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Partition, Diaspora and Culture: Decadence of Sindhi Community

After the partition and creation of Pakistsn, Sindhi Hindus came straight to Kalyan and other parts of Maharashtra as refugees

Vintage group photo of Indian Sindhi people. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

August 25, 2016: It was after the Partition of India, the largest human resettlement in the world, that many communities — large or small, migrated from across the borders. Hindus and Muslims were now refugees and ‘kaafirs’ — but the silent partition of the province of Sindh and the struggle of the Sindhi community has gone unnoticed since the onset of the 1947 tensions. Sindhis are a socio-ethnic group of people that belonged to Sindh, today in Pakistan.

After the partition, people from this ethnicity migrated to India and non-Sindhis resettled in Pakistan, which reshaped the demographic semblance of the province of Sindh. Like Punjab has predominantly Punjabi speakers, and Bengalis got Bengal, the problem of the Sindhi community doubles up due to no homogeneity of Sindhi speakers and residents in a particular state. Sindhis were not rehabilitated to a state to suffice their linguistic and socio-cultural needs and therefore, the stress of homeland shall always prevail.

The province of Sindh (marked red) Source: Wikimedia Commons
The province of Sindh (marked red), Pakistan
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Problems with finding a new shelter:
Sindhi as a language was used for cultural purposes, in literature and local administration during the British colonial rule. Post the partition and the creation of Pakistan, Sindhis as a community got divided up as Sindhi Hindus and Muslim Hindus. The exodus resulted in Sindhi Hindus segregated in different parts of India, majorly in Adipur and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Ulhasnagar (Maharashtra) and some parts of Rajasthan like Jaipur and Kota.

This refuge resulted in a sense of dislocation and displacement among Sindhis and people from both the nations as a whole, which has been widely written about in literature. Sindhis, who before the partition were largely businessmen and earned their bread well, left all their riches in their homeland that resulted in their mundane lives in India— which they are recovering from, while they wash the terrors of migration with their unending determination.

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The Sindhi language had been recognised as one of the official languages of India in 1967, with over 3.8 million Sindhis presently living in India. They have originated from Sindh but have travelled and settled overseas for business and settlement, which brings up the issue of Sindhi diaspora.

Today, Sindhi merchants are known worldwide for their entrepreneurship skills and began settling in many countries like Hong Kong, UAE, the United States, UK and more. But by late 1990s, the Sindhi diaspora was classified into two groups: the merchants and traders in Africa, the Caribbean and other parts of Asia, and the second category of people more diversified as professionals, especially in Canada, UK and US.

It is unknown to many that Sufi music had originated from the province of Sindh, and Abida Parveen— one of the biggest faces of Sufism— is a Sindhi. Image source:

Collective efforts to preserve the culture and one’s mother language:

To diversify and familiarise others, Sindhis have vividly contributed in literature. Some of the most notable post-partition Sindhi literary artists are Motilal Jotwani, Moti Prakash, Narayan Bharati and many others. Their literature talked less about the lamentation and grief of partition, but rather put forth a more optimistic portrayal: the writer’s sweet recollection of his homeland and childhood, strong attempts to preserve the Sindhi language, and also sympathised with Sindhi Muslims who were constantly at war with the government for their rights.

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World Sindhi Congress is a UK registered non-profit human rights organisation for Sindhis and their homeland Sindh. Their main objective is to preserve Sindhi culture and stop Islamization of the Sindhi culture and Sufi music tradition. Besides this, they also provide informative material to the public regarding the community, their silent protest for human rights in Pakistan, organise conferences and lectures and also participate in conferences sponsored by the United Nations Organisation. Apart from working towards the betterment of Sindhi community as a whole, they also advocate for separation of Religion and State, women empowerment, denuclearisation and environmental rights.

Another human rights organisation named World Sindhi Institute (WSI) is set up in the Washington DC, to serve the same purpose. A constitutionally acknowledged NPO in March of 1997, the objective of WSI is to bring Sindhi community to the light of the international audience. It brings together Sindhi diaspora descending to Southeastern Pakistan and other parts of the world and also supports the issues of Decentralisation, Demilitarisation, Secularism and Nuclear Disarmament in Pakistan.

– by Chetna Karnani of NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna


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Come April, government will be more comfortable in Rajya Sabha

Of the 100 BJP-allies MPs, 24 are retiring. Which means, the government will be left with 76 MPs

Parliament of India is a source of interest for many people because of various reasons. Wikimedia Commons
Parliament of India is a source of interest for many people because of various reasons. Wikimedia Commons
  • In April, the opposition may lose its edge over BJP in Rajya Sabha
  • NDA led by Modi has faced many embarrassments in Rajya Sabha in past few years
  • This is expected to change soon

Come April, the opposition in the Rajya Sabha may lose its edge in the numbers game and the power to stall any government bill, as the ruling BJP-led NDA coalition is set to catch up with its rivals, though a clear majority will elude them for a while more.

BJP to soon get more comfortable in  Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia commons
BJP to soon get more comfortable in Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia Commons

As 58 MPs, including three Nominated and one Independent, are set to retire in April, the Rajya Sabha math is going to change. It is set to favour the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and the trend may continue in the elections to the Upper House later too with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having solid majorities in a number of state assemblies, especially the ones it won after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

With this, while the Congress-led opposition’s numbers will come down to around 115 from the present 123, the numbers of the BJP, its allies and sympathisers together would climb to around 109 from the present 100-odd members.

And the gap, once wide enough to let the opposition invariably have its say, will keep narrowing further in the coming months.

Of the 55 retiring members (excluding those Nominated), 30 belong to the opposition camp while 24 belong to the BJP and allies. Of them, a large number of NDA candidates are set to return while the opposition will lose a chunk of its members.

As things stand now, the Congress-led opposition has 123 MPs (including 54 of the Congress) in a house of 233 elected members (apart from 12 Nominated), while the NDA has 83 members (including 58 of BJP) plus four Independents who support the BJP (these include MPs Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Subhash Chandra, Sanjay Dattatraya Kakade and Amar Singh).

Rajya Sabha or the Upper House can often be a game changer while passing of the bills is in process.
Rajya Sabha or the Upper House can often be a game changer while passing of the bills is in process.

Also, for all practical purposes, the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), that has 13 members in the Rajya Sabha, is also with the NDA. This means the NDA’s effective strength in the upper house of Parliament is 100.

The gap was wider till just a few months ago. This meant that during any battle between the government and the opposition in the Upper House over bills and major issues, it was the opposition that invariably had its way. The recent example was the triple talaq legislation that the opposition stalled in the upper house, demanding that it be referred to a Select Committee.

For over less than four years, the Narendra Modi government had faced quite a few embarrassments in the Rajya Sabha thanks to the majority of the opposition, forcing it often to take the money bill route to avoid a clash in the house. Under the Constitution, a money bill needs to be passed only in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cannot stall it.

Also Read: For Modi, Road To 2019 Will Be Steeper

However, after April, the NDA will be in a far better position.

Of the 100 BJP-allies MPs, 24 are retiring. Which means, the government will be left with 76 MPs (including AIADMK). But at least 30 from the NDA are set to get re-elected. So the number will rise to 106. Add three members that the government would nominate to the upper house and the final NDA tally will roughly be 109 MPs.

Further, there are fence-sitters such as the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the YSR Congress, which are not virulently against the BJP and would not oppose the government unless for very compelling reasons.

Now, for the Congress and the rest of the opposition, they are set to lose 30 MPs (including one Independent, A.V. Swamy) through retirement and would be left with around 93 members. The Opposition may win roughly 22 seats, which means that its final tally after April is likely to be around 115 members.

Government can now expect some smooth sailing in the Rajya Sabha, coming this April.
Government can now expect some smooth sailing in the Rajya Sabha, coming this April.

The gap has clearly narrowed and the government may not be at the mercy of the opposition during crucial votes and can have its way in the Rajya Sabha if it musters its numbers by deftly wooing “floater” MPs.

The three newly-elected Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members may remain equidistant from both the BJP and the Congress, though the party is friendly with some of the major opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress.

Also Read: BJP MP Seeks Amendment to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill

In an interesting development recently, the AAP actively participated in the opposition’s walkout and the day-long boycott of the Rajya Sabha over long intra-day adjournments of the Upper House by Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu.

The AAP, which was not welcome at any opposition meetings earlier, particularly those held in Parliament House, was invited to speak at a joint opposition media interaction on the day. But nobody can be sure as to how long this bonding would last.

Partywise tally of those retiring in April-May from the opposition’s side include 13 from the Congress, six from the Samajwadi Party, three of the Trinamool Congress, two each of the Nationalist Congress Party and Biju Janata Dal and one each of the CPI-M, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.

NDA has to face many embarrassments in past few years in Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia Commons
NDA has to face many embarrassments in past few years in Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia Commons

From the ruling side, 17 MPs of the BJP, three of the Janata Dal United, one of the Shiv Sena and two of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are retiring.

In terms of state-wise vacancies to be created in April, the highest number is from Uttar Prdaesh (9), followed by Maharashtra (6), Madhya Pradesh (5), Bihar (5), Gujarat (4), Karnataka (4), West Bengal (4), Rajasthan (3), Odisha (3), Andhra Pradesh (3), Telangana (2), Uttarakhand (1), Himachal Pradesh (1) and Chhattisgarh (1). IANS