Friday, February 24, 2006


In 1947 before the creation of Pakistan, Sindhi Hindus were a
>>minority community in their own province of Sindh, having no rights
>>or privileges, unlike their Muslim neighbours who were a majority
>>community. Sindhi Hindus and Muslims had lived side by side for
>>hundreds of years with hardly any animosity between them, with the
>>honouring of each other's religions. Most mosques were decorated
>>during Diwali (a Hindu festival) in Sindh. This harmony between
>>Muslims and Hindus came to an end a few months before the
>>Partition, during which the "Muhajirs", who were a politically
>>extreme Muslim organization, migrated from India and forcibly took
>>over the properties of Sindhi Hindus. So began a long and bitter
>>process in history.
>>It was declared by the Government of Sindh, that any land owned by
>>Muslims before 1907 would be given back to them, regardless of
>>Hindu ownership. Sindhis were aware of the potential violence after
>>1947. Places of Hindu worship would be destroyed, and so they
>>wanted to flee before the violence began.>
>>On December 21st, 1947, a raid took place in the houses of Hindus
>>starting with Hyderabad. People were thrown into camps awaiting
>>deportation to India. Similar action was organized by Muslims on
>>January 6th 1948 in Karachi and all the Hindus were gathered at the
>>exit camps, for the forced migration to India by road, rail and
>>sea. Hindu Sindhis did not show resistance for their extradition.
>>The eruption of riots and violence in Sind was started by the
>>Muhajirs and encouraged by Punjabi Muslims. Hindu Sindhis were
>>forced to flee with just the clothes that they were wearing and a
>>few personal belongings, often tied up in a bed sheet. Some were
>>fortunate to have the opportunity to sell their belongings on the
>>street. The Sindh government ordered them not to lock their
>>properties before leaving, there was little point in doing so, as
>>the Muslims
>>forced their way in and took possession as ordered by their
>>government. Sindhis fled for their lives to the borders of India to
>>escape get away from the mass killings by the Muslims who were now
>>entering Sind. Some reports even mentioned that women who were at
>>that time in hospital delivering their babies were murdered in cold
>>blood along with their innocent newborns.>
>>India was now their only hope: A land of freedom and opportunity.
>>On arrival, they found themselves hungry, homeless and unemployed.
>>Employment and food were hard to find and so voluntary support was
>>a necessary part of survival. 11 lakhs (1.1 million) Sindhis
>>migrated to India, aiming to settle down. The government of India
>>set up refugee camps to provide shelter, schooling, medical care,
>>markets, hospitals and other amenities. Some were relieved to be
>>reunited with their families who had been separated in the struggle
>>to leave Sind. It was only despair and bewilderment for those who
>>never found their loved ones. They were unaware of what happened to
>>them and did not know if they were alive or had been killed in
>>Sind. Many refugee families shared the same military camps. In the
>>evening they put up sheets to partition the room into family
>>but for the majority of the day they would cook, eat and wash
>>communally. The conditions were appalling and were unhygienic. Many
>>died of tuberculosis, cholera, and of snake and scorpion bites/poisoning.
>>SUNDAY, 28 MARCH 1948
>>Those who survived managed to find their own way of feeding their
>>families. They attempted to be employed in any area possible. Soon
>>they started their own businesses and became highly successful
>>business people. Sewing and cooking were the main occupations of
>>Sindhi women in order to earn a living. Food stalls were set up and
>>run by Sindhis. Nevertheless, begging was not considered by Sindhis
>>as a method of making ends meet and they relied on making and
>>selling food and other articles of use. The survival skills they
>>learned made them into one of India's shrewdest business
>>communities. This tradition still continues. In India, the
>>accommodation was too expensive for the common refugee of Sind to
>>buy or rent, so they remained in their military camps for many
>>years. Some time later Bombay housing commissions were set up and
>>run by Sindhis in order
>>to provide affordable accommodation for them to settle down in.
>>Today this community has made the world their home. They have
>>managed to survive the partition and have settled all over the
>>Sind, once the home to Hindu Sindhis, no longer exists, except in
>>their memories - hearts and history books of those who left Sind
>>under desperate circumstances. Sindhis were forced to give up their
>>homeland, where their forefathers lived, for the betterment of the
>>whole nation of India. The people of Sind who survived the trauma
>>of partition, have been scattered all over the world. Many lives
>>were lost and many families were split in two. The devastation of
>>the partition was so great that up until now, some of those who had
>>lost touch are still without their loved ones today. It should be
>>remembered that the older members of the Sindhi community, who have
>>witnessed Partition, and who safely and lovingly brought their
>>children through this difficult and dangerous period in history,
>>have learned much from it. There is much to learn from them about
>>how to survive and stay strong.

>>My Thanks to Sapna Ramnani (UK) for publishing the article and
>>for her excellent Research


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