Lahiruun lakha libaasa,
Parnia pasarnu hekro.

Though the forms of waves differ,
Water pervades them all.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (Sufi poet, 1689-1752)

Sindhi is the name of the language spoken in Sindh and of those who speak it. Sindh is currently a province in Pakistan. While earlier the Sindhi speakers were concentrated in this particular province, the Indian Partition and later the north-south economical gap have led to an outflux of Sindhis, creating a diaspora in northern India as well as the West in general. Sindhi is the second largest language in Pakistan, and one of the constitutional languages of India. There are about 17 million speakers of Sindhi in Pakistan and 2 million in India.

India's former prime minister, L.K. Advani, is Sindhi. Some common Sindhi names include Balani, Bhojwani, Chandiramani, Chugani, Hassani, Hinduja, Hiranandani, Kripalani, Lalla, Lalwani, Lahori, Rajpal, Rupani, Samtani, and Uttamchandani.

The Sindhi language belongs to the Indo-European family, further classified as Indo-Iranian, where it unsurprisingly belongs to the Indic branch. The language has borrowed heavily from Arabic and Persian, as well as from Dravidian languages. Of linguistical interest are its use of implosives, sounds produced by sucking air into the mouth. It contains a number of fairly dissimilar dialects, the six major ones being Kachchi, Lari, Lasi, Siraiki, Thari, and Vicholi.

Sindhi is related to Hindi and Urdu, and can be written either using the Devanagari script of the former, or with a modified form of the Perso-Arabic script of the latter. The Arabic form is the official Pakistani one and the most frequently used. However, it has only been in use since it was imposed by the British administration in the 1800s. Earlier, Sindhi was written using the Landa script.

Mohenjo-Daro, the famous Indus Valley civilization site, lies in Sindh, and is therefore claimed as the cradle of Sindhi culture. However, Sindhi writing did not appear until the 8th century AD, and the oldest surviving literature are some couplets from the fifteenth century. Its first great poet was Shah Abdul Karim Bulri-a-varo, who lived in the seventeenth century, and was the grand-father of the even greater Shah Bhitai.

Modern Sindhi literature, which developed after India was conquered by the British, eagerly sought out new ideas from the west, but also nurtured a growing nationalism. The language was used as an instrument in the independence movement. Later on, it has proved strong enough to survive the displacement of many of its speakers. As a minority language, Sindhi is not taught in schools, neither in Pakistan nor in India.

Moro vethi gayan
Moro nahe thoro thoro
Moro vethi gayan.
Ayas ishk je are are
Dilbar dil viyo phure phure
Adiyun moro vethi gayan
Moro nahe thoro thoro

I am singing Moriro
My hands are full of desert fruits
I am trapped in the love net
and my beloved has robbed me of my heart.
O my friends!
I am singing Moriro
and my hands are full of desert fruits...

(Farmer working song)

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