Shri Vidyavijayji and six other Sadhus started travel from Shivganj on 16th January 1937 via Balotra, Barmer, Munnabao, to Khokhropar, Mirpurkhas, Hala, Hyderabad and reached Karachi on 10th June 1937
[Editor’s Note: A lots of narratives related to Sindh history remain un-explored being hidden in the books and documents authored in languages other than English Sindhi and Urdu. Most researchers hardly attempt to learn the indigenous languages like Gujarati and dig out the history. Mr. Vimal Shah, a Gujarati Jain, based in Mumbai, has been contributing to Sindh Courier such rare stories related to Sindh from the Gujarati books and magazines. Currently, he is translating a pre-partition book authored in Gujarati language by a Jain Sadhu Shri Vidyavijayji. Mr. Vimal Shah will share Sindh-related excerpts from the book for the readers of Sindh Courier. Following is introductory note about the book while the rest of material will be published in parts every week – Nasir Aijaz, Editor Sindh Courier]
Vimal Shah, Mumbai
Original book in Gujarati “મારી સિંધ યાત્રા”
Translation of Title:
Hindi “मेरी सिंध यात्रा”, English “My Journey of Sindh”
Sindhi “منهنجي سنڌ جو سفر”, Urdu “میرا سندھ کا سفر۔۔۔”)
Writer: Shri Vidyavijayji (a Jain sadhu)
Disciple of Shri Vijay Dharmasuri (Jain Aacharya)
Second Edition : Year 1943
Publisher: Shri Vijay Dharmasuri Granthmala, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India
The book writer was persistently being requested by leaders of the Karachi Jain Sangh (community) to visit and preach in Karachi and est of Sindh region. Initially he was reluctant since not many Jain sadhus were visiting the region at that time. With a lot of persuasion, he decided to honor their request for spreading the message of Ahimsa (non-violence) of Bhagwan Mahavir (24th and last Tirthankar).
He visited Karachi and the rest of region in 1937 along with six more Sadhus and stayed there for two and half a years. After spending two Chaturmas (monsoons) in Karachi he had fallen sick and was advised to be away from daily routine and take a complete rest. He used that opportunity and began to narrate his experience in the form of this book. While writing this book, apart from his own experiences, he has also referred to other books and reference materials available at that time and included relevant details in this book.
Shri Vidyavijayji along with six more Sadhus started their travel from Shivganj on the Saturday, 16th January 1937. They traveled via Balotra, Barmer, Munnabao, Khokhropar to Mirpurkhas, Hala and Hyderabad, and reached Karachi on 10th June 1937. They had walked for 500+ miles (800+ km) one-way. It would be worth noting that Jain Sadhus travel bare foot, as they neither use any vehicle nor footwear. After spending three Chaturmas in Karachi, they departed on 8th December 1939.
Highlights of the book
The book is in the form of travelogue covering geography and history of Sindh; Communities – particularly Gujaratis, Jains, their history and present, and major events and activities performed while the writer was in Karachi. He has also covered customs and rituals, costumes, religion, values, temperaments, popular places of the region and many more.
The first edition of the book was sold out within 3 to 4 months. The book was very well appreciated by eminent literary writers and journalists. A review of the book was also broadcast by the Mumbai station of the ‘All India Radio’. The book was approved by the Government of Vadodara (Gujarat) for the Libraries of the State and awarding Prize.
Bhen (Sister) Parvati C. Advani, a renowned scholar from Hyderabad had translated from Gujarati to Perso-Arabic Sindhi 5 books of Shri Vidhyavijayji (Sachcho Sadhu سچو ساڌو, Sachcho Rahbar سچو رھبر, Foolanmooth ڦلن مُٺ, Ahimsa اھمسا , and Jain Dharma جين ڌرم ). She had also written biography of his Guru Shri Vijay Dharmasoori and a short biography named “Lord Mahavir” in Perso-Arabic Sindhi.
Apart from these, Shri Vidyavijayji has written books titled “My Journey of Kutch” in Gujarati, ‘My Journey of Marwar’ in Hindi, and more than thirty other books covering Jain religion and philosophy.
About this series of Articles based on the book
I intend to write a series of articles based on this valuable book. I would translate all the relevant excerpts from this book from Gujarati to English, which would be of immense interest to Indians and Pakistanis in general, and the Sindhi community and the Jain community worldwide in particular.
I intend to quote from the book in the words of the original writer, rather than rephrasing the information in my own words, unless there’s a strong reason to deviate.
At few places I will have to elaborate or explain certain things which may not be obviously understood by non-Gujarati or non-Jain audience.
At many places there would be mention of Samvat in the book instead of the English calendar year. Generally, we find Samvat in history and ancient inscriptions. The year of the event can be calculated by reducing 56 or 57 from the Samvat. For e.g., in the year 2023 the Samvat is 2079 which would change to 2080 after the Deepavali in November 2023.
About the contributor of the series of Articles based on the book
Vimal Shah is a follower of Jainism by birth and is based in Mumbai, India. He is a Computer Engineer and holds a Diploma in Jainology from Mumbai University. He has immense interest in reading, writing, studying, and teaching Jain Philosophical subjects. He conducts classroom as well as on-line sessions on Jain Philosophical courses. He has created several power point presentations with animation which he uses while teaching and has participated in several Jain Community events to present and explain the relevant subjects to the visiting audience. He has significantly contributed to the translation, reviewing, and editing of the set of books ‘Compendium of Jainism’ of JAINA, USA from English to Gujarati – an initiative of the JAINA India Foundation. He is also associated with a Project for the translation of Jain Aagams (Scriptures) from Gujarati to English and continues to study various subjects and remains a student of Jain Philosophy. He has a special interest in the history and preservation of the Jain Heritage in Pakistan, and is associated with the Jain Heritage Foundation, New Delhi.