dynasty which was the Abbasid Caliphate's functionary in sindh from 1024 to 1258. since Then Soomra Dynasty continued to rule independently for a further 100 years but were forced to defend their land by Sultans of Delhi wanting a piece until finally losing to the might of their armies. The Mughals also tried to take control of the region but their efforts were challenged by the Samma Dynasty from their base at Thatta.
The Muslim Sufis played a pivotal role in converting the millions of native people to Islam. Sindh then became a part of larger empires as a loyal Muslim domain and came under the rule of the Arghun Dynasty and Tarkhan dynasty from 1519 to 1625. By some accounts Sindh was added to the Mughal Empire by Akbar in 1590. Abdur Rahim Khan-i Khanan was the Mughal official given this task. Mirza Jani Beg gave up his rule and accepted appointment as a mansab in Akbar's court. The Mughal's then at least officially ruled Sindh for the entire 17th century and well into the 18th century. The Durrani Empire invaded Sindh by 1747.
The British East India Company started its occupation of Sindh at the time when it was ruled by Balochi tribesmen of Dera Ghazi Khan. Most of them were Talpur (a branch of Laghari tribe), Laghari, Nizamani, Murree, Gopang and other Balochi tribesmen. Karachi was the first area in the province to be occupied by the British East India Company in 1839. Four years later, most of the province (except for the State of Khairpur) was added to the Company's domain after victories at Miani and Dubba. Many people helped the British in the conquest of Sindh, including a Hindu government minister of Sindh, Mirs of Khairpur, Chandio Tribesmen, and Khosa Tribesmen. After General Charles Napier captured the province, a cartoon in Punch offered the Latin tag "Peccavi", meaning "I have sinned.".
Charles Napier had brought first army consisting of mostly Bengali soldiers. The Balochi ruling forces of Sindh used to attack the British led armies in the darkness of night. The Bengali soldiers could not compete in those war techniques, and they used to run away. Then, Charles Napier hired Khosa Baloch tribesman (from Dera Ghazi Khan) in his army, to fight with the ruling Balochis of Sindh, who were also originally from Dera Ghazi Khan, Punjab. Chandio Baloch Sardar brought a cavalry of 10,000 to support Charles Napier in the Miani war, but did not participate in the actual war, and his armies stood on reserve to attack in case Charles Napier lost the war. For his role, Chandio sardar got Chandka (present day Larakana, Qambar-Shahdadkot districts) as Jagir. Talpurs of Khairpur also got Khairpur state as gift from Charles Napier for non-participation in the war. The first Aga Khan had helped the British in the conquest of Sindh and was granted a pension as a result.
Sind was made part of British India's Bombay Presidency in 1847 and became a separate province in 1936. During British control of Indian subcontinent, they laid railway lines in Sindh. Many barrages and canals were built to irrigate farm land in Sindh, which improved the livelihood of rural Sindhis. The first stamps in Asia, known as Scinde Dawk, were released in 1852. The mail was carried quickly and efficiently, connecting British administrative offices and post offices from Karachi through Kotri and Hyderabad up to Shikkur in the north.
During the freedom struggle, the Sindh branch of Muslim League party was established by Ghulam Muhammad Bhurgari in 1918. Abdullah Haroon, who joined it in 1918, was elected president of the provincial Muslim League in 1920. In those days, both the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress of Sindh held their annual sessions at the same place simultaneously and passed similar resolutions.
e 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 one of the important leaders in the forefront of the provincial autonomy movement, joined the Muslim League in 1938 and presented the Pakistan resolution in the Sindh Assembly.
On August 14, 1947 Pakistan gained independence from foreign British colonial rule. The province of Sindh thus regained its self-rule, lost 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 mostly in urban areas of Sindh, most of them in Karachi and Hyderabad.
The foundation for modern, liberal, universal education was laid by the British colonial administration. Sindhi intelligentsia also participated in this modernisation of educational system. Hassan Ali Affandi, maternal grandfather of the ex-President of Pakistan (Mr. Asif Ali Zardari), can be regarded as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan of Sindh. He made great efforts to encourage the Sindhi people to get modern education. He built an educational institution known as Sindh-Madrsat-ul-Islam. Muhammad Ali Jinnah went to Sindh-Madarsat-ul-Islam in Karachi, Sindh for education and, after his law education, worked in Karachi for a Sindhi (Hindu) law firm.
Education in Sindh is divided into five levels: primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary School Certificate); and university programs leading to graduate and advanced degrees.
The colleges and universities are established in major towns and cities of Sindh. They provide courses leading to BA, BSc and Bachelor of Commerce / BCom/BBA degrees. medical colleges and engineering colleges are also established in major cities of Sindh.
Sindh has become the most industrialized and urbanized province of Pakistan. The head offices of Pakistani companies, and regional offices of international companies, are located in Sindh. The Sindhis have been in forefront of economic development of the province. The new dams and canals have irrgated many areas that were barren and Sindh produces many agricultural products for the country and for export.
Khan Bahadur Muhammad Ayub Khuhro was the first Chief Minister of Sindh, after independence of Pakistan. Pakistan's political scene continued to be dominated by Sindhi politicians like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mumtaz Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Muhammad Khan Junejo, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Asif Ali Zardari, Muhammad Mian Soomro, who served the nation as President, Prime Minister, Senate chairman etc. Karachi was chosen as the first capital of Pakistan and it remains now as the capital of Sindh province. In the province of Sindh, the Sindhis have always dominated the government and its various departments.Important role of Baloch tribe in sindhi history
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- Unofficial website on the Talpurs, retrieved 2006-03-04
- Q.v., Napier's Wikipedia Article
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