|Elevation||13 m (43 ft)|
|• Estimate (2009)||155,400|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+5)|
|Postal Code = 78100|
Shikarpur (Urdu: شكار پور) is small city and the capital of Shikarpur District in Sindh province of Pakistan. It is situated about 29 km west of the right bank of the Indus, with a railway station, 37 km north-west of Sukkur.
According to a few historians the city of Shikarpur was revived during the Kalhora rule and that was what brought about a turnaround in making it the financial capital of not only South Asia but also of Central Asia. Some people think that the city was founded by Kalhoras' cousins Daudpotas --- and it was named Shikarpur because the Talpur Mirs were fond of shikar (hunting). Another school of thought believes Shikarpur was admittedly there before the shikar-loving Talpurs arrived on the scene; for another, Shikarpur has always been a trading centre, and never a hunting lodge. Also, the Muslims named their cities as "Abad" --- and never "Nagar" or "Pur". These experts think that Shikarpur is really Shakaripur --- the "town founded by the vanquisher of the Shakas", the Scythians.
Shikarpur, the seat of civilisation, culture, trade and commerce acquired political and economic importance because of its strategic location on the map of Sindh, being directly accessible to those who came from Central and West Asia through the Bolan Pass. In the early 17th century this emerald city in the northern Sindh province of Pakistan became the nucleus of a historical trade center on a caravan route through the Bolan Pass into Afghanistan. Shikarpur became the core of manufactures including brass and metal goods, carpets, cotton cloth, and embroidery. Its great bazaar (covered because of the summer heat) is famous throughout Turkistan and southern Asia.
Cultural minded Shikarpuris were fond of and knowledgeable about classical music. There was a Natak Sabha theatre on the bank of Beggary Canal surrounded by pipal trees where during the days of Holi (seven days) they used to organize 'Hando' of holi. Renowned and famous artistes from Sindh and India like Waman Rao, Patwardhan, Pandit Vyas, Omkarnath, Khan Sahib Mubarak Ali, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, singers like - Kajari Inayat Bai and Mukhtiar Begum, were invited to sing and the people used to listen to them for days together. They were duly respected and flooded with costly gifts. They were accommodated with due care in the bungalows of Hindu seths. Thakurdas Nagrani, Sessions Judge, Aga Sufi, Maharaj Tejbhandas and others established the first dramatic society - Dharamupkars Amateurs Society.
Shikarpur was also forefront in the field of literature. It produced vedantic titans like Saami, one of the three pillars, 'TRIMURTI' - Shah, Sachal and Saami of Sindhi poetry. Saami wrote his slokas in popular idioms for the masses. 4000 such slokas were later found by Prof. Jhamandas, though earlier about 2100 were already published in Sindhi. Shikarpur has produced the greatest modern poet of Sindh, 'Sheikh Ayaz' whose contribution is also as unparalleled as it is unconventional. As regards education, Shikarpuris were marching ahead even in 1930. According to one Survey there were about 70 graduates in the city of Shikarpur in 1930; whereas, in the rest of Sindh there were only 7 graduates then. The first Sindhi college, Satramdas Chellasingh College, was also started in Shikarpur.
Dawood Potan built a mud fort around Shikarpur in the ancient days. It had seven gates Lakhi Dar, Hazari Dar, Hathi Dar,Khanpuri Dar, Karan Dar, Wagano Dar and Sevi Dar. It had a deep channel around these gates, which was later filled up by the Britishers and a circular road was built over it. The remnants of the mud fort could be seen till 1940. The city was clean and well paved with bricks and surrounded by greenery. The areas with the names of these gates still exist in Shikarpur.
The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus migrated to India while the Muslims refugees from India settled down in the Shikarpur District.
District Shikarpur, with an area of 2640 square kilometers, has a population of 880,000. It is divided in four "taulkas": Shikarpur, Lakhi, Garhi Yasin and Khanpur. Its borders meet with districts of Larkana, Jacobabd, Khairpur & Sukkur. Two National Highways (N-65 & N-55) intersect in the city of Shikarpur, so it can well be termed as,one of the junction points of the four provinces.
District Shikarpur was once famous for education and other civic amenities throughout undivided India until the first half of the 20th Century. Rai Bahadur Udhaudas Tarachand Hospitial, Hiranand Gangabai Ladies Hospital, Chellaram & Seetaldas College, Two old High Schools now known as school No:1 & 2 and Girls College here, are some dignified and marvelous towers, showing outstanding standards of Shikarpurians during that era. For security the city was then protected by seven gates and one window. Now, infrastructure being old, Shikarpur experiences a lot of problems. Heavy inflow of rural populace has further burdened this old system, needing immediate overhauling.
District Shikarpur has a total road length of 920.0 kilometers, including 125.0 kilometers of National Highways and 195.0 kilometers of Provincial Highways. It is, thus, deficient in road density (0.35 km/Km2) compared with recognized international parameters of development (1 km/Km2). During the last few years, creeping development activity has taken pace and 71.0 kilometers of road, 94 schools and a number of schemes in drainage, health and other sectors have been completed, under various Programs. Basically, agrarian economy of district Shikarpur is dependent upon non-perennial irrigation system, so the district is always in semi-drought conditions. The last spell of drought is particularly notable as it created heavy unemployment and unsustainable poverty, which without doubt created serious law & order situations.
The District is bounded on the north and east by Jacobabad District in the south by Sukkur District on the west by River Indus and Larkana District. The town consists of eight gates and one window named Lakhidar, Hathidar, Hazaridar, Cividar, Karandar, Wagnodar, Khanpurdar, Nausherodar and Siddique Mari (Window).
- Markovits, Claude The Global World of Indian Merchants 1750-1947 Traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 65–217.
- Dr. Syed Abdul Mujeeb
- Professor Syed Muhammad Saleem