Political History

Political Background of Sindhi Community’s Migration

An exclusive insight of political background behind Migration of Sindhi Community and their participation in independence of India

Lord Minto was a person who founded the plinth of Pakistan to accept the Muslim representation in politics and Mr. Beck constructed the walls of Pakistan by his contribution in Muslim League.

By Dr. Manju Lalwani Pathak

Every minority study is dominant by political resonance, and almost all studies have been affected by the political affairs of the surroundings. Sindhis too have this kind of concern. Sindh was the origin state of Sindhi community. In Sindh Muslim were in majority and Hindu (all Hindus were Sindhis) were in minority. Power politics forced them to migrate from Sindh to other parts of free India. This research explains the series of incidence which became responsible for migration of Sindhis.

History is a grim reminder that till 1906 there was no animosity between Hindus and Muslims in Sindh. Both were united at social ground for their economic need. Sindhis were landlords. Muslims used to cultivate and Sindhi Hindus used to supervise and sell their grains. The artisan Muslims used to produce the artifacts and Sindhi Hindus used to trade these products in the markets. This symbiotic economy had made the cordial relation among them.

The British strategy was very clear. They had no inclination to transfer the power to Indians. For Hindus, independence was the first priority at any cost. So they created enmity between Hindhu and Muslims so that they would be busy solving their problems and may forget about the independence. So they adopted divide and rule policy to break the unity between Hindu and Muslim. The detail about the participation and migration of Sindhis is provided in this paper

Chronology of Incidents

In 1906, Lord Minto encouraged Muslims for communal representation. In this year Muslim Representative Committee met Lord Minto in Shimla, they asked for separate representation for Muslims in politics. In the same year a “Muslim Sammelan‟ was held in Dhaka with the help of British Govt. All India Muslim League was also founded in 1906. From that day to 1947 the history of Muslims of India became the history of Muslim League. During the same period, in 1906 Dr. Choithram, P. Gidwaani, Acharya Kriplani and Jairam, from Sindhi Community represented Sindh for Quit India Movement and Swadeshi movement in Sindh.

In 1908, Virumal Begraj as active Sindhi leader set up a Swedeshi store in Sukker, a town of Sindh. For this audacity he was sent to the imprisonment for five years in 1909 mentioned in reported Malkani‟s book. It shows the interest of Sindhis in the independence of their motherland.

In 1909, British Govt. gave a proposal for the rights of representatives of Muslims in politics on the basis of ratio of their population but when the proposal was passed as “1909 Act”, the ratio for Muslims was more than their population by the efforts of Muslim League. Hindus were surprised. Dr. D.N. Sen stated that with the foundation of Muslim League the cleavage between the Hindu and Muslims deepened.”

In 1910, Acharya J.B. Kriplani and prof. N.R. Malkani, Sindhi writers, set up the Bramhchary Ashram in Hyderabad (Sindh). This Ashram became the center of patriotic activities during independence struggle.

In 1912, Dr. Choithram arranged money for Rashbehari (a revolutionary of freedom movement) and sent him to Amritsar on way to Japan via Afghanistan as mentioned by Dr. Eugene D‟sauza in his writing. It signifies in Sindh the Sindhis had supported congress in independence struggle.

In 1913, Jinnah joined in the Muslim League and subsequently there was great change in direction of Muslim League. During this year, Lord Minto and Mr. Beck, Principal of M.A.O. College, Aligarh, incited the Muslims by their communal speech about their rights regarding transfer of political power by Congress leader to Hindus not Muslims.

In 1914, in line of British politics, publications of Mr. Beck aggravated the situation. Aligarh Institute Gazette, Central National Mohammedan Association and Mohammedan Foundation of encouraged Muslims for separation from Hindus.

In 1916, compromise made under Luna Act between Hindu and Muslims was the result of diplomacy of the British. Perhaps many Muslims and even Gandhiji could not understand this British policy.

In 1917, N.R. Malkani was professor in G.B.B. college of Muzaffarpur when Gandhi stayed with him in his home for a few days on way to Champaran. That day was the turning point in Malkani’s life. He resigned from his job, till independence he worked for Congress. The way of Malkani can be considered as the evidence that Sindhis used to believe in Gandhism way to get independence.

In 1918, Pandit Malviya visited Hyderabad (Sindh). K.R. Malkani and his group welcomed him in Sanskrit. Prof. Kripalani also resigned from G.B.B. college of Muzaffarpur in Bihar and he left a sum of Rs.2000 with Prof. N.R. Malkani for assistance to revolutionaries. This gesture shows keen interest to support in independence of own country.

In 1919, Sindh started publishing the daily newspaper “Hindu”, to mobilize patriotic public opinion.

In 1920, when Tilak visited Sindh, young Sindhis men pulled his carriage; women for the first time came out of their seclusion and offered aarti to him. Tilak observed the enthusiasm among Sindhis; he wrote in his paper “Kesary” about Sindhis, “If every province had Sindhi men like Dr. Choithram, we could break the chains of bondage in no times.” The words of Tilak highlight the spirit among Sindhis for independence and their faith on Hindu leaders.

In 1923, “Hindu Mahsabha” was formed by pro-congress members in Sindh. Muslims were disturbed. They started believing that their religion, language and culture could not be safe in a united India where the Hindus were bound to possess a predominant position because of their large number written by R.N. Aggrawaal.

In 1924, Dr. Choithram, Sindhi Freedom Fighter, (1889-1957) was a life-long public worker who started serving the country. He sacrificed everything for the cause of the country. During this year, many Sindhi women leaders such as Ganga Behn (wife of Acharya Gidwani) Kiki (Behn, sister of Kripalani), Ambi Khilnani (daughter-in-law of Kauromal), Ambi Khilnani, Ganga Gidwaani and Kumari Jethi Sipahimalani played a significant role in the public life of Sindh socially to spread freedom spirit among women. Apart from this, Virumal Bejraj, Jairamdas, Hemu Kalani, A.T.Gidvani, Ghanshyam Sivdasani, Jamshedmal helped in making ground for the freedom movement.

In 1927, the Muslim League was fist headed by Sir Syed Ali Emam and then by Aga Khan, later joined by Jinnah which one cannot ignore in Indian politics. The Muslim League was divided into two groups after Jinnah took charge. Aga Khan Group and Congress wanted National Independence with National Unity whereas Jinnah group wasted the National independence on the condition of separate country for Muslims. The two nourished diverse views.

In 1928, the policies framed by Motilal Nehru were the example of liberal attitude of Congress towards Muslim League. He gave “Neharu Report‟ to secure the communal representation on the basis of minorities. Jinnah did not accept the proposal given by Hindu leaders.

In the same year, Jinnah built his „Fourteen Points‟ and cleared two points in his report: first 2/3 reservation of Muslims in all Mantri Madals and second Sindh should be separated from Bombay. Including these two points, there were many other points which did not match with the Congress principles. Only to save the country from communal problems, congress accepted his report. But many other congress leaders criticized the acceptance of Jinnah’s report.

From 1930-1932, Satyagrah movement was made a huge success in Sindh by Sindhis. Also for first time women came out of the four walls of their homes to join processions. To see the independence spirit among Sindhis, Gandhiji stated in his prayer meeting, “I have not been to Sindh for many years… but at one time I used to call myself a Sindhi.”

In 1937, the effects of the elections gave a significant tern to Muslim League when congress achieved great success in these elections and congress refused to make Mantri Mandal with Muslim League.

In 1938, Jinnah became head of Muslim League and he created pro-Muslim fervor among young Muslims in India for separate country for Muslims.

In 1939, in the next step, Jinnah announced to celebrate Day of Deliverance on 22nd December 1939. The statements and activities of Muslim League brought the air of partition in united India and showed Jinnah’s wish.

One side Hindu political leaders were fighting with British leader for freedom and other side they were facing the problem of Jinnah’s repeated demand for a „separate state‟. At the same time they had to take care of Gandhiji’s wish to obtain Swarj by non-violence with Hindu-Muslim unity. But there was differences of opinion between Hindu leaders too as Subhash Chandra Bose had opined that Swaraj cannot only be obtained by non-violence.

In 1940, Jinnah successfully passed the proposal of demand of new country on March 23, 1940 during a session held at Lahore headed by Jinnah. He stated that according to geographical distribution, Muslim Majority states should be formed Pakistan mentioned by Dr. K.L. Muglani in his publication. Neharuji went to attend that meeting and gave his vote for partition of the country because he wanted to be free from British dependency at any cost.

The congress supported of unity of all the communities with its liberalism. But Hindu extremists gave the place to Muslims for the demand of Pakistan. And statement given Indian political leader also encouraged Muslims for separation like Nehru said about Muslims that if they are forced to stay in India, no progress and planning will be possible mentioned by Dr. K.L. Muglani,

In 1942, and by the end of 1943, Muslim League formed their government in Assam, Sindh and Bengal. Muslim League members increased from 1330 in 1927 to more than 100000 in 1940.

In 1944 December, Shree Raj Gopalachari prepared a plan as ‘C.R. Formula’ which stated that Pakistan would be given to Muslims after independence on the basis of Muslims majority but before that Muslims would cooperate with congress for Quit India Movement. This plan had an idea of „population exchange‟ on the basis of wishes of both the communities. Either Hindus can stay with Muslim majority or Muslims and stay with Hindu majority in free India.

Muglani stated that Gandhiji accepted this plan in state of helplessness but after 14 discussions between Gandhji and Jinnah, even finally Jinnah could not be convinced and he refused it.

In 1945, in general elections, it was clear that no one could prevent the division of the country because congress won all seats except Muslim majority seats whereas the Muslim League won the entire constituencies they represented. It is important to mention here that Sindh seat was won by Muslim League as Muslims were in majority. The result of election was shaken to the Sindhis.

In 1946, Muslim League won only 73 seats out of 296 seats in the election of cabinet mission plan for constitution committee. Jinnah was very disappointed. On 16th August 1946 he declared that by ‘Direct Action’ they would create Pakistan. There after communal riots erupted in many places especially in Karachi. In these riots about 7000 citizens were killed including 250 Muslims leaving the country in turmoil.

Sindhi freedom fighters found themselves helpless. After C.R. Formula, Kriplani suggested to Nehru for a voluntary exchange of population of Hindus from Pakistan because he wanted to bring all Sindhis to free India as Sindh was decided to give to form Pakistan on the basis of Muslim majority and they were in minority.

Kripalani’s plea for a voluntary exchange of population was brushed aside saying by Hindu political leaders that it will take long time. Atley declared that before June 1948, England will transfer the political power to Hindu and Muslims. Sindhis were shocked with this indifference of Hindu leaders‟ behavior towards them as they could not ever think after independence they could become outsiders and refugees within a night in their own country for which day night they are contributing.

In 1947, the then Governor General Mountbatten observed that there is no option but to resolve the problem of the country by partition. Very tactfully he convinced the leaders of both the religions.

On 3rd June 1947 under the “Mountbatten Plan” it was stated that the country would be divided into two states Bharat and Pakistan and Hindus and Muslims majority will decide whether to be a part of India or Pakistan. In Sindh, government policy of political discrimination came with the judicial decision against the Hindus. The post of city Magistrate in Karachi was abolished just because a Muslim could not be appointed (Published in Free Press Journal – 14th July, 1947). Social discrimination also created tension among Sindhis.

Political Background of Sindhi Community’s Migration -3
Sindhi families boarding a ship at Karachi Port for migration to India

After the Independence, Sindhis were totally confused because many Sindhi never wanted to leave their birth land Sindh but riots, insecurity and discrimination policy forced them to migrate in one hand, on other had they accounted only 25 per cent of population of Sindh but 40 per cent of movable and non-movable property was possessed by Sindhis in Sindh mentioned by Dr. Subhadra Anand. But Pakistan was formed on the basis of Muslim majority, they were Hindus, on that basis they thought they should leave the place and long processes of migration started from both the borders of Pakistan and free India.


Evidences provided in the paper prove that from 1906 to 1947 Sindhis were contributing to independence struggle of India but their participation was ignored.

It would not be wrong to say that Lord Minto was a person who founded the plinth of Pakistan to accept the Muslim representation in politics and Mr. Beck constructed the walls of Pakistan by his contribution in Muslim League.


Dr. Manju Lalwani Pathak – Department of Economics, Smt. C.H.M. College, Ulhasnagar, University of Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Courtesy: Sindh Welfare Society India


Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button