Mongols destroyed culture and religious patterns of Sindh: US scholar

KARACHI: The Mongol conquests and migrations in Sindh and other Indus borderlands in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were not only responsible for the destruction of sedentary agriculture and village life in many areas but equally led to demise or weakening of existing patterns of culture and religion.

“The destruction of culture, religion and social cohesion over two centuries of Mongol conquests and tribal migrations, in combination with pervasive nomadization and raiding paved the way for subsequent conversion to Islam and formation of new pir-and-shrine-centered forms of religious organization. The latter were instrumental in religious conversion as much as the restoration of a war-damaged society, the arbitration of land rights among settled and nomadic populations and community building,” said Dr. Andre Wink, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, in his paper presented at technical session on ‘History of Sindh’ on second day of ‘Sindh through Centuries’ organized by Sindh Madressatul Islam University, Karachi at a local hotel on Tuesday.

Dr. Mathew A. Cook, another American scholar, who is Assistant Professor of Post-Colonial & South Asian Studies at North Carolina Central University, in his paper titled ‘The annexation of Sindh and socio-cultural distinctions’ said local support for the British in 1843 hinged on internal social relations among Sindh’s Hindus and attempts to challenge distinctions of status within this community. “I argue that such local distinctions give important insights into larger processes (for example the establishment of global empires).

His paper looked beyond the imperial great game and economic rationalism in the global expansion of British Empire. He focused on how Hindu merchants supported the British Empire. According to the US scholar, the British Empire provided property security and types of institutional stability that indigenous states were incapable of guaranteeing. As a result, the merchants abandoned indigenous states and shifted their support in favour of British sovereignty.

Saaz Aggarwal, an Indian writer, painter and literary critic, who had been continuously documenting aspects of Sindhi Diaspora, presented her paper titled ‘Wherever’ that focused on mass migration of Sindhi Hindus from Sindh and who settled in different parts of world. According to her, they migrated to such regions, which were isolated and had a unique culture; therefore they had to learn new languages, and adapted new lifestyles. The paper presented 66-year seamless efforts of Hindus of Sindh and explored possible reasons for their material success, their abandonment of culture and the reasons for which they have remained silent about their loss and trauma.

US scholar Dr. Rita P. Wright’s paper on ‘Moen Jo Daro and Harappa: The Indus, its rivers and responses to environment change’ was read by Ms. Nilofar Shaikh.

Humaira Naz, lecturer in Department of General History, University of Karachi, readout her paper titled ‘Fateh Namah-i-Sindh alias Chach Namah: The first magnum opus of the history of Sindh’ while Dr. Abdullah Aftab Abro presented paper on ‘Historical perspective of research on Indus Script’.

Scholar and historian Dr. Hamida Khuhro presided over the session.

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