Sindh is the home of the oldest civilization in the world—the Indus or Sindhu Valley Civilization, highlighted by the excavations at Mohenjo-daro —dating back to over 7000 BCE. The 3,180 km long Indus or Sindhu River that originates near Lake Mansarovar in the Tibetan Plateau runs through Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan, Western Punjab in Pakistan, and merges into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Sindh. Sindhu means water in Sanskrit. Name India is derived from Indus. Sindhu river has a number of tributaries. The Indus delta is mentioned in the Rig-Veda as Sapta Sindhu (Hapta Hindu in the Iranian Zend Avesta), meaning ‘seven rivers’. Aryans were indigenous to India, and hence to Sindh. The Aryan-Invasion Theory has long since been conclusively debunked. Genetic studies also prove it. Aryan-Dravidian divide was also a deliberate myth floated by the colonists to serve their divide-and-rule and proselytization strategy.

Sindh was part of the empire of Dashrath (father of Shri Ram) during the second Vedic period. After Shri Ram returned from vanvas defeating Ravana, and became king, he gave the responsibility to his brother Bharat to rule Sindh and Multan. Later, Gandhar (Kandahar) came under him. To Bharat’s sons goes the credit of building the cities of Peshawar and Taxila.

Sindh was in good hands till the reign of Harshavardhana who ruled India and Sindh during 606–647 CE, after which it went into weaker hands. Buddhism, which vigorously taught non-violence, and which had its presence in Sindh, too contributed to weakening its defence capabilities. There were several hundred Buddhist Sanghas in Sindh at the time, and many thousand Buddhist monks.

There were 15 attempted invasions of Sindh both from land and from sea between 638 CE and 711 CE, but all were repulsed. Mohammed Bin Qasim finally managed to plunder Sindh in 712 CE. He first attacked Debal, a temple town near sea, in April 712 CE, won it, and then proceeded to defeat the then king of Sindh, Dahir, which he did on 16 June 712 CE. Qasim and his army plundered the riches of Dahir’s territories, and carted away the booty to the court of Hajjaj in Baghdad. Many women were abducted to Baghdad. All males over 17 years who refused to convert to Islam were killed. But, finding there were too many Hindus to kill, they were granted Dhimmi status upon regular payment of Jizya tax.

There is an interesting tale on the death of Mohammed Bin Qasim. As per Chachnama , the Sindhi chronicle of the times, Qasim had sent the two daughters of King Dahir as presents to the Khalifa for his harem. To avenge their father’s death by Qasim, the daughters lied to the Khalifa that Qasim had violated them before sending them. Enraged, the Khalifa ordered that Qasim be wrapped and stitched in oxen hides, and brought to Syria. That resulted in his death from suffocation. Upon discovering the sisters’ subterfuge, the Khalifa then ordered that the sisters be buried alive in a wall.

Here is a telling statement from Ram Jethmalani in his foreword to the book ‘The Sindh Story’ by KR Malkani: “The rest of the Indians across the borders of Sindh were doubtless aware of the Arab conquest. It produced not a ripple on the quiet waters of their placid existence. Life went on as usual for them. There was neither a sense of territorial loss of a fellow Hindu King, nor an understanding of the nature of the new (Islamic) menace. The conquest of Sindh was dismissed as one more dacoity. Afflicted by a debilitating pacifism, corroded by the idea of non-violence, Indians seemed to have left it to professional soldiers to fight the invaders. The rest of the neighbouring people lifted not one finger to defend the Hindu homeland. Invaders who thirsted for the tremendous wealth of India and its delicate and beautiful women, never met with the resistance that the nation could have generated.”

Sindh came under the British in 1843, and was included as a part of the Bombay Presidency. At the time of partition Sindh was a British India province. It was bordered by Baluchistan and West Punjab (to the north), and by the Princely States of Bahawalpur (northeast), Las Bela (west), Kalat (west), and Khairpur (east: Sindh province surrounded it from three sides). To its east was Rajasthan, and Gujarat was to its south.

As per the last census of 1931 before independence, Sindh’s population was about 4.1 million, of which 73% were Muslims, 26% were Hindus, and the remaining 1% were Christians, Sikhs, etc. Hindus were concentrated in urban areas, while Muslims dominated the countryside. Hindus were in absolute majority in four of Sindh’s five largest cities (for example, Hyderabad was 70% Hindu), the exception being Karachi which was about 48% Muslim, 46% Hindu, and the remaining 6% non-Muslims belonged to other religions—there also Muslims were not in absolute majority. Four sub-districts to the southeast—Umarkot, Nagar Parkar, Mithi, and Chachro —adjoining India had Hindu majority of 57%. Several nearby sub-districts too had about 40–45% Hindu population.

Looking to the above position, Sindh could have been partitioned to give space to the Hindu Sindhis. Southeast Sindh, plus certain adjoining areas to compensate for Hindu Sindhis leaving other parts of Sindh, could have been Hindu or Indian Sindh. Looking to sub-regional Hindu-Muslim ratio of Sindh, the Congress could have tried to have part of Sindh carved out for the Hindus.

Considering that the Muslim League had secured only 46% of the votes in Sindh, and the nationalist Muslims had polled three votes for every four polled by the League, the Congress could have insisted for a plebiscite in regions with Hindu dominance. However, the Congress seemed to have abandoned Sindh as ‘a far off place’, like Chamberlain had abandoned Czechoslovakia to Hitler in 1938 on the pretext that it was ‘a far off country about which we know little’.

Khairpur was a Princely State adjoining India on the east, and surrounded on the other three sides by Sindh. Its Mir had offered to Nehru its merger with India. But, the offer was declined by Nehru, and India sent their accession papers back to them! Had the offer been accepted, Khairpur plus the adjoining Hindu-majority area could have been Hindu or Indian Sindh.

Notwithstanding the above, nothing was done for the Hindu Sindhis. They were deprived of their homeland of thousands of years. They became the new Jews, although their history and homeland was several thousand years older than those of the Jews and Israel. Why that injustice? Why Gandhi, Nehru, and other Indian leaders did little for them?

One argument is that the Thar Desert formed a natural boundary between India and Pakistan, and Sindh fell beyond the Thar Desert. That’s a reasonable argument if India–Pakistan partition was done taking the natural boundaries into account. But, that was not the case. Where was the natural boundary between the East Punjab that became part of India, and the West Punjab that went to Pakistan—allowing drug pedlars and terrorists to cross into India from Pakistan. Or, that between the East Bengal (Pakistan, now Bangladesh) and West Bengal (India), that has allowed Bangladeshi refugees to inundate India. Or, that between J&K and Pakistan and PoK, that allows terrorists from Pakistan to filter through. If Punjab, Bengal, and J&K could do without a natural border, why not Sindh? Why shouldn’t there have been a Hindu or Indian Sindh?

Another argument is that this kind of partition could not have been done in all regions. Otherwise, why not earmarked areas say in UP for Muslims? There are several reasons for this. There was NO Muslim-majority district then in UP. Partition was restricted to border areas, and not anywhere within India or within Pakistan. Sindh fell in the border area. Initially, the concept of Pakistan was restricted ONLY to northwest India—it did not even include East Bengal.

When the Muslim League proposed Sindh as one of the components of their future Pakistan in the 1930s and later, or when the Groupings (Group- A, B, C) were proposed, Indian leaders and Hindu Sindhis should have objected to the inclusion of whole of Sindh as a Muslim-majority area in Pakistan. They didn’t.

However, the real reason nothing was done to retain a part of the homeland for them, like it was done for the Punjabis and Bengalis, seems to be that unlike the Sikhs or the Hindu Bengalis, the Hindu Sindhis did not fight for it. Hindus of Sindh were generally not aggressive or bellicose like the minority non-Muslims in Punjab. The world at large is too cruel and indifferent to the plight of any given section of people unless they themselves fight and sacrifice for their rights. Jews suffered for centuries till they asserted themselves with the creation of Israel. Tibetans, with their non-violent Buddhism, have been deprived of their nation. Yezidis and Kurds, who have been at the receiving end for centuries, are now fighting back. On account of their cultured past of thousands of years, and their engagement in businesses, the Hindu Sindhis had been too peaceful to resist, agitate and fight.

Yet, something was expected from the India leadership of Gandhi-Nehru & Co, in whom the Sindhis had reposed their faith. All one can say is that perhaps the nature of our freedom movement, and the quality and competence of our national leaders left a lot to be desired. Sadly, Gandhi– Nehru & Co suffered from an inherently defective world-view, thinking and vision, and were too poor as strategists, tacticians and implementers on the ground to be able to outsmart the British or the Muslim League, or stand up to their designs—not just with regard to Sindh, but in all other matters too! Sardar Patel had that genius, but Gandhi–Nehru combine often overlooked him, or did not allow him a free hand.

At the time of independence there were about 1.4 million (accounting for
the increase in population since the 1931 census) Hindu Sindhis, most of whom, to save themselves from the violence, decided to leave, especially after the influx of the Muslim refugees (Mohajirs) who started looting their (Hindu Sindhis) properties and evicting them from their homes. By June 1948, about a million Hindu Sindhis had left Pakistan for India. Migrations continued thereafter, and tapered off in 1951.

Although Hindu Sindhis were deprived of their homeland, cultural identity, businesses, land, shops, properties, residential quarters—making beggars out of prosperous families—no one batted an eyelid, not the UN, or a Human Rights Organisation, or the US, or the UK, or the Pakistanis with whom they had stayed for centuries, or even the Indians! They became like the Jews of the past (before Israel was created in 1948), or the Tibetans of the 1950s, or the Kashmiri Pandits of 1990s, or the Kurds and the Yezidis of the current times.

India was a poor country, and thanks to Nehruvian economic policies, it remained a poor country. There was little that Nehruvian India offered to the hapless Hindu Sindhi refugees, who had lost everything. They were condemned to their miserable fate, and dumped in outer areas of several cities and towns, without any worthwhile help or facilities. Yet, one has to salute the spirit and hard work of the Hindu Sindhi community which without any governmental help gradually stood on its own feet, and became prosperous.

If the Indian leaders, that is, Gandhi-Nehru & Co, had followed the Ambedkar-suggested model (detailed elsewhere in this book) of partition, and peaceful population and property exchange, not only would the Hindu Sindhi community have been adequately compensated for the loss of their assets in Pakistan, they would not have suffered violence and deprivation.


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