Partition of India: The Case of Sindh Migration, Violence and Peaceful Sindh(W-97)

Partition of India: The Case of Sindh Migration, Violence and Peaceful Sindh(W-97)

Publication details

  • Wednesday | 01 Dec, 2004
  • Muhammad Salim Khawaja
  • Working Papers
  • 45
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Ahmad Salim 2004

The relative harmony among the Hindus and Muslims of Sindh, established over centuries became directly at risk due to many traditional and non-traditional factors. Traditional factors including the economic exploitation of Sindhi Muslim at the hands of Hindu moneylender arose after the British conquest and the resultant British Civil Code, which offered protection and prospects to the Hindu bania (money-lender). These factors jeopardized the possibilities of continuity of non-violent social infrastructure of Sindhi people. Related to these are non-traditional threats that directly devastated peoples’ lives. They included social unrest flowing from communal hatreds; increasing poverty amongst the Muslims; as well as other immediate threats to human lives from disturbances and riots. It was demonstrated through incidents like riots of 1831, Larkana riots in 1928, Masjid Manzilgah issue and so on. Thus, it becomes far more imperative to consider these issues in detail for a true understanding of the constituents of the socio-political and economic fabric of Sindh.

Another important issue in the history of Sindh was its separation from Bombay presidency, which left the Sindh Hindus very bitter because they thought that their economic and political interests would be at stake in a government dominated by Muslims thus increasing communal bitterness. Partition of Sindh did not prove to be beneficial to the ordinary Sindhi, the status of hari (tenant) never changed.

Although, he underwent a change of masters – from Hindu capitalists to Muslim waderas (landlords).

This study first identifies the key factors that increased communal bitterness and then systematically explores how and why they directly affected the lives and social obligations of the individuals. Second, it assesses the communal atmosphere shortly after the Indo-Pak Partition of 1947. The absence of large-scale violence made the Sindhi experience different from that of the Punjabis and Bengalis. Among the Sindhi Hindus, there were fewer dispositions to panic because of violence; they panicked more because of measures adopted by the Sindhi Muslims wielding political power at the time shortly before and after the Partition. An assessment is also made about how with the influx of refugees in Sindh, Muhajir Nationalism was promulgated and Sindhi culture and its indigenous people became handicapped in the hands of people from Punjab and India.