The Origins of the Sindhi Community:
The Sindhi Community, like any other society, evolved with and through the language. Knowing more about the evolution of Sindhi language may help us with understanding the origins of the community. The origins of the Sindhi language can be traced to Prakrit, the ancient language spoken in the region of the Indus river.
When Sanskrit developed, the region came to be known as the Sindhu region and the people that lived there came to be referred to as Sindhi (meaning “of Sindh”).
Sindhi became a popular literary language between the 14th and 18th centuries A.D. This is when Sufis such as Shah Abdul Latif, Sachal Sarmast, Sultan-al-Aoliya Muhammad Zaman, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (as well as numerous others) told stories and wrote about their experiences with the divine.
It is said that the Sindhi script was designed by an Englishman and the interference of the British in deciding the script for this widely popular language was met with much dissatisfaction.
Finally, after a long presence in the north, Sindhi was recognised as an official language in India
The population of Sindhi speaking people in the world…
is shrinking very fast.
The population of Sindhi speakers has scattered all over the globe. 1947 and the years around the Partition were especially difficult for the Sindhi communities. The churning of the Sindhi homeland led to Sindhi being spoken in many regions in India, especially in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The largest Sindhi enclave in India is located at Ulhasnagar, near Mumbai. Sindhi is also spoken as a minority language in several other countries where the Sindhi community has settled in large numbers, such as the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, where it is the fourth-most-commonly used language, and Canada, where it is the fourth-most-spoken language.
The total Sindhi population is over 50 million.
There are 45 million Sindhi speakers in Pakistan, 3 million in India, 200,000 in the U.A.E, 100,000 in the UK, 200,000 in KSA, 50,000 in USA, 35,000 in Canada , and smaller numbers in other countries . Many Sindhis are also living in areas of Rajasthan like Kishangarh and Ajmer.
However, as is the case with many vernacular languages, many young people do not speak Sindhi. English and Hindi (in India) are replacing the Sindhi language. Social trends like inter-linguistic marriages becoming more frequent is a factor affecting the numbers of Sindhi speakers among other factors.
Yet, many young couples insist on communicating in Sindhi at home. There is hope for preserving linguistic culture so long as there is a will to do so in the smallest social unit – the family.
Influence of other languages on Sindhi:
This area is better assessed as a review of the commonalities between Sindhi and the other languages that passed and settled in the region of the Sindhu. We must remember, that the Indus valley was a hot-bed of trade and exchange. Languages were exchanged as much as any other commodity.
From a contemporary standpoint, it appears that Persian is a close cousin. The shape and direction of the script is almost entirely borrowed from Persian. The Sindhi script, however, added to the Persian alphabet by doubling the number of letters.
Sanskrit seems to be the base of the Sindhi language and because of that Kacchhi, Gujarati, Punjabi (being contiguous areas) and even Marathi has many common words with Sindhi.
People are the carriers of language. Where the people go, there the language goes with them. They alter their languages as they alter their clothes – to suit the environment of the area and to get by in harmony with their locals and neighbours.
Two typical Sindhi traditions:
The most well known Sindhi tradition is the celebration of Chet-i-Chand. “Chet” is the month of “Chaitra” in Sindhi. This festival corresponds to the festival of Gudi Padwa and Ugadi. Chet-i-Chand is the celebration of the new year for Sindhi people.
Another typical Sindhi festival is Thadri. On this day no fire can be lit in a Sindhi home. Delicacies are prepared a day in advance and those are consumed. Thadri comes from “thado” or “cold”. The celebrations are a way of keeping the Mother Goddess appeased.
We would like to especially thank Saaz Aggarwal, Madhuri Sheth, Asha Chand and the Sindhi Sangat for their help and support. We look forward to exploring the richness of this wonderful community through their stories.