This civilisation is now identified as a pre-Aryan civilisation and most probably the Dravidian civilization which was conquered by the invading Aryans. The Brahui language is a remnant of the civilisation which flourished in this region.
Karachi became capital of Sindh in 1936, in place of the traditional capitals of Hyderabad and Thatta. Other important cities include Sanghar, Sukkur, Dadu, Shahdadkot, Sehwan, Mirpukhas, Larkana, Shikarpur, Nawabshah, Kashmore, Umerkot, Tharparkar, Jacobabad, Ghotki, Ranipur, and Moro.
A subtropical region, Sindh is hot in the summer and cold in winter. Temperatures frequently rise above 46 °C (115 °F) between May and August, and the minimum average temperature of 2 °C (36 °F) occurs during December and January. The annual rainfall averages about seven inches, falling mainly during July and August. The Southwest Monsoon wind begins to blow in mid-February and continues until the end of September, whereas the cool northerly wind blows during the winter months from October to January.
Sindh lies between the two monsoons - the southwest monsoon from the Indian Ocean and the northeast or retreating monsoon, deflected towards it by Himalayan mountains — and escapes the influence of both. The average rainfall in Sindh is only 15 to 18 cm per year, but the loss during the two seasons is compensated by the Indus, in the form of inundation, caused twice a year by the spring and summer melting of Himalayan snow and by rainfall in the monsoon season. These natural patterns have changed somewhat with the construction of dams and barrages on the Indus.
Climatically, Sindh is divided in three sections - Siro (upper section centred on Jacobabad), Wicholo (middle section centred on Hyderabad), and Lar (lower section centred on Karachi). In Upper Sindh, the thermal equator passes through Sindh. The highest temperature ever recorded was 53 °C (127 °F) in 1919. The air is generally very dry. In winter frost is common.
In Central Sindh, average monsoon wind speed is 18 km/hour in June. The temperature is lower than Upper Sindh but higher than Lower Sindh. Dry hot days and cool nights are summer characteristics. Maximum temperature reaches 43-44°C (110-112°F). Lower Sindh has a damper and humid maritime climate affected by the south-western winds in summer and north-eastern winds in winter and with lower rainfall than Central Sindh. The maximum temperature reaches about 35-38°C (95-100°F). In the Kirthar range at 1,800 m7 and higher on the Gorakh Hill and other peaks in Dadu District, temperatures near freezing have been recorded and brief snow fall is received in winters.
|Sindh Demographic Indicators|
|Population growth rate||2.80%|
|Gender ratio (male per 100 female)||112.24|
|Economically active population||22.75%|
The Sindhis as a whole are composed of original descendants of an ancient population known as Sammaat, various sub-groups related to the Seraiki or Baloch origin are found in interior Sindh. Sindhis of Balochi origin make up about 30% of the total population of Sindh, while Urdu-speaking Muhajirs make up 20% of the total population of the province. Also found in the province is a small group claiming descent from early Muslim settlers including Arabs, Turks, Pashtuns and Persian.
The first known village settlements date as far back as 7000 BCE. Permanent settlements at Mehrgarh to the west expanded into Sindh. This culture blossomed over several millennia and gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BCE.
The Indus Valley Civilization rivalled the contemporary civilizations of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in both size and scope numbering nearly half a million inhabitants at its height with well-planned grid cities and sewer systems. It is known that the Indus Valley Civilization traded with ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt via established shipping lanes. In ancient Egypt, the word for cotton was Sindh suggesting that the bulk of that civilization's cotton was imported from the Indus Valley Civilization.
A branch of the Indo-Iranian tribes, called the Indo-Aryans are believed to have founded the Vedic Civilization that existed between Sarasvati River and Ganges River around 1500 BCE and also influenced Indus Valley Civilization. This civilization helped shape subsequent cultures in the South Asia.
Sindh was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE, and became part of the Persian satrapy (province) of Hindush centred in the Punjab to the north. Persian speech had a tendency to replace 'S' with an 'H' resulting in 'Sindhu' being pronounced and written as 'Hindu'. They introduced the Kharoshti script in the region and established links to the west.
In the late 300s BCE, Sindh was conquered by a mixed army led by Macedonian Greeks under Alexander the Great. The region remained under control of Greek satraps only for a few decades. After Alexander's death, there was a brief period of Seleucid rule, before Sindh was traded to the Mauryan Empire led by Chandragupta in 305 BCE. During the rule of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, the Buddhist religion spread to Sindh.
Mauryan rule ended in 185 BCE with the overthrow of the last king by the Sunga Dynasty. In the disorders that followed, Greek rule returned when Demetrius I of Bactria led a Greco-Bactrian invasion of India and annexed most of northwestern lands, including Sindh. Demetrius was later defeated and killed by a usurper, but his descendents continued to rule Sindh and other lands as the Indo-Greek Kingdom. Under the reign of Menander I many Indo-Greeks followed his example and converted to Buddhism.
In the late 100s BCE, Scythian tribes shattered the Greco-Bactrian empire and invaded the Indo-Greek lands. Unable to take the Punjab region, they seized Sistan and invaded India by coming through Sindh, where they became known as Indo-Scythians (later Western Satraps). Subsequently, the Tocharian Kushan Empire annexed Sindh by the 1st century CE. Though the Kushans were Zoroastrian, they were tolerant of the local Buddhist tradition and sponsored many building projects for local beliefs.
The Kushan Empire were defeated in the mid 200s CE by the Sassanid Empire of Persia, who installed vassals known as the Kushans. These rulers were defeated by the Kidarites in the late 300s, though Sindh became part of the Gupta Empire. By the late 400s, attacks by Hephthalite tribes known as the Indo-Hephthalites or Hunas (Huns) broke through the Gupta Empire's North-Western borders and overran much of Northern and Western India. During these upheavals, Sindh became independent under the Rai Dynasty around 478 AD. The Rais were overthrown by Chach of Alor around 632 CE. The Chacha Dynasty ruled Sindh until the coming of the Muslim Arabs in 711 CE.
During the reign of Rashidun Caliph Umar, an expedition was sent to conquer Makran. This was the first time that Muslim armies had entered Sindh. The Islamic army defeated the Hindu king of Sindh, Raja Rasil, on the western bank of the Indus. The armies of the Raja accordingly retreated to interior Sindh. Caliph Umar, on getting the information about the miserable conditions of Sindh, stopped his armies from crossing the Indus and, instead, ordered them to consolidate their position in Makran and Baluchistan. Umar's successor Caliph Uthman also sent his agent to investigate the matters of Sindh. Upon getting the same information of unfavourable geographical conditions and the miserable lives of the people, he forbade his armies to enter Sindh. During the Rashidun Caliphate only the southwestern part of Sindh around the western bank of the Indus, and some northern parts near the frontiers of Baluchistan remained under the rule of the Islamic empire. Sindh was finally conquered by Syrian Arabs, led by Muhammad bin Qasim. Sindh became the easternmost province of the Umayyad Caliphate referred to as Al-Sindh on Arab maps with lands further east known as Hind. These maps resemble the current border between the nations of Pakistan and India. The defeat of the Hindu ruler Raja Dahir was made easier by the tension between the Buddhist majority and the ruling Hindus' fragile base of control.
The Arabs redefined the region and adopted the term Budd to refer to the numerous Buddhist idols they encountered, a word that remains in use today. The city of Mansura was established as a regional Misr or capital. Arab rule lasted for nearly three centuries, and a fusion of cultures produced much of what is today modern Sindhi society. Arab geographers, historians and travellers also sometimes used the name "Sindh" for the entire area from the Arabian Sea to the Hindu Kush.
Arab rule ended with the ascension of the Soomro dynasty, who were local Sindhi Muslims, and who controlled the province directly and as vassals of the Arabs from 1058 to 1249. Turkic invaders conquered the area by 977 CE and the region loosely became part of the Ghaznavid Empire and then the Delhi Sultanate which lasted until 1524.
The Mughals seized the region and their rule lasted for another two centuries, while another local Sindhi Muslim group, the Samma, challenged Mughal rule from their base at Thatta. The Muslim Sufi played a pivotal role in converting the millions of native people to Islam.
British and Bengal Presidency forces under General Charles Napier arrived in Sindh in the 19th century and conquered it in 1843. It is said that he reported the conquest by sending back to the Governor General a one-word message, "Peccavi" Latin for "I have sinned" (a pun on "I have Sindh"), these words later appearing as a cartoon in Punch magazine. The first Aga Khan helped the British in the conquest of Sindh and was granted a pension as a result..
After 1853, Sindh was divided into provinces, each being assigned a Zamindar or Wadera to collect taxes for the British (a system adopted from the Mughals). In a highly controversial move, Sindh was later made part of British India's Bombay Presidency much to the surprise of the local population, who found the decision illogical. Shortly afterwards, the decision was reversed and Sindh became a separate province in 1935. The British ruled the area for a century and Sindh was home to many prominent Muslim leaders including Muhammad Ali Jinnah who strove for greater Muslim autonomy.
In 1947, when the British left, Pakistan gained independence. In 1947, 25 per cent of the population of Sindh was Hindu. Most of the Hindu Sindhis were city dwellers and were largely traders and involved in commerce. They were responsible for the export of products made in Sindh and contributed significantly to the economy of Sindh. After independence the Hindus migrated to India.
Since Pakistan's Independence in 1947, Sindh has been the destination of a continuous stream of migration from South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Burma, and Afghanistan as well as Pashtun and Punjabi immigrants from the North West Frontier Province and the Punjab Province of Pakistan to Karachi. This is due to the fact that Karachi is the economic magnet of Pakistan attracting people from all over Pakistan. Many native Sindhis resent this influx. Nonetheless, traditional Sindhi families remain prominent in Pakistani politics, especially the Bhutto, Zardari and Soomro dynasties. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan, was from Karachi, Sindh.
There are 23 districts in Sindh, Pakistan.
Endowed with coastal access, Sindh is the backbone of Pakistan's economy. It generates almost 30% of the total national tax revenue (26.8% in the last two years). The federal government, however, spends just 23% of the financial divisible pool there. The Sindh government considers the formula of financial resource distribution (the NFC award) to be unjust and solely population-denominated. But the fact remains that most business is done through Karachi - a major sea port and major revenue collection and banking centre. Because Karachi is a business hub, actual Sindh tax revenue is much higher than its official tax revenue.
Sindh is a major centre of economic activity in Pakistan and has a highly diversified economy ranging from heavy industry and finance centred in and around Karachi to a substantial agricultural base along the Indus. Pakistan's rapidly growing information technology sector (IT) is also centred in Karachi and manufacturing includes machine products, cement, plastics, and various other goods.
Agriculture is very important in Sindh with cotton, rice, wheat, sugar cane, bananas, and mangoes as the most important crops. Sindh is the richest province in natural resources of gas, petrol, and coal.
Mango, date palms, and the more recently introduced banana, guava, orange, and chiku are the typical fruit-bearing trees. The coastal strip and the creeks abound in semi-aquatic and aquatic plants, and the inshore Indus deltaic islands have forests of Avicennia tomentosa (timmer) and Ceriops candolleana (chaunir) trees. Water lilies grow in abundance in the numerous lake and ponds, particularly in the lower Sindh region.
Among the wild animals, the Sindh ibex (sareh), wild sheep (urial or gadh) and black bear are found in the western rocky range, where the leopard is now rare. The pirrang (large tiger cat or fishing cat) of the eastern desert region is also disappearing. Deer occur in the lower rocky plains and in the eastern region, as do the striped hyena (charakh), jackal, fox, porcupine, common gray mongoose, and hedgehog. The Sindhi phekari, ped lynx or Caracal cat, is found in some areas.
Phartho (hog deer) and wild bear occur particularly in the central inundation belt. There are a variety of bats, lizards, and reptiles, including the cobra, lundi (viper), and the mysterious Sindh krait of the Thar region, which is supposed to suck the victim's breath in his sleep. Crocodiles are rare and inhabit only the backwaters of the Indus and the eastern Nara channel. Besides a large variety of marine fish, the plumbeous dolphin, the beaked dolphin, rorqual or blue whale, and a variety of skates frequent the seas along the Sind coast. The pallo (sable fish), though a marine fish, ascends the Indus annually from February to April to spawn.
This is a chart of the education market of Sindh estimated by the government in 1998.
|Qualification||Urban||Rural||Total||Enrollment Ratio (%)|
|BA, BSc… degrees||106,847||53,040||159,887||9.59|
|MA, MSc… degrees||1,320,747||552,241||1,872,988||9.07|
There are six Cadet Colleges also. Admission to state run educational institutions in Pakistan is based on the provincial level. The other three provinces have a merit-based intraprovincial admission policy. Sindh is an exception to this general rule, where admissions are allowed on district domiciles of the candidates and their parents. This arrangement discriminates against meritorious students of Sindhi ethnic background, denying them admission to educational institutes and courses of their choice. Currently there is a lot of resentment of this admission policy. Sindhis are demanding intraprovincial merit-based admissions to state run educational institutes, similar to the one existing in other provinces. This will provide equal opportunities to all students of Sindh. Furthermore, the armed forces have also entered the education sector. They are funded by government and operate like private costly education providers.
Though chiefly an agricultural and pastoral province, Sindh has a reputation for 'Ajrak', pottery, leatherwork, carpets, textiles, and silk cloth which, in design and finish, are matchless. The chief articles produced are blankets, coarse cotton cloth (soosi) camel fittings, metalwork, lacquered work, enamel, gold and silver embroidery. Hala is famous for pottery and tiles; Boobak for carpets; Nasirpur, Gambat and Thatta for cotton lungees and Khes. The earthenware of Johi, metal vessels of Shikarpur, relli, embroidery, and leather articles of Tharparkar, and lacquered work of Kandhkot are some of the other popular crafts.
The pre-historic finds from different archaeological sites such as Mohenjo-daro, engravings in various graveyards, and the architectural designs of Makli and other tombs provide ample evidence of the people in their literary and musical traditions.
Modern painting and calligraphy have also developed in recent times and some young trained men have taken up commercial art collections.
Sindh has a rich heritage of traditional handicraft that has evolved over the centuries. Perhaps the most professed exposition of Sindhi culture is in the handicrafts of Hala, a town some 30 kilometres from Hyderabad. Hala’s artisans are manufacturing high quality and impressively priced wooden handicrafts, textiles, paintings, handmade paper products, blue pottery, etc. Lacquered wood works known as Jandi, painting on wood, tiles, and pottery known as Kashi, hand woven textiles including Khadi, Susi, and Ajrak are synonymous with Sindhi culture preserved in Hala’s handicraft.
The artisans of Hala rarely get the justified price of their labour. The middlemen have been exploiting the artisans for decades selling the handicrafts at exorbitant profit margins at tourist hot spots of Karachi Lahore and Islamabad and even abroad. There is a dire need of patronizing the handicraft cluster of Hala, provide the artisans a platform to sell their products in cities and export markets so as to enable them earn handsome amount of their produced goods.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Authority (SMEDA) is planning to set up an organization of artisans to empower the community. SMEDA is also publishing a directory of the artisans so that exporters can directly contact them. Hala is the home of a remarkable variety of traditional crafts and traditional handicrafts that carry with them centuries of skill that has woven magic into the motifs and designs used.
The diverse Sindhi cultures, lifestyles, traditions as well as geographical conditions have influenced Sindhi art, and for over a century handicrafts have been a source of pride and a livelihood for the people of Hala. Kashi woodwork and other products made by the artisan community of Hala have established a position in the domestic and international markets. Jandi woodwork of Hala gives a glimpse of the richness of Pakistani culture and tradition has been followed through generations.
Sindh is known the world over for its various handicrafts and arts. The work of Sindhi artisans was sold in ancient markets of Armenia, Baghdad, Basra, Istanbul, Cairo and Samarkand. Referring to the lacquer work on wood locally known as Jandi, T. Posten an English traveller who visited Sindh in early 19th century said, the articles of Hala could be compared with exquisite specimens of China.
Jandi is famous all over the world due to its delicacy, durability and the natural beauty of the wood. Jandi is rendered on lamps, candle stands, flower vases, jewelry boxes, cigarette boxes, ash trays, pots, swings, cots, dressing tables, chairs & tables, bedroom sets, sofa sets, and telephone stands. The Jandi work also has its drawbacks. The persons associated with the business said that lacquer furniture and items have a long life but acid, alcohol, and oil will damage the colour. Moreover, direct sunshine and water can destroy the life of the products. Hala has also preserved the extraordinary traditional ceramic techniques.
The village potters known as kumhaar across the South Asia are still producing exquisite earthenware in Hala. In Pakistan the finest examples of Kashi work are in the Sindh province. Kashi work consisted of two kinds: (a) Enamel-faced tiles and bricks of strongly fired red earthenware, or terracotta; (b) Enamel faced tiles and tesserae of lightly fired lime-mortar, or sandstone. Some authorities describe tile-mosaic work as the true Kashi.
Hala’s apparel tradition is one of the world’s oldest with handlooms and power looms dating back to the Indus valley civilization. The hand-spun and hand-woven cloth called "Khadi" was being exported to various countries since time immemorial.
Since Khadi deals in natural fibres viz. cotton, silk and wool only, spun and woven in natural environment, it can boast of being 100 percent natural, unlike handloom and mills which receive cotton yarn, blended with some regenerated cellulose fibres. Khadi cloth has found its place in haute couture and on the ramps of most eminent fashion devas.
Over a period of time cotton was mixed with silk to create Mashru, a double layered material with a thick cotton base and a silken warp woven in satin weave, a purely Indian innovation. It was woven specially for the ladies. In the Susi weave the cotton weft lay against the skin; hence it was permissible to wear it. In the Ain-i-Akbari, it is mentioned that Susi, a reputed silken fabric from Shush, a town in Persia, was originally brought to the Deccan via Alexandria during the 11th century. Susi lost its silken character somewhere along the line and reappeared as a cotton fabric in Lahore in the 1620’s. Susi later became synonymous with Sindh, the primary production centres being Hala and Hyderabad.
Technological improvements were gradually introduced such as the spinning wheel [charkha] and treadle [pai-chah] in the weavers’ loom, to increase refinement in designing, dyeing and printing by block. Painting process amounted for a much higher volume of output. The refined, lightweight, colourful, washable fabrics from Hala became a luxury for people used to only woollens and linens of the age.
Ajrak has been in Sindh since the birth of its civilization. Blue colour is dominantly used in Ajrak. Also, Sindh was traditionally a large producer of indigo and cotton cloth and both used to be exported to the Middle East. Ajrak is a mark of respect when it is given to an honoured quest, friend or woman. In Sindh, it is most commonly given as a gift at Eid, at weddings, or on other special occasions - like homecoming.
Along with Ajrak the Rilli or patchwork sheet, is another Sindhi icon and part of the heritage and culture. Every Sindhi home will have set of Rillis - one for each member of the family and few spare for guests. Rilli is made with different small pieces of different geometrical shapes of cloths sewn together to create intricate designs.
Rilhi is also given as a gift to friends and visitors. It is used as a bedspread as well as a blanket. A beautifully sewn Rilli can also become part of a bride or grooms gifts. Rural women in Sindh are skilful in producing Sindhi caps.
Sindhi caps are manufactured commercially on a small scale at New Saeedabad and Hala New. These are in demand with visitors from Karachi and other places and these manufacturing units have very limited production due to lack of marketing facilities.
Sindh has numerous tourist sites with the most prominent being the ruins of Mohenjo-daro near the city of Larkana. Islamic architecture is quite prominent in the province with the Jama Masjid in Thatta built by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan and numerous mausoleums dot the province including the very old Shahbaz Qalander mausoleum dedicated to the Iranian-born Sufi and the beautiful mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah known as the Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi.
Daraza Sharif, a small village, some 52 km from Khairpur, is known for the tomb of Sachal Sarmast who was a great master of Islamic learning, lived a pious life and composed poetry in Sindhi, Seraiki, Persian and Urdu. Sachal Sarmast's Urs is celebrated on 14th of Ramzan (9th month of Islamic lunar calendar).
Note: Regarding those personalities who were born before 1947 and lived until after independence, the criteria used for judging which list to put them under is when did this person first make a name for themselves, e.g., Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Sindhi literature||Famous poets|