Sindhis

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Sindhis
سنڌي, सिन्धी, Sindhi khudabadi.svg
Total population
c. 40 million[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
 Pakistan32,923,590[1]
 India3,810,000[2]
 United Arab Emirates341,000[citation needed]
 Malaysia30,500[citation needed]
 United Kingdom30,000[citation needed]
 Canada11,500[citation needed]
 Indonesia10,000[citation needed]
 United States9,805[citation needed]
 Singapore8,800[citation needed]
 Hong Kong7,500[3]
 Oman700[citation needed]
 Gibraltar500[citation needed]
Languages
Sindhi
English, Hindi, Urdu (Arabic/Sanskrit as liturgical languages) and numerous other languages widely spoken within the Sindhi diaspora
Religion
Majority:
Star and Crescent.svg Islam
Minority:
Related ethnic groups
Other Indo-Aryan peoples

Sindhis (Sindhi: سنڌي(Perso-Arabic), सिन्धी (Devanagari), Sindhi khudabadi.svg (Khudabadi)) are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group who speak the Sindhi language and are native to the Sindh province of Pakistan. After the partition of India in 1947, most Sindhi Hindus and Sindhi Sikhs migrated to the newly formed Dominion of India and other parts of the world. Today, ethnic Sindhis are found predominantly in Pakistan while a minority resides in India.

History[edit]

Pre-historic period[edit]

Vintage group photo of Indian Sindhi people

The Indus Valley Civilisation went into decline around the year 1700 BC for reasons that are not entirely known, though its downfall was probably precipitated by an earthquake or natural event that dried up the Ghaggar River. The Indo-Aryans are believed to have founded the Vedic civilisation that existed between the Sarasvati River and Ganges river around 1500 BC. This civilisation helped shape subsequent cultures in South Asia.

Historical period[edit]

For several centuries in the first millennium B.C. and in the first five centuries of the first millennium A.D., western portions of Sindh, the regions on the western flank of the Indus river, were intermittently under Persian, Greek, and Kushan rule,[citation needed] first during the Achaemenid dynasty (500–300 BC) during which it made up part of the easternmost satrapies, then, by Alexander the Great, followed by the Indo-Greeks, and still later under the Indo-Sassanids, as well as Kushans, before the Islamic invasions between the 7th–10th century AD. Alexander the Great marched through Punjab and Sindh, down the Indus river, after his conquest of the Persian Empire.

The Ror dynasty was a power from the Indian subcontinent that ruled modern-day Sindh and northwest India from 450 BC – 489 AD.[5]

Sindh was one of the earliest regions to be conquered by the Arabs and influenced by Islam[6] after 720 AD. Before this period, it was heavily Hindu, and Buddhist. After 632 AD, it was part of the Islamic empires of the Abbasids and Umayyids. Habbari, Soomra, Samma, Arghun dynasties ruled Sindh.

Ethnicity and religion[edit]

"The Priest King Wearing Sindhi Ajruk", c. 2500 BC, in the National Museum of Pakistan.
Sindhi-inhabited areas of Pakistan (yellow) in the early 1980s

The two main and highest ranked tribes of Sindh are the Soomro — descendants of the Soomro Dynasty, who ruled Sindh during 970–1351 A.D. — and the Samma — descendants of the Samma Dynasty, who ruled Sindh during 1351–1521 A.D. These tribes belong to the same blood line. Among other Sindhi Rajputs are the , Bhuttos, Kambohs, Bhattis, Bhanbhros, Mahendros, Buriros,Bhachos, Chohans, Lakha, Sahetas, Lohanas, Mohano, Dahars, Indhar, Chachar, Dhareja, Rathores, Dakhan, Langah,Junejo, Mahars etc. The Sindhi-Sipahi of Rajasthan and the Sandhai Muslims of Gujarat are communities of Sindhi Rajputs settled in India. Closely related to the Sindhi Rajputs are the Jats of Sindh, who are found mainly in the Indus delta region. However, tribes are of little importance in Sindh as compared to in Punjab and Balochistan. Identity in Sindh is mostly based on a common ethnicity.[7]

Sindhi Muslims[edit]

Abida Parveen is a Pakistani singer of Sindhi descent and an exponent of Sufi music.

The connection between the Indus Valley and Islam was established by the initial Muslim missions. According to Derryl N. Maclean, a link between Sindh and early partisans of Ali or proto-Shi'ites can be traced to Hakim ibn Jabalah al-Abdi, a companion of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, who traveled across Sind to Makran in the year 649AD and presented a report on the area to the Caliph. He supported Ali, and died in the Battle of the Camel alongside Sindhi Jats.[8] He was also a poet and few couplets of his poem in praise of Ali ibn Abu Talib have survived, as reported in Chachnama:[9]

(Arabic:

ليس الرزيه بالدينار نفقدة

ان الرزيه فقد العلم والحكم

وأن أشرف من اودي الزمان به

أهل العفاف و أهل الجود والكريم [10]

‎ "Oh Ali, owing to your alliance (with the prophet) you are truly of high birth, and your example is great, and you are wise and excellent, and your advent has made your age an age of generosity and kindness and brotherly love".[11]

During the reign of Ali, many Jats came under the influence of Islam.[12] Harith ibn Murrah Al-abdi and Sayfi ibn Fil' al-Shaybani, both officers of Ali's army, attacked Sindhi bandits and chased them to Al-Qiqan (present-day Quetta) in the year 658.[13] Sayfi was one of the seven partisans of Ali who were beheaded alongside Hujr ibn Adi al-Kindi[14] in 660AD, near Damascus.

In 712 A.D., Sindh was incorporated into the Caliphate, the Islamic Empire, and became the ‘Arabian gateway’ into India (later to become known as Bab-ul-Islam, the gate of Islam).

Sindh produced many Muslim scholars early on, "men whose influence extended to Iraq where the people thought highly of their learning", in particular in hadith,[15] with the likes of poet Abu al- 'Ata Sindhi (d. 159) or hadith and fiqh scholar Abu Mashar Sindhi (d. 160), among many others, and they're also those who translated scientific texts from Sanskrit into Arabic, for instance the Zij al-Sindhind in astronomy.[16]

Muslim Sindhis tend to follow the Sunni Hanafi fiqh with a substantial minority being Shia Ithna 'ashariyah. Sufism has left a deep impact on Sindhi Muslims and this is visible through the numerous Sufi shrines which dot the landscape of Sindh.

Sindhi Muslim culture is highly influenced by Sufi doctrines and principles.[17] Some of the popular cultural icons are Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Jhulelal and Sachal Sarmast.

Sindhi Hindus[edit]

Hinduism along with Buddhism was the predominant religion in Sindh before the Arab Islamic conquest.[18] The Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who visited the region in the years 630-644, said that Buddhism dominated, but also noted that it was declining.[19] While Buddhism declined and ultimately disappeared after Arab conquest mainly due to conversion of almost entire Buddhist population to Islam, Hinduism managed to survive through the Muslim rule until before the partition of India as a significant minority. Derryl Maclean explains what he calls "the persistence of Hinduism" on the basis of "the radical dissimilarity between the socioeconomic bases of Hinduism and Buddhism in Sind" : Buddhism in this region was mainly urban and mercantile while Hinduism was rural and non-mercantile, thus the Arabs, themselves urban and mercantile, attracted and converted the Buddhist classes, but for the rural and non-mercantile parts, only interested by the taxes, they promoted a more decentralized authority and appointed Brahmins for the task, who often just continued the roles they had in the previous Hindu rule.[18]

According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, Hindus constituted about 8% of the total population of Sindh province.[20] Most of them live in urban areas such as Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Mirpur Khas. Hyderabad is the largest centre of Sindhi Hindus in Pakistan, with 100,000–150,000 living there.[20] The ratio of Hindus was higher before the independence of Pakistan in 1947.[21]

Before 1947 however, other than a few Gujarati speaking Parsees (Zorastrians) living in Karachi, virtually all the inhabitants were Sindhis, whether Muslim or Hindu at the time of Pakistan's independence, 75% of the population were Muslims and almost all the remaining 25% were Hindus.[22]

Hindus in Sindh were concentrated in the cities before the creation of Pakistan in 1947, during which many migrated to India according to Ahmad Hassan Dani. Hindus were also spread over Sindh province. Thari (a dialect of Sindhi) is spoken in Sindh in Pakistan and Rajasthan in India.

The Cities and towns of Sindh were dominated by the Hindus. In 1941, for example, Hindus were 64% of the total urban population.[23]

Emigration[edit]

The Sindhi diaspora emigrated from India and Pakistan is significant. Emigration from the Sindh began before and after the 19th century, with many Sindhis settling in Europe, United States and Canada with a large Sindhi population Middle Eastern states such as the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Culture[edit]

Sindhi names[edit]

Muslim Sindhi tend to have traditional Muslim first names, sometimes with localized variations. Sindhi have castes according to their professions and ancestral locations like Sakhar, Larkana, Shikarpur etc.

Sindhi Hindus tend to have surnames that end in '-ani' (a variant of 'anshi', derived from the Sanskrit word 'ansha', which means 'descended from')for example- Tejwani, Khubchandani, Bhagnani, etc. The first part of a Sindhi Hindu surname is usually derived from the name or location of an ancestor. In northern Sindh, surnames ending in 'ja' (meaning 'born of', derived from Sanskrit) are also common. A person's surname would consist of the name of his or her native village, followed by 'ja', such as Aneja, Suneja, Jadeja.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ CCI to consider releasing census results without 5pc audit Dawn News.
  2. ^ "Scheduled Languages in descending order of speaker's strength – 2011" (PDF). Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 29 June 2018.
  3. ^ Kesavapany, K.; Mani, A.; Ramasamy, P. (1 January 2008). "Rising India and Indian Communities in East Asia". Institute of Southeast Asian Studies – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Kashmiri: A language of India". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2 June 2007.
  5. ^ Kessler, P L. "Kingdoms of South Asia – Kingdoms of the Indus / Sindh". www.historyfiles.co.uk. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  6. ^ Nicholas F. Gier, FROM MONGOLS TO MUGHALS: RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE IN INDIA 9TH-18TH CENTURIES, presented at the Pacific Northwest Regional Meeting American Academy of Religion, Gonzaga University, May 2006 [1]
  7. ^ The People and the land of Sindh Archived 14 February 2011 at WebCite
  8. ^ M. Ishaq, "Hakim Bin Jabala - An Heroic Personality of Early Islam", Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society, pp. 145-50, (April 1955).
  9. ^ Derryl N. Maclean," Religion and Society in Arab Sind", p. 126, BRILL, (1989) ISBN 90-04-08551-3.
  10. ^ چچ نامہ، سندھی ادبی بورڈ، صفحہ 102، جامشورو، (2018)
  11. ^ Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg, "The Chachnama", p. 43, The Commissioner's Press, Karachi (1900).
  12. ^ Ibn Athir, Vol. 3, pp. 45–46, 381, as cited in: S. A. N. Rezavi, "The Shia Muslims", in History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, Vol. 2, Part. 2: "Religious Movements and Institutions in Medieval India", Chapter 13, Oxford University Press (2006).
  13. ^ Ibn Sa'd, 8:346. The raid is noted by Baâdhurî, "fatooh al-Baldan" p. 432, and Ibn Khayyât, Ta'rîkh, 1:173, 183–84, as cited in: Derryl N. Maclean," Religion and Society in Arab Sind", p. 126, BRILL, (1989) ISBN 90-04-08551-3.
  14. ^ Tabarî, 2:129, 143, 147, as cited in: Derryl N. Maclean," Religion and Society in Arab Sind", p. 126, Brill, (1989) ISBN 90-04-08551-3.
  15. ^ Mazheruddin Siddiqui, "Muslim culture in Pakistan and India" in Kenneth W. Morgan, Islam, the Straight Path: Islam Interpreted by Muslims, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1987, p. 299
  16. ^ Ahmed Abdulla, The historical background of Pakistan and its people, Tanzeem Publishers, 1973, p. 109
  17. ^ Ansari, Sarah FD. Sufi saints and state power: the pirs of Sind, 1843–1947. No. 50. Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  18. ^ a b MacLean, Derryl L. (1989). Religion and Society in Arab Sind. BRILL. pp. 12–14, 77–78. ISBN 978-90-040-8551-0.
  19. ^ Shu Hikosaka, G. John Samuel, Can̲ārttanam Pārttacārati (ed.), Buddhist themes in modern Indian literature, Inst. of Asian Studies, 1992, p. 268
  20. ^ a b "Pakistan Census Data" (PDF).
  21. ^ "Partition and the 'other' Sindhi".
  22. ^ The foreign policy of Pakistan: ethnic impacts on diplomacy, 1971–1994, by Mehtab Ali Shah, published in 1997 by I B Tauris and Co Ltd, London PAGE 46
  23. ^ Proceedings of the First Congress of Pakistan History & Culture held at the University of Islamabad, April 1973, Volume 1, University of Islamabad Press, 1975

Sources[edit]

  • Bherumal Mahirchand Advani, "Amilan-jo-Ahwal" – published in Sindhi, 1919
  • Amilan-jo-Ahwal (1919) – translated into English in 2016 ("A History of the Amils") at sindhis

External links[edit]