Sindhi Hindus in Gujarat

By Khaled Ahmed

Hindus were driven out of Sindh after 1947. They went to the neighbouring Indian state of Gujarat but were not accepted there by the local Hindu communities. Shockingly, these very Hindus, partly to be accepted as true Hindus, participated in the anti-Muslim violence in Godhra in Gujarat in 2002.

These facts have been revealed in the book Interpreting the Sindhi World: Essays on society and history; Edited by Michel Boivin & Matthew Cook (Oxford University Press, 2010). Like East Pakistan, nationalism in Sindh was language-based. The province was pluralist, just like East Pakistan. Hindus and Muslims lived in peace. Richard Burton wrote: “Hindu religion is not to be found in a state of purity in Sindh. Hinduism here is mixed up with the heterogeneous elements of Islam, and the faith of Nanak Shah. A Hindu will often become the murid (follower) of a Mussulman, and in some cases the contrary takes place… all great Pirs revered by the Moslems have classical Hindu names” (p.17).

The Supreme Court of India, in 2004, fined a litigant for asking to delete Sindh from the Indian national anthem, thus challenging any organic relationship between territory and nationalism (p.31).

The modern state of Gujarat consists of a strip of ‘mainland’ Gujarat, the peninsula of Saurashtra, and the western arm of Kutch (p.33). Later, Junagadh was also added. The Hindus of Sindh mostly moved to this state after Partition. They left en masse in 1948, after the immigrating populations touched off riots in Karachi.

Rita Kothari records the Hindu migration into Gujarat. Ships from Karachi arrived at the ports of Porbander, Veraval, and Okha on Gujarat’s coast. Movement towards Gujarat also happened indirectly, especially via Rajasthan, when Sindhis arrived from Mirpurkhas (p.58). These Sindhis looked ‘Muslim-like’ to the locals: “The Hindus of Sindh were not quite the most suitable examples of orthodox Hindus, as they were a meat-eating community in a largely vegetarian region” (p.59).

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/128170/sindhi-hindus-in-gujarat/

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