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By: Jasarat Ilyas Jokhio

By: Jasarat Ilyas Jokhio


 By: Jasarat Ilyas Jokhio

            The Sindhi language is one of the ancient languages of the world, researchers have coined in recent literature. It is also called the ancient language of the Indo-Pak subcontinent where various languages are spoken. The Sindhi language has the quality to absorb any word from any local as well as international languages. Moreover, it can also donate its words, phrases, proverbs, synonyms, and idioms to any language in the world. This characteristic has made it a unique and most advanced language which has diverse literature and rich vocabulary with multiple trends run by various institutions like Sindhi language Authority, an institute of the Government of Sindh located in Hyderabad Sindh Pakistan has been working on its betterment and promotion in multicultural Sindh province which faced so many challenges after Indo-Pak partition in the shape of millions of refugees who migrated from India to Pakistan and 99.5% of those people were settled in Sindh province. Being an ancient language heritage of the world, as per Mukherji (2020), this language has evolved over 2.5 million years connecting its solid base in Sanskrit while as the uncountable vocabulary words from the various languages of the world like; Persian and Arabic, etc are also seen spoken in the Sindhi language.

           Consequently, such evolution of long duration of more than two millennia with many waves of invasions by different invaders like; Ancient Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Mughals, and so on the northwest of undivided India, had always been the first to see and bear the onslaught of the never-ending invaders, and as such absorbed Hindi, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, English, and even Portuguese words. This was also the seat of the ancient Indus valley civilization during the 3rd millennium BC as discovered in the Larkana district (Moen-jo-Daro) excavation by RD Bannerji. Banerji discovered the pictographic seals and clay tablets from the ruins and reported them to Sir John Marshall. These excavations still await proper decipherment by epigraphists.

           Sindhi language scripts are different and used by various people. People with diversity in scripts range variety which is impacted by environment, state, people, religion and surrounding, etc such as Sindhi people in Sindh Pakistan use Arabic script where Urdu (national language of Pakistan) and Arabic (the religious language of Muslims) are in Arabic scripts while as the Sindhi people of Indian states write Sindhi in Devnagari script because of Hindi language impact. In this way, there are various scripts of the Sindhi language commonly used around the world. This research will also be a baseline in this regard that how Sindhi people are impacted to use any specific script to write the Sindhi language?

           Research in the Sindhi language is widely published but there is a lot of gap in modern scientific research on the language. Currently, there are a few research journals that are circulated by some institutions in Sindh Pakistan (such as the University of Sindh, Sindhi Language Authority Hyderabad and the University of Karachi, etc) which focus mainly on the literature on the Sindhi language, however, the current research study has been made on the basis to provide a baseline for future researchers to have an opened door to work and chart out further proceedings and strategies for the betterment and progress of Sindhi language and literature.

Various materials and methods were used during the present research such as; the primary as well as secondary sources of Sindhi language were seen and checked during the current research where simple random sampling was used to study and explore various literature on Pakistani as well as Indian authors. Hence the present research design is quasi-experimental in which a mix-method has been used to collect data. During the simple random sampling, 50 people from the various countries were given questionnaires in which Sindhi dialectics, literature, and linguistics were focused. Additionally, 10 senior researchers’ were also given interview protocol regarding their work in the Sindhi language. Comparative analysis was also carried out by the writers of both countries to draw the results and conclusion.

             Results of the present study reveal that Sindhi people live in many countries with their unique traditions and culture which descend from the great Indus valley civilization (currently in Sindh Pakistan which is the meeting point of a rich diversity of multicultural synergy). Sindhi people are also famous because of their artistic creation in their lives due to geographical importance i.e. being surrounded by the long stretch of desert, mountains, and water reservoirs of the Indus River as well as the presence of the Arabian Sea in the south. Indus valley civilization and Sindhi people are famous because of their rich exquisite artistic creations of crafts, music, language, literature, leather, potteries, glazed tiles, embroidery, handmade prints, textile design, sports, and games, music, and ornaments, etc. Therefore, history reveals that Sindhi people have not only been the contributors to language, literature, dialectics but also the pioneers in philosophy, astronomy, creations, medicine, sociology, and philosophy, etc.

There has been a great debate launched, based upon the various discoveries and facts about the Sindhi language that it has been the derivative of the ancient Sanskrit dialect. Dr. Trumpp was the pioneer of the theory that Sindhi is a derivative of the Sanskrit language. Judging from its vocabulary and roots of verbs, Dr. Trumpp concluded that “Sindhi is a pure Sanskritised language, more free from foreign elements than any of the North Indian vernaculars.” Except for Dr. Trumpp, many of the later linguists are of the same view that Sindhi is the product of Sanskrit. That is the reason for the statement based upon the fact of classifying the Sindhi language in the Indo-Aryan Linguistic list (Vrachada dialect of Prakrit Language which links with the hymns of Rigveda). Contrary to this, Sir George Grierson counts the Sindhi language among the relatives of the Dardic (Paishacha) languages, which are spoken in the region besides Kashmir, known as Dardistan. The 8th century CE is known to be the first evidence of the Sindhi written script of Mahabharata. As per Khubchandani, “Sindhi is an ancient Indo-Aryan language, probably having its origin in a pre-Sanskrit Indo-Aryan Indus Valley language. The Lahnda and Kashmiri appear to be its cognate sisters with a common Dardic element in them all”. Therefore, three ancient languages i.e. Vrachada, Dardic, Sanskrit, and Prakrit have an impact on Sindhi.

Nowadays there are two alphabetical scripts of Sindhi i.e. Arabic and Devnagari. Sindhi people who live in Sindh, Pakistan do write in Arabic script while Devnagari-Sindhi is written in Kutch (Gujrat India). Few people also use Gurmukhi and Brahmi scripts. Roman Sindhi is mostly used by the people who do write messages on mobile or Whatsapp etc. Arabic and Devnagari scripts are more used by Sindhi people, however, Roman Sindhi script is getting more popular. Hence, the Roman Sindhi script needs more focus and rules to be made in order to make the Sindhi language more common and easy for people.

Post-partition incidents had given a lot of harm to the Sindhi language when millions of Sindhi speaking people migrated from Pakistan to India were an unlimited number of people migrated to Sindh and most of them were Urdu speaking people who are still unable to speak Sindhi. Gujrat is the Indian state which touches the Sindh border and a good number of people live here who are speaking Sindhi for the last 8 to 10 generations. Sindhi people also live in the other states of India such as Rajasthan, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar, Madhya Pradesh, etc. Therefore, the Indian constitution gives Sindhi its right and has declared the Sindhi language among the list of national languages. Consequently, the literature on Pakistan and India began to diverge significantly after 1947. Hence, the Hindi language impacted the Sindhi writers in India to write Sindhi in Devnagari while Arabic and Persian (Urdu) literature impacted the Sindhi writers in Sindh Pakistan to use Arabic scripted Sindhi.

The Sindhi language has various speaking dialectics such as; Utraadi (spoken in upper Sindh), Laari (Southern Sindh accent), Kohistani or Laasi (spoken in the mountainous or hilly regions of Sindh and Balochistan), Kutchi (also known as Memoni language which is spoken in Karachi, Thatta, Badin of Sindh Pakistan and Kathiawar, Kutch Bhuj of India, etc. It is also known from the lexical content of language that it is the mixture of Gujrati, Sindhi, and Rajasthani languages), Seraiki (spoken by the people of Balochi tribes in the upper or lower Sindh who belong to Indo-Aryan or Indic origin. It is also spoken by the people of northwest Punjab province of Pakistan), Vicholi (the standard language dialect spoken in the central Sindh region), Marwari (also known as Tharri; found in the Thar southeast desert region of both countries). Among these, the seven dialectics of Sindhi languages, the alphabetic scripts used are Arabic (Laari, Urtraadi, Vicholi, Kohistani, Saraiki) and Devanagari (Kutchi, Marwari, or Tharri). However, it is not a rule to write any script at any cost. People write it as per need and trend.

Sindhi language dialectics’ statistical analysis during the present research study reveals that the majority of people speak Utraadi (22%) while 21% and 14% of the population of the current study speak Laari and Vicholi respectively. Seraiki and Kohistani dialectics are spoken by 13% of the population followed by 11% of Marwari/ Tharri dialectics. Though many of the people were added here from the Indian Katch area they did not respond to Kacchi dialectics, however, it revealed only 6% of the population during the current study. All of the dialectics of the Sindhi language are spoken in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and Canada, while in the various other countries of the world as sampled from all continents of the world during the present study revealed that 100% of the people not only speak but also read/ write all of the dialects in Arabic and Roman scripts of Sindhi language in Pakistan, 100% of Indian Sindhi speak Kutchi, Laari and Vicholi dialects using Devanagari, Roman, Arabic, Grumkhi, and Brahmi scripts. Sindhi people from the United Kingdom speak Laari and Utraadi dialectics while only 70% of these people can read/ write Sindhi in Roman, Arabic, and Devanagari scripts, followed by 50% of the American Sindhi people speak Vicholi and Kachhi dialectics with reading/ writing Roman, Arabic and Devanagari scripts of Sindhi language, 40% of German Sindhi people can read/ write Roman and Arabic Sindhi scripts and speak Vicholi dialectics, 38% of South African Sindhi speak Laari and Tharri Sindhi dialectics and read/ write Sindhi in Roman script only, 37% of Australian Sindhi people speak Utraadi and Kohistani dialectics and use Roman, Arabic, and Devanagari Sindhi scripts. In this way, though all of the Sindhi language scripts are spoken in New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and Canada, just 35%, 36% and 30% of the Sindhi speaking population can read/ write Sindhi scripts respectively.

An interesting fact came into finding during the current survey of voting about various Sindhi Scripts that the majority of people (research population) like Roman Sindhi Script, followed by 28% of the people voted in favor of Arabic Sindhi Script, 27.5% voted for Devanagari Sindhi Script. In this way, Grukmkhi and Brahmi Sindhi Scripts were voted by 7.5% and 7% of the people respectively. In this way, the majority of Sindhi people use Roman script followed by Arabic and Devanagari scripts. This showed that the Roman Sindhi Script needs time to formulate properly for the global users of Sindhi people living in the various countries.

To conclude, the Sindhi language needs a lot of focus in terms of linguistic studies and research on its progressive reformations of alphabetic contents and innovative creations. Notwithstanding the fact of being the official language of Sindh province of Pakistan and being one of the major literary languages of India which is also recognized in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, there is a dire need of declaring it as a “national language” in Pakistan and “an official language” in any Indian state because it is widely spoken by a significant number of people in Sindh province of Pakistan as well as the various states of India where millions of people migrated during Indo-Pak partition after 1947. In the multicultural and multilingual environment, many people are unable to read and study the Sindhi language even in this modern era of technology. Sindhi linguistic experts and Sindhi scholars must review various Sindhi language scripts and also formulate Roman Sindhi Script which is liked and used by most people all around the world to write the Sindhi language. Though all of the dialectics of the Sindhi language are practically found spoken globally as the world is changing day by day and the multilingual culture is bringing various revolutions in languages which may affect the Sindhi language too. Therefore, such a great literary heritage of the Indian subcontinent needs great efforts to preserve and promote it more.


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