Sindhudesh

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Map of Sindh
Flag used by Sindhi nationalists showing an axe in opposite to the most popular Muslim Sufi symbols of Ajrak and Sindhi Topi in Sindh
Districts of Sindh

Sindhudesh (Sindhi: سنڌو ديش, literally Sindhi word meaning 'Sindhi Country') is a concept floated by some Sindhi nationalist Parties in Pakistan for the creation of a Sindhi state, which would be independent from Pakistan.[1][2] The movement is based in the Sindh region of Pakistan. It was conceived by the Sindhi political leader G. M. Syed. A Sindhi literary movement emerged in 1967 under the leadership of Syed and Pir Ali Mohammed Rashdi, in opposition to the One Unit policy, the imposition of Urdu by the central government and to the presence of a large number of Muhajir (Indian Muslim refugees) settled in the province.[3]

No Sindhi nationalist party has been ever voted into power in Sindh at any level of government.[4][5] Some nationalist parties and associations are banned for "terrorist, anti-state and sabotage" activities by the Pakistani government.[6] A Sindhudesh rally was organised in Karachi in March 2012 which notably had a low turnout,[7] followed by freedom march by JSQM which, according to sources, gathered hundreds of thousands of people and demanded independent Sindhudesh.[8]

A strike called by JSMM on 25 January 2014 resulted in a complete strike in the province, excluding some areas of Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Matiari and Ghotki.[9]

Historical Kingdom

Main article: Sindhu Kingdom

Sindhudesh was also ancient name of modern Sindh, as the state of Sindh is mentioned in the ancient epic of Mahabharata by the name of Sindhu Kingdom.

History of the Movement

In 1972 G. M. Syed had proposed the formation of an independent nation for the Sindhis by the name Sindhudesh. Syed was the first nationalist politician of Pakistan to call for the independence of his land in the Pakistan divided by the liberation of Bangladesh.[3] The movement for Sindhi language and identity led by Syed drew inspiration from the Bengali language movement.[citation needed] In the post independence Pakistan, the machination of the Pakistani state convinced Syed that Sindhis would be marginalised in the set up.[3] The elite Sindhi landowners who in alliance with the politicians at the centre were condemning Sindh to a state of political apathy and misery. The concept of Sindhudesh as propounded by Syed had called for the liberation and freedom of Sindhis from the Punjabi-Mohajir imperialism.[3]

With his political base largely weakened after election, Syed later advanced his position, towards openly demanding separation from Pakistan and build-up of an independent Sindhudesh in his books Heenyar Pakistan khey tuttan khappey (Now Pakistan Should Disintegrate) and Sindhu Desh — A Nation in Chains.[10]

The idea of Sindhudesh is also supported by the Sindhi diaspora[11] including Sindhis in India,[citation needed] most of whom had to be relocated out of Sindh after Partition, leaving behind their property as evacuee trusts under reciprocal government supervision. Pre-partition, Sindh was a relative peaceful province, with communal violence only erupting sporadically and during partition.[12] This peace stopped after partition, with post-partition migrants to Sindh angry at the "non-co-operation" in the killing of Hindus; and communal hatred multiplied post partition.[13][14]

Re-emergence of Sindhudesh Movement

Banner in support of Sindhudesh movement, Shikarpur, Sindh.

After the death of former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, the Sindhudesh movement has seen an increase in popularity. Sindhi nationalists judge that Sindh has been used to the advantage of people from non-Sindhi ethnic groups, citing the dominance of Muhajir people in key areas of Sindh including Karachi, large scale migration to Sindh from other regions of Pakistan, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, alleged Punjabi dominance in the defence sector, and an increase in Taliban migrants moving to Sindh; as well as terrorist related attacks on the region.[15] and believe this to be the cause of recent troubles in Sindh (see Sindhi nationalism). Pro-Sindhudesh organisations such as the JSQM and World Sindhi Congress have gained a wider support base.[16]

JSQM 'Freedom March'

The Daily Times reported that on March 23, 2012 in Karachi, Hundreds of thousands of leaders, activists and supporters of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) attended a freedom march denouncing the Pakistan Resolution and chanting pro Sindhu Desh slogans, with many rallies being present. The paper also reported that processions occurred in many other cities and towns in Sindh. JSQM Chairman Bashir Khan Qureshi expressed his desire for the Urdu-speaking community to integrate with Sindh, calling them "brethren and part of Sindhi nation".[17]

The Sindhi nation has been waiting for the last 64 years to secure independence since Punjab has assumed all the powers of the federation, including civil bureaucracy, military and judiciary, while all the resources of Sindh have been placed at the disposal of Islamabad.[18]
Dr Safdar Sarki

Sindhu Desh Liberation Army

The Sindhu Desh Liberation Army or SDLA is an organisation based in the Sindh province comparable to the Balochistan Liberation Army in terms of is objectives strives to establish an independent state of Sindhu Desh. A series of minor blasts[19] took place on railway lines — the attacks carried out between November 2010, and February 2011 were claimed by the SDLA, who left pamphlets on the scene that mentioned “atrocities” being carried out against Sindh and promising to continue their “struggle” till Sindh was granted “freedom”.[20] The attacks were condemned by fellow Sindhi nationalists such as Dr Qadir Magsi of the Jeay Sindh Tarraqi Passand Party, who warned of negative consequences from violence.[19] The SDLA claims moral inspiration from armed struggles in Balochistan, which they term as a response to "Punjabi domination" of the Pakistani state.[21]

Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz

Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz

Sindh United Party

Main article: Sindh United Party

Sindh National Movement Party

A new left wing party for a politically, culturally, economically and geographically independent Sindh was formed in December 2011. It wants to see Sindh as it was in 1843 before the British conquered it and opposes the development of Zulfikarabad, referring to it as a new Israel.[22]

See also

References

  1. ^ "pakistan-day-jsqm-leader-demands-freedom-for-sindh-and-balochistan". Express Tribune. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "JST demands Sindh’s independence from Punjab’s ‘occupation’". Thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  3. ^ a b c d Farhan Hanif Hanif Siddiqi (4 May 2012). The Politics of Ethnicity in Pakistan: The Baloch, Sindhi and Mohajir Ethnic Movements. Routledge. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-1-136-33696-6. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Wright, Theodore P., Jr. Center-Periphery Relations and Ethnic Conflict in Pakistan: Sindhis, Muhajirs, and Punjabis, in Comparative Politics, Vol. 23, No. 3. (Apr., 1991), pp. 299–312.
  5. ^ Rahman, Tariq. Language and Ethnicity in Pakistan, in Asian Survey, Vol. 37, No. 9. (Sep., 1997), pp. 833–839.
  6. ^ Sindh govt orders police to crack down on nationalists | Bolan Times
  7. ^ "Million march: Jeay Sindh Tehreek gathers 3,000 people, demands a Sindhu Desh". Express Tribune. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "pakistan-day-jsqm-leader-demands-freedom-for-sindh-and-balochistan". Express Tribune. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Mixed response to JSMM’s strike call in Sindh - DAWN.COM
  10. ^ Jalal, Ayesha. Conjuring Pakistan: History as Official Imagining, in International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 27, No. 1. (Feb., 1995), pp. 73–89.
  11. ^ Agha, Gul. "Should Pakistan be Broken up?". http://www.worldsindhicongress.org/. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  12. ^ Communal Violence During Partition
  13. ^ M.G. Chitkara Mohajir's Pakistan ISBN 81-7024-746-2
  14. ^ F. Ahmed. Pakistan's Problems p.130
  15. ^ Guerin, Orla (2010-06-22). "BBC News — Karachi faces growing Taliban menace". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  16. ^ "PAKISTAN: Bhutto&#39s Murder Rekindles Ethnic Suspicions — IPS". Ipsnews.net. 2008-01-05. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  17. ^ "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  18. ^ "JST demands Sindh’s independence from Punjab’s ‘occupation’". Thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  19. ^ a b Tunio, Hafeez. "A case of exploding railway tracks – The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  20. ^ Railway tracks destroyed by SDLA
  21. ^ Sindhi separatists announce comeback (2012-02-26). "Sindhi separatists announce comeback | Pakistan Today | Latest news | Breaking news | Pakistan News | World news | Business | Sport and Multimedia". Pakistan Today. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  22. ^ New left party launched; seeks a stronger Sindh. "New left party launched; seeks a stronger Sindh | Pakistan Today | Latest news | Breaking news | Pakistan News | World news | Business | Sport and Multimedia". Pakistan Today. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 

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