MUKHTIAR KHAN CHACHAR CHACHARS THE GREAT
HISTORY OF SINDH
Sindhu River the main life stream of Sindh has contributed to the economic well being from the ancient times. Ports and towns have flourished in its delta allowing navigation and trade from ocean to the inland up through Punjab. Arabs from west regarded India as heaven. Sindh being the rich territory at the frontiers was therefore invaded numerous times by plunderers and greedy empires of various aggressors from Greece, Turkistan, Persia, Iraq and Arabia.
The ancient history of Sindh can best be summarized as Vedic times through 3000 B.C., there after the Aryan culture followed by a gap and subsequently the rule of King Jaydrath in 1300 B.C. The religion of Arabians prior to Islam was very much similar to people of Sindhu Valley, pantheistic. When the Arabs captured Sicily in 53 H, they got hold of the gold idols, which they sold to the king of Sindh.
Alexander the Great's invasion (326-325 B.C.) faced hostile encounter and resistance in Sindh. This was greatly influenced by Brahmins who had persuaded the Sindhi King Sabbas to stand up and fight. To the horror of the local people, Alexander had a whole lot of Brahmins slaughtered. However he was so impressed with the quality and spirit of the Sindhi Brahmins that he captured and kept ten Brahmins with him. It is known that these ten Brahmins imparted wisdom and philosophy of Sindh to Alexander by answering many of his questions.
Greeks had noted that Sindhis were tall and slim and wore white leather shoes with thick soles "Juthies", to appear taller. Vanity in Sindhis is neither recent nor imported! Alexander had himself found Sindhis "healthy and temperate and partaking of community meals". Obviously the system of "langer" did not start with Sikhs. Greeks have one thing in common - Sindhi "bhoonda or buja" - the peculiar gesture of denunciation with open outstretched hand. In Greek it is known as "the moudja"which comes very close to buja. Was this a gift from Sindhis to Alexander or the other way around ?
From 100 B.C. to 100 A.C. Sindh came under the influence of Buddhism which was embraced by Emperor Kanishka whose third successor Vasudeva was King of Sindh. His coins have been found in Mohen-jo-daro. Around 200 A.C. Vedic influence reemerged in the upper classes and Buddhism became weaker. There after Sindh again saw variety of invaders till Gupta Dynasty took control of India's rule in 450 A.C. In 6th century Rai Sahasi the King of Sindh, was brother of the king of Chittor in Rajasthan. He was succeeded by Brahmin King Chach. He annexed Multan and fixed the border of Sindh with Kashmir and Iran. He had deodar and poplar trees planted along the frontier.
Chach had two sons Dahir and Daharsiah. Dahir ruled upper Sindh at Alor and Daharsiah ruled lower Sindh at Brahmanabad, near modern Nawabshah. Between 638 A.D. and 711 A.D. the Arabs launched as many as fifteen attacks against Sindh. In last attack of 712 A.D. Mohammed Bin Qasim succeeded in defeating King Dahir. It was on the evening of Thursday the 16 June 711, the saddest day in the History of Sindh when Sindhi King died due to treason in the local camp. After two years Arabs influence remained confined only to the port Debal and the coastline. Dahir's son Jaisiah assisted by Bappa Rawal of Chittor (A.D. 739-753) defeated the Arab army of Salim who surrendered and signed peace treaty that Arabs would never attack Sindh. It is significant that in the succeeding centuries Arabs never did attack Sindh.
Soomras the indigenous population of Sindh, a Rajput clan took over the rule by middle of 11th century. Names of 21 rulers for nearly three centuries are recorded in the history. During this period Sindh saw patriotism and folk literature. Soomras were Hindus with some Muslim influence, who became nominal Muslims while retaining their Hindu culture.
Folk stories of Rai Diyach and Lila-Chanesar are famous which have been made immortal by Shah Abdul Latif the Mahakavi of Sindh in his immortal compositions "Sur Sorath" and "Sur-Lila-Chanesar".
However the Sindhi epic of the period par excellence is the "Umar Marvi". Marvi reminds us of Sita in her confinement in Lanka. Interestingly enough ,both Ravana and Umar, old villains, were gentlemen enough; they did not force their will on their captive beauties. The Umar Marvi is an all abiding source of inspiration for Sindhis and Sindhyat in Hind, Sindh and all over the world.
From 1500 to 1700 A.C. Moghuls ruled Sindh. During this period Thatta was Capital for lower Sindh. In later part of 17th century Kalhoras gained power in the upper Sindh and subsequently took over the administration of whole Sindh. During this period Sindhi poetry reached its climax in the compositions of Shah Abdul Latif.
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