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Deliberations on Exodus of Hindu Community from Sindh

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Abstract

Freedom of sub-continent in 1947 marked end of the British Raj. It was an end of almost a hundred year old British Raj in sub-continent. On the other hand, this historic event was to add new tragic chapters in the history of this region. Technically, Partition of India was partition of her two provinces Punjab and Bengal. Partition of these provinces triggered mass migration in which thousands of people underwent through torture and molestations. In Sindh too significant number of minority population lived but they did not act initially in panic and stayed in Sindh. However few months later majority of Hindus of Sindh started migration towards India in order to save their lives. This study focuses upon to explore the main reasons behind the exodus of Hindu community from Sindh towards India. In this process, a detailed analysis has been carry out about relationship of Hindus and Muslims of Sindh both prior and after the announcement of partition of India. Lastly, initiatives taken by Dominion Government of Pakistan and India have been discuss in order to see how these initiatives affected exodus of Hindu community from Sindh.
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Deliberations on Exodus of Hindu Community from Sindh
Nasreen Afzal *
Mukhtiar Ahmed Burdi **
ABSTRACT
Freedom of sub-continent in 1947 marked end of the British Raj. It was an end of almost a
hundred year old British Raj in sub-continent. On the other hand, this historic event was to
add new tragic chapters in the history of this region. Technically, Partition of India was
partition of her two provinces Punjab and Bengal. Partition of these provinces triggered
mass migration in which thousands of people underwent through torture and molestations.
In Sindh too significant number of minority population lived but they did not act initially in
panic and stayed in Sindh. However few months later majority of Hindus of Sindh started
migration towards India in order to save their lives. This study focuses upon to explore the
main reasons behind the exodus of Hindu community from Sindh towards India. In this
process, a detailed analysis has been carry out about relationship of Hindus and Muslims
of Sindh both prior and after the announcement of partition of India. Lastly, initiatives taken
by Dominion Government of Pakistan and India have been discuss in order to see how
these initiatives affected exodus of Hindu community from Sindh.
Key Words: Exodus, Hindu community, Riots, Fear, Agreements, Commercial Interest.
Introduction:
For centuries Muslims and Hindus lived with peace and harmony in Sindh.
Despite of the fact, that Sindh was predominantly a Muslim majority province
one could hardly find large scale inter communal conflicts in Sindh. This
peaceful atmosphere of province was result of the number of factors. Significant
among them was the religious tolerance found between these two communities.
Muslim Sufi saints preached message of love and peace between the two
communities and Hindus along with Muslims visited the shrines of these Sufi
saints and paid their reverences. Besides this, both the communities jointly
celebrated communal festivals. (Harijani, 2018). The economy of province was
mainly under the control of Hindus who were banias, merchants and traders.
Muslim rulers of Sindh used to keep Hindu amils as munshis and revenue
collectors. (Falzon, 2004) On the other hand, majority of the Muslims worked as
peasants on the lands of the rulers of Sindh. With this social setup, both the
communities lived in the province with harmony.
However, one can observe communal harmony in Sindh, but there are still
several instances of communal riots in the history of Sindh, which reveal
inconsistency in their relations. For example,
The infrequent forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam incited riots in
Sukkur(1872) and in the Sehwan (1884)
Dispute over the playing of music in a temple in Thattha provoked violence
in 1891
* Professor, Department of History, University of Karachi
** M.Phil, Department of History, University of Karachi
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In 1893, a Moharram procession in Sukkur turned into an anti-Hindu riot
during which the Town Inspector of Police, a Hindu was badly beaten.
(Chessman, no date,p.185)
Because of the deeds of Shuddhi, Arya Samaj and Hindu Mahasabha
movements in 1928 communal uprisings broke out in Larkana. Followers of
these movements sought to find Hindus who had converted to Islam and
reconvert them to Hinduism. People from Arya Samaj kidnap a converted
Hindu woman who was married to Muslim property owner. The husband of
the woman complaint to the police and asked for her return, but the police of
Larkana took no action. This created anger among the villagers who entered
the Larkana City and created disorders. Taking advantage of the situation
Hindu Mahasabha started attacking Muslims agitators. These riots latter
spread to some other towns also. (Salim,004.pp3-4)
Despite of occasional communal problems, inter-communal understanding between
Muslims and Hindus of Sindh continued in the twentieth century – a century marked
with major political movements in the history of the Indian Sub-Continent. By this
time, Muslims and Hindus of India had formed their political parties and they had
started a struggle for constitutional rights for their respective communities.
The premier case of inter - communal harmony and collaboration was the issue of
Sindh separation from Bombay Presidency. In 1847, after the removal of Napier,
Sindh was assimilate with the Bombay Presidency. This merger was severely
criticize by, the local Hindu and Muslim leadership, who raised their grievances
upon the amalgamation of Sindh with Bombay Presidency. Sindh throughout the
history remained a separate autonomous region and linguistically, culturally and
economically it possessed distinctive characteristic then rest of the Bombay
Presidency. The administrative merger of Sindh with Bombay Presidency stalled
the overall growth of the Sindh and its people. For instance, economically the
business and agriculture suffered. Similarly, in the field of education by the
year1885, due to the inattention of Bombay government, there was not a single
college in Sindh and students had to go to Bombay for higher studies. To overcome
this conundrum, a Hindu graduate named Dayaram Gidumal propagated the idea to
setup a college in Sindh and for this purpose; he collected the amount of 80,000
rupees. Another Hindu personality, Dayaram Jethmal contributed large sum in this
cause and even today, the college stands in his name as D.J Science College in
Karachi. (Syed, 2013, no page number) Additionally, the arrogant and disrespectful
behaviour of British bureaucrats developed resentment among the people of Sindh.
On these grounds Muslim and Hindu political leadership of Sindh, jointly start a
struggle for the separation of Sindh from the Bombay Presidency. The demand
for the separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency first came from the platform
of All India National Congress, which held its annual session at Karachi in 1913.
Soomro (1989, pp.08-10) states that in this session, Seth Harchandrai Vishindas
put forward the demand of separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency. Later,
All India Muslim League in its session in 1925 at Aligarh passed a resolution in
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favor of the demand of separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency. In the year
1928, Motilal Nehru presented his report about the principles of the future
constitution in India and in his report; he accepted the demand of the people of
Sindh for provincial autonomy. He writes in his report that, “Sindh undoubtly
satisfies the two main tests. Further, it is clearly a geographical unit and its
connection with Bombay is a most unnatural one. It is not only easily accessible
from Bombay and thus from an administrative point of view a separation is
desirable.” (Nehru, 1975, p.66) Additionally, M.A Jinnah in his well-known
Fourteen Points also reiterated the demand for the separation of Sindh from
Bombay. By the endless and dedicated joint efforts of Muslim and Hindu
leadership Sindh once again became autonomous province of India in 1936.
The concord and collaboration that persisted in the province unfortunately started
to deteriorate after Sindh became an autonomous province. In an autonomous
province of Sindh, these two communities witnessed each other on the opposite
sides over the issue of acquisition of old structure of Masjid Manzilgah1 located
in Sukkur. After the annexation of Sindh, this structure came under the control of
British Government. Muslims of Sukkur asserted that building was originally a
mosque therefore hand over to Muslims. Hindus of Sukkur opposed the Muslim
demand as they viewed the recognition of building, as mosque would threaten
their use of Sadhbela temple, which faced Manzilgah building and therefore
insisted that building should remain under Government. No timely decision of the
Government led to Hindu Muslim riots in which Hindus suffered profoundly.
The last major factor, which further develop apprehensions, was the Lahore
Resolution of 1940 in which Muslim League demanded the unification of
Muslim majority areas of India. Latter this demand turned into the creation of
Pakistan by dividing India. Subsequently, prominent Muslim leaders of Sindh
joined Muslim League and they aligned themselves with the Pakistan movement.
The experience of communal riots of the past and then separation of Sindh from
India developed reservations in Hindu community of Sindh regarding their status
in an independent state of Pakistan.
The partition of India is remembered as one the bloodiest phase in the history of
the region. The people of Punjab and Bengal were the main sufferers of
unpleasant experiences of partition. During this tragic phase, however, people of
Sindh remained peaceful and they did not develop fervor about partition.
Nevertheless, this peaceful environment of the province changed suddenly and
Hindu community started migration towards India. According to the figures
given by the Pakistan Government in 1949, some 821,000 non-Muslims left
Sindh on the other hand; it has estimated that out of twelve lakh non-Muslims
some ten lakh emigrated from Sindh. (Khosla, 1950, p.249).In the year, 1941
Hindus were about 51 percent of the total population of Karachi. However, in the
1Manzilgah was originally a mosque built by Mughal emperor Akbar the Great in 1007
AH / 1009 H. After the annexation of Sindh, this structure came under the control of
British Government.
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year 1951this figure shockingly dropped to 2 percent. (Hasan, 2009, p.111).It is
incomprehensible for a person that why the Hindu community which formed
majority of the population of Karachi emigrated towards India. What were the
factors and causes, which forced them to do so? Whether they emigrated at their
own will or were there other factors, which, contributed to their exodus from
Sindh and Karachi in particular. Who could be count responsible for their exodus
from Sindh? This monograph aims to find the answers of all these questions.
Karachi: Escalation of the Communal Tensions
Initially Karachi was seize by the British troops in the year 1839. (Farooqi,
2005)Soon after the annexation of Sindh in the year 1843 by the British East
India Company, the company authorities took measures to develop Karachi. For
this purpose, many projects started and completed in short period. To meet the
modern requirements of the British administration in Karachi, harbors and many
buildings were constructed.
At the time of occupation of Karachi by the British Company troops, it had
population between 8,000 to 14,000 persons (Baillie, 2009, p.88). According to the
last census carried out by British authorities total population of Karachi in the year
1941 was about 450,000 and out of this figure Hindus formed 51 percent of the total
population and there was 42 percent total Muslim population in Karachi. (Hasan,
2009, p.111)These figures show us that Hindus predominantly inhabited Karachi.
In the first ten years of twentieth century significant events occurred which
heated the political environment of India. Muslims of India formed their separate
political party called All-India Muslim League. This party gained attention of
Muslim nobility and some prominent Muslim leaders joined this party. On the
other hand, Hindus throughout the India were very much active in politics of
Congress. In this situation emergence of separate Muslim political party, become
cause of disagreement between Muslims and Hindus. This scenario had its effects
on national as well as on regional politics. However, it had very little effect on
politics of Sindh and political leadership of province kept their attention on local
issues and significant among these was demand for the separation of Sindh from
Bombay Presidency.
Nevertheless, when Sindh regained autonomous status of province the politics of
province also changed drastically. There emerged disagreements between Muslim
and Hindu political leadership of province. The province also faced political
instability, as political leadership of province was more interested in Premiership
than to address issues of province. The national politics of India also affected the
regional politics of Sindh. In 1940, the demand of separate Muslim homeland
presented by All-India Muslim League further aggravated the gap between
regional leadership of Muslims and Hindus of Sindh. Those prominent Muslim
politicians who actively participated with Hindus in movement of separation of
Sindh from Bombay Presidency joined Muslim League and they started
propagating message of Muslim League in Sindh. These activities rang alarms in
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the minds of Hindu population of Sindh, as they were uncertain about their future
in an independent state of Pakistan, which was to be Muslim majority State.
Therefore, Hindu community of Sindh aligned itself with the Congress Party. In
addition, they invested their energy in protecting rights of Hindus in Sindh.
Later on in the year 1943, to vote in favor or against the demand of Pakistan, a
resolution presented in the Sindh Assembly. All-India Muslim League was
successful in passing the resolution in favor of Pakistan with 33 votes from the
Sindh Assembly. By the passing of this resolution, it became very much clear to
the people of Sindh that in future Sindh would become province of Pakistan,
which will be a Muslim majority State.
Apart of this, some other factors were also responsible for the growth of these
reservations. Firstly, the members of All-India Muslim League during their
election campaigns in the year 1946 had made several objectionable and anti-
Hindu speeches in public. The fear of Hindus further increased by the measures
taken by All-India Muslim League in Sindh Legislative Assembly. In this regard,
the Sindh University Bill2 and Sindh Landholders Mortgage Bill3 increased fear
of Hindus about their future in the Sindh. (Zamindar, 2007, p.51)These two bills
presented in the first quarter of 1947 and with majority in the assembly All-India
Muslim league was able to pass these bills. The Sindh University Bill made
allocation of important designations to the Muslims. The Congressmen (Hindus)
in the assembly opposed this bill. The other bill also provided favour to the
Muslim zaminadars over the Hindu banias. The Hindu community viewed both
the bills as measures of oppression and opposed these both bills in the assembly.
During the debate on these bills, speeches of some Muslim League leaders in Sindh
created further fears in the minds of Hindus about their future in the province.
Interestingly, these leaders had in the past worked with the members of Hindu
community in the movement of separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency. The
speeches of these leaders carried hatred and element of dislike towards the Hindu
community of the province. In this regard, some excerpts of the speeches of these
prominent politicians are of worth noticing -presented in the following passages.
M.A Khuhro, one of the leading Muslim politician of Sindh during his election
campaign for the Sindh Legislative Assembly in 1946 made some objectionable
speeches about the members of the Hindu community. Khuhro made following
speeches,
“I am looking towards the day when Hindus in Sindh will be so
improvised or economically weakened that their women, even like poor
Muslim women now, will be constrained to carry on their heads the
2 The Sindh University Bill (March 1947) provided appointment of Muslims on various
bodies of universities of Sindh.
3 The Sindh Landholders Mortgage Bill(March,1947) provided leverage to Muslim
zamindar over Hindu bania in the regard that Muslim zamindars were allowed to present
oral evidence at variance with the sale deed of property.
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midday food for their husbands, brothers and sons toiling in the fields
and market places’’. (Khosla, 1950, p.244)
On another occasion showing his animosity he stated, “Let the Hindus of Sindh
leave Sindh and go elsewhere. Let them go while the going is good and possible,
else I warn them that the time is fast coming when in their flight from Sindh, they
may not be able to get a horse or an ass or agari or other means of transport’’.
(Khosla, 1950, p.244)
Another Muslim leader Agha Badaruddin Ahmad, Deputy Speaker of the Sindh
Legislative Assembly proclaimed, “These Muslims are anxiously and restlessly
straining their ears to hear the sound of the hooves of galloping horses, the
rattling of the swords and the sky-rending slogans of “Allah Ho Akbar” of
Muslim crusaders.” (Khosla, 1950, p.244)
Long before the announcement of the Partition Plan, most of the above-mentioned
speeches made by prominent Muslim politicians, stressed Hindu politicians of Sindh
belonging mainly to the Congress party. However, one section of Hindu community
was hopeful that in future Muslims would be considerate towards Hindus in Sindh.
This section of Hindu community was of the opinion that Hindus were in minority
therefore they should not confront with the Muslims in province. They hoped that
Muslims and Hindus would reside side by side with each other with peace and
harmony in Sindh. In this regard, one Hindu politician Mr. NichaldasVazirani
presented his views in local newspaper ‘Daily Qurbani’, (published on 16 May
1947) of Sindh. In his article, Mr. Nichaldas urged the Hindu community in
particular not to leave Sindh and they should drop the idea of migrating from Sindh.
He in his article presented multiple reasons for Muslims of Sindh to have
harmonious relations with the other non-Muslim communities of the province.
1. The very first reason, which Mr. Nichaldas presents, is that in Sindh Muslims
had proved themselves as good neighbors of Hindus. Both the communities
had lived together with peace and they would continue to do so in future.
2. Sindh is a fertile land and there are many prospects of her development in
agriculture. In different regions of Sindh, there are prospects of industrial
progress. By setting up the industries and by increasing the agricultural
growth people of Sindh would enjoy prosperity. Therefore, majority
(Muslims) would not take over the properties and wealth of Hindus.
3. Muslims of Sindh are very much aware that Hindus of Sindh are enlightened.
If they do, any harm or try to do so, Hindus will raise the issue of communal
injustice on the different platforms of the world. In addition, the other nations
of the world would definitely come to their rescue.
4. Muslims of Sindh are very much aware of the fact that in order to achieve the
prosperity and development of Sindh they would require the services of Hindu
community. Hindu community possess wealth and occupational experience
and for this reason, Muslims of Sindh would not try to lose this community.
5. Muslims of Sindh are also aware of the fact that the non-Sindhi persons are
actually temporary residents of the Sindh. They like the seasonal birds come
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to the Sindh and once the season ends they return to their original homes.
Therefore, Muslims of Sindh would not wish to lose the permanent residents
of Sindh (Hindus).
Nevertheless, not all the Hindu politicians had such opinion about the political
happenings in the Province. Many Congressmen of Sindh at that time seemed
extremely worried about the attitude of Muslim politicians in Sindh. These Hindu
politicians wrote number of letters to the high command of Congress. In this
regard, the correspondence between Congressmen of Sindh and Sardar Vallabhbhai
Patel and correspondence between Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Lord Mountbatten
are of worth significance. In these letters, political situation of Sindh was debated.
Das (1973,p.316) in Sardar Patel’s Correspondence from 1945-1950 refers to the
letter of ParsramV.Tahilramani, Secretary of the Congress Party in Sindh
Assembly to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, conversed the anti-Hindu propaganda,
carried out by Muslim politicians of Sindh. As ‘samples of the virulent
communal propaganda that is being carried on incessantly in Sindh both on the
platform and in the press” he presented the passages of Agha Badaruddin`s
objectionable speech about the Hindu community. (the passages of Aga
Badaruddin`s speech have already been presented and discussed above) He
further mentioned that to counter anti Hindu propaganda he has sent letters to the
Premier of Sindh asking him to take action against such disinformation in Sindh.
On 15 May 1947, just few months before partition, R.K. Sidhwa another
Congressman of Sindh and the member of the Sindh legislative Assembly wrote a
letter to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. In his letter, R.K Sidhwa presented the
views of the Hindu community of Sindh about their future in the Province and
categorically denied any chances of migration of Hindus from Sindh. He writes,
“I was therefore very pleased to read your message as well as of Bapu`s that we
ought to be brave and face the situation and if we cannot do it non-violently to
face it violently but never to be coward or run-away…I may here inform you
that except few Amils, I mean about three to four hundred big families, nobody
wants to migrate. Staunch Hindus also are opposed to it and they have welcomed
your message.” (Das, 1973, pp.323-324)
Similarly, on 24 July 1947 in a letter to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Mr.Nichaldas
Vazirani opined “ we [Hindus] should feel that Sindh is as good a land of ours as of
Muslims and we are entitled to all privileges to which Muslims are entitled and we
should conduct ourselves as citizens entitled to equal rights.” (Das, 1973.p324) He
also applauded overall attitude of Muslim community towards Hindu community.
Through the analysis of these, letters written by politicians of Hindu community
it becomes clear that Hindu community did not want to migrate from Sindh. They
seemed very much hopeful about their future in Sindh and it was their opinion
that the tensions that had escalated during the election campaigns as temporary
and were hopeful that both the communities would once again live side by side in
Sindh with concord.
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Riots in Karachi
The Indians applauded the announcement of 3 June Plan as their decade’s long
struggle for independence and self-rule was going to be materialize. Contrary to
Punjab and Bengal, in Sindh there was no sign of any large-scale communal
conflict. Francis Mudie, then the Governor of Sindh reported to Viceroy in these
words, Characteristically carries on almost as if nothing had happened or was
going to happen,” (Zamindar,2007,p.48)
Francis Mudie and politicians of Sindh were hopeful that the Hindu community of
Sindh would remain in Sindh and they would not migrate to India. However, after
the announcement of 3 June Plan some members of the both communities, driven
into anxiety about their future. Because of fear and uncertainty, the migrations
started soon after the announcement of partition plan. Here it is to note that in the
beginning, the migrations of Hindu community from Sindh were at very small scale
and they were the result of anxiety and fear. (Markovits, 2000, p.278)
On 4 June 1947, A.P Le Mesurier, Chief Secretary to the Government of Sindh
reported that,
“It should be noted, however that the exodus of Hindus is nothing but a trickle
so far, though there is quite an amount of talk of the intention to migrate. The
District Magistrate Hyderabad, reports that there has been amount of
remittance of deposits to areas outside what is likely to be Pakistan.”
Soon after the announcement of Partition, migrations started and Muslims from
other parts of India started pouring into Punjab. The number of these incoming
Muslims to Punjab was so much high that some of them were, directed to move and
settle these refugees in some parts of Sindh. Because of this initiative, the Muslim
refugees were settle in Karachi and other parts of Sindh. However, some Muslim
groups did unexpectedly not welcome the coming of these Muslim refugees in
Sindh and there was some degree of abhorrence among politicians of Sindh.
On 29 July 1947, the Governor of Sindh Francis Mudie in his fortnightly report
to Viceroy stated that, “arrival of refugees causes intensification of anti-non
Sindhi feeling, caused by G.Syed and Congress Press.” Likewise, on 19 July
1947, A.P Le Mesurier Chief Secretary to the Government of Sindh further
elaborated the earnestness of situation and conveyed that, “There are already
signs of a revival of the slogan “Sindh for the Sindhis.”
Proceedings of Sindh Legislative Assembly (1949, p.7) displays that the Sindh
Government rejected the protests of the opposition against the rehabilitation of
Muslim refugees in the Province and in cooperation with the central government
decided to settle down these refugees in Karachi and other parts of Sindh. In
1948, Haji M.H Gazdar one of the supporter of Sindh Government’s policy,
while explaining efforts of provincial government in the Sindh Assembly stated;
“Sir, the Sind Government has been spending nearly 10 lakh of rupees for
providing pucca houses for Bihar refugees. They sanctioned another lakh
for providing temporary houses for Delhi and other refugees who are
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coming in. As far as the Sind Government is concerned every member of
the cabinet has been doing his best, helping refugees financially, providing
houses for them, providing lands for them, providing food for them.”
While, Sindh government was engaged in settling the refugees in Karachi
complaints about the unrest in the city grew. Initially incidents of looting and
damaging properties of residents of Karachi occurred at small and sporadic scale.
However, on 6 January 1948 there was a large scale of looting and killing in
Karachi and almost whole of the city suffered from lawlessness. These incidents
occurred when Sikh evacuees about two to three hundred in numbers were
transported in Karachi. They were sheltered in Gurdwara of Karachi. Somehow,
news of the arrival of these Sikh evacuees spread in the city and within few
hours, Muslims who were against the settling of Indian Muslim refugees, started
agitation against them. The local police authorities tried to disperse the crowd
around Gurdwara but the number of protestors grew larger. Soon this crowd of
the protestors turned into violent mob and they started attack on the Gurdwara.
(Khosla, 1950, p.252)These agitators first made Sikhs and Gurdwara their target
and then this mob attacked shops and other residential buildings of Karachi.
Regarding the views of Hindus members of Sind Assembly, the Assembly
Proceeding (1949,p. 29) show that Miss Jethi T. Sipahimalania female member of
the Sindh Legislative Assembly moved a resolution in the assembly for
compensation of lose to the minority community in 6 January riots in Karachi.
She described the events of 6 January riots in these words,
“Up to 3 or 3-30 I myself was in the town and never thought of returning
home. I thought it was just something, which will be localized by the
police in that particular area. But unfortunately to my surprise by the
evening I found that it was not sporadic,… It was surprise to the
Ministers as well. They also thought that it was just a localized trouble
and they also expected that perhaps it would be just localized and they
concentrated on that particular area only.But as we all know every house
and every possible shop in the whole town was looted and looted, as I
said previously, not by the labour class, not by the poor class but by the
educated people and by the neighbourers themselves openly and
flagrantly and they took big things, big sofas, big cots, radios, machines
and all possible things. There was a clean sweep of the houses.”
Miss Jethi T. Sipahimalani also said, “There is behind my house a Chidakashi
Mandir. It was also looted.” Not only that mandir but temples in other areas of
the city were also looted and damaged by the agitators. The temple of Bhai
Vassyaram, the temples of Hanumanji in Ranchore Lines, SitlaMandir on
Lawrence Road, Swami Narain Temple, the Jethmal Gurdwara in GarriKhata and
the temple of Guru Nanak and other temples and gurdwaras were attacked by the
mob. (Khosla, 1950.p254)
From the above passages, it becomes clear that on 6 January 1948 only minority
communities were targeted in Karachi. The properties of minority communities
including their houses, shops and even worship places were attacked by the mob.
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In addition, most tragic of all was the killing of hundreds of innocent residents of
Karachi mostly belonging to the minority communities. The local police could
not timely control the lawlessness. For restoring the peace in the city, army was
deployed and law and order was finally restored.
On 10 February 1948, in the Session of Sindh Legislative Assembly (1949, p. 13)
Mr.Haridas Laljia representative of the Hindu community regarding the
consequence of violence stated that
“before this incident on the 6th of January took place; the migration from
Karachi had been reduced to a minimum. It had almost stopped. That was
the attitude of the good many people in the city and the work of the
honourable Premier and other ministers of Finance Member of the
Pakistan Government had borne fruit. They did their best to help and
assure the members of the minority community and bring confidence into
them with the result they felt it was not at all necessary for them to
migrate from Sind. Very good work of these officers had desirable effect
and the migration was almost stopped. Even the members of the minority
community felt that they could return to Karachi.”
From the above statement, one thing is evident that due to fear and anxiety,
though some of the members of the Hindu community had migrated from Sindh
but with the passage of time they were thinking to return to Sindh. Even those
who had stayed in Sindh they had also withdrawn their intentions of migrating
from Sindh. All these events reveals that by the measures of the Government of
Sindh and of the Central Government, migrations had stopped. In addition, as
admitted by Mr. Haridas Lalji the trend of migration had almost stopped.
However, the incident of 6 January affected this positive trend and it casted
irreparable damage to the peaceful environment of the city of Karachi. By these
incidents, the minority community in Karachi was severely harassed and the loss
of the lives and properties shuddered the confidence of Hindus in Government.
On the other hand, Premier of Sindh Mr. Ayub Khuhro while clarifying the
position of Sindh government about the incidents of 6 January admitted during
his speech in Sindh Assembly (1949,p.13) that:
“At the time when this trouble was started there were also some
extraordinary factors which must be taken notice of. It was suddenly
pushed to a pitch, very much unexpected. The Police did not anticipate
that this general conflagration will take place so suddenly on that
particular day. Secondly, the Police which we have got in the city of
Karachi is not adequate as compared this task. The population of Karachi
is very much more than what it was in 1941, when census was taken,
much more than what it was even during war time.”
Sindh Premier Mr.M.Ayub Khuhro and his Cabinet Ministers made sincere
efforts in controlling the situation on 6 January 1948. For example, the Ministers
of Sindh Government like Pir Illahi Baksh travelled through the city and tried to
Ma’arif Research Journal (January – June 2020) Deliberations on Exodus of...21-36
31
control the situation of the city. (Bhavnani, 2014.p.131) Members of the Hindu
community appreciated the measures taken by the Premier of Sindh. For
example, Mr.Sirumal Vishandas in his Assembly speech (Proceedings, 1949, p.
11) expresses his gratitude in these words:
“Sir, I have very great pleasure in associating myself with the sentiments
expressed by the Honourable Members preceding me and in expressing my
great appreciation of the courage and confidence displayed by all the
Cabinet Ministers in tackling the very difficult situation on 6th of January.
There can be no doubt that all our Cabinet ministers exerted their outmost
in bringing the situation under control and I know personally and have
heard from several friends of mine here at Karachi that all Ministers were
running hither and thither telephoning and doing all sorts of things. For
this, Sir, they deserve our hearty congratulations and gratitude.”
Before the riots of 6 January members of the Hindu community who had earlier
migrated from Sindh, were thinking to return to Sindh. The peaceful atmosphere of
the city of Karachi was sign of hope to all of them who had migrated. Unfortunately,
the incidents of 6 January 1948 once again feared the Hindu community who yet
again started to migrate from Sindh and from Karachi in particular.
Agreements between Government of Pakistan and India Regarding Exodus
of Minorities
In spite of the assurances given by the Premier of Sindh and other members of
the Sindh Cabinet for security of Hindu community in Sindh, migration
continued. Muslim politicians regarded the exodus of Hindus from Sindh was
part of Congress propaganda. Premier of Sindh,Mr.Ayub Khuhro on 6 February
in Assembly (Proceedings, 1949,p.11) enunciated that
“We were informed from time to time that they are leaving according to
certain type of propaganda which is carried on that there will be war
declared between the two dominions sooner or later, there will be no love
lost between the two countries and there was actually and even now there
is an organization which is working in this direction. They have been
inducing people to leave this Province.”
Another member of Sindh Legislative Assembly, Dr.Kazi Mahomed Akbar
voiced the efforts and clarified that “In fact we tried to see that no Hindu leaves
Sind because we wanted that there should be no vaccum. Once a vaccum is
created it becomes irresistible and inevitable that people should come from other
places and fill that vaccum and hence, it is not possible for Government to leave
the Province in that state. We have tried that no Hindu should go out of Sind so
that no shop should lie vacant.” (Proceedings, 1949, p. 33)
However, members of the Hindu community in Sindh Legislative Assembly
rebuffed the views presented by the Premier of Sindh and other Muslim members
of the assembly. Miss JethiT.Sipahimalani being critical of government stated;
Ma’arif Research Journal (January – June 2020) Deliberations on Exodus of...21-36
32
“The Honourable Member Kazi Mujtaba just now said that there was a
regular planned exodus that the Hindus should leave Karachi and they of
their own sweet will handed over their houses to outsiders who came. For
What? For money consideration.” (Proceedings, 1949, p. 11)
Miss Jethi. T Sipahimalani further spoke about the wrong allotments of houses in
Karachi to the refugees. She stated that in Karachi refugees were being allotted
those houses where residents were still residing and the residents of such houses
were in some cases were forced to vacate their houses. Such was the level of
maladministration in Karachi and for these reasons; Hindus were forced to leave
their houses. (Singh and Nalinilyer, 2016, p.138)
While rejecting the opinions presented by Muslim Politicians of Sindh about
Congress propaganda Miss Jethi T Sipahimalani opined that
“The Congress is not responsible for all that. It has become some sort of
phobia to say that this was pre-planned or pre organized. I assure the
Honourable House and I assure the Honourable Premier and his Cabinet
that there is no such arrangement and there is no such organization. It was
all because of the steps taken one by one sometimes somebody`s shop was
allotted, somebody`s business was allotted, somebody was driven out of
his house and somebody`s house was allotted –that people did not know
that actually where they stood.” (Singh and Nalinilyer, 2016, p.11)
From the above passages, it becomes clear that in spite of apprehensions of both
Provincial Government officials and members of opposition parties who were
mainly Hindus were not in favour of exodus of Hindus from Sindh.
On the other hand, while migration issue deliberated in Sindh Legislative
Assembly, Dominion Government of Pakistan and India were drafting
agreements about the exodus of minorities and safety and allocation of evacuee’s
properties in their respective dominions. Multiple conferences held between the
representatives of the government of Dominion of Pakistan and India throughout
the year 1948. In these conferences, safety of the minorities were discuss in detail
and at the same time representatives from both sides agreed that the both
governments were not in favor of the mass migrations across the borders.
In these conferences, draft charter was prepared regarding the Minority Rights.
The first clause of this Charter is significant and it outlays the policy of the both
Dominion Governments regarding the exodus of minorities. They reiterate their
opinion that mass exodus of minorities is not in the interest of either Dominion,
the Governments of both Dominions are determined to take every possible step to
discourage such exodus, and to create such conditions as would check mass
exodus in either direction. (Preamble Calcutta Agreement). Even apart from this,
they solemnly and sincerely declare that their Governments are fully determined
to ensure for the minorities in their respective states all rights of citizenship and a
full and complete protection of life and liberty.(Based on Laussane Treaty).”
(archives.org, 2015.35519)
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33
Furthermore, in March 1948, the Joint Official Committee drafted a scheme for
inter dominion evacuee property. This scheme asserted that “In the evacuee`s
absence, the duty of preserving his property and safeguarding his rights and
interests therein shall devolve upon the Government of the Province in which the
property is situated.” (archives.org, 2015.35519)
Under the sub heading of Administration of Evacuee property, it stressed that,
“Evacuee property situated in a Province shall, for purposes of management, be
vested in the Custodian.” (archives.org, 2015.35519)
In the later part of this scheme, proposals for the allocation of the urban
immovable evacuee property was included. These proposals are important to
understand the allocation of houses in urban areas, such as Karachi. Under these
proposals, the Government of the Province was required firstly to,
“(a) acquire such property as it may need for a public purpose, which
may include the rehabilitation of refugees or the economic rehabilitation
of the province, on payment of fair compensation to be determined by a
Joint Government Agency for Sales and Exchanges;
And secondly
(b) Ask Requisition such property, as it may need for public purpose,
which may include the rehabilitation of refugees or the economic
rehabilitation of the Province on payment of fair compensation to be
determined by a Joint Urban Assessment Board. The maximum period
for which the Provincial Government will be entitled to requisition shall
be limited in the case of
(i) Residential property to 3 years;
(ii) Commercial property to 3 years;
(iii) Industrial establishment to 5 years; 4 (archives.org, 2015.35519)
By these agreements, the government of Dominion state of Pakistan and India
tried to draft schemes to settle down the issues that arose regarding the evacuee
properties and rehabilitation of the refugees in both the dominions.
In the year 1950, another important agreement between the then Prime Minister
of Pakistan Mr. Liaquat Ali khan and Indian Prime Minister Mr.Jawahar Lal
Nehru was sign in Delhi. This agreement bears significant importance in
assessing the policy of the governments of the both dominions towards the
exodus of the minorities and their rights in both the dominion states.
“The Governments of India and Pakistan solemnly agree that each shall ensure, to
the minorities throughout its territory, complete equality of citizenship, irrespective
of religion, a full sense of security in respect of life, culture, property and personal
honour, freedom of movement within each country and freedom of occupation,
Ma’arif Research Journal (January – June 2020) Deliberations on Exodus of...21-36
34
speech and worship, subject to law and morality. Members of the minorities shall
have equal opportunity with members of the majority community to participate in
the public life of their country, to hold political or other office, and to serve in their
country's civil and armed forces.” (commonlii.org, treaties/1950)
Significant clause of the agreement was clause “E”, and under this clause, the
governments of both the Dominions decided to take necessary measures for the
return of the refugees. It reads that “ In order to help restore confidence, so that
refugees may return to their homes, the two Governments have decided to depute
two Ministers, one from each Government, to remain in the affected areas for
such period as may be necessary’’ (commonlii.org, treaties/1950)
However, despite of these agreements the mass migrations of the minorities
continued between the two dominions and this continued for next succeeding
years. Why the movement of minorities was not restricted or stopped in the light
of these agreements can be assessed by remarks of Ilyas Chattha in his article `
Competitions for Resources: Partition's Evacuee Property and the Sustenance of
Corruption in Pakistan`.(2012,pp. 1187-1188) He is of the view that “Partition
brought increased opportunities for corruption. These were seized by civil
servants who extracted graft, politicians who illegally appropriated evacuee
property and members of local populations who enriched themselves at the
expense of refugees’’.
Furthermore, agreements signed between Dominion Governments regarding
Evacuee Property suffered a deadlock. India on the one hand expressed a wish to
make provisions of agreements applicable to whole of country to which Pakistan
resisted and thus emerged a deadlock. In order to remove this deadlock a
conference was call at Karachi in June 1949 in which Chaudhri Zafrulla Khan
represented Pakistan delegation and Mr. Gopalaswami Ayyengar represented
Indian delegation. (Chaudhri, 1957. P.102). Un-fortunately this conference also
ended with deadlock.
All these efforts proved fruitless and had direct implications on the flight of Hindus
out of Sindh. From the day of announcement of partition, Hindu community of
Sindh had been under severe persecution. Suffering from local molestations and
witnessing no practical efforts on the part of Government of Pakistan, Hindus from
Sindh found it suitable to migrate towards India. Thus, the large-scale migrations of
Hindus of Sindh were result of lawlessness, absence of governmental initiative to
stop migrations out of Pakistan and general sense of insecurity, which prevailed in
the minds of minorities regarding their future in Pakistan.
Conclusion:
The study discloses that it was not the environment of fear and mistrust
developed instantaneously before or after the partition but in fact, Hindu-Muslim
squabble has a long History.
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35
Even with this milieu, after partition there were no noteworthy events of violence
in Sindh and minorities found themselves in secure environment. For several
months after partition, minorities stayed in Sindh and in Karachi and were
hopeful of their peaceful future in Sindh, then had become province of Pakistan.
They found Sindhi Muslims not hurting their lives and damaging properties.
Hindus were actually not afraid of Muslims and many prominent Sindhi Hindu
politicians reiterated this stance in their speeches and in correspondences carried
out between party members of Congress.
Nevertheless, the succeeding events, which occurred in Karachi and other areas
of Sindh, which ravaged the lives, and properties of Hindu community, generated
fears among the Hindu community. The inability of the law enforcement agencies
aggravated their fears and anxiety. Another very important element, which
developed serious apprehensions, was their pecuniary position in Sind Province.
Witnessing riots and their business being annihilate they opted the option of
securing their lives, and they did so by migrating from Sindh.
Although, authorities made several efforts to reassure the Hindu community for
safe future in Sindh and asked those who had left to return back to their homes.
This hope was also reiterated by the Dominion Government of Pakistan in
multiple inter dominion conferences but all this could not develop sense of
security in the hearts of Hindu community.
The apprehensions of the Hindu community were further increased by the
introduction of several constitutional measures such Objectives Resolution of
1949. The representatives of the Hindu community challenged these
constitutional measures and called them as measures neglecting and denying the
basic rights of the Hindu community in Pakistan. After being suffered from the
communal violence and finding themselves denied of the basic rights in the
political life of the country, Hindu community especially in Sindh and Karachi
had no other option then to leave their ancestral homes. In addition, with this it
becomes clear that the migration of the Hindu community from Sindh and from
Karachi was not the voluntary action but caused by the violence carried out
against them and inability of the law enforcement agencies to secure their lives
and properties in Sindh and in Karachi.
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
This paper explores the part that the redistribution of evacuee property—the property abandoned by departing Hindus and Sikhs during the mass migrations after Partition—played in the institutionalization of corruption in Pakistan. By drawing on hitherto unexplored sources, including Pakistan's Rehabilitation Department papers, local police files and court records, it highlights the schemes of illegal appropriation, misappropriation, and paints a wholly convincing portrait of the scramble for millions of rupees worth of abandoned property in the towns and countryside of West Punjab. It shows how politicians, bureaucrats, powerful local notables and enterprising refugee groups grabbed properties, mainly by bribing officers charged with allocating them to incoming refugees, or by utilizing their personal contacts. The paper argues that the fierce competition for resources and temptations for evacuee property encouraged the emergence of a ‘corruption’ discourse which not only contributed to an atmosphere that was detrimental to democratic consolidation in the early years of Pakistan's history, but also justified later military intervention. This not only adds to the empirical knowledge of Partition and its legacies, but also makes a significant contribution towards our understanding of the transitional state in Pakistan.
Article
The book describes the political, geographical and ecological context within which migrations to and from Pakistan have taken place. These include migrations from India because of the establishment of the canal colonies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and because of the Kashmir Wars and from Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the 70's and 80's. The scale of rural-urban migration and emigration has also been dealt with along with its history, causes, repercussions (social, physical, economic and demographic both in the rural areas and in the small towns) and processes (both legal and illegal) and their actors such as emigrant organizations, state and private agencies and illegal operators. The book also deals with the effect of remittances on Pakistan's macro economy and the response of the state to the emigration phenomena along with the evolution of small towns in general and of Mithi, Uch and Chiniot in particular. The relationship between political power, land ownership, urban form and development in these three towns has also been researched and analysed. The text is supported by a number of boxes, statistical tables, maps and interviews of the actors in the migration and emigration drama.
Chief Secretary to the Sindh Government
  • A Le Mesurier
A.P Le Mesurier, Chief Secretary to the Sindh Government, dated 4 June 1047, Sindh Archives.
The Making of Exile: Sindhi Hindus and the Partition of India
  • N Bhavnani
Bhavnani, N.(2014). The Making of Exile: Sindhi Hindus and the Partition of India. Chennai: Tranquebar Press.
Evacuee Property In India And Pakistan. Pakistan Institute of International Affairs Pakistan Horizon
  • M A Chaudhri
Chaudhri, M.A.(1957). Evacuee Property In India And Pakistan. Pakistan Institute of International Affairs Pakistan Horizon, 10(2), 102. Available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/41393804 [Accessed: 5 June 2019]
Landlord Power and Rural Indebtness in Colonial Sindh 1865 -1901
  • David Chessman
Chessman, David. Landlord Power and Rural Indebtness in Colonial Sindh 1865 -1901,p.185