Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sindh: A Little History about Pakistan :"Peccavi"

Benazir Bhutto a été enterrée, vendredi 28 décembre, dans sa province natale du Sind, dans le sud du Pakistan, devant une foule de plusieurs centaines de milliers de partisans, massés devant le cercueil de la défunte pour lui rendre un dernier hommage. L'ancienne première ministre repose dans le mausolée familial de Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, dans le village de Naudero, aux côtés de son père, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, ancien premier ministre tué par l'armée en 1979.

Sindh - Ancient history.
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 Dravidians invaded from the Iranian plateau and settled in the Indus valley around 4000 BCE. The Dravidian culture blossomed over the centuries and gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization of Pakistan around ...
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. This culture blossomed over several millennia and gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BCE.

The Indus Valley Civilization rivalled 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. It is known that the Indus Valley Civilization traded with ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt via established shipping lanes. In ancient Egypt, the word for cotton was Sindh denoting that the bulk of that civilizations cotton was predominantly imported from the Indus Valley Civilization.

Sindh (Sindhī: سنڌ, Urdū: سندھ) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhis. Different cultural and ethnic groups also reside in Sindh including Urdu speaking people who migrated from India at the time of independence and partition as well as the people migrated from other provinces after independence. Neighbouring regions are Balochistan to the west and north, Punjab in the north, Rajasthan and Gujarat (India) to the east, and the Arabian Sea to the south. The main languages are Sindhi and Urdu. 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 [2]. Historically it was also known as Aparanta.[3] 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).

Sindh became a vassal-state of the Afghan Durrani Empire by 1747. It was then ruled by Kalhora rulers and later the Balochi Talpurs[5] 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 the British (a system already used under the Mughals). In a highly controversial move, Sindh was later made part of British India's Bombay Presidency much to the surprise of the local population who found the decision illogical, shortly afterwards, the decision was reversed 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.

Rule Britannia.......& the origins of war
n 1947 when the British left. Pakistan was created from the partitioning of British India. All of Sindh was allotted to Pakistan. In 1947, 25 per cent of the population of Sindh was Hindu Sindhi. Most of the Hindu Sindhis were city dwellers and were largely 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 British India occurred Hindus Sindhi 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 [4]. 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 appropriated by the Mohajirs. Hindu Sindhis are scattered throughout the world and feel like a stateless people. They still, however, regard Sindh as their homeland. It should be noted, that many Sindhi Hindus still reside in the province of Sindh and relations have considerably improved.
Following World War II, Britain withdrew from British India and Sind voted to join Pakistan in 1947 during partition as the largely Hindu educated elites were replaced by Muslim immigrants from India. Relations in the province have since been defined by power struggles between the immigrants and their descendents and the local Sindhis who have also resented the influx of Pashtun and Punjabi immigrants to Karachi. Nonetheless, traditional Sindhis families remained prominent in Pakistani politics and none have been more important than the Bhutto dynasty. In recent years Sindhi dissatisfaction has grown as larger and more influential ethnic groups in Pakistan have prompted the growth of a Sindhi separatist movement known as Sindhudeshwhich envisions an independent Sindhi entity based upon what is viewed as a unique local history and veneration of such local figures as Shah Abdul Latif. Dr. Safdar Sarki is a prominent activist for the independance of Sindh.
At present, Sindh remains both an economic center of activity due to the prominence of Karachi and a potential cauldron of ethnic and religious strife in Pakistan.

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