Soomro

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This article is about the tribe. For the dynasty established by the tribe, see Soomra dynasty.
Soomro
Total population
600,000
Regions with significant populations
Pakistan:
   500,000-550,000
Languages
Sindhi
Religion
Islam
Related ethnic groups
Sindhi

Soomro (or Soomra, Sumrah; (Sindhi: سومرو) is a Sindhi tribe mainly in Sindh, in parts of Punjab bordering Sindh and in Balochistan, Pakistan. Other cities also have some Soomro population who have been there for work reasons but their origins remain in Sindh.

History and origin[edit]

Theory of origin from Rajputs[edit]

Writers like E. O'Brein describe the Sumra as originally Rajputs: In A.D.750 they expelled the first Arab invaders from Sindh and Multan, and furnished the country with a dynasty which ruled in Multan from 1445 to 1526 A.D., when it was expelled by the Samma.

British political agent Colonel James Tod refers to them as a part of the twin clans of Umra and Sumra Rajputs who were a subdivision of Sodha tribe of Rajputs, which in turn has been mentioned as a grand division of Parmar Rajputs who in remote times held all the Rajputana desert. Frequently combining with their brethren the Umars, gave name to a large tract of country, which is even still recognized as Umra-Sumra and Umarkot, and within which Alor and Bhukkar is situated.[1]

Theory of origin from Egypt and Iraq[edit]

Following the 985 CE expulsion of the Qarmatian Muslim sect from Iraq and Egypt, the Qarmatians relocated to Sindh. The grey part of history is that some say that when they relocated they were called Sumero along with some suggesting suggest that they were the possibly converts to Islam in Sindh, however, there is no evidence of this as their presence becomes evident later on after they became rulers of Sindh and when they did they had Arabic names. The term Soomro, spelled Soomro in English, but pronounced Soomera or Soomara, means 'of Samarra' in Sindhi. There is also a wide accepted concept of Soomera being men brought by bin Qasim and left there after he went back but according to the lack of information on this part of history, the facts are blurred.

When Sindh was under the Ummayad caliphate, the Habbari dynasty was in control. The Ummayads appointed Aziz al Habbari as the governor of sindh. Habbaris ruled Sindh until Mahmud Ghaznavi defeated the Habbari's in 1024. Mahmud Ghaznavi viewed the Abbasids to be the Caliphs thus he removed the remaining influence of the Ummayad Caliphate in the region. Following the defeat of the Habbari's, the Abbasid Caliphate made Al Khafif from Samarra the new governor of Sindh for a better, stronger and stable government. Once he became the governor he allotted several key positions to his family and friends, thus Al-Khafif or Sardar Khafif Soomro formed the Soomra Dynasty in Sindh and became its first king. Until the Siege of Baghdad (1258) the Soomra dynasty was the Abbasid Caliphate's functionary in Sindh but after that it became independent. Since then some soomra's intermarried with local women and adopted some local customs as well. It be noted that Mansura was the first capital of the Soomra Dynasty and the last of the Habbari dynasty.

Also a majority of Hindu Sindhi names end with ni thus to distinguish them from Hindu Rajputs they were called Soomero, written Soomro in English, and not Soomerni by the Hindu Rajputs of Sindh. The overwhelming majority of Soomros are Sunni and a significant number who adheres to Sufi Islam and Shiite Islam like most of Sindhis but these days due to the rising influence of Wahhabi Islam a large number are Wahhabi as well. The Soomra Dynasty was established by the Soomro tribe of Sindh. The Soomra ruled Sindh from 1024-1351.

The Soomra shifted there capital to Tharri, nearly 14 km eastwards of Matli on the Puran river. Puran was later abandoned due to changes in the course of the river. Thatta was the capital of the empire for about 95 years until the end of Soomra rule in 1351 AD. Some Hindus who had not converted to Islam under the Ghaznavids moved from Sindh to Vegh Kot and Lakhpat (Kutch) around 1028 A.D., to avoid sectarian violence and live under a Hindu ruler. During this period, Kutch was ruled by the Jadeja branch of the Samma Dynasty, who enjoyed good relations with the Soomro tribe in Sindh.

Historical significance[edit]

The Soomro tribe were one of the earliest Muslims in Sindh. They are very old feudals and were termed "Princes of Peace" by the British. They ruled Sindh for a long time.

Political status[edit]

Soomro family is the largest of the political families of Pakistan after the Bhutto family, at both federal and provincial levels.

Distribution in Sindh[edit]

Distribution in Punjab[edit]

Branch in India[edit]

Further information: Samra

References[edit]