Religion of the Sindhis

Religion of the Sindhis (as recorded a century ago..)

– Gul Agha’s Notes

From Hastings (ed.), Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (vol. 11, ca 1912). The section is written by a Prof. W. Crooke and is annotated by a number of citations and quotes. So what does an external, turn of the century, observer have to say: The province is distinguished from the other parts of India by the great predominance of Muhammadans, who, at the time of the census of 1911 amounted to 75.14%.. Hindus being 23.83% and the balance made up of animists, Christians, Parsis, Jews, and the so-called Hindu-Mohammadans, who follow both creeds.”

The Brahmans, consisting of Pokharnas from Rajputana are illiterate and depraved… The most important Hindu caste [sic] is that of the Lohanas of whom the Amil section are clerks and writers… There are few castes of the Sudra group those that exist wearing Brahmanincal cord.. the Sikhs include the Akali Khalsa, or pure Sikhs, and Lohanas… the local Hinduism is of the impure type, only a few Brahmans studying Sanskrit, while the popular faith is mixed up with Islam and Sikhism.”

From the section entitled, “The Fusion of Islam and Hinduism” “We find Islam and Hinduism amalgamated here in a way more remarkable way, perhaps, than in any other part of India. The Hindu will often become the disciple (murid) of a Muslim, and vice versa; not only are the same saints respected by members of both religions, but each faith uses a different name for the same holy man. The Hindus know the river-god under the name Jind Pir (zindah, ‘the living one’), while Muhammadans call him Khwaja Khidr; in the same way Uddero Lal of the Hindus becomes the Musalman Shaikh Tahir and Lala Jasraj becomes Pir Mangho…”

From the next section entitled “Worship of Saints”: “The distinguishing feature of Islam in Sind is the wide-spread

worship of saints (pir, wali). This is largely due to the influence of Sufism (q.v.) and is opposed to the original form of the faith. But, though, they may have lost touch with the orthodoxy, the Musalmans are a religious people.”

It quotes, D. Ross, The Land of the Five Rivers and Sindh (1883): “The mass of Sindhi peasantry, though they may may be unacquainted with the cardinal articles of their faith, are careless or ignorant of its precepts; but, upon the whole, they strike a stranger as being more religious according to their lights than the Musalmans of almost any other part of India. They are also pre-eminent for abject devotion to Pirs and Sayads, living or dead.”

The article goes on to discuss veneration of the river Indus and some Sindhi saints, including Lal Shahbaz, Pir Mangho, Uddero Lal, etc. and describes the method of veneration of saints at their respective sepulchres (turbat’s).


One thought on “Religion of the Sindhis”

  1. I have been unable to find the link at the bottom of this article, please could you assist me in locating it? Thank you.

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