From: Avnish Kashyap < >

Date: 8 April 2016 at 21:42

Subject: FW: A BRIEF HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF HINDU SINDHIS

FYI. Sindhi Hindus doing well in India.

A Brief Historical Background of Hindu Sindhis

7000 BC –       Neolithic settlements in the Indus Valley

 

3000 BC –       The Indus Valley Civilization.

2300 BC –       The civilization of Mohen-jo-daro.

 

1500 BC –       The Aryan rule with the Vedic Civilization, known as Hinduism.

 

519 BC –         The Persians conquered Sindh

 

326 B.C.          The Greeks under Alexander conquered Sindh.

 

320-293 B.C.  Chandragupta Maurya conquered Sindh

 

273-232 B.C.   Emperor Ashoka’s reign. Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism popularizied it in Sindh.

 

711 A.D.          Muslim invasion of Sindh under Muhammad bin Qasim.

This was followed by various Muslim dynasties that ruled Sindh.

 

1783 to 1843: The Muslim reign of Talpur Mirs in Sindh.

 

1843:               Charles Napier, a British general, conquered Sindh from the Talpur Mirs with the help of a rich Hindu Sindhi, Seth Naomal Bhojwani. Mr. Bhojwani’s father had been kidnapped and tortured by Muslims and Mr. Bhojwani wanted to end the Muslim rule. It was only after the British rule in Sindh, that Hindus were allowed to buy property, where they had none under Muslim rule. Hindu Sindhis began to gain power and position since they took to education and were adept at learning languages. They quickly learnt English and made themselves useful to the British for administrative jobs.

1847                Sindh was annexed to the Bombay Presidency. British colonialism brought two immediate and far-reaching changes in Sindh’s history: First, it broke the uninterrupted Islamic rule from 712 A.D., transferring power from Muslim to non-Muslim authorities. Second, it effected the merger of Sindh with Bombay Presidency, terminating Sindh’s geographical, cultural and political isolation from India. This resulted in Sindh seeing, in the 19th century, the emergence of modern social and political institutions.

 

K.R. Malkani, in “The Sindh Story” narrates how Hindus became rich, “Before the British took over, the Hindus were not allowed by Muslims to hold any land. The British gave land to the retiring officers, most of them Hindu. The wealthy began to buy lands at market price. The improvident Muslim landlords began to mortgage lands to the Hindu money-lenders, who gradually acquired the land on default. In one century of British rule, the Hindus had come to acquire about 40 per cent of the land. Another 20 per cent was believed to have been mortgaged to them. Some Muslim League leaders — particularly Sir Abdullah Haroon — made this into a big issue. Here was a gentleman who started life as a cycle-repair assistant on four annas a day, and ended up as a crore-pati, who grudged 30 per cent of the population. (Hindus) owning 40 per cent of the land! He could never see the initial iniquity of the Hindus (30 per cent of the population) holding zero land under the Muslim rule. However, many other Muslim leaders noted that the peasants were happier with the Hindu zamindars than with the Muslim zamindars. They also noted that many Muslim zamindars did not want education to spread — for fear the next generation of educated tenants might ask for more rights.

The real reasons for this shift of land-ownership were two: the Hindus who had been starved of land for centuries, felt the natural human urge for land — and now they went in for it. Secondly, the impecunious Muslim habits stood in sharp contrast with Hindu prudence. A Muslim tended to spend beyond his means; Hindu Sindhis tended to save and invest. A popular saying was that when a Hindu had money, he would buy or build more and more houses (Jaye Mathan Jaye); when a Muslim had money, he would marry more wives (Joye Mathan Joye).”

1934:  The formation of the Sindh Separation committee. Earlier, as Sirajul Haque Memon says in his piece in the “Daily Dawn” (23. 3. 2001) entitled, Genesis of Separatist Sentiment in Sindh, “A campaign was started through the vernacular press for separation of Sindh from Bombay. It gathered momentum when looking at the trend of public opinion, political parties such as the Congress and the Muslim League too joined in. No political party could survive in Sindh if it opposed the Separation Movement. Hindu Maha Sabha was the only party, which opposed the separation. But soon it lost face in the towns and villages of Sindh and slowly and gradually it ceased to be an influential political party in Sindh.”

 

April, 1936:      The British made Sindh into a separate, autonomous province — separated from the Bombay Presidency. Gobindram Mukhi of Hyderabad, was the only one to vote against this move (with similar protests from Swami Harinamdasji of the Sadhubella of Sukkur); they could both see that this move would reduce Hindus in Sindh to a voiceless and powerless minority. However, others estimated that with the separation from Bombay, many opportunities would come their way and they would gain in power; accordingly, they all voted, along with the Muslims, for the separation from Bombay Presidency. Sindh became autonomous and Hindu Sindhis went on later to lose their homeland because the foundation of the separation was population strength. Hindus were a minority in a Muslim province. Abdullah Haroon, says Prof Sharif al Mujahid, played an important role: “A strenuous advocate and campaigner for the separation of Sindh from the Bombay Presidency, he continuously lobbied for it, proposing resolutions at all-India moots, from 1925 onward. He repeatedly urged the Aga Khan who led the Muslim delegation to the Round Table Conference (1930-32) and Jinnah to get the Sindh separation issue settled favorably during the London conferences. Along with Muhammad Ayub Khuhro and Mir Muhammad Shah, Haroon also played a leading role in getting Sindh to acquire an autonomous provincial status in the Act of 1935.”

 

1936-1937: Hindus subjected to discrimination (see Ram Ramchandani’s account.)

 

October 1939: Gandhi received a telegram from Dr. Choitram Gidwani, Vice President of the Sindh Provincial Congress Committee, from Shikarpur: It read:” Riots, loot, incendiarism, Sukkur district villages Hindus mercilessly butchered. Women and girls raped and kidnapped. Hindu life, property confiscated. Situation most critical. Government policy not firm. Pray send enquiry committee immediately to see situation personally.” Gandhi’s intervention, in his words, was “Now the only effective way in which I can help the Sindhis (is) to show them the way of non-violence. But that cannot be learnt in a day. The other way is the way the world has followed hitherto, i.e. armed defense of the life and property. God helps only those who help themselves. The Sindhis are no exception. They must learn the art of defending themselves against robbers, raiders and the like. If they do not feel safe and are too weak to defend themselves, they should leave the place which has proved too inhospitable to live in.”

 

March, 1940:   Muslim League passed the Pakistan Resolution at Lahore, visualizing a Confederal arrangement where units or states will be autonomous and sovereign.

August, 1942: Mahatma Gandhi started the “Quit India” movement, asking the British to leave India through non-violent means of protests and non-cooperation.

 

1946                Sindh, with its Muslim majority, was already under the Muslim League. The Muslim League got its toehold in Sindh earlier thanks to a Muslim League candidate who stood for election against Shah Nawaz Bhutto, a secular Muslim. The latter was defeated because he refused to rise to the Muslim League’s challenge to perform namaz in public. The opponent made capital of his refusal and won the seat from Mr. Bhutto, giving the Muslim League an entry into Sindh politics.

August 16, 1946: Jinnah declares the day as “Direct Action Day” to get Pakistan, letting loose loot and murder. Gandhiji agrees to the Partition of India the very next day. (See Prof. G.A.’s account.)

March, 1947:   One learns what happened from the biography, “Mountabatten, the Private Story” by Brian Hoey: “Lord Mountbatten was once again interrupted—this time by Prime Minister Clement Atlee, who summoned him to an urgent meeting. He was informed that the then Viceroy of India, Lord Wavell, had failed in his efforts to obtain a settlement between the various political parties and the main Hindu and Muslim leaders. Atlee wanted Mountbatten to take up the job. Every demand of Mountbatten’s was met by Atlee, who did not want to be bothered by mere details as long as the result was a peaceful end to this massive burden of what had become a troublesome Empire. Independence had been promised to India in 1942 as a reward for the support of Indian troops against the Japanese, and even earlier, in the 1920s, moves towards granting independence had started. The cost of maintaining a government in India was proving a drain on the finances of a Britain whose own funds were sorely depleted after six years of the most expensive war in history. So, in monetary terms alone, Britain wanted out of India…

Mountbatten was given fifteen months to achieve a solution to the problem. By June 1948, the handover of power was to be complete. Mountbatten knew that if he was going to get the job done in the time allotted he would inevitably make some enemies. When he arrived in India he realized that fifteen months was far too long for the period of transition. He knew that the longer the negotiations went on the more bloodshed there was likely to be. So he insisted on a shorter period, which was immediately reduced to five months, so that instead of June 1948 as the deadline, he now had August 1947 as the date by which he had to complete the handover. Papers in the Mountbatten archives appear to confirm that Atlee did not have a firm withdrawal date in mind and that it was Mountbatten’s idea. Mountbatten felt that to go to India without the Hindu and Muslim leaders knowing there was a definite date for withdrawal would weaken his position immeasurably. They would be suspicious that he was not there to end colonial rule, merely to delay the decision. The means were not all that important—it was the end that counted. Britain wanted to be rid of its Empire and Mountbatten was the man to do it. The only guidance which Mountbatten had from the British government when he took over as Viceroy was that they fully recognised that India fell naturally into two parts, Muslim and Hindu, and that it was possible that these parts could be separated geographically. Mountbatten arrived as the last Viceroy in Delhi on March 22, 1947.

 

June 1947:      The British announce the Partition. The first wave of migration from Sindh.

 

August 14-15, 1947: Withdrawal of the British, the birth of independent India and Pakistan, with Sindh in Pakistan.

 

August 19, 1947: Riots in Quetta, many Hindus killed (see Lila Kripalani’s account.)

 

August 20, 1947: Second wave of migration (see Dr. Ram Buxani’s account.)

 

August 27, 1947: Riots in Nawabshah organized by Mr. Masood, the Muslim collector of Nawabshah (see Gul & Pahilraj Ramchandani’s account.)

 

September 1947: Curfew in Hyderabad Sind. All Hindu families were informed that the refugees were out of control and that all Hindus were at risk (see A. Daswani’s and Javhar Advani’s accounts).

 

November 22, 1947: Riots in Hyderabad Sindh (see Chandru Gurbaxani’s account.)

 

December 1947: Hindu houses and businesses were marked overnight. The very next day Muslim mobs began looting openly and occupying Hindu houses with the full connivance of the Muslim authorities (see Dr. Niranjan Dudani’s account and also Shewak Nandwani’s.)

 

Jan 6, 1948     Riots in Karachi and Hyderabad. The third and the largest wave of migration after these riots. (see Mangharam Sipahimalani’s account as well as Meena Rupchandani’s and Dr. Motilal Jotwani’s accounts among several others.)

 

Jan-Mar, 1948: The highest numbers of Hindus migrated from Sindh into divided India. Most settled in the outskirts of Mumbai. The estimated population of Sindhi Hindus before the Partition in Sindh was 1,400,000.

 

By 1950, 1,225, 000 had left Sindh for India and other parts of the world, leaving only an estimated 175,000 Hindus in Sindh.

 

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