Sindh

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Sindh
Flag of Sindh Map of Pakistan with Sindh highlighted.
Capital
 • Coordinates
Karachi
 • 24.52° N 67.03° E
Population (2006)
 • Density
46,848,782[1]
 • 216/km²
Area
140,914 km²
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Main language(s) Sindhī
Urdu
Status Province
 • Districts  •  23
 • Towns  •  160
 • Union Councils  •  
Established
 • Governor/Commissioner
 • Chief Minister
 • Legislature (seats)
   1970-07-01
 • Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan
 • Arbab Raheem
 • Provincial Assembly (168)
Website Govt of Sindh

Sindh (Sindhī: سنڌ, Urdū: سندھ) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and is home to the Sindhis, and Muhajirs and various other groups. Neighbouring regions are Balochistan to the west and north, Punjab in the north, Rajasthan (India) to the east and the Arabian Sea and Gujarat (India) to the south. The main languages are Sindhi and Urdu. Known by various names in the past, the name Sindh comes from the Indo-Aryans whose legends claimed that the Indus River flowed from the mouth of a lion or Sinh-ka-bab. In Sanskrit, the province was dubbed Sindhu meaning "ocean". The Assyrians (as early as the seventh century BCE) knew the region as Sinda, the Persians Abisind, the Greeks Sinthus, the Romans Sindus, the Chinese Sintow, while the Arabs dubbed it Sind. It is mentioned to be a part of Abhirrdesh (Abhira Kingdom) in Srimad Bhagavatam [1]. The origin of the name is from the Sanskrit 'Sindhu' or 'the sea,' because of the size of the Great River on the West. In ancient times, there were two regions in this area ('Sindh' on the west, extending up to the city of Multan and 'Hind' (modern India) on the east). Sindh was the first place where Islam spread in South Asia. As a result, it is often referred to as "Bab-al-Islam" (Gate of Islam).

Contents

[edit] Geography

Sindh is located on the western corner of South Asia, bordering the Iranian plateau in the west. Geographically it is the third largest province of Pakistan, stretching about 579 km from north to south and 442 km (extreme) or 281 km (average) from east to west, with an area of 140,915 km². Sindh is bounded by the Thar Desert to the east, the Kirthar Mountains to the west, and the Arabian Sea in the south. In the centre is a fertile plain around the Indus river. The devastating floods of the river Indus are now controlled by irrigation techniques.

Karachi became capital of Sindh in 1936, in place of the traditional capitals of Hyderabad and Thatta. Other important cities include Sukkur, Shahdadkot, Kamber Khan, Sehwan, Mirpukhas, Larkano, Shahdadpur, Nawabshah, Shikarpur, Khairpur, Nawabshah, Kashmor, Dadu, Umerkot, Thar, Jacobabad, Ghotki, Ranipur, Gambat, Sobhodero, Hingorja, Noshairo Feroz, Moro, Qazi Ahmed and Sehtharja.

[edit] Climate

A subtropical region, Sindh is hot in the summer and cold in winter. Temperatures frequently rise above 46 °C (115 °F) between May and August, and the minimum average temperature of 2 °C (36 °F) occurs during December and January. The annual rainfall averages about seven inches, falling mainly during July and August. The Southwest Monsoon wind begins to blow in mid-February and continues until the end of September, whereas the cool northerly wind blows during the winter months from October to January.

Sindh lies between the two monsoons - the southwest monsoon from the Indian Ocean and the northeast or retreating monsoon, deflected towards it by Himalayan mountains — and escapes the influence of both. The average rainfall in Sindh is only 6 to 7 inches per year, but the loss during the two seasons is compensated by the Indus, in the form of inundation, caused twice a year by the spring and summer melting of Himalayan snow and by rainfall in the monsoon season. These natural patterns have changed somewhat with the construction of dams and barrages on the Indus.

Climatically, Sindh is divided in three sections - Siro (upper section centered on Jacobabad), Wicholo (middle section centered on Hyderabad), and Lar (lower section centered on Karachi). In upper Sindh[[2]], the thermal equator passes through Sindh. The highest temperature ever recorded was 53 °C (127 °F in 1919. The air is generally very dry. In winter frost is common.

In central Sindh, average monsoon wind speed is 11 miles/hour in June. The temperature is lower than upper Sindh but higher than lower Sindh. Dry hot days and cool nights are summer characteristics. Maximum temperature reaches 43-44 °C (110-112 °F). Lower Sindh has a damper and humid maritime climate affected by the south-western winds in summer and north-eastern winds in winter and with lower rainfall than central Sindh. The maximum temperature reaches about 35-38 °C (95-100 °F). In the Kirthar range at 6,000 feet and higher on the Gorakhnath and other peaks in Dadu District, temperatures near freezing have been recorded and brief snow fall is received in winters.

[edit] Demographics and society

Main article: Sindhi people
Sindh Demographic Indicators
Indicator Statistic
Urban population 48.75%
Rural population 51.25%
Population growth rate 2.80%
Gender ratio (male per 100 female) 112.24
Economically active population 22.75%

The 1998 Census of Pakistan indicated a population 30.4 million, the current population can be estimated to be in the range of 36 to 38 million using a compound growth in the range of 2% to 2.8% since then. With just under half being urban dwellers, mainly found in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur Mirpurkhas and Larkana. Sindh is officially a bilingual province with large sections of the population speaking Sindhi and Urdu languages with other languages spoken including Siraiki, Balochi, Brahui, Punjabi, Pashto, Rajasthani, and Gujarati. The urban areas of Sindh are dominated by Muhajir Urdu and the rural areas consisting of predominantly Sindhi people. Due to this ethnic composition, Sindh has become a highly polarized province. It is estimated that Urdu speaking Muhajirs make up 25% and native Sindhis make up only 45% of the total population of Sindh, and Balochis a significant part of the rest. The chief tribes of Sindh are Jats and Rajputs, while Balochis and Urdu-speaking Sindhis are more recent immigrants. Both Balochi Sindhi and natives speak Sindhi language as their mother tongue. By language, Sindhi speakers make up 55% and Urdu speakers make up 25%, while 20% of the total population of Sindh speaks Gujarati, Bengali, Balochi, Seraiki, Thari, Kutchi, and Persian. There is a significant Zoroastrian community in Sind.

Historical populations
Census Population Urban

1951 6,047,748 29.23%
1961 8,367,065 37.85%
1972 14,155,909 40.44%
1981 19,028,666 43.31%
1998 30,439,893 48.75%
2007 ~37,000,000

Sindh's population since is predominantly Muslim. The province of Sindh is also home to nearly all of Pakistan's Hindus, numbering roughly 1.8 million, although most Sindhi Hindus migrated to India at the time of the Partition. Smaller groups of Christians, Parsis or Zoroastrians, Ahmadis, and a tiny Jewish community (of around 200) can also be found in the province.

The Sindhis as a whole are composed of original descendants of an ancient population known as Sammaat, various sub-groups related to the Siraiki or Baloch origin are found in interior Sindh. Sindhis of Balochi origin make up about 30% of the total population of Sindh, while immigrant Urdu speaking Sindhis make up 25% of the total population of the province. Also found in the province is a small group claiming descent from early Muslim settlers including Arabs, Turks, and Persians. Most of the urban population of Sindh living in Karachi, Hyderabad etc. are descendants of people who migrated to Pakistan in 1947.[citation needed] and are called Muhajir or Urdu-speaking Sindhis.

[edit] History

Main article: History of Sindh
Indus Valley seal with a seated figure
Indus Valley seal with a seated figure

In ancient times, the territory of the modern Sindh province was sometimes known as Sovira (or Souveera) and also as Sindhudesh, Sindhu being the original name for Indus River and the suffix 'desh' roughly corresponding to country or territory.

The first known village settlements date as far back as 7000 BCE. Permanent settlements at Mehrgarh to the west expanded into Sindh. The original inhabitants of ancient Sindh, and other regions of Pakistan, were the aborigine tribes speaking languages related to Munda languages.

The Aryans invaded from the Iranian plateau and settled in the Indus valley around 4000 BCE. This Aryan culture blossomed over the centuries and gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BCE.

The Indus Valley Civilization rivaled the contemporary civilizations of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in both size and scope numbering nearly half a million inhabitants at its height with well-planned grid cities and sewer systems.

A branch of these tribes, called the Indo-Aryans are believed to have founded the Vedic Civilization that existed between Sarasvati River and Ganges River around 1500 BCE and also influenced Indus Valley Civilization. This civilization helped shape subsequent cultures in South Asia. The Aryan invaders instituted the caste system to enslave the native population and the aborigine tribes.[citation needed]

Sindh was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE, and became part of the Persian satrapy (province) of Hindush centered in the Punjab to the north. Persian speech had a tendency to replace 'S' with an 'H' resulting in 'Sindu' being pronounced and written as 'Hindu'. They introduced the Kharoshti script and links to the west in the region.

Subsequently conquered by Greeks led by Alexander the Great, the region came under loose Greek control for a few decades. After Alexander's death, there was a brief period of Seleucid rule. Sindh was then conquered by the Mauryans led by Chandragupta in 305 BCE.

Later, during the reign of the Buddhist king Ashoka the region would solidly become a Buddhist domain. Following a century of Mauryan rule which ended by 232 BCE, the region came under the Greco-Bactrians based in what is today Afghanistan. These rulers also converted to Buddhism and spread it in the region.

The Scythians shattered the Greco-Bactrians fledgling empire. Subsequently, the Tocharian Kushan Empire annexed Sindh by the 1st century CE. Though the Kushans were Zoroastrian, they were tolerant of the local Buddhist tradition and sponsored many building projects for local beliefs.

The Huns and remnants of the Kushans, Scythians, and the Sassanid Persians all exercised some degree of control in Sindh until the coming of the Muslim Arabs in 711 CE.

A historic image of Rohri - Sukkur
A historic image of Rohri - Sukkur

Conquered by Syrian Arabs led by Muhammad bin Qasim, Sindh became the easternmost province of the Umayyad Caliphate. The lands further east were known to the Arabs as Hind. The defeat of the Brahmin ruler Raja Dahir was made easier due to the tension between the Buddhist majority and the ruling Brahmins' fragile base of control.

The Arabs redefined the region and adopted the term budd to refer to the numerous Buddhist idols they encountered, a word that remains in use today. The city of Mansura was established as a regional misr or capital. Arab rule lasted for nearly three centuries, and a fusion of cultures produced much of what is today modern Sindhi society. Arab geographers, historians and travelers also sometimes used the name "Sindh" for the entire area from the Arabian Sea to the Hindu Kush. The meaning of the word Sindhu being water (or ocean) appears to refer to the Indus river.

In addition, there is a mythological belief among Muslims that four rivers had sprung from Heaven: Neel (Nile), Furat (Euphrates), Jehoon (Jaxartes) and Sehoon (Sindh or in modern times the Indus).[citation needed]

Arab rule ended with the ascension of the Soomro dynasty, who were local Sindhi Muslims, and who controlled the province directly and as vassals from 1058 to 1249. Turkic invaders conquered the area by 977 CE and the region loosely became part of the Ghaznavid Empire and then the Delhi Sultanate which lasted until 1524.

The Mughals seized the region and their rule lasted for another two centuries, while another local Sindhi Muslim group, the Samma, challenged Mughal rule from their base at Thatta. The Muslim Sufi played a pivotal role in converting the millions of native people to Islam.

Though part of larger empires, Sindh continued to enjoy certain autonomy as a loyal Muslim domain and came under the rule of the Arghun Dynasty and the Tarkhan dynasty from 1519 to 1625.

Sind became a vassal-state of the Afghan Durrani Empire by 1747. It was then ruled by Kalhora rulers and later the Balochi Talpurs[2] from 1783.

British forces under General Charles Napier arrived in Sindh in the 19th century and conquered it in 1843. It is said that he sent back to the Governor General a one-word message, "Peccavi"Latin for "I have sinned". In actual fact, this pun first appeared as a cartoon in Punch magazine. The first Aga Khan helped the British in the conquest of Sindh and was granted a pension as a result.[citation needed].

After 1853, Sindh was divided into provinces, each being assigned a Zamindar or 'Wadara' to collect taxes for British (a system already used under the Mughals. Sindh was later made part of British India's Bombay Presidency, and became a separate province in 1935. The British ruled the area for a century and Sindh was home to many prominent Muslim leaders including Muhammad Ali Jinnah who agitated for greater Muslim autonomy.

In 1947 when the British left. Pakistan was created from the Partitioning of India. All of Sindh was alloted to Pakistan. In 1947, Sindh had 25 per cent population that were Sindhi Hindus. Most of the Hindu Sindhis were city dwellers and were largely pre-occupied with trade and commerce. They were responsible for export of products made in Sindh and contributed significantly to the economy of Sindh. When Partition of India occurred Sindhi Hindus expected to remain in Sindh. Generally, there was good relation between Hindu Sindhis and Muslims Sindhis. When large waves of Mohajirs started to pour into Sindh, violence erupted on the streets. The Hindu Sindhis were forced to flee Sindh leaving everything behind. Popati Hirandani who was a Sindhi Hindu tells in her autobiography that the Police were merely onlookers when violence erupted and they did not protect the Hindus community [3]. Many Hindu Sindhis wanted to return to their native Sindh, when the violence settled down, but this was not possible. Property belonging to the Hindus was given to the Mohajirs. The Hindu Sindhis faced many hardships in India living in refugee camps, but the Hindu Sindhis worked themselves out of poverty earning the Sindhi community much admiration and respect. The Hindu Sindhis are now scattered through out the world and feel like a stateless people and regard Sindh as their roots.

In later years, Sindh has been the destination of a continuous stream of illegal immigration from India, other South Asian countries, and Afghanistan, including Pashtun and Punjabi immigrants to Karachi. Many native Sindhis resent this influx. Nonetheless, traditional Sindhi families remain prominent in Pakistani politics, especially the Bhutto dynasty.

In recent years Sindhi dissatisfaction has grown over issues such as illegal immigration, control of natural resources of gas, petrol and coal, the construction of large dams, perceived discrimination in military/government jobs, provincial autonomy, admission to educational institutes, and overall revenue shares.


[edit] Government

Main article: Government of Sindh

The Provincial Assembly of Sindh is unicameral and consists of 168 seats of which 5% are reserved for non-Muslims and 17% for women.

[edit] Districts

The mausoleum of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Mazar-e-Quaid.
The mausoleum of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Mazar-e-Quaid.
Flag-e-House, colonial styled building built during the British Raj.
Flag-e-House, colonial styled building built during the British Raj.

There are 23 districts in Sindh, Pakistan.

[edit] Major cities

[edit] Economy

A view of Karachi downtown, the capital of Sindh province
A view of Karachi downtown, the capital of Sindh province

Endowed with coastal access, Sindh is the backbone of Pakistan's economy, as it generates almost 30% of the total national tax revenue [4] (26.8% in the last two years), whereas in return the federal government spends just 23% of the financial divisible pool there. The Sindh government considers the formula of financial resource distribution (theNFC award) to be unjust and solely population denominated. But the fact remains that most business is done through Karachi, Karachi is the major sea port of the country, and Karachi is also the revenue collection centre because all the major banks of the country are headquartered there. These facts make it clear that because of Karachi as business hub, actual Sindh tax revenue is much higher than its official tax revenue.

Sindh is a major centre of economic activity in Pakistan and has a highly diversified economy ranging from heavy industry and finance centered in and around Karachi to a substantial agricultural base along the Indus. Pakistan's rapidly growing information technology sector (IT) is also centered in Karachi and manufacturing includes machine products, cement, plastics, and various other goods.

Agriculture is very important in Sindh with cotton, rice, wheat, sugar cane, bananas, and mangoes as the most important crops. Sindh is the richest province in natural resources of gas, petrol, and coal.

[edit] Vegetation

The province is mostly arid with scant vegetation except for the irrigated Indus Valley. The dwarf palm, Acacia Rupestris (kher), and Tecomella undulata (lohirro) trees are typical of the western hill region. In the Indus valley, the Acacia nilotica (babul) (babbur) is the most dominant and occurs in thick forests along the Indus banks. The Azadirachta indica (neem) (nim), Zizyphys vulgaris (bir) (ber), Tamarix orientalis (jujuba lai) and Capparis aphylla (kirir) are among the more common trees.

Mango, date palms, and the more recently introduced banana, guava, orange, and chiku are the typical fruit-bearing trees. The coastal strip and the creeks abound in semi-aquatic and aquatic plants, and the inshore Indus deltaic islands have forests of Avicennia tomentosa (timmer) and Ceriops candolleana (chaunir) trees. Water lilies grow in abundance in the numerous lake and ponds, particularly in the lower Sindh region.

[edit] Flora and fauna

Among the wild animals, the Sindh Ibex (Sareh), Wild Sheep (Urial or gadh) and Black Bear are found in the western rocky range, where the Leopard is now rare. The Pirrang (large tiger cat or fishing Cat) of the eastern desert region is also disappearing. Deer occur in the lower rocky plains and in the eastern region, as do the Striped Hyena (Charakh),Jackal, Fox, Porcupine, common gray Mongoose, and Hedgehog. The Sindhi phekari, Ped Lynx or Caracal Cat, is found in some areas.

Phartho (hog deer) and wild bear occur particularly in the central inundation belt. There are a variety of bats, lizards, and reptiles, including the cobra, lundi (viper), and the mysterious Sindh krait of the Thar region, which is supposed to suck the victim's breath in his sleep. Crocodiles are rare and inhabit only the backwaters of the Indus and the eastern Nara channel. Besides a large variety of marine fish, the plumbeous dolphin, the beaked dolphin, rorqual or blue whale, and a variety of skates frequent the seas along the Sind coast. The pallo (sable fish), though a marine fish, ascends the Indus annually from February to April to spawn.

[edit] Education

The Karachi campus of the FAST Institute of Computer Science university
The Karachi campus of the FAST Institute of Computer Science university

Education in the province is widespread and the province has a high literacy rate compared to other parts of Pakistan, mainly due to the importance of Karachi. The major academic institutions of Sindh include the Aga Khan University, Bahria University, University of Karachi, Sindh University, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Institute of Business Administration (Karachi), Dow University of Health Sciences, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (Jamshoro), Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (M.U.E.T), Quaid e Awam University of Engineering and Technology Nawabshah(Q.U.E.S.T), Isra University Hyderabad, Hamdard University Karachi, Baqai Medical University Karachi, Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur (SALU), Chandka Medical College, Peoples' Medical College Nawabshah, Sindh Madarastul Islam Karachi, D. J. Sindh Government Science College, and the Indus Valley Institute of Art and Architecture, Shaheed Z. A. Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology Karachi, Sindh Agricultural University Tandojam, and the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology.

This is a chart of the education market of Sindh estimated by the government in 1998. Also see [5]

Qualification Urban Rural Total Enrollment Ratio (%)
14,839,862 15,600,031 30,439,893
Below Primary 1,984,089 3,332,166 5,316,255 100.00
Primary 3,503,691 5,687,771 9,191,462 82.53
Middle 3,073,335 2,369,644 5,442,979 52.33
Matriculation 2,847,769 2,227,684 5,075,453 34.45
Intermediate 1,473,598 1,018,682 2,492,280 17.78
BA, BSc… degrees 106,847 53,040 159,887 9.59
MA, MSc… degrees 1,320,747 552,241 1,872,988 9.07
Diploma, Certificate… 440,743 280,800 721,543 2.91
Other qualifications 89,043 78,003 167,046 0.54

There are six Cadet Colleges also. Admission to state run educational institutions in Pakistan is based on the provincial level. The other three provinces have merit based intraprovincial admission policy. Sindh is an exception to this general rule, where admissions are allowed on district domiciles of the candidates and their parents. This arrangement discriminates against meritorious students of Sindhi ethnic background, denying them admission to educational institutes and courses of their choice. Currently there is a lot of resentment of this admission policy. Sindhis are demanding intraprovincial merit based admissions to state run educational institutes, similar to the one existing in other provinces. This will provide equal opportunities to all students of Sindh. Furthermore, the armed forces have also entered the education sector. They are funded by government and operate like private costly education providers.

[edit] Arts and Crafts

The skill of the Sindhi craftsman continues to exhibit the 5000-year-old artistic tradition. The long span of time, punctuated by fresh and incessant waves of invaders and settlers, provided various exotic modes of arts which, with the passage of time, got naturalized on the soil. The perfected surface decorations of objects of everyday use - clay, metal, wood, stone or fabrics, with the floral and geometrical designs - can be traced back to the Muslim influence.


Though chiefly an agricultural and pastoral province, Sindh has a reputation for 'Ajrak', pottery, leatherwork, carpets, textiles, and silk cloth which, in design and finish, are matchless. The chief articles produced are blankets, coarse cotton cloth (soosi) camel fittings, metalwork, lacquered work, enamel, gold and silver embroidery. Hala is famous for pottery and tiles; Boobak for carpets; Nasirpur, Gambat and Thatta for cotton lungees and Khes. The earthenware of Johi, metal vessels of Shikarpur, relli, embroidery, and leather articles of Tharparkar, and lacquered work of Kandhkot are some of the other popular crafts.

The pre-historic finds from different archaeological sites such as Mohenjo-daro, engravings in various graveyards, and the architectural designs of Makli and other tombs provide ample evidence of the people in their literary and musical traditions.

Modern painting and calligraphy have also developed in recent times and some young trained men have taken up commercial art collections.

[edit] Cultural heritage

Mohenjo-daro was the center of the Indus Valley Civilization 3000 BCE-1700 BCE
Mohenjo-daro was the center of the Indus Valley Civilization 3000 BCE-1700 BCE

Sindh has a rich heritage of traditional handicraft that has evolved over the centuries. Perhaps the most professed exposition of Sindhi culture is in the handicrafts of Hala, a town some 30 kilometres off Hyderabad. Hala’s artisans are manufacturing high quality and impressively priced wooden handicrafts, textiles, paintings, handmade paper products, blue pottery, etc. Lacquered wood works known as Jandi, painting on wood, tiles, and pottery known as Kashi, hand woven textiles including Khadi, Susi, and Ajrak are synonymous with Sindhi culture preserved in Hala’s handicraft.

The artisans of Hala rarely get the justified price of their labour. The middlemen have been exploiting the artisans for decades selling the handicrafts at exorbitant profit margins at tourist hot spots of Karachi Lahore and Islamabad and even abroad. There is a dire need of patronizing the handicraft cluster of Hala, provide the artisans a platform to sell their products in cities and export markets so as to enable them earn handsome amount of their produced goods.

The Small and Medium Enterprises Authority (SMEDA) is planning to set up an organization of artisans to empower the community. SMEDA is also publishing a directory of the artisans so that exporters can directly contact them. Hala is the home of a remarkable variety of traditional crafts and traditional handicrafts that carry with them centuries of skill that has woven magic into the motifs and designs used.

The diverse Sindhi cultures, lifestyles, traditions and geographical conditions too have lent their bit and for over a century handicrafts have been a source of pride and a livelihood for the people of Hala. Kashi woodwork and other products made by the artisan community of Hala have established a position in the domestic and international markets. Jandi woodwork of Hala gives a glimpse of the richness of Pakistani culture and tradition has been followed through generations.

Sindh is known the world over not only for Mohenjo-daro but also for its various handicrafts and arts. The work of Sindhi artisans was sold in ancient markets of Armenia, Baghdad, Basra, Istanbul, Cairo and Samarkand. Referring to the lacquer work on wood locally known as Jandi, T. Posten an English traveller who visited Sindh in early 19th century said, the articles of Hala could be compared with exquisite specimens of China.

Jandi is famous all over the world due to its delicacy, durability and the natural beauty of the wood. Jandi is rendered on lamps, candle stands, flower vase, jewelry boxes, cigarette boxes, ash trays, pots, swings, cots, dressing tables, chairs & tables, bedroom sets, sofa sets, and telephone stands. The Jandi work also has its drawbacks. The persons associated with the business said that lacquer furniture and items have a long life but acid, alcohol, and oil will damage the colour. Moreover, direct sunshine and water can destroy the life of the products. Dry and soft cloths should be used for cleaning purpose. The small town Hala has also preserved the extraordinary traditional ceramic techniques.

The village potters known as kumhaar across the Indian sub continent are still producing exquisite earthenware in Hala. In Pakistan the finest examples of Kashi work are in the Sindh province. Kashi work consisted of two kinds: (a) Enamel-faced tiles and bricks of strongly fired red earthenware, or terracotta; (b) Enamel faced tiles and tesserae of lightly fired lime-mortar, or sandstone. Some authorities describe tile-mosaic work as the true Kashi. Hala’s apparel tradition is one of the world’s oldest with handlooms and power looms dating back to the Indus valley civilization. The hand-spun and hand-woven cloth called "Khadi" was being exported to various countries since time immemorial.

Since Khadi deals in natural fibres viz. cotton, silk and wool only, spun and woven in natural environment, it can boast of being 100 per cent natural, unlike handloom and mills which receive cotton yarn, blended with some regenerated cellulose fibres. Khadi cloth has found its place in haute couture and on the ramps of most eminent fashion devas.

Over a period of time cotton was mixed with silk to create Mashru, a double layered material with a thick cotton base and a silken warp woven in satin weave, a purely Indian innovation. It was woven specially for the ladies. In the Susi weave the cotton weft lay against the skin; hence it was permissible to wear it. In the Ain-i Akbari, it is mentioned that Susi, a reputed silken fabric from Shush, a town in Persia, was originally brought to the Deccan via Alexandria during the 11th century. Susi lost its silken character somewhere along the line and reappeared as a cotton fabric in Lahore in the 1620’s. Susi later became synonymous with Sindh, the primary production centres being Hala and Hyderabad.

Technological improvements were gradually introduced such as the spinning wheel [charkha] and treadle [pai-chah] in the weavers’ loom, to increase refinement in designing, dyeing and printing by block. Painting process amounted for a much higher volume of output. The refined, lightweight, colourful, washable fabrics from Hala became a luxury for people used to only woollens and linens of the age.

Ajrak has been in Sindh since the birth of its civilization. Blue colour is dominantly used in Ajrak. Also, Sindh was traditionally a large producer of indigo and cotton cloth and both used to be exported to the Middle East. Ajrak is a mark of respect when it is given to an honoured quest, friend or woman. In Sindh, it is most commonly given as a gift at Eid, at weddings, or on other special occasions - like homecoming.

Along with Ajrak the Rilli or patchwork sheet, is another Sindhi icon and part of the heritage and culture. Every Sindhi home will have set of Rillis - one for each member of the family and few spare for guests. Rilli is made with different small pieces of different geometrical shapes of cloths sewn together to create intricate designs.

Rilhi is also given as a gift to friends and visitors. It is used as a bedspread as well as a blanket. A beautifully sewn Rilli can also become part of a bride or grooms gifts. Rural women in Sindh are skilful in producing Sindhi caps.

Sindhi caps are manufactured commercially on a small scale at New Saeedabad and Hala New. These are in demand with visitors from Karachi and other places and these manufacturing units have very limited production due to lack of marketing facilities.

[edit] Rajasthan in Pakistan, Meo Rajputs

Meo, Indian Cultural Touch In Pakistan Meo (Hindi: मेव, Urdu: میو) is a prominent Muslim Rajput tribe from Northern India and Pakistan.Meos inhabit a territorial region that falls between the important urban centers of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Mewat, consisting of some adjoining parts of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, where the Meos have lived for a millennium, was a terrain of peasant radicalism in the pre-independence period. It saw intensive work by the communist leaders such as the historian-activist Kunwar Mohammad Ashraf and others then working with the Indian National Congress. There was a close inter community relationship between the Meos and other peasant-pastoral castes such as the Jats, the Ahirs and the Gujars. In Haryana the Mewat region falls in the districts of Gurgaon and Faridabad.

Meo men are tall and dark, with ponderous turbans woven around their heads, dressed in long flowing robes. The Meos are about a million-strong tribe, a Muslim Rajput community living in southern Haryana and north eastern Rajasthan known for its admixture of Hindu and Islamic customs, practices and beliefs. Only one in ten Meos is able to properly read and write. The Meos have two identities, both of which they are equally proud of. On the one hand, they claim to be Muslims, tracing their conversion to various Sufi saints who began settling in their territory from the eleventh century onwards, and whose shrines or 'dargahs' today dot the entire Mewati countryside. On the other hand, they also claim to be Rajputs, and believe that they are direct descendants of Krishna and Rama. These Hindu deities are respectfully referred to by the Meos as 'dada' or grandfather'.

Almost every Meo village has a mosque, but in many places Meos also worship at Hindu temples. Many Rajasthani Meos still retain mixed Hindu-Muslim names. Names such as Ram Khan or Shankar Khan are not unusual in the Meo tracts in Alwar. The Muslim community of Meos is highly Hinduised. They celebrate Diwali and Holi as they celebrate Ids. They do not marry within ones Gotras like Hindus of the North though Islam permits marriage with cousins. Solemnization of marriage among Meos is not complete without both nikah as in Islam and circling of fire as among Hindus. People with double identities, Meos believe that they are direct descendants of Krishna and Rama even as they claim to be among the unnamed prophets of God referred to in the Holy Quran.

Who is a Meo? Try and insult the Pandun Ka Kara before the Meos, see the angry result and you will get the answer. The Meo version of the Mahabharat called the Pandun Ka Kara, is performed by Mirasis or Jogis to an audience comprised of Meo Muslims, as also non-Meos. The authors, performers and audience are, thus, all Muslim. The Meos regard the Mahabharata clans as the ancestors of their own lineage. The folk epic then is far more than mere "myth" and is central to the cultural identity of the Meo Muslims. It is important to understand what the great epic means to them, how they remake, modify and recreate it and also how in the process they both draw upon, modify and critique the so-called "great tradition" of Vedic and Puranic Hinduism.

Muslim musicians, called Mirasis, dressed in flowing white Kurtas and dhotis and bright crimson turbans. They play a musical rendering of the 'Pandun Ke Kara', the Meo Muslim version of the famous Hindu epic, the Mahabharat, after a brief ode in praise of the Prophet Muhammad and the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer. The entire epic in its Meo form, rendered in the Mewati dialect, consists of some 800 verses or 'dohas', and takes more than three hours to recite. It relates the story of the five Pandava brothers, whom it describes as ancestors of the Meos. Finally, it ends with verses in praise of its composer, an early eighteenth century Meo Muslim called Sadullah Khan. 'Pandun Ke Kada' is the only Muslim form of the Mahabharat that exists. Sadullah Khan is regarded by the Meos as their 'national poet' ('qaumi shair'). Today, barring a few Mirasis, no one else can recite the Pandun Ke Kada.


[edit] Major Attractions

Ranikot Fort
Ranikot Fort
Gorakh Hill Top   (By Rakaposhi  Hiking Club Nawabshah )
Gorakh Hill Top (By Rakaposhi Hiking Club Nawabshah )

Sindh has numerous tourist sites with the most prominent being the ruins of Mohenjo-daro near the city of Larkana. Islamic architecture is quite prominent in the province with the Jama Masjid in Thatta built by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan and numerous mausoleums dot the province including the very old Shahbaz Qalander mausoleum dedicated to the Iranian-born Sufi and the beautiful mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah known as the Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi.

[edit] Places of Historical Intrest:

Ranikot

It is the largest fort of its kind in the region and maybe in the World, It is situated in the of the Kirthar Range about 30 km southwest of Sann, Jamshoro district of Sindh, approximately 90 km north of Hyderabad, in Pakistan. It has an approximate diameter of 9 km. Its walls are on the average 6 meters high and are made of gypsum and lime cut sandstone and its total circumference is about 29 km of which 8 km walls are man-made. While originally constructed for bow and arrow warfare it was later expanded to withstand firearms.

Bhambore

About 64 km east of Karachi, on the National Highway, is an interesting archaeological site, Bhambore, originally the sea-port of Debal where the young Arab warrior Mohammad Bin Qasim landed his armies in 711 AD. Three different periods in Sindh history coincide here: the Scytho-Parthians, the Hindu-Buddhist and the early Islamic. There is a museum and a rest house at the site.

Thatta

Once a famous center of learning, arts and commerce and provisional capital for about four centuries in the past, Thatta is situated 98 km east of Karachi. Today, it is notable for the Jamia Masjid built by the Moghal Emperor Shah Jehan, and the Makli Tombs (15th - 17th centuries), a vast necropolis spread over 15.5 sq. km, depicting exquisite specimens of architecture, stone carvings and glazed tile decorations.

Keenjhar Lake

Some 24 km north of Thatta, slumbers a big man-made Keenjhar Lake, which is 20 miles long and six miles wide, and has facilities for angling and boating. PTDC motels offer food and accommodation.


Kirthar National Park

Located about 48 km from Karachi in the midst of the barren rocks of the Kirthar Range in Dadu district, near Thano Boola Khan is the Kirthar National Park. Designed and planned with the help of the Research and Planning Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the park is approved and recognized by International Wildlife bodies. It is the last bastion of a wide variety of the region's wildlife that includes Sindh ibex, urial, deer, leopard, gray partridges and Houbara bustard. The Sindh Wildlife Management Board plans tours and provides transport from Karachi.


Hyderabad

Situated at about 164 km northeast of Karachi, Hyderabad was the capital of Sindh during the reign of the Talpur Mirs in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, it is known for the Sindh University, Jamshoro; the provincial Museum; the Institute of Sindhology and the Sindhi Adabi Board and also for colorful handicrafts such as glass bangles, glazed tiles, lacquered wood furniture, handloom cloth called 'soosi', block-printed 'Ajrak', leather shoes, etc. Historic monuments include old Mud Fort, Sheikh Makai Fort, Kalhoro Monuments, Talpur Monuments and Miani Forest.


Mir Shahdad jo Qubo

Tomb of Mir Shahdad Talpur (who is regarded as one of the finest military commanders of Sindh) one of the historical hiritages of Sindh is at Shahpur Chakar Distt: Sanghar. This is a graveyard of the family members of Mir Shahdad Talpur. Shahdadpur a big city of Province Sindh is named behind Mir Shahdad Talpur, Where as Shahpur Chakar is named behind his son Mir Chakar Talpur.


Hala

Hala is famous for its glazed pottery and enameled wood work. Situated on the National Highway about 56 km from Hyderabad, it is frequently visited by hundreds of devotees of Hazrat Makhdoom Noah (10th century Hijra), a contemporary of Mughal Emperor Akbar and a religious divine, who converted a large number of people of Islam and also translated the Holy Quran into Persian which is one of the earliest Persian translations of the Holy Book in South Asia.


Bhitshah

Situated at about 56 km from Hyderabad on the National Highway, Bhitshah is the resting place of Sindh's renowned saint and mystic poet Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (1689 - 1752 AD). He is remembered for the compendium of his poetry called 'Risalo', a treasure house of wisdom as well as romantic folklore and fine pottery. He also founded a musical tradition of his own which is still popular. Devotees sing with fervor and frenzy his love-intoxicated Kafis to the strains of ek-tara (single string instrument) mainly on the occasion of his "Urs" held every year between 13th and 15th of Safar, the second Islamic lunar month.


Sehwan

Situated on the right bank of River Indus at a distance of 135 km from Hyderabad, Sehwan is an old town of pre-Islamic period. Here are the remains of Kafir-Qila, a fort reported to have been constructed by Alexandre. Currently, Sehwan is famous for the resting place of the great mystic poet, saint and scholar Shaikh Usman Marvandvi (1117 - 1274 AD), popularly known as Shahbaz Qalandar whose mausoleum is visited by thousands of the devotees throughout the year. During the Urs celebrations (18th Shahban - the eighth Islamic lunar month), devotees dance rythmically and with total abandon to the beat of drums (Naqqara Dhamal), finally ending in a spiritual trance.


Manchar Lake

About 16 km from Sehwan, Manchar, the largest fresh water lake in Asia, is as old as the river Indus. Spread over 98 sq. miles, it is a perfect spot for relaxing and the best location for duck-shooting during winter.


Daraza Sharif

Daraza Sharif, a small village, some 52 km from Khairpur, is known for the tomb of Sachal Sarmast who was a great master of Islamic learning, lived a pious life and composed poetry in Sindhi, Seraiki, Persian and Urdu. Sachal Sarmast's Urs is celebrated on 14th of Ramzan (9th month of Islamic lunar calendar).


Kot Deji

Kot Deji is regarded as one of the world's most important archaeological sites, dating back to 3000 BC, older than Moen-jo-daro and Harappa. Excavations made in 1955 unearthed an astoundingly well-organized city with a citadel that testifies to its being the finest fortified town in South Asian subcontinet.


Moen-jo-Daro

About 563 km from Karachi off the Indus Highway lie the world-famous ruins of Moen-jo-Daro (the Mound of the Dead), now being preserved with UNESCO's help. The museum at Moen-jo-Daro is unique and a visit takes the mind centuries back when the place had a most civilized city and a humming river Port. Air and train services from Karachi and an air-conditioned rest house have been built there.


Among other historical sites are Amri, Umerkot (the birthplace of Emperor Akbar) and the legendary Arab city of Mansura near Shahdadpur in Sanghar district. Other interesting places include Matiari, town of old beautiful mosques and one of the centers of 'Ajrak'. On its outskirts lie the ruins of a Buddhist stupa. Nasarpur is famous for 'Khes', exquisite embroidery, decorative pottery, and wood work. It is also a holy place for the Hindu community.

[edit] Famous people

There are many famous people from Sindh including the following:

Historical Personalities

Pre-Independence (pre-1947)

Post-Independence (post-1947)

Entertainment

Sports

[edit] See Also

  • List of Governors of Sindh

[edit] External links

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Official


Political divisions of Pakistan Flag of Pakistan
Provinces Balochistan | North-West Frontier Province | Punjab | Sindh
Territories Islamabad Capital Territory | Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Pakistan-administered Kashmir Azad Kashmir | Northern Areas
Administrative Divisions of Sindh Flag of Pakistan
Capital Karachi
Districts Badin | Dadu | Ghutki | Jacobabad | Jamshoro | Hyderabad | Karachi | Kashmor | Khairpur | Larkano | Matyari | Mirpurkhas | Nawabshah | Noushehro Feroz | Qamber Shahdakot | Sanghar | Shikarpur |

Sukkur | Tando Allah Yaar | Tando Muhammad Khan | Tharparker | Thatto | Umerkot