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The Sindhi Metamorphosis

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From a stranger on the roadside to your family, everyone has a story to tell of their life and culture. I will share with you the origin of my culture and how it has morphed over the years. No information can be truer than that coming directly from the mouths of previous generations. The roots of my people, the Sindhi, trace back to infinite years ago. An amalgam of rich culture, monumental civilizations, capturing of our land, dispersion of the ancestors and the survival of the aggressive Sindhis has left us with a historical story to be proud of.
Prior to 8000 BC, Hinduism emerged from the Indus River Valley, Sind, Pakistan. This is from where the life of the Sindhis arose. A man from here was the first to utter the ‘OM’ mantra and created the world-famous salutation- Namaste. This land was one of the major home grounds of the Aryans, the Indo-European tribe that resided in Eurasia after they invaded Sind and destroyed the prevailing urban civilization. The irony of our history is that the information regarding the exploits and adventures of the Aryans can be quantified to compose great volumes yet what has been penned is only a synopsis of the past. The greatest part of the history lies in a hidden sector of our memory which diminishes with every generation.
According to the book, Return of the Aryans, by Bhagwan Gidwani, Sind can be considered as the world’s most ancient civilization dating further back than the developments in Mesopotamia, China, Japan, Iran and Egypt. Proofs of great civilizations have been discovered recently. Harappa and Mohenjo Daro were two cities that had been lost for thousands of years. They were recently uncovered in Pakistan which revealed the high-tech skills that had been employed to create the infrastructure of the cities when compared to places such as Mesopotamia. With a well-planned street grid, sophisticated drainage system, public parks, public baths, art works, fountains, two-story houses made from bricks and stones, Sind had become one of the most prosperous cities in the world. The city flourished from trades with other civilised places such as Mesopotamia.
In the midst of prolificness came the decadence of Sind and its culture. The Aryans had finally sought invasion into Sind and destroyed the culture. Even though the origin of these nomads is still a topic of controversy, the excavation of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa proved that some force had driven the civilization to the ground. The Vedic Manuscripts had been written by the descendants of the Aryans and consequently, the great civilizations of Sind had been excluded from it. In the end, everything is still a maze as to how exactly such developments came to a stop.
Regardless of the threats and changes to the Sindhi culture, it still thrived until 8 AD where the land was captured by the Arabs led by Mohammed Bin Qasim. From thereafter, the culture was subject to suppression under the Arab leaders. Books were burnt, temples were destroyed, idols were broken to smithereens after the invasion of the Arabs. To pursue Hinduism much less to speak of it resulted in physical torture and even death. Persons were also unwillingly converted to Islam.
Then there was the independence of India in 1947 and its partition. Sindhis fled from Sind to India as refugees living in camps. Everything was left in Sind- clothes, wealth, homes; all were simply abandoned with the hope that they will return to Sind, but deception became the foundation for growth through resilience. The Sindhis migrated to several cities and countries such as UK, USA, Spain, Dubai, Canada, Singapore, Nigeria, Philippines and Indonesia. With the dispersion of the Sindhis, the culture moved throughout the world. Not only did they barely have money to start a home, they had also lost a place where they could home.
Today, the Sindhis are generally known as ‘the fierce businessman’. Many persons have mocked the aggressiveness of them when it comes to business but they do not realize where they are coming from. After the Sindhis moved to different countries, rising back to the top was no jolly-ridden journey. Every penny was pocketed which augmented to larger sums of profit. This aggressiveness in business is the only reason why Sindhis have survived. Similarly to Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest, life on a whole is based on that principle. Putting aside emotions the Sindhis strived hard, through many sacrifices to regain their position in this game of life. The cultural practices were still carried out. When they made enough money, they travelled back and forth to India. This indirectly kept the culture and religion alive. Persons still are attached to their culture and keep on going back to India to buy garments, food items, incense, household items and more. The homes of the Sindhis have small mandirs or temples where pictures and idols of the Hindu Gods are placed and the daily diet is highly composed of traditional Indian food.
With the thriving of each Sindhi family, the overall culture of the Sindhis is fading away, believe it or not. As the generations move on, the children and grandchildren have no idea about their history. They have simply accepted their race and moved on without questioning their past. The Sindhi God, Jhulelal, is barely acknowledged in the prayers. What about the language? Many Sindhis of this generation cannot speak Sindhi, their very own language, one that would evidently define them from the other Indians. They simply carry the Sindhi surnames, printed in passports and birth certificates but if they were questioned about the origin of their names they would be baffled. The writing of the language has also faded. Urdu was the language they learnt to write and read in Sindhi schools but with the migration the language has fallen by the road side.
The question of interest is what will happen in the years to come. A Sindhi who is not connected to any homeland, tainted by a mixture of cultures, with no personal language may lose his or her identity in the next couple of generations. Persons have been living everyday without realizing how much the persons around them have impacted their culture. For instance those living in the US have not completely maintained their Sindhi culture as they mingle with Indians of different tribes and an amalgam of persons. The culture is slipping away but persons continue to believe that they are true Sindhis. What is left now apart from the hope that one of the world’s oldest tribes will continue to perforate society with the same intensity in the years to come?
One’s roots are one’s identity. When the roots are absent, then to what will the individual be anchored?



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