Clothing Design in shape of Sindhi, Pakistan

Sindhi Language: History and Sociocultural Anthropology

The Indo-Aryan or Indic languages form a major language family of South Asia. They constitute a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, themselves a branch of the Indo-European language family. As of the early 21st century, more than 800 million people spoke Indo-Aryan languages, primarily in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The scope of this paper will be Pakistan only.

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History of Indo-Aryan Languages (Urdu included)

Modern Indo-Aryan languages descend from Old Indo-Aryan languages such as early Sanskrit through Middle Indo-Aryan languages (or Prakrits). The largest of these languages in terms of speakers are Hindi and Urdu (about 329 million). A 2005 estimate placed the total number of native speakers of Indo-Aryan languages at nearly 900 million. It is a national language in India and is recognized by the Constitution of India too. 2.5 million people speak Sindhi in India. They are mostly settled in Indian Gujarat and Maharashtra states. The languages of India are divided into various language families, of which the Indo-Aryan, and the Dravidian languages are the most widely spoken. Many languages belong to unrelated language families, such as Austroasiatic and Sino-Tibetan, spoken by smaller groups. Linguistic records begin within the appearance of the Brahmin script from about the 3rd century BCE.

Indo-Aryan languages

Indus Valley Civilization

The indigenous Indian Valley Civilization collapsed around 1700 BC. In AD 711, Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh, bringing South Asian societies into contact with Islam. Many Baloch tribes entered Sindh after the invasion of Nadir Shah. One of these was the Talpurs. Talpurs spoke the Sindhi language. The dynasty ruled Sindh from 1783 to 1843 and was overthrown by the British East India Company led by General Charles James Napier. In 1841 A.D. A treaty was signed between the Talpur rulers of Sindh and The East India Company. John Jacob was sent to Khan Garh in accordance with the treaty. Businessmen and artisans also followed them. Bazaars started flourishing, and the area, when security was assured, became a trade center where there had been a desert before. The grain market and cattle markets also started functioning in the newly established colonies that did not always accept British Rule. In 1857 Dil Murad Khoso and Darya Khan Jakhrani were sent to Kala Pani (a colonial-era prison in Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India) due to their involvement in the freedom movement.

The Lost Civilization of Mohenjodaro and Harappa

Formation of Urdu

Fort William College (also non as the College of Fort William) was an academy of oriental studies and a center of learning, founded on 10 July 1800 by Lord Wellesley, the then Governor General. Located within the Fort William complex in Calcutta. The Urdu department was entrusted to John Borthwick Gilchrist, an Indologist of great repute for heading the Urdu Department The purpose of creating the Fort William College was to impart education on Oriental studies. Many other Oriental languages such as Arabic, Persian, BengaliHindi, and Urdu were taught here. 

English Words List in Urdu


The phonology of the Sindhi Language

Stop series


/p/, /t̪/, /ʈ/, /tʃ/, /k/

Hindi, Punjabi, Dogri, Sindhi, Gujarati, Sinhala, Odia, Standard Bengali, dialects of Rajasthani (except Lamani, NW. Marwari)much damage to the preservation of the Sindhi culture. However, Sindhi culture survived this shock well.

Nasals (Sindhi)

Sanskrit was noted as having five nasal-stop articulations corresponding to its oral stops. Among modern languages and dialects, Dogri, Kacchi, Kalasha, Rudhari, Shina, Saurasthtri, and Sindhi has been analyzed as having or this full complement of phonemic nasals /m/ /n/ /ɳ/ /ɲ/ /ŋ/, with the last two generally as the result of the loss of the stop from a homorganic nasal + stop cluster ([ɲj] > [ɲ] and [ŋɡ] > [ŋ]), though there are other sources as well.

There are no clear demarcations between areas speaking only one language. Such is the case with Sindhi. Languages fuse into each other in the form of dialectics as we move from one area to another.

Linguistic Harmony between Urdu and Hindi

Urdu and Hindi can be one language called Hindustani but politics of  language may not allow it

The linguistic homogeneity of Sindh that embraced Hindu and Muslim speakers of Sindhi in the colonial period was severely disrupted by the partition of India and Pakistan Partition in 1947. Before Partition, Sindh was part of the Bombay Presidency. Most Hindu Sindhi speakers migrated to India, forming a minority scattered among speakers of other languages. Their leading position in the urban society of Sindh in Pakistan was occupied by the immigrants known as muhajirs, the Urdu-speaking Muslims who came from North Indian towns to settle in large numbers in Karachi and other cities especially Hyderabad.

Despite the fact, that Sindh is the second largest province of Pakistan (population-wise), the federation of Pakistan has always been biased towards the allocation of resources. The Centre has always concentrated its attention towards Punjab, which already is the richest province of the country. Even the army recruits officers mostly from Prom Punjab. So much so, the army is sometimes called the Punjabi army. The same is true for the bureaucratic setup. As far as funds are concerned, the National Finance Commission (NFC) does not dispense the requisite funds of Sindh for the development of the province.

The History of Mohajirs

The individualistic history of Sindh stems out of its distinct culture, language, and heritage. However, due to Pakistan’s creation, many immigrants poured into the province from India, diluting the distinct identity of Sindh. These immigrants were later on termed Mohajirs or Refugees. Karachi became the epicenter of this influx of the mohajirs due to its advancement.  Later in the eighties, the military establishment formed a political party by the name Mohajir Qaumi Movement for political ends.

The evolution of Mohajir politics and identity - Pakistan - DAWN.COM

Tussle Between Urdu and Sindhi Culture

A struggle ensued between MQM and the Sindhi Nationalist parties who wanted to preserve the Sindhi heritage and legacy. With the increasing level of education, youngsters of Sindh started learning Urdu as it was created was considered a more progressive and modern language. This is true in the light of the fact that Urdu was formed by the British at the For William College.   As a corollary, the young generation started losing interest in learning Sindhi. Urdu became practically the lingua franca of the urban centers of Sindh. Karachi and Hyderabad became the employment centers of the province that required proficiency in Urdu

Haq's Musings: Pakistan Demographic Trends Worry MQM


Anthropology and Cultural Heritage of Sindhi

Man in traditional Indo-Aryan clothing

The paper aims to dig out the list of culturally magnificent places to visit in Sindh related to Sindhi culture; Moen jo-Daro and Harappa, Jinnah’s Mausoleum, Mohatta Palace, Ranikot Fort, and a few other notable places to visit by foreigners. These monuments signify the rich and diverse cultures foreign invaders and local lords have left on the cultural landscape of Sindhi culture. Sindh has its nationalities, each with its history and culture. Hence, there are multiple nationalities in the province of Sind.

Due to the high influx of different nationalities in Karachi, Karachi’s infrastructure is in a dilapidated condition. There is a famous quote that Karachi owns everyone, but no one owns Karachi. The infighting between MQM and Pakistan People Party has left Karachi in a bad situation. These days, the federal government is that of PTI and PPP is the provincial government of Sindh. Both the PPP and PTI are at odds with each other.  The Urdu-speaking MQM tries to gain hegemony over Karachi and Hyderabad, and so does the PPP to the detriment of Karachi. Currently, PTI and MQM are in alliance with each other in the city of Karachi. Sadly enough, the PPP is still at daggers drawn with the Centre and opposing the new census decision in the entire country and Karachi.

Education was discouraged as that would change this status quo if people become aware of their rights. The culture and tradition of rural Sindh speak Sindhi. The second common language is Baluchi.

Sindhi political structure is strictly feudal. This system is typically referred to as the wadera system. As is typical of feudal societies, feudal lords do not promote education for the lower strata of the society. There are more than a dozen sardars of various tribes and castes residing in this area.

The typical feudal families include Bijaranis, Khosos, Maliks, Teghanis, Sundaranis, Mazaris, Golos, Mohammadanis, Chachars, Jakhranis, Soomros, and others. The most politically active influential tribes are Sundrani, Bijarani, Khoso, Mazari, and Suhriyani. They are active in politics as only the main land-owning tribes keep the tenants or haris away from political activity.

The illiterate peasants hardly know what the concept of democracy is. These feudal lords have been in the assemblies for the last 40 years. Despite this, the has has done nothing for the economic, social and cultural uplift of their people.  Demographically, most of the population is Muslims. However, some areas are inhabited by Hindus. As stated above, Sindhi and Balochi are the lingua franca of the city. The Hindus are more efficient as far as business is concerned, well-versed in business, and has control over the economy.

The irrigation system of Pakistan is the best canal system in the World. Agriculture in Sindh mainly depends upon canal irrigation. President Ayub Khan, in the sixties, completed this canal system. However, river water and tubewell are used for irrigation.

The total irrigated area of district Kashmore, for example, is served by different modes of irrigation. One measure of land is mouza. Out of 136 rural mouzas, 120 (88%) are tube well Irrigation is also common in 33 mouzas that constitutes 24% of the total rural mouzas. River irrigation is also common as 38 mouzas (28%) TEMPhas reported the river as an irrigation source.

Anthropology is the study of human beings’ evolution into their present customs, traditions, and practices over the period. We shall now discuss the cultural anthropology of Sindh.

Table of Consanguinity


Consanguinity (“blood relation,” from Latin consanguinity) has existed since the existence of mankind. Consanguinity is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In aspect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person. In simpler words, it is kinship or cousin marriage. It is also known as “mutual marriage” or “Mutual marriage” or”Vata sata” and it is arranged for the exchange of two marriages between two families, whereas “self-arranged or arranged marriage” is the subject that defines the marriage of one another.

Consanguinity is prevalent in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Cousin marriages lead to the birth of children who have congenital problems. Therefore, in Christianity, consanguinity is discouraged to the extent of being banned. Nonetheless, this topic requires further research. Nonetheless, this practice is not banned in Islam. However, according to the traditions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Islam discourages this but does not ban it.

Inbreeding Coefficient

The academic definition of the simple meaning of this paragraph is that if the inbreeding coefficient of a child is high, he is more prone to develop congenital problems. If it is low, the reverse is true. The warders do this so that their properties stay within their families: The study aimed to determine the role of consanguinity in human health and highlight the associated risks for various diseases or disorders. This comprehensive assessment highlights the deleterious consequences in populations with a higher prevalence of consanguinity among different countries worldwide. To avoid the inbreeding load, there is a need to improve the socio-economic and educational status and increase public awareness of reproductive health and anticipated deleterious effects. Pre-marital and pre-conception counseling of consanguineous populations should be an integral part of health policy to train people and make people aware of its harmful consequences.

Honor Killings

No Honor Killing Cartoon

Honor killings are highly prevalent in Sindhi Culture. Innocent women and men are killed in the name of honor. If a woman is to be killed she is titled as ‘kari while the man is labeled ‘karo’. Both are killed in the  most brutal, unimaginable manner. As is mentioned above, there are two reasons for such practices to flourish in this region. The first is the lack of education. The other one is the existence of the tribal system where loyalty to the tribe is more important than loyalty to religion. No religion, be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or Hinduism allows such brutality.

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