|— City —|
|Elevation||13 m (43 ft)|
|• Estimate (2009)||155,400|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+5)|
|Postal Code = 78100|
Shikarpur (Sindhi: شِڪارپوُرُ) is 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.
Shikarpur is famous for its Aachar آچار، کٽاڻ (pickles) Mola Bukhsh Memon and sweets of Deewan. It has a large market and manufactures of cotton, cloth and pottery. The city has rich history and cultural heritage.Shikarpur used to be called "Paris of East" because of its modern buildings built on the pattern of Shanzelize and its Perfume (Ittar) industry .
Social Activities: Shikarpur Youth Society working on any problems of Youth Citizen
According to a few historians the city of Shikarpur was revived during the Kalhorra rule and that was what brought about a turnaround in making it the financial capital of not only north-west India 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. The trade links of Shikarpuris were spread all over to Geneva, Rome, Iran, Iraq, Samarkand, Sumatra, Japan, Burma, Honolulu, etc. There was a branch of Central Bank of Asia in Bajaj Street in Shikarpur, which testified to these links.
While the people of Shikarpur were renowned for their trade links they were equally well known for their benevolent qualities. They used to go to foreign countries and earn tons of money, which they spend on themselves, their hometown, on charity and welfare projects as well. No doubt, therefore, there were many hospitals, schools, charitable institutions and welfare trusts. There was one hospital - a singular example in entire Sindh, built by Rai Bahadur Udhavdas Tarachand for health care. All medical facilities like medicines, food, fruits, milk, etc. were provided free of cost to all the patients. Every employee from the lowest to the doctors were provided with accommodation. Every year they would invite Dr. Holland, an eye specialist to Sindh for free treatment of eye patients. Many were spared from becoming blind. Humility and sagacity of its builder were unmatchable in the world, as he had arranged to have his name inscribed on the footsteps of the hospitals so that his name could be trampled on and walked upon by the visitors and patients alike.
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.
'Sindh-warki' Bhaiband 
Mr. Pir Muhammad Ali Rashidi in his book "Uhe Deenhan Uhe Sheenhan" "(Sindhiاُهي ڏيهَن اُهي شيِهَن)"(Vol. I - pp 239–240) has described the city's historic splendor witnessed by him before the partition of British India. . (translation by Ramesh Kateja) The first book written for the history of shikarpur named "suhno shaher shikarpur" and it was written by the famour poet Habibullah bhutto, the father of Habibullah Bhutto was a famour poet named "Moula bux miskeen" who had written his all poerty for shikarpur.
Shikarpur…..As I recollect from my early childhood memories, was a paradise for fun-loving wealthy people. The people of Shikarpur, their traditions and the way of life were different from people of other parts of Sindh. The grandeur of city was at its zenith. 'Sindh-warki' Bhaibands (A class of Hindu business community) were dominant; they were engaged in trade with far away regions right up to Samarkand and Bukhara. They would bring all the wealth earned overseas to Shikarpur and spent it there. They owned palatial houses. They would not spare anything to decorate the city and would not hesitate to indulge in charities. They had set up a very big hospital in Shikarpur. In their last days in Sindh, they had established the only medical college in northern Sindh, in Shikarpur only. All these charitable institutions were run with their finances.
Their living was not an ordinary one; they lived a posh and majestic life. They had palaces in city, gardens on outskirts of city and bungalows therein Evenings were spent in luxury of music and dance; best of the dancers would be invited from Lahore, Bombay and Calcutta. Once in a year they would organize a grand musical feat, where artists from all over India would be invited for competitions where awards and rewards would be showered on them.
Motor vehicles were non-existent those days; the rich would travel in Victorias (Big horse driven carriages or buggies), pulled by two mares. Those Victoria saloons and the horses were stunningly beautiful and worth looking at. Riding in those saloons they would pass through Lakhi Daar and reach their garden enclosed bungalows. Liquor (Daroon) would flow, eatables would be made available in abundance, bone-pieces of roasted meat and potato patties would be specially ordered from Hindu chefs of Lakhi Daar. Adequate arrangement of music program would be the order of the evening. Moonlit night, of flowers, light rhythm of drums, soft notes of Sarangi (An indigenous violin), melodious voice of beautiful damsels would indeed recreate a scene out of paradise! Bhaibands would comfortably stretch themselves in swinging 'Peenghas' or cots; they would bring out gold guineas from the folds of their Dhotis (an worn waist downward by Hindus.) and offer to singing courtesans. Those days there was no paper currency; 'Bald' rupee coins were not generally appreciable. Rich Bhaibands would consider silver 'bald' rupee coins as an inferior currency. ('Bald' coins were called so, because picture embossed on the coins was that of Edward VII, who was bald) The only worthy currency for them was guineas or coins made of pure gold.
Shikarpuri Bhaibands are the pioneers of the financial instrument called 'Hundi' or Promissory-Notes as known in banking arena.
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 & one window. Now, infrastructure being old, Shikarpur is experiencing 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.
- 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