Sindh & Sindhis

Sindh and Sindhis- The modern literature in anthropology, sociology and linguistics

Ibn Khuldun: The Annihilations of Nations and Sindhis

by Gul Agha

To understand the on going social, cultural and linguistic decline among Sindhis, one can look at the modern literature in anthropology, sociology and linguistics to see how nations perish. But the causes have been long understood — the new twist is that the rates can be more precisely measured (each rapid shifts in vocabulary and grammatical forms). A classic work of Ibn Khuldun, *The Muqaddimma, *provides great insight and is a recommended read for any serious student. Ibn Khuldun, a giant of his time, understood how nations perish, and it is instructive to read him and then look at Sindhi society today. Fortunately, Sindhis were able to overthrown other invaders after short periods of time and never had a large scale invasion, at least after the Aryans, until 1947 when Sindh lost 20% of its native population to diaspora, and the remaining nation was linguistically, socially and culturally subjugated by millions of migrants. Here is Ibn Khuldun’s speculation:

*Book I: Kitab al `Ibar (on the nature of civilization) Chapter 2:23. A nation that has been defeated and has come under the rule of another nation will quickly perish.

**The reason for this may possibly lie in the apathy that comes over people when they lose control of their own affairs and, through enslavement, become the instrument of others and dependent upon them. Hope diminishes and weakens. Now, propagation and an increase in civilization takes place only as a result of strong hope and the energy that hope creates in the animal powers (of man). When hope and the things and it stimulates are gone through apathy, and when group feeling has disappeared under the impact of defeat, civilization decreases and business and other activities stop. With their strength dwindling under the impact of defeat, people become unable to defend themselves. They become victims of anyone who tries to dominate them, and a prey to anyone who has the appetite. * (translated by F. Rosenthal)

Another insight Ibn Khuldun provides is how society’s with greater diversity of ideas, sects and beliefs are better able to resist invaders (because, says Ibn Khuldun, they are not prone to conforming with the dominant ideology imposed by invaders, instead they are used to confronting ideas and beliefs, so if you suppress one sect, others dissidents arise). No doubt the deparature of 20% of Sindhi population seriously weaked the Sindhi nation because of the concomittant loss of diversity, but the continued breadth of Sindhi ways remains their strength, their culture of resistance to adopting a single dominant ideology (fundamentalism) and respect for different religious and anti-religious thinking, provides an immense source of residual strength to this day.

We will have to see if the current processes reach their final completion in the perishing of Sindhi nation (*dharnii panaah dde) *or, Sindhis rise to attain their cultural, linguistic, political and social freedom. There is no other stable equilibrium condition in which a nation can survive for long..

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