Stories from Sindh

While Punjab and Bengal were to split in two after independence in India, Sindh was given intact to Pakistan. The creation of a new country, made on religious line, had mobilised the population and many immigrants from the united provinces shifted to Sindh. As uncertainty loomed, the Sindhi Hindus packed their bags and departed from their homeland, only to return when things settled down. As history has it, things never settled down. Sindh, a book by city-based Saaz Agarwal, explores the roots of the indomitable spirit of the Sindhi community that dispersed across India in search of work and a home after they left their homeland.

"Last November, I decided to start working with my mother, who is a Sindhi, to document her childhood memories. She had never spoken about Sindh before and I was amazed at the extent of what she remembered, even the minute details like the date on which her family was evacuated from Karachi and also when the ship docked in Mumbai. She spoke about some high-profile cases, which my grandfather, a lawyer, was involved with. I became curious to learn more," says Agarwal.

As the author read and got deeper into her mother's story, she became all the more curious and excited at having come across a subject so rich and deep, so strong and moving, yet so little documented. Agarwal adds that she was filled with admiration for the Sindhi people who moved on without any fuss and settled quietly, often in places where their very presence was resented. "They not only did well for themselves but also contributed towards others' well-being in a number of ways," she says adding that it took her a year to complete the book.

Sindh, the book explores the stories of lesser known Sindhis, like Hemu Kalani, a revolutionary freedom fighter, who was captured in 1942 and sentenced to death. He was hanged in Sukkur Jail in 1943 during the struggle for independence of India.

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